Friday, June 8, 2012

What makes a good tweet? Part 1

OK, I'm pretty sure there is no such thing as "The ultimate tweet". Someone will probably Google that and prove me wrong but until they do, the best way to work out how to tweet well is sometimes by looking at times when someone tweets poorly. We learn from our mistakes

So sit back, get comfortable and check out Carol's Hall of Shame (you mawkish little ghouls)

We'll start off with an easy one

Be interesting
Just been out for a great meal

Yeah, I'm real happy for you but your tweet is about as useful as a chocolate teapot and significantly less interesting. If you must tell everyone about your night out then tell them properly Why was it such a great meal? - Where did you go? Who were you with? What did you eat?

Whenever possible give your followers somewhere to go or something to look at. How about including a link to the restaurant's website or Facebook page? (the owners may even thank you for that). Failing that, what about a photo of that hilarious moment when the flaming sambuca torched the waiter's moustache?

Don’t make them work for it
@MacXXXX check my tweets for an event worth RT'ing guys. All profits going to @macmillancancer

This is basically asking people to go trawling back through the writer's tweets for some unspecified nugget of information.  No-one has the time to do that kind of detective work. Make it easy for your followers - put the important stuff up front every time.

And here's another from the mystery meat department
I posted a new photo to Facebook

Someone has posted a photo on Facebook (bet that was hard to guess) but not bothered to give the image a caption. They have their Facebook account set up to cross-post to Twitter and - in the absence of a caption - you're seeing the default text that Facebook uses for the tweet.

My usual reaction to this kind of tweet is not gleefully rushing over to Facebook to see this photographic wonder. I'm more likely to mutter "well goody for you!" and ignore it.

But then I'm more curmudgeonly than most.

However, I 'm not unique - c'mon people, tell me WHY I should be doing this for you, or don't act surprised when I do nothing at all.

And they say size doesn't count...
Doing a stand up comedy night for Macmillan Cancer Support. You can get tickets here Please RT + add your favourite joke

Nothing wrong with this surely? It does what it says on the tin, provides a call to action with the link and even gets imaginative by engaging readers with their favourite jokes.

There's only one wee problem - this tweet is exactly 132 characters. In a retweet this leaves just enough space to add "RT @..." and your username for the credit. So unless your reader's favourite joke is about one character long, he's pretty much screwed without having to edit your original tweet. A lot of tweeters don't like doing that.

Do your retweeters a favour - leave them some space to comment.

So, to recap
  • Make it interesting, be of value
  • Give your followers something to do or to look at (that they will be interested in)
  • Make responding easy for them
And finally here's a link to an audacious example of getting it right - more of those next time

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