You’re a small business owner, trying to make an impact in the wild world of social media. Twitter is tempting. It’s not only a slick way to share your branded content, but it’s also a great platform for sharing other news and tips you think your community would enjoy.
The fact that Twitter exists in the first place, however, suggests our own collective impatience as a culture. If we wanted lots of words and links filling up our smartphone screens, we’d head over to Facebook. The twitterverse is a different type of platform, where people want things short, fast, and very much within their control.
Here’s how to play by the rules of Twitter and craft great tweets in the process.
Keep It Short(er)
How much shorter can you get than 140 characters? We all have so much to say, it almost seems unfair. But, how about 120 characters? Why, you ask? Because shorter tweets are … well, shorter.
Shorter tweets are easier to read, and better for retweeting. Those extra twenty characters you’ve kindly sacrificed will now be more easily usable for your followers. The extra characters allow them to add their own handle and hashtag if they wish to retweet and/or create a modified version of your tweet. At 120, there’s less risk of your precious message being cut off or truncated – all the more reason to tweet those extra characters forward.
When crafting a tweet, put the main topic of your message as close to the beginning as possible. Consider these variations.
- 25 ways to make customers smile through great service.
- 25 smile-inducing customer service tips.
- 25 retail tips to keep your customers smiling.
Which one of the above tweets tickles your fancy? If you guessed “1” … you’d be wrong. It’s okay, it happens. For best results, “3” is your best bet. Tweet “3” not only explains that you’re about to share retail tips, but it also details how many tips there are – all within the first three words. This is called front loading. Wait, am I suggesting that we’re all so impatient that we need to put the crux of our info at the front of our sentences? Yup.
Keep It Low
So much about Twitter is real estate. The available space you have to craft your tweet is a tiny one. Avoid the tendency to capitalize the first letter of every word, as we might do on other marketing platforms. Rather than Stopping the Eye with Random Capitalization … let the eye flow.
This may seem strange – to ‘not’ want to clash against the rest of your customer’s twitter feed. If all tweets look the same, isn’t it a good idea to use some varied capitalization to catch the eye? Nope. The Twitter experience is a smooth uncluttered scroll. It’s best to go with its flow. Think of random capitalization like bad fashion; you’ll stick out, but for the wrong reasons. Stick with lowercase.
No Tricks. All Tweets.
Recently, I saw a headline, “A Dolphin and a Dog Meet … and You Won’t Believe What Happens Next!” I immediately thought to myself, “Self, what do we know? We know that dogs are inherently friendly, and that dolphins are even friendlier. So, I’m going to guess that the dog and dolphin get along swimmingly.”
And, wouldn’t you know it, I was right. They got along just great. Which sort of annoyed me. These types of tweets and headlines are click bait. “Click-baity” headlines are like those faux-Oreo cookies your supermarket sells. They’re tempting. They’re cheap. And, they’ll make you feel bad as soon as you’re done with them.
People are on twitter because they want the facts and they want them fast, with no filler. Setting up a tweet so that people “have” to click the link to see which direction your story is going to go just isn’t nice. So, be nice. Be clear. Save your followers some time.
For instance, assuming you had the aforementioned stellar interspecies video clip, why not tweet something like: This dog-meets-dolphin video clip is a thing of pure joy. With only 140 characters, it’s not a time to be mysterious. Keep things honest, and you won’t hate yourself in the morning for tricking your followers for a cheap click.
Improve Your Images
A quick Google-ing will tell you that tweets with images work, big time. Tweets with images are 94% more likely to get retweeted, and 89% more likely to get favorite’d over tweets without images.
What kind of images work best? The easiest answer is relevant ones. If your tweet is in regard to a report or stat-filled article you’d like to share, include an image of a graph. Be sure it’s still clear enough to be read on a mobile device. If it’s not, use a screenshot of a portion of the graph.
If your tweet is not about data, add a cool, conceptual stock image that ties into the topic at hand. Twitter is a good place to have some fun and to express your brand’s personality, and images are a clever way to do just that.
Play by the rules that Twitter set up from the get-go. Keep things informative, short, fast, and clear. Doing so will keep your followers engaged and informed while building trust between them and your brand.
Brian Masefield is the social media and copy manager of Bigstock, an online marketplace for royalty-free photos, vectors, and video. For more design tips, you can follow Bigstock on Twitter.