The Art Of A Great Tweet

Twitter tends to still baffle people. Some don’t see the point, and others see the point but think it takes a lot of effort. The goals of Twitter are simple: get people to click on and share you content and engage and make new friends. Sounds easy enough, until it’s not, right?

Engaging and making friends is easy. You don’t need anyone telling you how to do that, because you’ve been making friends since you were a toddler. But getting people to click on your content and share it all comes down to – is your tweet catchy enough?

Some SEO experts will say that you need to treat it like a blog headline and stuff your tweet with keywords. Some will say that it shouldn’t matter, it should just appeal to your audience and be more organic. Some will tell you that it should read like a newspaper or magazine headline and be eight words or less. (Julian Lewis Watkins showed us in her book that 95% of the most effective headlines from 1852-1958 were less than eight words). But what are the actionable tips here? Eight words or less, stuffed with keywords or not, is not exactly a great recipe to follow.

Here are my top 7 tips on the art of a great tweet:

  1. It should read like a magazine article or the front page of a newspaper. Your goal should be to grab the reader’s attention. How you do that is by asking yourself what you would search for if you were looking up your blog topic on the web? That’s your headline. Or better yet, picture your tweet on the cover of  your favorite magazine, would you be intrigued enough to buy the magazine?
  2. It should be short and sweet. I like tweets to be short, informative, and relevant to what I’m interested in. I recommend aiming under 100 characters (including URL) to make it retweetable by others.
  3. Promote your tweet multiple times. The average person skims their Twitter feed and if your tweet isn’t catchy enough, they’ll pass right on by it. You should always tweet your same tweet you want to promote four times over a 32-hour period, says Guy Kawasaki. Trust me, it works.
  4. Your tweet should be useful to your reader. What benefit will they get out of your tweet if they click on your link? Does your headline convey that?
  5. You don’t have to tweet your blog title verbatim. It’s okay to not include your blog post title in your tweet if it means that it will show the benefit to the reader of what your link (tweet) is about. However, quality content and a clear message should still be your goal
  6. A/B test your tweets. Meaning, try testing the different headlines and see which get clicked on more. You can track the clicks with a URL shortener like bit.ly or ow.ly or if your social media desktop tool offers analytics, then use that to monitor.
  7. Don’t just blindly retweet something because the headline is good. Often times people blindly retweet something without reading it because they trust the person who originally tweeted it. But, as Copyblogger Brian Clark always says, “quality should always be your main ingredient.”
About Tracy Sestili

Tracy Sestili is CEO and Chief blogger at Social Strand Media. She is a social media consultant, strategist, and analyst.

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