Twitter: How to Tweet in 140 Characters or Less

3rd in a Series of Twitter Articles

For those of us who love to write and those of us who have lots to say, sending a complete Twitter marketing message in 140 characters or less may seem daunting. In addition, you should truly limit your tweets to 120 characters or less to allow for retweets, including any follower commentary added to your original tweet. Even more impossible? Nah. In fact, it’s easier than you think.

First, there are several different types of tweets. Let’s look at a few examples:

  • ‘What I Ate for Breakfast’ Tweet – I suggest reserving these tweets for personal accounts only. Business partners, colleagues, and customers aren’t following you for this type of information.
  • ‘Inspirational Quote’ Tweet – These tweets are certainly popular and have their rightful place in twitter land, so share away. Just be sure to add the speaker’s name, and share more than just quotes.
  • ‘Photo’ Tweet – Usually a short comment with an attached photo. Be sure this is appropriate for your audience.
  • ‘Article Link’ Tweet – Typically used by businesses to share information including a recent blog article posted to their site, a landing page, or appropriate content shared from another site. This is the type of tweet we’ll discuss below.

3 Main Ingredients of a Tweet

Headline – This is your attention grabber. For Twitter, think short, like a newspaper headline or a brief sentence. Avoid a’s, an’s, the’s, and that’s whenever possible to conserve your character space.

HOT TIP: The most clicked-on and retweeted Twitter headlines have at least one of these 2 ingredients:

      • The word ‘You’
      • An ampersand (&)

Link – You can easily shorten the link to any webpage and add it to your tweet by using any one of a number of free link shortening sites (bitly.com, tinyurl.com, etc.). Just copy your link into their shortener, then add it back to your tweet.

HOT TIP: If you use HootSuite, the free Hootlet app creates the tweet for you. After installing the app, just click the icon at the top of the designated webpage and a window will appear with your tweet. You can add a comment, hashtags, and customize to your liking.

Hashtags – These are search terms you can add to your tweet, preceded by a (#). Twitter is a searchable data base for any given topic. If you want to see who’s tweeting about healthy cooking today, you can enter any appropriate search word and view the results. Think of what you might type into a search engine to find the article you are sharing, or who might be interested in reading it. For example, a tweet about a new book being published could use any one of the following hashtags: #books, #authors, #publishing, #writers, #writing, etc.

Be sure not to use any spaces if your search term is more than one word. For multi-word search terms, it is usually best to use CamelCase for better reading (i.e., #SocialMedia, not #socialmedia). See how the first option is more readable?

HOT TIP: Use hashtags sparingly—two at most. You can use them within your headline (although this can be distracting or make your headline difficult to read) or add them at the end of your tweet with a space in between each hashtag.

Here’s an example of what a tweet for this page would look like using all of the above ingredients:

How to Tweet in 140 Characters or Less http://ow.ly/gxtTH #SocialMedia #business

 

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