How to get more bang from your Twitter buck-40

  • Article by: SCOTT KLEINBERG , Chicago Tribune
  • Updated: April 25, 2014 - 2:10 PM

A recent Twitter blog post titled “What fuels a tweet’s engagement” attempted to make the case that reactions to certain kinds of tweets will vary by industry.

For example, a hashtag or photo might resonate differently with certain audiences than attaching a link. So, by all means add a photo. Use a hashtag when it’s smart to do so. And share links to your favorite stories. Those are important best practices from the get-go. But there’s more you can do to make your tweets memorable, including:

• Spend your characters wisely. You have 140 characters with which to tweet, but ask yourself: Do I need 140? Sometimes you do, but often you can say what you need to say in 100 characters. Make it a rule to tell your story as concisely as you can, without shortening words into numbers and abbreviating things that should never be abbreviated.

• If you start a tweet with a name, you are tweeting to a limited audience. Once upon a time, someone figured out that you can “trick” Twitter into showing that tweet to a wider audience by putting a period before that name (for instance: .@scottkleinberg). It’s also a technique spammers love. Don’t do it. Save your period for the end of the tweet, where it belongs. Find another way to mention someone without doing it at the beginning of your tweet.

• Anything you’ve read indicating that you shouldn’t tweet on the weekend because audiences aren’t engaged or they’re doing stuff outside is wrong. In fact, weekends are popular when it comes to engagement. If you aren’t going to be around to tweet, consider a scheduler such as the one in TweetDeck or Hootsuite. Be engaging, but don’t just do it when it’s convenient for you.

• Never underestimate the power of the RT. Retweeting is the foundation on which Twitter is built. Provided the content is worthy, share someone’s content. If your content is just as worthy, hopefully someone will return the favor. Remember that Twitter is not for broadcasting, it’s for engaging. Talk with people, not at them. □

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