5 Tips To Build Perfect Tweets. The Sequel
With only 140 characters to play with, are you using your Twitter real estate effectively to send perfect tweets? Driving engagement and conversations are key objectives for many on Twitter and yet I wonder how much thought has been given into building that small, but mighty, tweet.
Secondly, all the social network giants, including Twitter, are rolling out changes like their lives depended on it, making it quite the challenge for the end-user to keep up!
There has been a number of excellent posts written on how to build that “perfect tweet”. Examples include posts by Gerry Moran and Kevin Shively. However like the perfect house, maintenance and renovations are required to keep up with the times. As a result, I would like to provide key updates on how to build those perfect tweets – at least for today.
5 tips to build perfect tweets in today’s environment.
Leave 10 characters blank
The rule of thumb has been to use only 120 of the 140 characters for the perfect tweet. However with the ability to add photos, I would recommend that your tweet length should be around 130.
The blank space does two things:
- it enables the reader to easily retweet and share your content.
- It increases the chances of maintaining the original integrity of your tweet because the reader has the ability to retweet without the need to edit your message.
Use 24 characters for a visual or photo
Did you know that tweets with images average twice the engagement compared to tweets without images? Therefore, you should add an image to your tweet to drive engagement. For those perfect tweets, that image should be embedded directly from the Twitter platform to your tweet and not via a third-party site. This is shown in Figure 1 for both the Twitter mobile application and web browser. You can also tag people in your image without using any of the 140 character allowance. You can tag up to 10 people in a given photo.
Use 24 characters for a link
Did you know that tweets that include links are 86% more likely to be retweeted? So if there is a link that is associated with your message, you should include it. You should also shorten the link so that you use the least number of characters for this link. A shorten link will approximately use 24 characters. The ideal location of your link is about 90% down the length of your tweet.
Use 20 characters for 2 hashtagged text/words.
Tweets with hashtags get twice the engagement than without. Furthermore, tweets with 1-2 hashtags have 21% higher engagement than those with 3 or more hashtags. As a result, you should include 1-2 hashtags in your message. If the tagged text can be integrated as part of the message that would be ideal. Integrating your hashtagged words into the message would give you 92 characters for your message instead of a 72 character allowance. If that is not feasible, try to integrate one tagged word in your message and use the other tagged word, or text, at the end of your tweet [also see the figure 2 below].
You can also test the best hashtags to use by using a tool like hashtagify.me. This tool provides the level of popularity for the hashtag you are considering. By selecting the most popular hashtag related to your message, you can further increase the chances of engagement.
Use 72 characters for the message.
If your objective is to drive engagement or shares, you need to give as much thought to your tweet, as you would a headline for your blog post. There has been a number of articles written about what words that potentially drive engagement. An example is shared in the post The science of word choice. Regardless of your source for inspiration, after you have written your tweet, step back and try to read it objectively then ask yourself the question whether you would engage? Revise it until you think you would and in turn your audience. If you have used all the tips above, your message should be no more than 72 characters in length for that perfect tweet.
Finally, I should also share that tweets under a total length of 60 characters get 1/3 less engagement than longer tweets. So it is worth using the 120-130 character real estate, if your intent is to drive engagement and shares with that tweet. Of course the above is to drive initial engagement and shares. Your conversational tweet is just that- authentic and natural.
That’s it for today! Remember these social sites continue to evolve and change. On the horizon, Twitter recently announced adding a buy button to the tweet that will enable users to buy directly from a tweet! Not sure how that will impact the 140 character real estate. They are currently testing this functionality with a small group in the US. So there is definitely more change to come!
In the interim, do share what has worked for you by commenting below.