Make Social Media your Friend! Part 3 – Top Tweets

twitterOK, so hopefully you’ve read our other Social Media articles and you have a good social media marketing plan in place. So, now we’re going to look at another very popular Social Network; Twitter.

Twitter is great for its simplicity, and due to its 140 character limit is not at all time consuming. What you are going to learn is how to make the most of these 140 characters. Remember that by now you should have a social-media marketing strategy, one that encompasses your business’ personality and that of your target market. You should have some idea about your target audiences’ interests and what they might enjoy reading about. The trick is to squeeze all of this in to a Tweet! If you can think about a Tweet in terms of sets or blocks of characters that you can allocate to different things, you will optimise the amount of information you can share with your target audience.

Being mindful of these factors, read on for our top 10 tips about how to spread your marketing message in the most concise, engaging and interesting way possible, and turn your followers into fans!

 Use 100 characters for the bulk of your message

1. Use correct English

When it comes to written English, it’s good to be old school. Even with just 140 characters you can still compose a great tweet that has good grammar and spelling. If you can achieve this, your tweets will be easier to read and much more powerful. So rise to the challenge!

2. Twaffle!

When composing your tweet, make sure that you phrase it with as much economy as possible. For example: asking your customers to ‘Tell us what you think’ (22 characters) could be reworded as ‘Share your views’ (16 characters) or ‘Have your say’ (13 characters). Remember that spaces between words also count as characters!

3. And…

You may think that using symbols might save you some room in your tweets, but it’s not the case. The common use of @ in place of ‘at’ in texts is misplaced in Twitter, due to the symbol being used to call out usernames in Tweets. E.g. Thank you for your Tweet @johnsmith. When a username has the @ sign in front, it becomes a link to their profile (This is called a ‘mention’).

Using the ampersand ‘&’ symbol actually uses 4 characters in Twitter due to some glitch, so it is more economical to write ‘and’. Actually, if you want to be fastidious, it is grammatically incorrect to use ‘&’ in place of ‘and’ anyway!

You may be tempted to use ‘#’ instead of the word ‘number’, but this hash key has an altogether different use in Twitter world. See point 5.

Obviously, do use £ or $ instead of ‘pounds’ or ‘dollars’, and use numeric characters instead of writing ‘one’, ‘two’, ‘three’… We’re saving characters remember!

 4. Call to action

A ‘call to action’ is something that you want to encourage your followers to do. For example, a button on your website which says ‘download now’ is a call to action asking your customer to click on the button to download something. It is a clear instruction with a clear end result.

Hence you should try to include one in your Tweet! Calls to action include active doing words, for example: read, buy, learn, discover, view, register, share, like, subscribe, visit, click. If you want to generate a sense of urgency for your customers you could include caveats such as ‘offer expires on dd/mm’ or ‘buy now to enter free prize draw’, or ‘limited time only’.

5. #hashtag

Again if you’re new to Twitter you might wonder what all this hashtag business is about. A ‘hashtag’, or ‘#’ is a symbol that you put before a search keyword (without a space) in your tweet. This search keyword will help to categorise your tweet into a searchable topic for other Twitter users. If a search keyword becomes very popular on Twitter, it is said to be ‘trending’. For example, tweeting to publicise your cake shop you might tweet: “You’ll love our new elegant, contemporary #wedding #cake – visit http://cakeshop to see stunning pictures and place an order!” This way anybody who searches ‘wedding’ or ‘cake’ will come across your tweet. Simple!

Beware not to use more than two hashtags in any one tweet though, as not only will it look a mess, it will look like a spam message.

There’s more information on hashtags at the Twitter support page:

6. BTW (by the way…)

Avoid slang, abbreviations or symbols if you want to be taken seriously – e.g. say ‘best buy’ instead of FOTD – “find of the day”

If you’re new to Twitter, your eyes may start to lose their focus at the amount of Twitter abbreviations that are in circulation – some are obvious, some are very unusual, and some are just plain swearing! Some of your customers or clients may use them. If you’d like to learn what they all mean, we’ve found an excellent article on Social Media Today with a comprehensive list of common abbreviations, written by a fellow blogger, freelance writer and social media enthusiast, Tia Fisher:


You can highlight important words in your tweet using [square brackets]. This is preferable to capitalising your word because somehow it seems as though you’re SHOUTING!

8.  Tweeting Etiquette

As with Facebook or any social media strategy, you shouldn’t always be banging on about your own products or business – you need to engage with your followers too. Try Retweeting (sharing somebody else’s Tweet – read more about this here: ).

Share Tweets that you think will resonate with your target market; share interesting tips and facts from people that inspire you or from whom you’ve learned something. You’ll soon find that you get a good response and more followers this way. Also don’t forget to reply to your followers if they message you directly, with thoughtful, personalised messages.

Use about 20 characters for a Link URL

9. http://mywebsite

The purpose of your marketing on Twitter should be to drive your customers and other online traffic to your website, online shop, blog or other social media network like your Facebook page. With this in mind you should save 20 characters of your tweet for a link to one of these. Your link is likely to have many more than 20 characters though, so you need to shorten the URL – and get what is known as a ‘shortlink’. There are many free link-shortening services out there that will get your links to fewer than 20 characters. Try:

Once obtained, you can simply copy and paste your shortlink into your tweet.

 Leave about 20 characters empty

 10. Retweet space

A good way to spread the word about your brand and your business is to write witty or interesting Tweets that your followers will want to share with their friends and followers. This is called a Retweet. If you want to know more about Retweets then here are some FAQ’s from Twitter on the subject:

Simply, if you want your Tweet to be Retweeted by your followers, you should always leave around 20 characters of space at the end of your tweet that can be used by the person who is Retweeting you! E.g. they may wish to mention you or somebody, or add a comment such as ‘I like this:’. Often you will recognise a Retweet as users will place the abbreviation ‘RT’ (which denotes ReTweet) at the start of the Tweet.

Good luck with your Tweets, and let us know how you get on!

Next we shall publish Part 4, the last in the series of these articles:

Make Social Media your Friend! Part 4 – Social faux pas to avoid!

Make Social Media your Friend! Part 1 – Plan

Make Social Media your Friend! Part 2 – Quality Posts


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