What To Write About On Twitter

Filed in Twitter by on September 15, 2009 3 Comments

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Why You Should Think Before You Tweet

One of the most difficult questions you are faced with when starting to use Twitter is “what should I write?” Some even ask, “what can I write with only 140 characters?”

While it does seem limiting, I’ve found that having only 140 characters to work with is actually quite empowering. With the limited space one is forced to be concise and brief.

Twitter’s basic question is “what are you doing?” For many this question is a turn off. It causes people to answer it literally with phrases like “watching TV” or “eating a ham sandwich.” An executive or professional sees these posts and assumes that Twitter is a pointless group chat.

Others take a more proactive approach and see the question as “what has your attention?” This leads to a better answer. There are lots of things that can hold your attention. You might be interested in the current political climate. You may have recently bought a car and noticed the new safety features. Your business might be launching a new product and are very busy and excited because of the imminent launch date.

What you had for breakfast better be pretty unique

About two-thirds of all human communication is gossip. We love to hear the nitty-gritty details of other’s lives, loves and losses. So it is no surprise that mist of the chatter on Twitter people are talking about what they had for breakfast or the fact that their cat just peed on the rug.

While there is a place for a few daily “here’s what I’m doing” tweets, be careful to balance these with 10 times more posts that add value to your followers. As a leader you are held to a higher standard in your communications.

Whining is pitiful

Please don’t whine on Twitter. We’ve seen Twitter become a virtual complaint desk for some individuals. This type of communication is unbecoming.

Look for ways to add value

If confused about what to say on Twitter, think about ways that you can add value to someone. Given your professional experience and training, how can you be helpful to others? If you are a tax accountant – do you have tips on the current tax laws? As a professional business coach – are you able to tweet some pointers on dealing with difficult clients?

Look for ways to reveal your character

Beyond the value that you provide by giving actionable and helpful tips, be sure to reveal things about yourself and your character. For example, instead of posting about the fact that your cat peed on your rug, consider tweeting about your love of cats and how they remind you of working with business people. You are still adding insight and value into your tweet while at the same time revealing a personal side, your love of felines.

Things To Tweet

Anything helpful

Don’t just limit your twitter posts to helpful things inside your industry. Always think about ways to be helpful to your followers in any area of life. Do you own a roofing company – but have just discovered a great new restaurant in town? Post a twitter message about it. Your followers will not only appreciate the recommendation, but will again get to see your personality and character.

Anything thoughtful

Wish someone a happy birthday. Congratulate a follower on a job promotion. Be engaged with your community enough that you can be thoughtful. The ability to be thoughtful comes from listening and will skyrocket the respect your followers have of you.

Be engaging

Remember that if you are bored with your Twitter posts, then your followers are probably ready to unfollow you. Take the time to study basic headline writing. These skills will make you a much better tweeter. The goal is to be engaging. Boredom is the unpardonable sin.

Tweet things entertaining TO YOUR FOLLOWERS

Think about the audience you’ve developed and tweet in accordance. The basic rules of communication apply. Just because you are interested in 17th century English literature doesn’t mean your followers like it. Always post with your audience in mind.

Things to think about as you prepare to Tweet

  • Remember your Twitter etiquette
  • Including spaces, you only have 140 characters. Make it simple.
  • Do NOT spam or only tweet about yourself/your company and what you can offer.
  • Find articles with your area of interest (Google alerts are a good place to get these). We also suggest starting by following specific bloggers, networking and joining groups, in LinkedIn., etc.
  • Show your followers that you care, give back to the community
  • Write to be retweeted. Produce quality material which will in turn, get it retweeted.
  • Tweet at peak times, but also share again for other’s in different time zones. Cross reference and cross link.
  • Comment on the comments you receive, engage, and listen.
  • Share content that adds value to your Followers.
  • Be clear, consistent, concise, simple and valuable with your tweet content.
  • At the minimum, post a tweet once every 48 hours.
  • Think before tweeting, use correct punctuation, grammar and spelling.
  • Learn and grow from others (..and remember to pay it forward. If you think it’s valuable information, your followers will as well).

How To Tweet

Get to your home screen

By now we’ve covered the mechanics of sending out a Twitter post. In this section we would like to explore the construction of the content of a Twitter post.

Head over to your home screen and you should see your big update box ready for your message.

Think about keywords

When you are writing your Twitter post remember that you are creating searchable content. The keywords you use are important. By strategically thinking about the words you use in your messages, you will be able to attract people who are looking for what you offer.

For example, if you are an attorney specializing in entertainment law, the majority of your potential customers probably won’t search for the term “entertainment law.” They might search the word “trademarks” or “copyright” instead. So in that case it would be wise to use these words in your Twitter posts.

Think about length

The length of your tweet is important. If you want someone to retweet your message, you will need to leave enough space for them to add in “RT @yourusername” in front of the message. If you use up all 140 characters, they won’t be able to retweet.

Also consider the length of any web address URL you include. There are several services that will shorten a URL for you to include in your post. Our favorite for a quick shortening is TinyUrl (www.tinyurl.com)

Follow these tips and you should be well on your way to making powerful Twitter posts that will get you Twitter followers and build leadership.


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Joel Mark Witt is a producer, author, and speaker who consults with businesses and nonprofits on how to use social media in marketing and communications. He is also the Publisher of Folk Media and author of 21 Days To Twitter Leadership Send him an eMail: joelmarkwitt (at) folkmedia.org or follow him on Twitter.

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Get the book “21 Days To Twitter Leadership” The Step-By-Step Guide On How To Twitter, Get Twitter Followers And Position Yourself As The Leader In Your Industry In Less Than 10 Minutes Per Day.

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  1. How To Create Your Twitter Plan Step-By-Step | Folk Media | October 2, 2009
  1. a lot of people tweet just for the sake of posting something new and update the followers. some were embarassing, but that's modern age… 😀

  2. It is possible to over do the usage and create a negative vibe to the followers, but it is also entertaining to know about the cleb’s activities.

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