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How to Write Great Tweets

Updated on March 2, 2013
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Turn your conversation into a powerful Tweet in just a few simple steps.

Signing up for Twitter is easy as pie, but when you look at a typical tweet it can appear as if users are speaking a different language. If you want Twitter to be an effective marketing tool, you have to learn how to talk the talk.

I am a long talker. I can barely say ‘Hi’ in 140 characters much less convey a specific thought. The 140 character limit is daunting. How can you be heard (and have your thoughts shared) in this system?

It really is simple to take your conversation and turn it into a tweet in just a few simple steps.

To start with, you have an idea:

  • A writer friend, Marsha Blackstock, sent me a wonderful review of my short story How I Met You, and she blogged about it on her website at http://www.marshasgreatblog. com/review-of-how-i-met-you.htm

Right away you probably noticed that it’s way too long for Twitter’s 140 character limit. We’ll get to that but we need to address some other issues before that and it will shorten naturally.

First, let’s look at the voice. You’re talking with personal pronouns. It’s your story. But the biggest plus of Twitter is the retweeting – you say something and others pick it up, either with the Retweet button or actually copying your text. If I see something like this in a tweet, I’m not very likely to share it via either method. I don’t know Marsha and this is not my short story. I don’t want my followers to get confused.

Let’s take that same statement, and make it more general, and publically palatable, in nature:

  • Marsha Blackstock reviewed How I Met You, and she blogged about it on her website at http://www.marshasgreatblog.com/review-of-how-i-met-you.htm

Right away, we’ve made some great strides. But we’re just getting started. Look at the web address. It’s huge! Twitter will automatically shorten it a little but you can go a lot further. A program like Tweetdeck or SocialOomph will shorten it completely but you can take control and do it yourself via a url shortening website like owl.ly: http://ow.ly/url/shorten-url

  • Marsha Blackstock reviewed How I Met You, and she blogged about it on her website at http://ow.ly/i0r7x

We’ve made this well under the limit, at only 96 characters, but it’s very bland. You are forced to make your statements short on Twitter, but just being under the limit doesn’t mean you’re doing it right and that you’ll be an effective marketer. Remember the point: people should read what you say, and then share it. That’s how you grow your audience.

One way to take this up a notch is to use the @ symbol. You can either use this to grab the attention of a specific person or, better yet, draw attention to yourself when people share the tweet.

  • Marsha Blackstock reviewed How I Met You, and she blogged about it on her website at http://ow.ly/i0r7x via @awesomeauthor111

With this method, you’ve made sure your Twitter page is referenced and anyone who sees this tweet will immediately know how to find you. You can also use the symbol to point this tweet at a specific person, but be very careful because spamming is always bad. You might be ignored, the person might unfollow you, they could block you, or they could even bad mouth you. Always practice good etiquette.

The next step is to include hash tags to spice things up:

  • Marsha Blackstock reviewed How I Met You, and she blogged about it on her website at http://ow.ly/i0r7x via @awesomeauthor111 #romance #mystery #goodbooks

Hash tags like #amreading are clickable in Twitter. Any user on the site can click one or do a search and see who is tweeting with that tag. This is important to remember because it provides another way to get attention focused on your tweets, including users who are not currently following you. There are MANY hash tags in use across Twitter and you can even make up your own any time #justtobefunny.

You’ve got a very basic tweet there but that’s the issue – it’s very basic and, a common problem as you build your tweets, it’s too long. Punch your statements up. Make them engaging and eye-catching to market yourself effectively.

  • HOW I MET YOU just got another 5 stars from author Marsha Blackstock! http://ow.ly/i0r7x @awesomeauthor111 #romance #mystery #goodbooks

This tweet covers all these tips and it’s only 135 characters. Anyone can share this and not feel weird about it. The url is properly shortened, you have your Twitter profile name included, there are hash tags for extra oomph, and it’s written in a way that shows excitement. You’re in the game!

I hope this how-to on writing powerful tweets has taken the bite out of Twitter. It’s a wonderful resource for reaching readers (and other authors for networking purposes), building your author platform, and growing your fan base. Be savvy and make Twitter work FOR you!

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    • Shadow Jackson profile image

      Billionaire Brains 4 years ago from Washington, DC

      I'm trying to use twitter to promote my novel. Any tips?

    • Wendy L Young profile image
      Author

      Wendy L Young 4 years ago from Tennessee

      Thank you for stopping by, Lisa and Gail. I am glad the advice helps!

    • Gail Meyers profile image

      Gail Meyers 4 years ago from United States

      I agree this is useful information. I have been on Twitter for quite a while, but I have never gotten comfortable with that character limit. Voted up and useful.

    • LisaKoski profile image

      LisaKoski 4 years ago from WA

      This is very useful information. I joined twitter a few months ago and I still haven't quite gotten the hang of the whole tweeting thing. Thanks for sharing! I will be taking this into account while drafting my next tweet.