Twitter is the platform for sharing link content. For bloggers and companies Twitter has surpassed Stumbleupon, Digg, Delicious and Reddit, and is only beaten by Facebook as the most effective way to build website traffic.
By building an engaged community, you can continue to bring home the traffic on a daily basis. Twitter gave us a new and improved take on permissive marketing, which has allowed the network to leave many other social sharing websites in the rear view.
It’s not all peaches and cream, though – it’s easy to make mistakes that can be very costly, leaving your tweet and content all but ignored. Continue making those errors, and Twitter will be a complete waste of time.
It’s perfectly fine to link to your own content but if you over-sell it too much, or start to resemble an old-fashioned salesman , you’re very quickly going to be overlooked. Worse you be labeled nothing more than a spammer. Be sure to GIVE BACK that means RT others interact with new followers add people to lists etc.
When you get right down to the nitty-gritty, only two things really count when striving for the perfect tweet:
These are both critical
1. Think Like Your Readers
This is NO DUH!, but it’s easily overlooked. For your tweet to be as good as it can be, it needs to appeal most to your readers, to the majority of your network, and not to just you.
Unless you’re Justin Bieber or Lady GaGa or a brand with millions of devoted followers ie Mashable, taking the outlook of ‘everybody likes this!’ will always haunt you.
You have to take the time to write your tweet accurately, ensuring that it will appeal to the highest number of readers.
2. Use Consistent Superior Excellence To Stand Out From The Crowd
Take a moment to read your Twitter feed. Refresh the page. Who stands out and why?
Over time we all become tuned into paying attention to certain things in our time-lines, avatars of our favorite profiles.
There are many times when we notice the tweet of somebody we’ve just followed, because it was AWESOME. It hit all the right buttons, and we read the tweet and clicked on that link.
The tweet was so good, subconsciously we’ll make a little note about the user and are more likely to notice them the next time they update. This attention will rise if their tweets maintain a consistent quality.
If the quality of updates dips too sharply we’ll start to pay less attention. Being occasionally excellent is better than nothing, being consistently excellent is better than everything.
3. Sell The Headline BUT (In A Non-Salesman Way)
People need a fantastic reason to click on your link. At any given time (and in almost any Twitter client) the reader is faced with sometimes millions choices to make.
And things move fast – one or two refreshes later, and you could be long gone.
So, even if you’ve been consistently THE BEST for tweet after tweet and reader comes straight to you, your job is not done. They still need a reason to click, which means your copy has to sell that link.
The trick is you have to do this in a way that makes it seem like you’re doing something else. People don’t really like to think they’re being sold to, especially in social media.
Let’s call it unselling.
It goes without saying that ‘click here to buy my stuff’ should only be used if your intention is to be completely ironic or you don’t actually care about people visiting your site.
Learn the difference between selling the link and selling the content – the content is what will sell your product or idea, but nobody is going to care about any of that unless you’ve first sold them the reason to read it. You might have discovered the cure for cancer, but nobody is going to care if you link it next to ‘This is cool.’
The reason can be number of different things. Promises work extremely well, but only if you actually deliver. Lie to people enough and it doesn’t matter how good your headline copy is. Honesty is essentially your best policy, but that doesn’t mean you can’t give it a fresh coat of paint with a little spin and reverse psychology.
It’s worth noting that superbly-written headline copy can often generate immediate retweets, even if it’s obvious the other party didn’t actually read the content, or because they trust and believe in you enough to make the (hopefully safe) assumption that you’re going to deliver the goods.
A word on linking to website content that is not your own – don’t be afraid to rewrite the headlines of others. Most of the time these are formatted to appease a single platform or marketplace, and won’t work as well on Twitter. Other times they just suck, plain and simple. If you can do it better, do it better. Nobody is going to object if you’re sending them solid traffic.
4. Use Correct Punctuation
Many people (enormous numbers if you use the internet as a gauge) feel that missing or an incorrect use of punctuation reflects poorly on the writer.
This is true when it comes to first impressions. Like it or not, people will think less of you, and less of your opinion.
Thankfully, it’s easily corrected.
Use full stops and commas. Put your apostrophes in the right place. Use speech marks and parentheses.
Don’t end every sentence with an exclamation mark. A simple hyphen can often be the difference between a real word and one that doesn’t exist.
It can help to read your tweet out loud before you submit it. Are the pauses in the right place? We still need to breathe, even at 140 characters!
Studies have shown that retweets contain more punctuation than normal tweets.
Everything, except semi-colons. Leave them OUT
5. Flawless Grammar And Perfect Spelling
If you’re a bad speller consider writing your tweets in your best Word processor first. This might seem unnecessary but critical to your traffic.
A quick checklist for every tweet:
Always start with a capital letter
Always use a capital letter with each new sentence (and you only need one space after the full stop)
Learn the difference between your and you’re, its and it’s and there, their and they’re
Capital letters make it LOOK LIKE YOU’RE SHOUTING
Avoid text-speak at all costs.
Don’t look to celebrities for guidance here. Many of them break most of these rules, most of the time. It doesn’t matter for them, because they’re celebrities. The rules don’t apply.
It’s different for the rest of us. Remember: be consistently excellent. You cannot afford to be anything less.
6. Observe The Magic Retweet Number
The magic retweet number is the total number of characters you need to leave blank at the end of every tweet to ensure maximum retweetability.
Over time, Currently, the magic retweet number stands at twenty. Which means your copy, plus link, should be 120 characters or less. This leaves 20 blank characters – plenty of room for others to retweet your message.
Every once in awhile you will break this rule, you should not sacrifice a really quality piece of copy to squeeze your tweet under that ceiling.
But if you never leave any room for others to share your message with their network, chances are that most of the time they either won’t make the effort.
7. Shorten All Links with URL shortner
This chart says it all.
Remember Twitter is fun! and doing everything by the book, can make it seem just a little bit too much like hard work.
If you really want to succeed on the network, then you’re going to have to put in that extra effort. If you want to be consistently excellent then I’m afraid you will have to work hard ( I spent my first month June 2011) 8 hours a day until it becomes second-nature.
I PROMISE it’s worth the effort. This little ole blog here pays my car payment for example.
Once you see the benefits of a great headline copy, can’t miss unselling techniques and fantastic grammar and punctuation can make to your Twitter presence and impact – as well as your website traffic, and sales – you’ll never again settle for anything less than the perfect tweet.