I live in NYC, so naturally have about two feet of free space in my apartment. While I originally thought there would be quite an adjustment moving into a closet as my apartment, it has actually made me even more of an organized person. It’s also saved me quite a bit of money. Come to find out, you are less prone to buy every new dress and bag as it becomes available when you do not have any room to store it anywhere! Instead of being the imposition I expected it to be, my cozy NYC space has taught me to be more lean in both my finances and how efficiently I manage storage. This isn’t far from what working in social media is like. Often times, we’re given a huge piece of news or a press release that we have to boil down to an effective 140 characters (117 if we need to include a link!). We have to learn to be quick on our feet and boil down words until we are left with only the most important ones. Fortunately, when I studied PR in college, my advisor edited and edited and edited our press releases until they were as short as they could possibly be. He told us that it took more talent and skill to write less, than it did to write more. That advice has been one of the most valuable advice I’ve used throughout my career.
Tweets are not for the timid and they are not ‘easy’ to write because they are ‘practically only a second’. They take a kitchen sink full of skills to craft, and even additional skills to optimize for the platform and occurring conversations.
While crafting the perfect Tweet cannot be accomplished by reading one blog post, I can provide a few helpful tips to get you moving in the right direction:
#1. Use Titles To Your Advantage
One of the most efficient ways to begin writing a tweet is to look at the title of the article you are sharing, and think of ways you can use that same message with a more conversational spin on it. If you’re not using a link in your tweet, think of what you would ‘title’ the messaging you are trying to convey through your tweet and work from there.
#2. Use Hashtags In The Meat Of The Tweet
So many people make the mistake of adding random hashtags at the end of the link, instead of taking the time to see how they could fit them into the structure of the tweet. See below for an example:
Old tweet: 5 ways to craft a perfect tweet: LINK #SocialMediaTips
New tweet: #SocialMediaTips on how to craft a perfect tweet: LINK
This tip allows the tweet to flow more naturally and feel less disjointed.
#3. Use One Word CTAs:
If you’ve been on social media more than a second, you know that ‘Read this article for more information’ and ‘Learn more in our new podcast’ are popular CTAs used across networks. When you are on Twitter, though, you absolutely have to be comfortable with using one-word CTAs and trust that they have just as much impact as if you pad them with a ton of empty words. Don’t waste your character count using empty words!
Instead of using all of your characters for your CTA (old tweet), use your characters to provide a valuable teaser to your link (new tweet). The new tweet also provides a great example of how to use tip #2 again.
Old tweet: Learn more about #SocialMedia in my new article: LINK
New tweet: ‘Use one-word CTAs to optimize your tweets. More #SocialMedia tips: LINK
By using empty words to create CTAs, you often lose the value of the tweet. Use one-word CTAs, and add value back into your tweets. After all, social media is all about providing value.
#4. Utilize Hashtags The RIGHT Way:
Now, I am not talking about the sarcastic way you might use hashtags to personally make points in text messages or emails. I’m talking about using hashtags to provide more context to a tweet, while also linking a tweet to a pre-existing conversation on Twitter. For example:
Old tweet: College students! Find great materials to jump start your career here: LINK #education
New tweet: Find great materials for your jump starting your career here: #HigherEd
While the first tweet uses a hashtag that makes sense for the tweet, it is not the best hashtag for the tweet because it is not specific to higher education. The second tweet uses a very specific hashtag for higher education which not only allows more room for characters in the tweet because we can eliminate the words ‘college students’, but it also links the tweet to a very specific conversation that involves specifically college students and educators.
**Bonus tip: Use the heck out of Hashtagify.me. This is my absolute FAVORITE Twitter tool. You can search any hashtag on Hashtagify.me and see its popularity rating and other hashtags it is related to. Then you can compare it against the popularity of other hashtags. It's a great way to get ideas for more impactful hashtags you could be using, while also comparing the popularity of hashtags against each other.
#5. Boil Articles Down To Relevant Words
When it really comes down to it, one of the best ways to boil down larger articles to more impact tweets is to print the article out and start crossing ‘filler’ words out with Sharpies. Or, at least mimic this process in your head by skimming the article for words that pop and highlighting them. By isolating the most impactful words of the article, you will have a better idea of what words need to make it into the final tweet. While it may seem ridiculous, especially in the fast paced world of social media, this is an excellent exercise when you are not used to speaking in 140 characters or less.
Try some of these tips to start writing more impactful, optimized tweets. It is incredible how much more meaningful a tweet can be when it is boiled down to the very meat of what you want to say. There is a true talent and craft to saying something powerful in 140 characters.
-Marji J. Sherman