Welcome to the first in a series of blogs designed to help you get the best out of your social media posts.
In this series, we’ll be looking at the questions you need to ask yourself when creating posts for your social media channels.
Your posts need to be dynamic and engaging, and they should always reflect what you’re hoping to achieve through social media.
By the end of each of these articles, you’ll be able to take away these tips and put them into action.
So, what are the steps to crafting a powerful Tweet?
When creating posts for Twitter, you only have 140 characters to make your presence known. Therefore, the aim of a tweet is effective, interesting content that isn’t hindered by the lack of breathing space.
Ask yourself these seven questions:
1. Does it inform and engage?
In other words, is the tweet even worth posting? Think about the audience you’re aiming for, and ask yourself if they will benefit from the content.
If not, scrap the tweet and start again.
For tweets to be interesting, engaging, and informative, it needs to have a purpose.
Do you want your audience to respond to a new product?
To simply make a statement about your brand?
Work out what you’re trying to say first, then work out the best way to say it with a tweet. It should be intelligible and coherent, with all the relevant information included.
Videos and images will always help to make your tweets stand out more.
2. Does it redirect users?
If 140 characters isn’t enough for you say everything you want to, then you can use the initial tweet as a way to redirect your audience elsewhere.
You may have a more detailed post, a piece of content like an infographic, or a webpage you can link to within the tweet.
It’s easy to insert a link within a tweet, although it does take up some of the character count, meaning you only have 116 characters left.
However, it’s a much better strategy to have a short and effective tweet with a link, than to try and cram as much information into 140 characters as possible.
It’s tempting to make such a tweet sound sensational, in order to encourage users to click on the link provided.
Be wary of straying into ‘clickbait’ territory, as your audience can find that off-putting.
3. Does it use a tiny URL?
Inserting a URL into a tweet is great – inserting a long and overcomplicated URL?
Not so great.
Here’s where a ‘tiny URL’ will be useful. They’re easy to create, and free, and if you use a tool like Hootsuite, TweetDeck, or Bitly, you can track the interactions with the tiny URLs that you create.
Tiny URLs make your tweets appear more dynamic, as they take up the minimum amount of space. Users can be put off by overly-long links, and while a tiny URL won’t actually use fewer characters (links as standard use 23 characters), it will make your tweet easier on the eyes.
Users can be put off by overly-long links, and while a tiny URL won’t actually use fewer characters (links as standard use 23 characters), it will make your tweet easier on the eyes.
You can even go a step further and have a branded short URL. For example lucy.link. Here’s an example of my colleague Gareth O’Sullivan‘s branded short URL that directs to the SkillsLab blog.
Having something like this will help make the links more branded and professional.
Best of all, they’re free to set-up with Bit.ly, you just need to buy a domain.
4. Does it include hashtags?
Hashtags are a vital part of the Twitterverse, and when used judiciously can be a highly effective way of helping you connect to wider conversations.
Good hashtags, i.e. those that others are using to discuss the same topics, will help you reach an audience beyond your established followers.
If you have a brand-specific hashtag that your audience can use in reference to you, so much the better.
The ideal amount of hashtags in a single tweet is three – any more than that and you run the risk of a tweet becoming illegible, buried beneath too many keywords.
Choose three effective, relevant words for hashtags that can either be integrated into the text or added at the end of the tweet.
5. Does it give credit?
Engagement matters on Twitter, as it does on every social media platform. Tagging relevant profiles can boost engagement among your followers and beyond.
If you have a contributor with their own Twitter profile, and they’ve just written a blog post for you to share, then tag their handle and you’ll automatically reach their followers as well as your own.
Citing the creators and distributors of relevant content opens your brand up to a wider audience, but if you’re planning to tag a profile, you may want to double-check a couple of things first; namely, if you’re using the correct handle, and if they’re happy for you to tag them.
6. Are you posting at the right time?
Do you know what time of day your audience is looking at your content?
Are you broadcasting to early birds or night owls?
Are they even in the same time zone as you?
These are all questions you need to consider before posting your content.
You can tweet the most relevant, engaging, thought-provoking thing imaginable…but if nobody is around to see it, you may as well not have posted anything at all.
This doesn’t mean that you have to be monitoring your Twitter account all hours of the day and night.
Find yourself a scheduling tool such as Sprout or Hootsuite, which has the added bonus of recommending the best time to tweet based on the performance of your posts in the past.
7. Does the tone reflect you and your brand?
What sort of impression are you hoping to leave on your audience?
Think about it, and once you’re certain, make sure from then on that every single post you make on Twitter shows it.
Your tweets should reflect your business’s values and aims, with the style and tone consistent from one post to the next.
There’s no right or wrong in terms of overall tone – formal, informal, chatty, authoritative, whatever – as long as it fits with the image you want to portray, and you keep it the same in all your tweets.
That’s all folks!
So that’s all for the first article in this series. I hope you’ve learnt some useful tips that you can take away and put into action. Stay tuned for our next article in the series where we’ll be talking about crafting the best Facebook post!