Guest Post by Dawn Mentzer
I’ve lost count how many times business owners and other professionals have told me they “don’t get” Twitter. When I tell them it has been the best social media platform for my business, they’re genuinely surprised — and skeptical. But it’s true.
For example, I have had the pleasure of getting to know Brad Shorr and Kelly Quain through Twitter. Brad and Kelly are with Straight North, the Internet marketing firm for which I now write blog posts like this one. If it wouldn’t have been for Twitter, I may have never crossed paths with them nor had an opportunity to build professional relationships (I consider them genuine friendships, as well) — and you wouldn’t be reading this blog post right now.
I understand the frustration people experience with the platform. Many face a learning curve when acclimating to it. It requires some self-initiated study to watch how people are using it to successfully build connections and advance their businesses and personal brands.
One critical component to reaping results from Twitter is writing tweets that interest, entertain, inform, or otherwise draw and engage your audience. If you don’t have that as the foundation of your Twitter strategy, all else really won’t matter very much.
- How do you write great tweets? Consider these tips:
- Think before you tweet.
Before you can write tweets that are worthy of your audience, consider the kind of information your prospective customers, existing customers and industry colleagues will find helpful. Craft your tweets around content that your followers will care about. Share links to blog posts, articles, podcasts and videos that your business has created and those that respected professionals in your field have published.
- Write enough — but not too much.
Just because Twitter expanded its character limit from 140 to 280 doesn’t mean you should max out your allowed space. It’s nice to have some extra characters to get your point across, but try to be brief. Twitter is a fast and furious platform. Less is often more, so concentrate on making an impact with as few words as possible.
- Use hashtags.
Hashtags provide a way for people looking for content on specific topics to find tweets that offer it. So, if you make essential oil blends, using the hashtag #essentialoils will help Twitter users (even those who aren’t yet following you) find your tweets. Just be sure any hashtags you use are appropriate for the individual tweets in which you include them, so you’re not misleading people. For example, it would be in bad form to use the hashtag #Trump in a tweet that has nothing at all to do with our POTUS. Sure, your tweet will get found because you’ve used a popular hashtag, but you’ll destroy your credibility in the process.
- Don’t overuse hashtags.
Resist going overboard. According to a study by TrackMaven, tweets with one or two hashtags get significantly more engagement than those with three or more.
- Share your thoughts on why what your sharing has value.
Add some commentary to your tweets to let followers know why an article or infographic or video is worth their time. Doing so allows you to show your personality — much more so than just tweeting the title with the link. Also, think about tips and advice you might easily share in your tweets to demonstrate your expertise.
- Retweet using the “quote tweet” option
Twitter gives you two options when retweeting. You can add comments before retweeting, which turns your tweet into a quote tweet. When someone replies to your quote tweet, the original tweet’s author won’t automatically be included in the conversation. Quote tweets provide an opportunity to do what I mentioned above in point number 5.
- Give shoutouts.
When you tweet a link to a killer blog post that you’ve read, give credit to the author, publishing site or both by mentioning their Twitter handles (e.g., “Some helpful Twitter tips in this blog post by @DawnMentzer via @TheMrsPedersen”). Not only is it a nice thing to do, but it also builds goodwill as the writer and publisher see that you’ve shared their content — and that might lead to them following you and sharing your content in reciprocation.
- Mix things up.
If you’re all business all the time on Twitter … yawn. See, just thinking about it has me wanting to grab a mid-afternoon nap. It may eventually wear on your followers, too. Stay interesting and inject some fun into your Twitter strategy by mixing in humor (appropriate for your audience) and glimpses of your interests and passions beyond your industry.
- One More Thing
Proofread your tweets before they go live. Careless misspellings and grammar errors can make you look unprofessional. Also, check the tone and language of your tweets to ensure they’re coming off the way you’ve intended them. If you wrote a tweet in frustration or a fit of anger, you may want to check your attitude, too. Sometimes, writing great tweets requires taking a deep breath and waiting for when you’re in the right frame of mind.
Dawn Mentzer is a contributing writer for Straight North, a leading Chicago SEO expert firm that provides a full suite of Internet marketing services. As a solopreneur and freelance writer, she specializes in marketing content — and collaborates with clients nationally and globally.