2 years ago
Writing tweets is easy enough, simply limiting your message to 140 characters or less. But writing great tweets that are appealing, share-worthy and even potentially viral? That’s a different skill altogether. While there’s no magic formula to guarantee the success of your tweets, there are a few best practices that can help improve your content and ensure you create tweets that are as attention-grabbing as possible.
Every person is unique and therefore the content you create for Twitter should be the same. You want your tweets to show people why it is worth following you and what you have to offer. Consider what perspective or viewpoint on a topic you have that might be of interest to others. Also, think about your ‘voice’ or how you write on other networks or other outlets and try to make your tweets a condensed version of this.
While most of your tweets are going to be based on your interests and areas of expertise, there’s nothing wrong with branching out occasionally. If you follow a footballer, you expect to see tweets about football, maybe some fitness or diet stuff. But you also like to see pictures of their kids, their fancy car or where they go on vacation.
Tweets don’t need to sound like a college professor (unless you are one) but you also don’t want to write for too young an audience. Also, avoid using too many abbreviations or text speak as not all of your readers might know what this means.
Because Twitter is so fast and busy, there’s no reason that every tweet needs to be on point and topic. Using humorous content can break things up, make your audience laugh and can make you more memorable for it. You can’t make everyone laugh because humour is a very personal thing so go with what makes you laugh and there will be others out there who agree. Avoid being too controversial or offensive as this can lose you followers.
The question of headline writing has become a tricky on in recent times with the development of ‘clickbait’. Originally, headlines were used to attract readers then the content delivered on the promise but clickbait-style headlines promise wild and enticing things but these have very little relation to the actual content at the end of the link. Social media networks are cracking down on these false promises so always make sure your headlines are relevant and accurate.
You can also use a tool such as the Headline Analyzer from CoSchedule to see how your headline rates.
If you have an event, a sale, a product launch or anything else to announce, then you can do this in a tweet. Consider adding a graphic element to it to catch people’s attention as they scroll through the feed. People are also more likely to share it if there is an attractive visual element to the post.
Stats show that tweets featuring images get higher engagement than those that don’t. In fact, they receive 18% more clicks, 89% more favourites and a staggering 150% more retweets. But how do you know what image to use?
Look for images that are visually appealing and are high quality, otherwise, they may appear pixelated on bigger screens. The image should also be relevant in some way – so if you are tweeting about cats, you wouldn’t include a picture of an elephant. Also, try to go for straightforward images as overly complex pictures can confuse the eye and may not get such a positive response.
While having your own custom images is great, there are also plenty of high-quality websites that offer free stock images to use in your tweets. Websites such as Pexels and Pixabay offer thousands of high-quality, free images and you can use tools such as Canva to crop them to the right size for Twitter – in fact, the site even has a pre-set for the right dimensions to include in a tweet. Try to go for images that are a little different and that you haven’t seen already covering the internet.
Another way to include a visual element without using a picture is to create a text image or a quote graphic. Quotes, headlines and even snippets from an article can be placed onto a clean, coloured background and added to a tweet. Just make sure you can read the words easily so no heavily coloured pictures.
As mentioned above, creating a text image is a great way to get attention and including a quote from a famous person is an ideal piece of content for this format. Inspiring and motivational quotes are popular as well as ones that make people smile or laugh. Make sure you attribute the original author of the quote if you can find it or even tag them in it if they are on Twitter.
GIFs or graphics interchange format is a short snippet that repeats, constantly looping the same short snippet of video or animation. They have become very popular on social media because they offer more than a simple image but aren’t as involved as a full-scale video. Look for GIFs that are funny, interesting or even exciting to get the best engagement.
Memes usually show a scene or an activity that has been reproduced with a creative, humour or unexpected slant. Sometimes it involves a person trying to recreate something (and often failing) or editing a picture to mimic an idea.
Charts may seem very factual and serious but there’s no reason you can’t use them when you are tweeting about facts and figures. People are drawn to checking out the data, whether it is the number of smartphone users or the alteration in lion populations in Africa. There are different ways to create them including tools like Canva or simply taking a screenshot of your chart from your blog post and uploading it with a headline and link.
On sites like Pinterest, infographics are big business and receive massive amounts of attention. But they can also do well on Twitter now that the image can expand to fit in all the content. You can create your own or use other people’s if they allow it – just make sure you include a credit in the tweet.
Twitter also allows the embedding of videos in your tweets that will autoplay when anyone comes across them. This means they don’t need to click for the video to start playing and is a great attention-grabbing move. Look for videos that are short and interesting, with plenty of to-the-point content. Viewers do lose interest quickly so keep the duration short.
Creating polls for your audience is a relatively new feature on Twitter but allows you to gauge interest on any number of topics. They are good for user engagement as everyone wants to voice their opinions but make sure the topic is relevant to you. Look for topics that are interesting and engaging but not too controversial as you might find arguments breaking out. Twitter will offer suggestions about how long to run the poll and what the question and answers might be.
In the same way that people like to give their opinion in polls, they also like to show their knowledge by answering questions so asking those questions in a tweet is a good user engagement tactic. Add an image to make the post eye catching or even create a text image containing the question.
There are endless possibilities for the different types of tweets you can create and different ways to imbue them with your own personality. Just remember to do your own thing and not get too caught up with what others are doing so you can stand out from the crowd rather than blend in.