How to Write Effective Tweets

Mike McGrail
Mike McGrail Owner, The Social Penguin Blog

Posted on May 31st 2013

How to Write Effective Tweets

140 characters. Talk about a pair of pixelated handcuffs! But that limit shouldn't be seen as an issue, it should be seen as an opportunity. It can be hard to get your point across within that limit, never mind getting people to actually act upon your tweets, but with the right approach, writing effective tweets will become like second nature. Read on for some key pointers...

Think message first!

Twitter moves at lightning pace - that means your tweets have to catch the eye! Let's imagine a scenario within which you've written a blog post and you want to share it via Twitter. What should your tweet look like? I'll start with a bad example:

In my new blog post, I've written tips on how to write effective tweets so that your tweets get noticed - http://bit.ly/11sOdHu

Why is this bad?

  • It doesn't hit the reader with a key piece of information first
  • It rambles
  • The language is clumsy

How can you make this tweet more effective? Start with the headline of your post:

How to Write Effective Tweets -  http://bit.ly/11sOdHu < essential reading for digital marketers #marketing 

The use of 'how to' lets the reader know that they are going to (hopefully!) learn something by reading the post. I then tell them exactly what they will learn. The link is nice and early in the tweet, meaning they don't necessarily need to read the rest of the tweet. By saying 'essential reading', I'm making the reader feel like they must read this, or potentially miss out on key information. I'm playing on their minds a little. Notice I've only used one hashtag, I advise never to use more than two. There's also plenty of characters left, meaning users can add a note if they want to when re-tweeting etc. Always think key message first!

Offer value from within the tweet

Try taking a key point from your post and including it in the tweet:

Never use more than two hashtags in a tweet! More great tips here - http://bit.ly/11sOdHu #twitter #writing

This approach allows you to give the reader a valuable piece of info, and entices them to read more. Again, that tweet leaves 32 characters free. The 140 characters isn't a target!

Don't be scared to mix it up! Image used under CC via MIKI Yoshihito on FlickrDon't be scared to mix it up! Image used under CC via MIKI Yoshihito on Flickr

Ask a question

Like this:

Struggling to write tweets that hit the mark? You need to read this - http://bit.ly/11sOdHu #digitalmarketing

This tweet is effective as it endeavours to identify an issue that people may have when using Twitter and offers a solution to it. Again, it uses a strong statement - 'You need to read this'. An effective tweet with 30 characters to spare.

Invite audience participation

When you write and publish a blog post, you hope that people will not only read it, but comment on the article too. Try to spark some interaction within your tweet:

How to Write Effective Tweets -  http://bit.ly/11sOdHu < have you got any tips to share? We'd love to hear them!

Nice punchy start, link is early in the tweet and it asks a question at the end. With room to spare. Nice one!

Mix it up!

When I publish a blog post, I tend to tweet about it across the day in order to hit different timezones etc. This practice is fine, as long as there are other tweets unrelated to the post coming from you that day! Why not write a bunch of tweets that use the different approaches from above and test what works best for you in terms of clicks and re-tweets? Test and learn baby!

Good luck! Feel free to had any hints/thoughts in the comments below!

Mike McGrail

Mike McGrail

Owner, The Social Penguin Blog

Founder of The Social Penguin Blog (@social_penguin). MD of Velocity Digital, a digital marketing and communications consultancy based in the UK. Conference speaker and University lecturer. You can follow me on Twitter - @mike_mcgrail. Also sharing great content over on Google Plus. Straight talking, creative, strategic and analytical. I love single malt whisky and rich mahogany. 

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Comments

jason_huntrods
Posted on June 3rd 2013 at 1:21AM

The first step is to not include links.

Tweeters are becoming less amicable towards links. Make a poster with your blog URL and topic, upload it as a picture and nothing else. Way more people will click the picture to open it. Make a custom Vine video.

Twitter advertising/publicity campaigns are sometimes run by well-paid social media companies, but are so uncreative it almost is frustrating...

Granted in this situation you are handcuffed because you are trying to drive traffic to a website with no former repuation with the user. But with the audience you are targeting, you don't have to be very creative. If you're going for ad revenue buy a cheap retweet from an accounts title the post "The secret to Twitter success :o *link*" and you'll get plenty of hits.

It just depends on what you want to do and why you want to do it.

Mike McGrail
Posted on June 3rd 2013 at 2:55PM

Hi Jason

Thanks for the comment. Can't say I agree with not using links, I've not seen any evidence of Twitter users not wanting to see/click links? Can you back that up? On the poster thought, I kind of like the idea, but only as part of a mix of tweets and only if the poster is of a high quality. This could also be a very time-consuming practice. Are you seeing many people/brands etc doing this for blog posts? I also think it adds an uneccesary step for the user via an extra click (depending on their Twitter client). 

On the ad front, I wouldn't advise spending budget driving people to your blog posts, unless that post is going to create a lead etc for the business. A lot of money could go down the drain in the attempt to just drive extra traffic - what is that traffic actually achieving.

I stand by my advise of short, sharp and informative tweets that make the user quickly understand what they will get from clicking a link, and reading the post etc it leads to.

R. Bittner
Posted on December 10th 2013 at 4:14PM

Excellent article, Mike!  Thanks for sharing.

 

Posting an effective tweet (to my way of thinking, at least) is a bit like trying to get a job...  What's the purpose of an effective cover letter?  To get someone to look at your résumé.  And the purpose of a well-written résumé?  To get that same person to consent to an interview.  And the purpose of a well-structured interview?

 

Why, to get the job of course!

 

It's all about keeping things sharp, succinct and to the point.  (And avoiding redundancy...hahahahaha!)

 

Russell