Monday, June 9, 2014

Social Media Monday—Tips for Composing the (almost) Perfect Tweet Every Time

by Edie Melson @EdieMelson

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.

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 or more is not so good. If you’re still a little foggy on hashtags, here’s a post on Popular Twitter Hashtags and How toUse Them
  • 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 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 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, whenever possible. 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:

Tips to help you compose the (almost) perfect #tweet – via #socialmedia mentor @EdieMelson

Breaking it Down: 
Tips to help you compose the (almost) perfect tweet every time—is my headline, my attention grabber.

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

@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.—is my shortened URL or Link. This URL will take the person clicking on it directly to this post.

Common Questions:
1. What if the blog post I'm referencing is a guest post, which attribution do I use? 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 #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 time 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 Tweets? Be sure to leave your comments in the section below.

And don't forget to join the conversation!



  1. Hey Edie,
    Incredible post. Thanks for sharing the perfect way to tweet.We can also add images in our tweet to catch attention, as I do :)

    1. Igor, you are absolutely right! Thanks for sharing - Blessings, E

  2. Can I use a hashtag in front of any word to let a reader what the tweet is about, or is there a list I need to select from? I went back to your previous post on popular hashtags. Where do I find these?

    1. Ellen, you can make any word into a hashtag. But you want to use popular ones, when possible. You can do a search in any search engine to find popular hashtags. For example, if you were looking for a hashtag for devotions, type "Popular hashtags for devotions" into the search box of the search engine. I did the work for you in the hashtag post I shared. I hope this helps, Blessings, E

  3. Thank you for this post. As always, your advice is encouraging to me, especially as I struggle with the time to do social media. My question is: Do you thank someone for retweets? I read another post (somewhere) that said posting a retweet "thank you" was an attention getting ploy and a sure sign of a newbie. What is the proper etiquette for this?

    1. Erika, usually I don't post a thanks for a retweet. It's not wrong, but it does sort of imply newbie. If the person retweeting me was a special case or someone famous, I might. For example, on my Monday post last week about Finding Bigfoot, several of the show's stars tweeted about my post. I definitely retweeted those and thanked them. Thanks for stopping by! Blessings, E

  4. Replies
    1. Rarely enough that I want to share when it happens! LOL

  5. Teasing, these are good. Things I need to study better. :)

    1. No studying required, just send me the questions you have! Blessings, E

  6. Yeah, I'm one of those who's most comfortable retweeting. I obviously need some help because I rarely get a conversation going, or anything else. :) Although, when I do share a quote those usually get retweeted. This is helpful, Edie. Thank you so much for sharing it!