Social Media Basics Series Part Three: Six Steps For Writing Effective Tweets

Posted September 26th, 2011 in Social media by davecopeland

Third in an occasional series on how to use social media, from the basics of getting going to intermediate and advanced techniques of information exchange.

There are all sorts of resources out there on how to get retweeted, but to me the formula is simple: Tweets are, at their most basic level, a form of writing, and good writing gets shared. Rather than repeat all the social media strategies out there, here are six basic strategies for making sure you maximize the chances that your Tweets get shared.

  1. Keep Tweets under 120 characters: Yes, you have 140 characters, but leaving 20 characters open makes it easier for other people to retweet and even include a comment of their own.
  2. Include one @ mention in each Tweet: Mentioning another users insures that at least one other person will read the Tweet (even people with thousands of followers are going to take a second to see what’s being said about them.
  3. Include a link in every Tweet: Good Tweets provide value or information to the reader, and a link is a surefire way to give readers something beyond your pithy commentary.
  4. Include one hashtag per Tweet: Again, you’re trying to increase the chances that your Tweet will be seen. The half-life of a Tweet is frighteningly short, meaning most people won’t see most of what you Tweet. By putting it in a hash-tag search you can prolong its half-life.
  5. Use natural language: Text speak helps you keep within the 140-character (or my 120-character) limit, but it’s also uninviting. Beyond that, people are increasingly reading Tweets in foreign languages: jargon is a sure-fire way to discourage a nonnative speaker.
  6. Think before you Tweet: There were 6,000 Tweets per second during last month’s Virginia earthquake. Did you really need to be number 6,001? Think of what your Tweet is adding to the conversation. According to social media guru Sree Sreenivasan, if it’s not
    helpful, useful, informative, relevant, practical, actionable, timely, generous, brief, entertaining, fun and/or occasionally funny you may want to hold off until you have something worthwhile to Tweet.

Previous posts in this series:

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