With Twitter’s famous 140 character limit, it can be hard to truly maximize the value of each tweet. We were all so spoiled by a certain book of faces which let us ramble on and on, but Twitter use demands focus.
In order to write the best tweets possible you need to learn what is best for you to write, how to track your success, and what techniques to use. We’ll look at that now, and use some real examples to help you learn.
Write better tweets and be 140 character famous!
Knowing your audience, and calls to action
Crafting better tweets for marketing purposes means that you are no longer going to be tweeting out your random thoughts about your lunch …unless, maybe, if you’re a restaurant. Your tweets have to be on the brand’s ‘message.’ Don’t have a message? You’re way behind on marketing in general then. Your messaging is your image, it’s what you want people to think when they think of your brand. That message has to carry across everything you do, including Twitter.
When you’re crafting tweets, think about:
The type of people you want reading this message. Are they new followers? Old followers? How will each differ, and how will you create tweets for these two different groups of people.
Looking at the two groups of people above, will your tweet add value to the lives of those who read it? The marketing messages of old don’t work on Twitter. Twitter is social media where its users don’t want to be marketed to, they want to be spoken with.
Your goal for each tweet should be clear. Do you want to get more retweets? Do you want more followers? Is there a hashtag you want to promote? Maybe you’re sharing a link. Keep in mind that this is Twitter and your goals can vary. You can create a tweet with the goal of making people laugh, or react emotionally in general, as long as it’s within your brand message.
A key to how all of this will work is with calls to action. Not only are tweets short to read, people also take a short amount of time to read them. This means that you have to get to the point of what you want them to do quickly. Try these:
Please RT: For when you want this particular message to spread as far as possible. You can even cut it to ‘RT!’ if you’re short on time, or ‘Please retweet’ if you’re into writing a novel…
Click the link: Let followers know that there’s a link to follow as they could miss the URL amidst all the text they’re scrolling through, or think that the link preview is just an image. Feel free to use an emoji hand or arrow which points right at it.
Follow us: This is usually used when you have a tweet which you know will be shared. You’re reaching new Twitter users, who are not yet followers, and pushing them to follow you.
More complicated: There are a few more complicated calls to action you can use on Twitter, but remember not to get too complicated. Things like “RT for yes, Like for no” can work. Asking for replies is effective, and can do so much to increase engagement on your Twitter. Telling people to ‘@Tag your friends” can do wonders for your exposure. The key is always on focusing on one of these at a time.
Here’s a fun example from a popular soccer radio program:
They found a topic that always pushes people’s button – Liverpool’s Championship implosion – and pushed hard for interaction. The video was the icing on the cake which pushed their 140 character limit to the max, while still getting the retweets they were after.
Track your performance with a link shortener
The ultimate goal for everyone marketing on Twitter is to get people to click through to their website when they want it. Tracking the all-important clickthrough rate is an essential part of learning to create better tweets as it’s how you’ll learn about your audience.
Start tracking your tweets with links in a spreadsheet. Track:
Impressions (Twitter Analytics will show you this)
These are the basic data points to look at. When you start building this data you can start looking at the tweets which perform best and find patterns in this. If tweets with video do better, look at creating better videos. If a particular call to action works, track that. The more you learn about your audience here the better you’ll be at serving them the content which they respond to.
A last point about link tracking is using tools like Buffer and Hootsuite. These are two of the originators of the link shortening game. They also have some very useful analytics included in them which will help you. Best of all, using a link shortener helps your tweets to look better. Long URLs are now shortened on Twitter with an ellipsis, like this:
It looks sloppy. A shortener will help your tweets look uniform in size and construction. Check out this tweet from BlogGoDown’s own own Twitter account using a Bit.ly link shortener:
The 140 character limit applies on Twitter at all times. When you write a tweet which is 139 characters long, how will someone retweet you when it always adds ‘RT @username:’ to the beginning of every retweet? You may even want to leave a little bit of room for your followers to make some sort of comment. Bottom line, you need to focus on keeping your tweets at no longer than 110 characters.
Yes, this has been alleviated somewhat by Twitter’s new ‘Quote’ feature, but the original retweet is still used often. If you’re not sure what this ‘Quote’ feature is, here’s a look at how Twitter explained it when they launched it:
It gives your users more chances to add comments, but don’t use up all the character for those who still use the original style of retweeting.
Video is the future of Twitter, images still count
Images have been popular for years, but the future of Twitter marketing was set the moment that Twitter bought Vine. Video is taking off in a huge way on Twitter, even the NFL is going a step further by broadcasting live games next year:
That’s right, Twitter has a broadcasting deal with the NFL! Video is going to be huge on Twitter. Using video effectively, with calls to action and information in them, will change your Twitter marketing instantly.
What you must keep in mind is that this is still Twitter. It is still all about doing things in a short amount of time. That’s why they bought Vine: The six second video platform is perfect for their ‘short attention span’ style of Internet content.
If you want to see a branded account that has mastered using images, GIFs, and video on Twitter you must check out the success of Samsung Mobile. Every tweet is a multi-media experience of some sort:
A GIF and a video, something they’re serving up on a regular basis in every tweet!
Images are still viable. The best thing you can do with them is include a little extra information in them. Use a few words of text to add to your 140 character limit. Here’s a geeky example from one of Disney’s accounts:
That tweet could have almost gotten away with not having any text at all!
The two styles of hashtags for marketing
You know when you’re using your personal account and you create a hashtag #justforfunwithnopoint? Well when you’re a brand you should consider stopping that practice. A hashtag is a link. Links lead people away from you, from your content, from your Twitter account. Each hashtag you use must have a purpose, and there are only two:
You are using a branded hashtag which is part of a larger branded storytelling scheme. When people click this hashtag they see more of your content.
You are using a popular hashtag in hopes of joining in on a trending topic. This is to be used with caution as a brand. Doing this all the time is newsjacking, and it can be looked down on. Try to only join in on trending hashtags at the right time, and when they have some relation to your brand.
If you’re using hashtags for any reasons besides these two, you’re not creating the best possible tweets. Here’s @IronMan showing you how it’s done as it pushes the branded #TeamIronMan hashtag, and the hashtag for the premier of Captain America: Civil War: