Monday, July 3, 2017

How to Write a Good Tweet—It’s Easier Than You Think!

by Edie Melson @EdieMelson


Use this simple method to compose effective tweets.
Twitter, as many of you already know, is my Social Media Sweet Spot—my easy button, if you will. It’s my go-to place to send and receive information. Because of that, I compose all my social media updates from a Twitter mindset. So no matter where I'm sending the update, I compose it with Twitter in mind.

I know that Twitter is NOT the sweet spot for many of you reading this blog.
Part of that is because you’re not really sure what constitutes a good tweet. You’ve heard just enough about hashtags and twitter etiquette to make you cringe at the thought of composing your own tweet. So rather than failing, you either stick to retweeting what others share or just pass on the whole thing.

Today, I’m going to break it down for you and share my tips to composing the (almost) perfect tweet every time.

Twitter Basics
I have four types of updates I share on Twitter (and all social media).
  • An insightful quote or thought.
  • A question to get the conversation started or make us think.
  • Something funny, because let’s face it, we all need to laugh.
  • A link to information I find valuable and think will enrich your life.

But What IS a Perfect Tweet?
The definition can vary widely, depending on who you ask. But since you’re reading my post, I’m going to give you my definition.

A perfect tweet makes someone’s life a little bit better, and does so in a way that’s easy to share with others.

Components of a Perfect Tweet
  • There are certain things that good tweets have. Not every tweet will have every one of these, but here are the list of things that make a tweet good.
  • An attention grabbing headline—this is the main focus of your tweet and can be a statement or a question. It makes others what to learn more, take action, join the conversation and/or share what they’ve read.
  • A clear attribution—I’m a writer, so authorship is important to me. If someone says something brilliant, I really want them to get the credit. So when possible, I include the person’s name and/or twitter handle. (A twitter handle is your Twitter user name. My Twitter handle is @EdieMelson).
  • Hashtags—stop groaning! You knew I was going to include this one. A hashtag is a number sign (#) that’s put in front of a group of letters and/or numbers. This makes that particular topic searchable anywhere within the Twitter universe. There is a specific number of hashtags that’s ideal. For the highest number of shares, use two. One is good, two is best, three is about the same as one. More than three will really affect your shares. negatively.
  • A link—if you’re referencing something you’ve found online, you’ll want to include the URL. Be sure to shorten the link. Hootsuite will do it for you, but if you don’t use Hootsuite or a scheduling program, I recommend www.bitly.com. If you’re just posting a question or a quote, there’s not always a reason to include a link.

Format Your Tweet
There is a general order in the way you arrange the components of your tweet.

Do NOT start your tweet off with an @ sign (Like @EdieMelson) unless you are replying to something I said. A reply tweet will only be seen by those who follow BOTH you and the person you’re replying to.

Hashtags can be used at the beginning, middle or end or your tweet. But the best way to use them is organically, within the body of the tweet. Second would be toward the end. Lastly, at the beginning.

Finally, we all know Twitter limits tweets to 140 characters. But I do NOT recommend you use all 140 characters. For one, if someone retweets your update, something will get lopped off the end of the tweet because the retweeters info will be added to the beginning of the tweet.

So ideally, keep your tweet to under 120 characters. But remember, this is just a guideline, not a hard and fast rule!

Here's the order I tend to like best:
  • Headline
  • Attribution
  • Link
  • Hashtags

Example and Explanation
Here is a tweet I composed for this post:

How to Write a Good Tweet—It’s Easier Than You Think – @EdieMelson http://bit.ly/2sCNZD2 #writing #socialMedia

Breaking it Down 
How to Write a Good Tweet—It’s Easier Than You Think —is my headline, my attention grabber.

@EdieMelson—is my attribution. I used it in this tweet because I’m composing the tweet for ClickToTweet, which means someone else will be sending the tweet out. If I was just sending this out, I would NOT use @EdieMelson because the tweet would originate with my Twitter account and everyone already knows it’s me.

http://bit.ly/2sCNZD2—is my shortened URL or Link. This URL will take the person clicking on it directly to this post.

#Writing and #SocialMedia—are the two hashtags I’ve chosen to use. They reflect the focus of the tweet and are popular hashtags.

Common Questions
1. What if the blog post I'm referencing is a guest post, which attribution do I use - the author of the post or the owner of the blog? If possible, it's good to use both attributions. Here's how I would handle that:

Is Your Manuscript Written to Death? - via @VaughnRoycroft on @WriterUnboxed owl.li/xHH8x #amwriting 

2. What if the person I'm referencing doesn't have a Twitter handle or I don't have time to research it? People who don't include their social media info is a big pet peeve of mine. If it's not easy to find, or you can't find it, just use the person's name. 

3. What if I don't have room for everything? This happens frequently with Twitter. After all, we only have 140 characters. If I don't have room to include the author of the post and the blog name, I prioritize and use the author's name. If I don't have room to use two hashtags, I only use one. The key is to stay flexible and don't overthink this.

4. Do I have to always use two hashtags? No, use the hashtags that make sense and what you have room for.

Now it's your turn. What questions do you have about composing updates? Do you have format you like to use? Be sure to leave your thoughts in the comments section below.

Don't forget to join the conversation!
Blessings,
Edie

TWEETABLES



17 comments:

  1. Thanks for the post as I have never quite understood Twitter. You made it comprehensible!

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    Replies
    1. Loretta, I'm so glad I was able to help! Blessings, E

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  2. I found out that if you select "quote tweet" that you start out with the full 140 characters and are able to retweet what you're wanting to share.

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  3. Thank you for "schooling" us on tweeting. My readers like to tweet. Now, I can join in (and graduate from simply retweeting).

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    Replies
    1. Lisa, wade into the Twitter pool, the water's fine! Blessings, E

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  4. Edie, thanks very much for your post. When I first started using Twitter, I thought that hashtags were pre-establshed by Twitter. But I then learned that one can create original hashtags. Do you have suggestions for creating new hashtags?

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    Replies
    1. Excellent question! We use hashtags to be found, so if the hashtag we're using isn't popular, it won't do us any good. (to check popularity or find the best hashtags for a given subject, do a Google search: What's the best hashtag for writers). Sometimes though, we need to make up a hashtag, like I did for our Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writers Conference. Obviously we wouldn't hashtag a name that long. So I shortened it to #BRMCWC. Now it's short, but no one is searching for it.

      SOOOOOOO what I do is pair it with a hashtag that it's in the same topic and is wildly popular - like #writing. If we do that often enough, people begin to associate #BRMCWC with writing and publishing.

      I hope this helps. If you have further questions, post them here and I'll clarify! Blessings, E

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  5. Your advice is of great help, Edie. Thanks so much! :)

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  6. I feel so inept at writing effective tweets. Thanks so much for this formula, Edie. It's a game changer. I need to increase my interaction on Twitter, and this makes me feel more confident. This is my favorite thing today! :)

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  7. Thanks for the help on what to tweet about. That's one of the reasons I usually just retweet something I"ve read that I find helpful or inspiring.

    I've heard a lot about having "conversations" on Twitter. How in the world do you do that when you've got only 140 characters? How do you know when someone's responded to a tweet you've posted and therefore should respond?

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  8. Thank you for this post, Edie. I am going to share it with my Facebook group tonight.

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