Do you use Twitter? So many people start up Twitter accounts and leave them dormant because they don’t know what to say? When you have been Tweeting for a while you forget how intimidating the blank “What’s happening” box can be. For a person new to Twitter, being limited to 140 characters may seem restrictive. But using 140 characters or less to express yourself can be incredibly liberating!
First things first: You are given a maximum of 140 characters, but you should aim to only use 125 characters at the very most. If you want people to retweet your messages you have to allow them space to do that without editing your original text. Less is more. Using only a few characters forces you to be clear, concise and clever about what you want to say. Less than 140 characters mean that all it takes is one sentence or a few short ones to fill in the box. There are no essays to write!
If you want to refer people to an article or a page on your website, there are many ways to shorten the URL to 20 characters by using sites such as bit.ly, which leave only a hundred characters to fill.
What is your intention for your Tweet?
Keep the 4 E’s in mind – Educate, Enrich, Entertain and Engage
Always keep your reader in mind; what do you want your reader to do when they have read your Tweet?
Click, Retweet or reply?
People will only click on a link if they think that there is something of interest to them at the end of it. People will only retweet if your tweet made them smile or they found the information useful. People will only reply if you encourage them to engage with you or if your Tweet has enriched them.
For example if you are in a shop buy food and you Tweet “Am in Sainsbury’s buying food“, as a reader I would probably think “So what?” But if you can add value by
- telling me about something that you spotted someone doing
- Giving me an insight about shopping or your views, such as “Hot cross buns at the beginning of Jan!”
- Asking a question such “Do you find that food evaporates, too?”
- amusing me with a funny rant
Some rules to remember
- It’s best to restrict yourself to one thought per Tweet
- Normal punctuation rules don’t apply! You don’t have to leave a double space after a full stop!
- In most cases, the pronoun “I” and “me” can be left out without any loss to meaning
- Any word can be abbreviated in any way as long as it’s clear to the reader.
- Read and reread for clarity and spelling
- Remember every Tweet is public; do not publish anything that you wouldn’t want your family to read or to be published as a Headline in a newspaper.
I tend to type what I want to say at first without worrying about the length. If it is short enough, I send it. If it is too long, that’s where the fun comes in. It is creative rewording what you want to say so that it cuts out waffle and extraneous words. Can you rephrase what you are saying to make it sound better? Have fun seeing how succinct you can be. Can you write a story in six words?
What top tips would you give to someone who is just starting out in Twitter? I would love to have your comments!
Other articles you might find interesting: