Shakespeare could have been talking about Twitter when he wrote “Brevity is the soul of wit.” It’s ironic that the undeniably witty Will wrapped this well-known quote in a long, drawn-out speech by a not-so-witty character in Hamlet. Shakespeare was, of course, going for comic irony.
Today, when marketing experts and social media gurus write articles like “Twenty Tips to Take Twitter to the Next Level and Leverage Social Media Shareability for Optimum Revenue Generating Virility,” it’s just ironically comical. So to stay on point, here are six quick Twitter writing tips you can actually use and share.
1. Just the facts, Jack! SEO-friendly titles get lost in translation on Twitter: The fact is, long, fluffy titles just don’t work. The goal of your title is to say what the piece of content is and why people should consume it – all while leaving room for your Twitter followers to add their own commentary. On Twitter, any SEO lift comes from the title in your link – not in the tweet text, so you can always create a shorter, Twitter-friendly version.
2. Good Twitterers borrow, but great Twitterers steal. For humility’s sake, that was borrowed from T.S. Eliot, not stolen, but tweets that ring of familiarity tend to resonate in retweets and mentions. Wrapping a piece of content in a pop culture reference, a famous quote, a hit song or anything that triggers a positive association can give your tweet a whole new level of impact. Be careful, though. The greatness comes in making the tweet your own—not simply copying, pasting and praying that it works.
3. Time is on your side: or, rather, be timely. There is a disproportionate advantage on social media channels for early responders and nowhere is it more apparent than on Twitter. When writing for Twitter, you need to remember you’re writing for a real-time audience. Your message needs to fit your followers’ interests at that moment. When you hit the right rhythm, you can tweet your way into online conversations, but when you hesitate for too long your entire message may be lost.
4. Make your tweets personal. Who is ever really compelled to “Check out X facts about Y?” A tweet like “X facts you didn’t know about Y,” on the other hand, might seem a little more compelling. Why? The key is “you.” There’s something alive in the tweet—a human, relatable element—that makes the message a shared experience instead of just regurgitated information.
5. “Get together and feel alright” (i.e., bring your friends along). In his book, Likeable Social Media, Dave Kerpen likens social media to a cocktail party. How often do you go to a cocktail party alone? What’s a party without your friends? The beauty of Twitter is that it’s tailor-made to bring your friends into your tweets. If, for example, you’re sharing a post about content being king, why not invite a content marketing-savvy friend into the conversation with a mention? For example: “4 Reasons Content is King [Link]… @SavvyFriend do you have anything to add?” Remember one caveat here, however: your mention, like any invitation, has to fit the context of the relationship. When you bring someone into a conversation on Twitter, it has to be in a way the invitee/mentioned tweeter can appreciate—otherwise you may come off as spammy or intrusive.
6. A little less talk, a lot more interaction. Sometimes, it’s better to inspire others to write about you than to write strictly on your own. Contests, sweepstakes, polls and other interactive content that you can include in a tweet can be great way to invite others to do the writing for you. Platforms like SnapApp can create simple URLs that easily fit into 140 characters on the front end, and direct people to like, tweet or share the content in their own words once they’re finished.
Seth Lieberman is c.e.o. and Andrew Movarick is a social media specialist at SnapApp, a marketing platform that empowers brands, publishers and agencies to foster conversations across the web. Lieberman has 15 years of experience in online advertising, customer acquisition, lead generation and customer engagement.