How to Tweet Effectively

by Joe Pelissier on December 10, 2010

Twitter Birdy

How to Tweet

I’m probably not the best person to advise others on how to tweet. But only because I am not a huge tweeter or user of Social Media.

That’s not to say I don’t think it’s important or that it has a value. I do. I also follow how it works as a communication tool.

For me, it’s more to do with Time v Return on Investment. I choose to spend my time on marketing activities that will give me a better return.

That should be the rule for any business, large or small. If you are going to do ‘social media’, you need to have a strategy. And that means thinking about what you want to get out of it in relation to the amount of time and resource you allocate.

Some interesting How to Tweet numbers

As a business communicator or marketer, ‘How to Tweet’ is an interesting concept.  It implies there’s a professional and proper way to craft and schedule your precious 140 words.

But firstly, how do your tweets fit into the big twittosphere? (new word me thinks…)

  • There are 75 million Twitter users
  • 55% are female
  • 45% are 18-35
  • 41% haven’t tweeted since signing up
  • 75% of tweets come from 3rd party applications eg phones
  • 81% are following less than 100 people
  • 27% are private conversations
  • 3% link to other web content

Hmm. As a business owner, it’s not looking too good. I need one hell of a lot of followers if I belong to the 3% who wants to direct followers to other websites. If you look at these statistics carefully, they tell you an awful lot.

This is why it’s worth paying attention to a couple of people who know more about this than me.

A likeable American rogue called Perry Beltcher (who looks as if he would belt’cha), who advocates The Party Principle. And the Swedish usability expert Jakob Neilson.  They both know how to tweet.

How to Tweet using The Party Principle

The Party Principle is based on the idea that, when you go to a party and meet someone new, you don’t immediately shove your business card in their face.

You take your time to get to know them. You ask questions or share an interesting story or two. You exchange a whole range of ideas, news and emotion.

On this basis, this is how to tweet:

  • Be Helpful – send your followers articles that have the potential to make their lives better (30% of the time)
  • Be Complimentary – say nice things about stuff people have sent you (20% of the time)
  • Be Amusing – send people to videos or articles that will put a smile on their faces (20% of the time)
  • Be the Salesman – use a soft-sell approach to make followers aware of what you do (30% of the time)

That sounds like a lot of hard work to me.

Perry tweets up to 100 times a day… I can only assume he a) has a researcher /assistant and b) uses a tool like HooteSuite that allows you to schedule your tweets in advance.

That is one of the things I hate about tweeting, the way the act of tweeting distracts me from more important tasks – like earning a living.

But it goes to show that to profit from Twitter you need to go on the offensive. DON’T DABBLE.

How to Tweet by being Scientific

Jakob Neilson takes a more sanguine and scientific approach.

  • Tweets are highly ephemeral – “once they scroll off the first screen, they’re 6 feet under”
  • Links posted via Tweets decay dramatically in comparison to an e-mail newsletter – people don’t work through Tweets in the way they ‘work through e-mail’
  • “Twitter time passes 10 time faster than e-mail time”
  • Twitter text is a User Interface (UI)

The final point is about how you write the tweet – this is an adaptation of an example by Neilson.

Announcing LONDON and DUBLIN as the venue for our biggest Marketing Conference of the year http://bitly/MarkConf

It’s okay as a Tweet as the city names are in CAPS to draw your eye. But ‘announcing’ is a bit redundant; especially since users tend to read only the first few characters as they scan. (Even though ‘announcing’ is proven to be a marketing word that works).

You could do lots of variations, including

LONDON (October) and DUBLIN (November): venues for our biggest marketing conference ever http://bitly/MarkConf

It’s specific, concise and compelling.

BUT…would YOU (yes, you!) go to those lengths to test the potential effectiveness of your tweet?  I doubt it. Few would. Few do.

When to Tweet

10-11 pm is the most popular tweeting time – not very helpful for us. But then think about the average age of users.

Apparently the best time to tweet is 1 minute past the hour so you’ll be listed on top of anyone who optimistically sets their scheduler to release tweets exactly on the hour.

The next action is up to you.  Please re-tweet this post …

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{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Damien O'Dwyer December 14, 2010 at 12:07 pm

Nice one Joe, I tweet only when I find something useful to tweet about so I will definitely be re-tweeting this!!

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