Thinking BEFORE you Tweet, and Other Tweet Writing Tips

You may think that you’ve got a great idea for a tweet, but did you honestly think it through? The problem with so many brands, both new and old, who are using Twitter marketing tactics is carrying over their personal habits into the business. We’ve all had an idea and tweeted it out before we thought it through.

Each tweet is limited to 140 characters. Proper thought is going to have to be put into each one if you want to get the most out of it. This article is going to help you write better tweets by using actual examples from Twitter accounts while the concepts are being explained.

Writing tweets for better Twitter marketing

Think first and then tweet after: Don’t tweet first and then think after!

You’ve likely had some fun tweeting on your personal account with random thoughts, silly selfies, and half-baked ideas. The time for that on a branded Twitter account is over. There are three points that you must consider every time you tweet:

  1. Am I creating this for my current followers to enjoy, or to gain new followers?
  2. Once I send this tweet, will the readers benefit from it in some way?
  3. What is the goal of this tweet? Do I want retweets, clicks to a website, replies, or something else?

These three rules may sound restrictive to the free-form nature of Twitter, but they’re not. You can still have a laugh with your followers using a silly tweet. But with that silly tweet you can still think about the three points above. If you’re not clear on what you want that tweet to do, take a few more seconds before you hit ‘Tweet’ so you’re not wasting the short attention span of Twitter users.

Calls to action are an important part of this. Your followers only have a few seconds to decide what they’re going to do with your tweet. If you want to help them make that decision you need to tell them what it is you want them to do.

Coca Cola was pretty clear here. They wanted to get people to follow them on Snapchat. They provided their Snapchat ID and asked people to follow them. They also put their #HappinessHackathon hashtag in the tweet and discussed, briefly, how it connects to ending cyberbullying. This is a complex tweet with perfect execution. Well executed tweets are a big part of how you’ll get followers on Twitter.

Listen to the conversation happening through your links

With a 140 character limit on Twitter, link shorteners became all the rage years back. There are rumours that the character limit will soon no longer apply to links, but that doesn’t mean they won’t be useful.

When using any link shortener, you can use it as a way to record which tweets are getting the valuable clicks through to your website. You may not think of it as a ‘conversation,’ but it is your fans telling you what they like and what they want to read when using Twitter.

Here’s a tweet by the Devumi gorilla where he uses a link shortener:

The link shortener will tell him how many people clicked on the link amongst all those retweets. You’ll also notice that he was trying hard to specifically get people to click on the link. On Twitter, images are below the text. So that a whole group of people, plus two emoticons, pointing at the link! We’ll look at using images later. For now, you can look at this list of social monitoring tools for ideas on which you’d like to use for link shortening.

Edit your tweets, edit them again, then hit tweet

We all make mistakes. Period. Exclamation point. While Twitter users have a certain degree of tolerance for auto-correct errors, there is one thing they can’t forgive: Bad links and bad hashtags.
The reason for this is a bad link simply can’t be forgiven. Once you tweet it, and the link doesn’t work, it’s over. The same goes for hashtags. Hashtags are links between conversations. Once the hashtag is broken due to a spelling error it becomes useless.

#TeamFollowBack, meet #TeamFolowBack. See the problem? If you don’t, maybe writing tweets isn’t for you…

RTs take up space, leave room for them

This is very important for anyone who is using a “Please RT” call to action. When someone does retweet your message they will still have the 140 character limit imposed upon them. That means that the words “RT @username” will take up space at the beginning of the tweet.

To fight the dreaded ‘We’re sorry, your tweet is too long for Twitter’ message, you need to keep all of your tweets under 120 characters. Even under 100 is better if you want to leave room for people to add their own quick comments.

Yes, this problem has been alleviated slightly by Quote retweets, such as the one below, but notice how they change the original tweet.

write better tweets

I chose this at random, but you can see how the links inside the original tweet are disabled. You have to click on that tweet, open it up, and then click on the link. The old style of retweets don’t have this problem:

original style of retweets

You can still click on the link, the profile, and the hashtags.

More than words: Pictures can tell stories

One of the most easily retweeted things on Twitter is those ‘quote over an image’ types of tweet. Do you know why they do so well? Because most of the information in them has no impact on the 140 character limit beyond what is allotted to an image. This leaves you with space to ask for retweets and comments in the text of the tweet.

Is there any way that Larry Kim could have written out all ten of those within his 140 characters? No! But he got them in using a picture. Start thinking about the content you can put into your images, and how this can free up space for the written part of your tweets.

It’s not just static pictures. This same idea applies to:

  • GIFs
  • Images with no text, but a mood or theme setting
  • Videos from YouTube and Twitter native video

Expand the media you use to better tell your brand story. Text, especially 140 character or less of text, can be limiting. Images, GIFs, and video can do wonders for expanding your voice on Twitter, and helping you write better tweets.


Feature image by Ollyy / Shutterstock

About Matthew Yeoman

Matthew is the writer over on the blog. You can learn more about Devumi in this overview, by stopping by the blog, or by following the Devumi Gorilla on Twitter for daily updates!

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