We’re all doing it. Early in the morning. In secret at work. Late at night when our partners have gone to sleep. Even in public – in the queue for the supermarket, at the bus stop, in the middle of the road. When it comes to Tweeting we have no shame.
Yes, Twitter is seriously addictive but it is also one of the best and most effective social media platforms. Here at Loom, we use Twitter for many different purposes, including integrating it as part of our online marketing campaigns as well as for other mildly less professional reasons.
If you are using Twitter to promote yourself, a cause, a brand, a business or just as a way to share the cool things you find online, there are still a few rules that you should follow to get the most out of it. There are also some mistakes that Twitter users are making that are easily avoided. We’ve put together a Classic Comedy Guide to Twitter so you can have a chuckle as you try out these 10 easy steps to more effective Tweeting.
Be clear with what you’re trying to say, why you are saying it and eventually how you Tweet it. It’s important to have a clear message and purpose for each of your tweets. Whether this is a call to action, a clickthrough link or to engage an audience this is vitally important. Be exact with your language and punctuation. Avoid abbreviations as much as possible and use capital letters in the right places – just because it’s a tweet doesn’t mean grammar goes out the window. Use Hashtags to target your tweets to trending topics or your area of expertise. If you have a clear targeted Tweet or are sharing some fantastic content then Hashtags make it easier for people beyond your followers to find it.
The clearer and more direct your Tweet the better – remove any potential areas of misunderstanding or confusion and your Tweet will be far more effective. This classic Two Ronnies’ sketch shows you just how easy it is to be misunderstood.
Two Ronnies – Four Candles
2. Interact with the Right People
Follow and interact with the right people and the right communities on Twitter. Do not follow irrelevant people just because they may follow you back or have followed you already. Interacting with the right people will see your tweets perform better. Create Twitter lists to group together people under your own categories e.g. journalists; fashion bloggers; Bristol digital marketing agencies; web designers. Then by using a dashboard app like Tweetdeck you can monitor the activity from each of these lists in a separate column – this allows you to see what topics and trends emerge in each of your grouped lists. You can also use tools like AboutMe and Klout to help you target relevant people and groups and spread your social media influence.
Alan Partridge and Lynn find themselves in an awkward situation by interacting with the wrong people – ‘sex people’ – in the below scene -let it be a warning!
Alan Partridge – Sex People
Everyone knows that a Tweet is 140 characters but people underestimate the difficulty of communicating effectively within this limit. A Tweet is an art form, much like a haiku, where you boil down the information to its very essence. #Disclaimer – I’m not sure Bieber’s Tweets are anything remotely like a haiku.
You must learn to summarise your thoughts and be pithy. Cut out irrelevant words, use shorter words, find new ways of constructing sentences so you can squeeze as much important information in whilst making complete sense. Be sure to shorten any URLs too. The most successful Tweets in terms of retweets are on average 120 characters long.
It really is simple to cut out all unnecessary content as Mitchell and Webb ably demonstrate. Property shows could be shorter, a lot shorter…
Mitchell and Webb – Property Show
4. Want Something? Ask for it
There is plenty of statistical data out there that shows that asking for a “retweet” or a “RT” is strangely enough the best way to get retweeted. It seems obvious but many people don’t actually ask for a retweet. You will also find that any action from a tweet is much more successful when you just ask your audience to complete it. Make sure the reader knows exactly what you want them to do. As this brilliant Monty Python sketch shows there are dangers of not asking directly for what you really want.
Monty Python – Tobacconists
Some people (not us) have spent lots of time number crunching and analysing data to find out what the best times to Tweet are in the UK. It is worth bearing this in mind when Tweeting and to target your strongest Tweets to these time frames.
BEST – Monday to Thursday 1 pm to 3 pm is the busiest time with more click through than any other
WORST – 8 pm to 9 am (unless you’re responding to breaking news – don’t Tweet after 8 pm) and after 3 pm on a Friday
At Loom, we find that between 5 and 6 pm is also a good time to Tweet as it targets people checking out Twitter on the mobiles on the way home from work.
If you have something that you think has potential to go viral or get shared widely then save it for the week and not the weekend.
Timing is not only at the heart of Twitter but also of the best comedy like this classic Morecambe and Wise sketch proves.
Morecambe and Wise – Breakfast
Ask Questions: Twitter is a fantastic platform to ask questions and receive candid and insightful answers. Questions are also a great way to engage with an audience. Ask a question and then retweet and interact with any responses.
Answer Questions: Be helpful. As mentioned above, people use Twitter to ask questions because they want answers. If you have expert knowledge in a particular area than share it and answer these questions. Search within Twitter for people discussing areas relevant to you and if you see any questions then do your best to answer them honestly.
Two Ronnies – Mastermind
7. Don’t Follow Hundreds of People
It is one of the most common mistakes to make when it comes to Twitter, especially among first time users and businesses. The scenario goes something like this – you set up an account and then spend hours following hundreds of people. This is a bad idea. Having a small amount of Tweets to your name and very few followers but following hundreds of people makes you look like spam to any valuable and genuine potential followers. Slowly, steadily and selectively build who you follow over time. Have in mind a ratio that you would like to maintain of followers to following – 1:2 is a good goal.
Monty Python Life of Brian – Shoe
8. NO Drunken Tweets
Don’t drink and Tweet! You really need to be careful not to Tweet anything that you regret whether drunk or sober. If something or someone has made you angry take a moment out and think about if you should really tweet about it. Politics, if someone famous dies, breaking news stories are areas to approach with care. Regrettable tweets are a definite NO NO on Twitter so think hard before you tweet.
Fast Show – Very Drunk
9. User Name
Avoid using punctuation in your username. Typing punctuation on mobiles can be difficult. Keep this poor man in mind from Big Train when coming up with your user name. Trying to type – happy_jim:) – is not easy, fat-handed or otherwise. Similarly, your profile is very important. Be sure to spend some time writing your profile as this is how people will find out who you are and what you do on Twitter. It has to be informative and sell ‘you’ – it is extra important as it is what people will click on from the ‘Who To Follow’ section. Also, include a link to your site in your profile.
Big Train – Fat-handed Tw*t
10. Share Images
Pictures are heavily retweeted and spread around the Twittersphere faster and more widely than any other content. It’s therefore worth taking and sharing pictures as much as possible. If you have time and a sense of humour then why not create a meme by using a meme generator like Cheezburger?
Fast Show – Black
Loom – Online Marketing with a Difference
We hope you enjoyed our Classic Comedy Guide to Twitter and found it useful, maybe even managing an occasional chortle. As a Bristol digital marketing agency, Loom follow the world of social media closely and implement strategies to help our clients achieve the best results. If you want to find out more about what Loom do and how we can help then give us a call on 0117 923 2021.
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