Twitter, the real-time social sharing platform that offers infinite marketing possibilities provided that you know how to reach your audiences, is still unexplored territory for many business owners. Some fail because their message gets lost in the clutter, others fail because they don’t have enough followers to share their tweets, but most fail because their messages lack substance, creativity, and appeal.
Writing a tweet is like writing web ad copy, with a creative twist. If you are experienced with this, writing for Twitter should be a breeze. If you aren’t, follow AIDA, the golden rule of advertising, as coined by E. St. Elmo Lewis:
The mission of an advertisement is to attract a reader, so that he will look at the advertisement and start to read it; then to interest him, so that he will continue to read it; then to convince him, so that when he has read it he will believe it. If an advertisement contains these three qualities of success, it is a successful advertisement.
AIDA defines what effective ad copy should achieve
Attention Interest Desire Action, in short AIDA, is a relatively old marketing concept, but its principles still stand. Jennifer Romanek, Sales Intelligence at Twitter, described the most effective calls to action on Twitter earlier this year. She included the four examples below:
The Walgreens Mobile App allows you to print photos directly from your phone to any Walgreens. Click here to download! http://t.co/7F1swTmw
— Walgreens (@Walgreens) August 29, 2012
Retweet this for bonus entry into our #Cadbury2012 draw and a chance to win @ParalympicsGB Opening Ceremony tickets! — Cadbury UK (@CadburyUK) August 12, 2012
Follow @Wendys to play 30 Days of Bold and enter to win daily prizes! #getbold
— Wendy’s (@Wendys) September 14, 2012
Want to be among the 1st to try Pumpkin Dunkin’ K-Cup packs? Tweet us why & #DDkcup for a chance 2 win a carton: — Dunkin’ Donuts (@DunkinDonuts) August 27, 2012
As you see, they all share the AIDA principle, and add another special ingredient, adapted to the social network: engagement. There are four tweet tips that transpire from the examples above, as shared by Romanek:
- Give people clear direction and incentive to click on the link you provide in a Tweet.
- Always contextualize why your Tweet is worth sharing.
- Highlight the exclusive content your account offers followers.
- Get users interested by getting personal in your Tweets.
Romanek also provides tips on how to maximize response, and how to reach more audiences by using #hashtags and @handle mentions; by creating a sense of urgency; by offering incentives; and by encouraging retweets and conversations. What’s missing from the great article mentioned above are concrete writing tips.
How to write compelling Twitter copy
- Keep your message shorter than 140 characters. Although you have 140 characters to write a tweet, there are a couple of reasons not to exhaust them all. You need to allow 15 to 20 characters to avoid losing parts of your tweet when followers and other interested users re-tweet you. In other words, allow for your @handle and other content to be included by followers and retweeters.
- Since you have less than 140 characters, get straight to the point. No one needs to read War and Peace on Twitter. Skip unnecessary words, that don’t bring added value to your message.140 characters are a limit, not a target.
- Include relevant #hashtags to further increase tweet relevancy and reach. Use hashtags wisely: don’t clutter your tweet, follow the best practices:
- Centralize usage around one hashtag, maximum two hashtags. Messages containing too many hashtags are confusing, and “spread thin” according to Twitter’s best practices.
- Use obvious hashtags. As an example, the American version of X-Factor used #xfusa as their official hashtags, but fans on Twitter used #xfactor five times more than #xfusa. The show producers were listening, and changed the official hashtag to #xfactor to please their fans.
- Use hashtags creatively – a good example are the mad-lib hashtags, defined as a hashtag that goes at the beginning of a post that starts a sentence a user can then finish.
- Tweets act as microcontent, so be specific and informative. Thing about what a user is searching for, or needs, and offer the information upfront. See the Walgreens tweet example above.
- Location matters: if you target a particular city or region, specify them in your tweet.
- Use correct spelling and punctuation, no txt and confusing acronyms.
Amplify reach to boost ROI
Sometimes a tweet needs a boost to reach more audiences. Twitter provides the means to spread your message further: Promoted Tweets appear in user timelines, as well as Twitter for mobile, desktops, laptops and tablets. You can target your Promoted Tweet by country, state or city; by interests and gender and by device.
Aside Promoted Tweets, you can expand reach by connecting your Twitter account with other social media accounts, like Facebook, which recently introduced searchable #hashtags too.
Remember that tweets have a short lifespan. You can repeat the message within a few days to remind your target audiences about your promotion or anything special that you have to offer.
Monitor shares and retweets, and reply to retweeters to keep your audiences engaged.