When we first explore Twitter with groups of entrepreneurs and other professionals on our range of social media training courses here at SocialB, we know they’ll take one look at the 140 character limit and feel a little puzzled. They’ll ask us how it’s possible to cram all of the important information about their business, services, offers and industry insights in such a tiny sentence. In fact, we advise using 100-120 characters as a maximum so it pays to be super concise!
To be a great tweet writer, it pays to be a great tweet reader. Observe how established tweeters are getting clever with their 140 characters. If you take a look at the Twitter accounts of national newspapers you’ll see how they get you hooked on even the most complex stories in only a few short words. They’ve been penning snappy headlines for years on their front pages so it’s worth observing their techniques. Once you have the words, we’ve put together some handy tools, copywriting smarts and Twitter conventions to really take your tweet to the next level.
So, here are SocialB’s 6 tips to take full advantage of those 140 characters on Twitter:
1. Focus on your key message – You need to be tweeting regularly to stay in reader newsfeeds, so prioritise one important point you’d like to concentrate on for each tweet. Don’t attempt to to say everything about your organisation all at once!
2. Draft before you type – grab a notepad or type a few versions of your tweet. Refine and craft your tweets before pressing the ‘Tweet’ button! Run them through a spell checker too as typos can take a shine off a great headline.
3. Shorten your words – Use contractions to reduce two words to one – so for example ‘can not’ becomes ‘can’t’. Use an online thesaurus to find word swaps that cut a few more characters yet have the same meaning.
4. Be smart with hashtags – Avoid using more than 2 or 3, and if you create any, keep them trim! Monster hashtags that gobble up tweet-space will not be popular!
5. Swap your unwieldy URLs for slinky shortlinks – Use tools like Bitly and TinyURL to blitz them into dinkier versions that are just a few characters long. Some of these tools will also give you stats on click-throughs so you can get a good idea if your tweets are engaging people effectively.
6. Use pictures to grab attention and tell your story instantly. If you stay within Twitter’s guidelines then a small amount of text on your image can provide a little space for extra messaging too.
Do you think our tips have given you a clearer idea of how to write a great tweet with only 140 characters? Tweet us @SocialBuk and let us know!