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Want to stand out on Twitter? Need to learn how to write a great tweet? Easy. People have been doing it for over one hundred years:
If you want to learn to write great tweets that motivate your followers to action, look no farther than newspapers and fiction. Editors and fiction writers master the art of the tease: writing short, detailed copy that leaves readers hungry for more. A compelling headline includes several characteristics:
Short. Twitter’s 140 character limit forces you to be concise, and if you want to be retweeted, you’ll use even less, so others can retweet your post. You’ll need room for them to include RT@SM_OnlineClass, or your own Twitter name.
Detailed. Twitter users, more than those of any other social network, suffer from short attention spans. 200 million tweets sent everyday averages about 140,000 per minute. That’s a lot of competition, so include as many details by answering who, what, when, where, and why. Sure, you can say “Check out my new blog post,” but make me care about it. What’s in it for me? “10-Minute Twitter Strategies for Small Biz” tells you not only what’s in the post but how long it will take you to do them.
Compelling. Effective tweets are persuasion in a compact form. You are establishing your credibility and convincing people your content is worth reading. How? Offer results.
Sensory Verbs. Terry Kay, New York Times bestselling author of To Dance with the White Dog, declares the way to be effective in your writing is by using descriptive action verbs. Apply this to tweets for your business. Instead of “How to Beat Your Competition,” be more descriptive with “3 Marketing Strategies to Dominate Your Market.” Ask yourself: does this verb help my followers picture this?.
Playful. Pack more punch into your tweets by including a play on words. Newspaper headlines have done this for decades with great success. “Small step for man, giant gaffe for NASA,” “Sneezy? Grumpy? If you visit Disney, use hand sanitizers,” are just two examples. This post from Business Insider showcases 20 entertaining headlines from 2009.
Professional. In Twitter’s early days, users wrote inflammatory “Is iPad the New Kindle-Killer” type of tweets; after the shooting of Congresswomen Gabrielle Giffords, all media and even politicians changed to a more professional, toned-down dialogue. No longer were they calling bills “job killers;” instead they were “job destroyers.” Phrasing counts; be conscious of the tone of voice you use on public forums. Even when you are calling out someone or a brand for something they’ve done wrong, be constructive.
Make a habit of incorporating these features into your tweets, and you’ll see higher click-through rates on Twitter, you’ll drive more traffic to your website, and get more followers. You’ll be writing great headlines that let your brand differentiate itself among a sea of unremarkable tweets.
To learn more, register for our Twitter 101 course at SocialMediaOnlineClasses.com. Courses are online 24/7, offered on an ongoing schedule, you can network with other brilliant small business owners, and our instructors are available online when you need individual help. We look forward to seeing you in class!