9 top tips for writing the perfect tweet

Should you use the full character count? How many hashtags are too many? Check out these actionable insights to improve your Twitter copywriting...

 9 top tips for writing the perfect tweet

1. Make tweets short

While 140 characters doesn’t seem like much, and your instinct is to use every last character, tweets of under 100 characters get a 17% higher engagement rate than those over the 100 mark, according to Buddy Media.

Another good reason not to use the full 140 is that it leaves room for people if they want to retweet/respond and add their own comments or tag someone too.

2. Optimise for retweets

Getting retweets can grow your audience and give you access to new customers. Research from Cornell University found that the tweets that got the most retweets typically contained one or more of these elements:

  • a direct request: if your tweets offer something of value, be bold and ask for a retweet or ‘RT’
  • third-person singular pronouns, ie ‘he’, ‘she’, ‘it’ and ‘one’
  • indefinite articles, where you can use ‘a’ or ‘an’ rather than ‘the’

3. Don’t forget images

One of the best ways to make your tweet stand out is to include an image. Images get retweeted twice as often as posts without them, according to Stone Temple.

People with new profiles and low follower levels got 5 to 9 times as many retweets if they included images, according to the same research.

4. Interact with followers first

Instead of bombarding your followers with links to products and blogs saying how great you are, you’ve got to interact with them first.

Twitter recommends using the 80/20 principle. This means 80% of your tweets should be driving interactions such as retweeting and replying to followers’ questions, or providing content they would find interesting. Only 20% of your messages should be directly promotional – eg direct offers, sales or product information with direct links to your website.

It does pay off, as 6 in 10 people bought something from a small business after seeing it on Twitter… according to Twitter itself.

5. Pick the best time to tweet

Buffer analysed over 4.3 million tweets and found early morning is when they receive the most clicks, while evenings and late at night are best for getting favourites and retweets.

The most popular time to tweet, according to Buffer, is between midday and 1pm worldwide and 4-5pm in Central Europe. So it’s best to avoid these periods as your tweet will have less time on screen as others knock it down your followers’ feeds quicker.

6. Be positive

Your tweets should be upbeat, says Indiana University, as positive messages inspire followers to take more actions. This could include clicking on your link or even buying a product.

So avoid negative stories, downbeat language etc and instead opt for upbeat news, facts, quotes and images.

7. Embrace the hashtag

Research from Buddy Media shows tweets with hashtags get twice the engagement levels of those without.

However, don’t go over the top. Twitter recommends no more than 2 hashtags per tweet.

The Buddy Media research found tweets with more than 2 hashtags saw engagement levels drop by 17%. This could be because they are seen as spam or are harder to read.

Try using one hashtag to highlight a key word in the tweet and another at the end to connect your message to a trending topic. For example:

‘Can a #vegan diet help you lose weight?’ 
#Nationalobesityweek
 
For guidance, see who the big Twitter players are in your industry and take inspiration from their hashtags.

8. Include a link

While Twitter is good for sharing images, snippets of information and videos, it’s mostly used for sharing links to content. Clicks on links account for 92% of all user interactions, according to Twitter.

Using a link shortening site like Bit.ly can save you valuable space and provides basic insights and analytics into how many clicks the link received. Bit.ly links are also retweeted most often.

But like hashtags, don’t go OTT. If you send out too many links a day, the rate of engagement starts to tail off, says social media guru Dan Zarrella.

A single link a day gets on average a 30% engagement rate. This drops off quickly for 4 links a day to around 7%, he says.

9. Put in a call to action… subtly

While people don’t like being told what to do, if you don’t have a call to action then you’re not providing them with a route towards your site or product. But try doing it in a discreet manner.

Ripenn says you should avoid giving direct orders like ‘you should do this’, and instead try suggestions like ‘this is what we did and we enjoyed it’.

For example, if you’re an estate agent trying to sell a property, instead of writing:

‘You need to see the size of the living room in this house.’

Try:

‘We can’t believe how big this home’s living room is.’

This lets your customer make the choice as to whether the content is worth viewing, instead of you.