Anatomy of a Great Business Tweet

September 23rd, 2013 by Megan Totka

Sept13On Twitter, you only get 140 characters to make an impression. With so little room to spare, how do you come up with tweets that engage your followers, get retweeted, and generally contribute in a positive way to your social marketing efforts?

While there’s no one right way to compose a tweet, there are a lot of things you can do to improve the quality and attention-grabbing nature of your Twitter messages. These tips will help you write and send tweets that get results.

What to Tweet About

The hardest part about composing effective tweets is coming up with a topic. There are only so many times you can talk about your company’s sales, special offers, or newsletter subscription before your followers tune you out. How can you keep your Twitter feed fresh and interesting?

Talk up your blog posts: If you have a business blog, you can tweet about any new posts you put up. Pull out the most interesting info from the post to use as a teaser, and then link to the rest in the tweet.

Ask a question: People love offering opinions. Try asking a general discussion question that’s related to your business—or turn the topic of your latest blog post into a question that your followers are likely to answer “yes” to and click through for the answer.

Encourage participation: Get those tweets flying by posting a poll, offering an incentive for following/retweeting, or holding a monthly Twitter event that’s related to your business (with your own custom hashtag so that it’s easy for new people to follow along).

Tweet content from other people: Give your followers something of value by tweeting links to interesting, industry-relevant articles, blog posts, or current events.

Tweet back: Scan your followers’ feeds and look for interesting tweets that you can reply to—after all, this is social media, and your Twitter account should be a two-way conversation. Definitely respond when a follower sends you a direct question.

How to Compose a Tweet

Here’s what an effective business tweet can look like:

[Headline/Call to action] [Link] [Message] [Blank space]

  1. Headline/Call to action. A short, intriguing phrase that either summarizes your tweet, or asks followers to do something (retweet, subscribe, follow).
  2. Link. Use link shorteners like bit.ly or tinyurl to conserve characters. Place the link in the middle of the tweet to prevent the characters from being cut off (and the link broken) when retweeted.
  3. Message. What’s great about the link you’re sending out? Why should your audience click on it?
  4. Blank space. Aim to make your tweets around 100 characters long—leaving space for a mention or comment makes them more retweetable.

When to Tweet It

According to data from popular link shortening and tracking service bit.ly, the best times to tweet with the highest click-through rates are between 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. EST. The worst times to send tweets with links are after 8 p.m., and any time from 3 p.m. on Friday afternoon through Monday morning.

You can take this tweet timing a step further by figuring out your own optimal time for tweeting, based on your follower activity, with a service like Tweriod.

Bonus: A Quick List of Tweet Don’ts

  • Don’t use capital letters for emphasis in a tweet. Instead, consider putting square brackets around words or phrases you want to call attention to.
  • Don’t use more than two hashtags in a single tweet. It looks spammy, and it will get your tweets ignored.
  • Don’t send the same tweet 10 times a day in an attempt to hit every follower. This is one form of Twitter spam that can get you banned —and if you don’t get banned, your followers will un-follow in annoyance.
  • Don’t use slang or Internet abbreviations (like AFAIK or TBH) to save space. It looks unprofessional.

Image courtesy of Samara King

Megan Totka is the Chief Editor for ChamberofCommerce.com. She specializes on the topic of small business tips and resources. ChamberofCommerce.com helps small businesses grow their business on the web and facilitates connectivity between local businesses and more than 7,000 Chambers of Commerce worldwide.