Best Practices for Employees on Social Media: Crafting the Perfect Tweet

Have you tried to learn another language?

Building oral proficiency takes time and practice. You start by sputtering individual words. Then you learn how to build sentences.

Similarly, building your social media fluency takes time – largely because each social network has its own language. Unless you have someone point out each network’s nuances and rules, it can be difficult to identify how Twitter is different from, say, Facebook.

To help you with those differences, we’re developing a series of blog posts on social network fluency for you and your employees on social media.

Today’s post focuses on Twitter. Check out our seven tips for crafting the perfect tweet.

1. Limit Your Hashtags.

It’s #tempting to #write a #tweet that #looks like this. But who can #read that?

Salesforce’s research shows that…

  • Tweets with one or two hashtags tend to have 21% more engagement than those with three or more.
  • So, try to limit your hashtags to one or two.

As you carefully select the perfect hashtag, remember that different industries and different subjects have their own hashtags. For example, here are some common hashtags for…

Still not getting the picture of how hashtags work? Below you can find an example from the Trapit CEO, Henry Notthaft, Jr. #SocialMedia is a common hashtag for marketers, and #SocialSelling is a common hashtag for salespeople.

When someone searches for the hashtag #SocialMedia on Twitter in real time, tweets about #SocialMedia will appear. Likewise, when someone searches for #SocialSelling in real time, tweets about #SocialSelling will appear.

2. Monitor the Length of Your Tweets.

The ideal length of a tweet is up for debate.

Salesforce’s study claims that tweets with fewer than 100 characters get more engagement than longer tweets.

Data scientist Dan Zarella, on the other hand, argues that tweets should be between 120 and 130 characters.

Social media managers may never agree on the optimal length. But there seems to be a general consensus: Don’t take up all 140 characters. Keep your posts shorter on Twitter.

3. Understand the Difference between .@ and @ at the Beginning of Tweets.

Did you know that you can have semi-private conversations on Twitter? To do so, start your tweet with @TwitterUsername. Here’s an example:

Most people won’t see the tweet above. Only people who follow both Henry and me would see this tweet in their Twitter timeline.

If I wanted all my followers to see my tweet to Henry, regardless of whether they are following both me and Henry, I’d start the post with .@henryhank.

The period before Henry’s Twitter handle makes the post public to all of my followers, and as a result, my tweet will appear in their timelines.

If Henry’s Twitter handle appears later in the post, everyone who follows me will see my tweet in their timeline.

There’s no need to include a period before Henry’s Twitter handle when it appears later in the post.

4. Add a Personal Touch.

If you’re in an employee advocacy program and you’re tweeting for the first time, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed.

You’re scared to do something wrong. You think that every post needs to be ultra-professional.

Relax. Think of Twitter as the virtual water cooler.

What do you talk about at work when you’re taking a break? Talk about those subjects on Twitter.

If you’re into sports, talk about sports. If you’re into fashion, talk about fashion. If you’re into photography, share some of your photos.

Sharing your hobbies makes you more approachable on Twitter. After all, that’s how most people use Twitter.

Source: AdWeek

5. Include Images with Your Tweets.

Your followers are far more likely to engage with your tweets when a photo is included. 5x more likely, to be precise.

This shouldn’t come as a surprise because people love visual content online. Why? Because your brain processes images 60,000x faster than text.

But be warned: Don’t include images just to include images.

Add visuals when they add something to your tweet, when they clarify or summarize a point, when they validate your opinion, when they add humor. Don’t simply post stock photo after stock photo after stock photo.

6. Include the Author’s Twitter Handle.

Twitter users share a lot of links to articles and blog posts on Twitter. Before you share your next link, take a few seconds to find the author of the article and include her Twitter handle in your post.

If the author’s Twitter handle isn’t included in the article, Googling the author’s name followed by the word “Twitter” often returns the result.

When you tag the author (i.e. include the author’s Twitter handle in your post), the author will often retweet you, which can expose you to new audiences.

Additionally, the author might respond to your tweet, which is an opportunity to strike up a conversation with an influencer in your field.

Look at how the CEO of Trapit composed his tweet, which prompted a response from Jill Rowley, a social selling expert:

7. Try Advanced Forms of Retweeting.

On Twitter, it’s easy to be a lazy retweeter. You just hit the retweet button in Twitter and voilà, you’ve shared someone else’s tweet.

When you take the lazy approach to retweeting, you’re missing a fantastic opportunity to share your opinion and to jump into an existing conversation.

As you can see in the example above, Jill Rowley seized the opportunity to be personable and to give Henry an update on her life.

How did Jill do it? How did she add her own commentary while simultaneously making Henry’s tweet appear in a little box?

It’s actually pretty simple. When you click the retweet button on the web, Twitter gives you the option to add a comment.

Use the comment box. Tell people why you are retweeting something. Quote your favorite line. Use an emoji or emoticon to show how the article made you feel. And don’t forget relevant hashtags.

It’s Your Turn.

Take two of these tips and apply them to your tweets over the next two weeks. Give yourself ample amounts of time to see what works and what doesn’t work.

Remember that social media is about trial and error. So, keep trying.

As for the other major social networks, stay tuned. Today we looked at Twitter. In the upcoming weeks, we’ll look at some of the other social networks.

In the meantime, good luck crafting the perfect tweet!


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