Everyone has an opinion on how to use Twitter. However at English Trackers we’re not Twitter experts – yet! So instead we’re going to tell you how to Tweet using good English.
If you’re reading this you’re probably interested in becoming a more successful Tweeter. Whether this is for your business, your blog, for pleasure or leisure the way you write on Twitter really does matter.
Pssst, you should totally follow us on Twitter @EnglishTrackers. We tweet cool stuff about English.
Twitter is clearly a powerful and influential tool, whatever you’re using it for. The world is watching, so don’t let your Tweets let you down!
What you should know
According to this article some of the best words to Tweet are: ‘free’, ‘help’, ‘10’, ‘top’, ‘check out’. Statistically Tweets that use these words get the most retweets. Fit them into your Tweets where possible!
If you’re really serious about tapping into your target market look at the forums, blogs, Facebook pages and LinkedIn pages that you know your audience already uses. Discover the successful words and phrases they use and adapt them for your own means.
The basics of ‘Twittercabulary’, or ‘Twerminology’
Tweet : 140 characters of anything from personal messages and random thoughts to useful links
Twitterer: a person who sends Tweets using the Twitter service
@reply : this is an update – or Tweet – that one user has sent to another
RT : stands for ‘retweet’. This is used to show that you are tweeting something posted by another user
#Hashtags: these categorise Tweets to make them easier to search for and find
Twitterosphere, Twitterverse : the world of Twitter
Twittetiquette : Twitter etiquette, acceptable Twitter behaviour
Twitterati : celebrity or ‘A-list’ Twitter users
For more Twitter vocabulary peruse the Twittonary.
What you should do
- Use personal pronouns, especially I, you and we
- Use dynamic, active phrases. Try to use at least one verb in every Tweet. Concentrate on verbs, like ‘Buy, make, want’
- Use lists and numbers e.g. Top Tips, 5 Ways, 7 Steps
- Use commands (imperative verbs) ‘Join, Look at, Don’t, Do)
- Use the word ‘because’: persuade people by being specific. Give them a reason why they should read your blog post. For example, ‘Read today’s Olympic blog post because it will help you to understand what everyone is talking about!’
- Create a sense of urgency by mentioning time: ‘Today’, ‘last chance’, ‘available until’
- Wherever possible: Use puns! Be clever and amusing. Entertaining people is one of the best ways to attract followers
- Keep it simple and conversational, but be professional
- Be efficient. Use as few syllables as possible. On Twitter you have to be concise. According to blogger Brian Clark the most effective newspaper headlines are 8 words or less. The same ‘less is more’ principle applies to Twitter
- Make one point per Tweet
- Edit – look back over your Tweet and imagine reading it for the first time
- Explain – when you give a link, tell people what it’s about. Never forget to introduce the subject, or people won’t look at it.
If you want help when you’re actually crafting your Tweets, look no further than this article on Twitter tools that can help you with writing your Tweets.
What not to do
- Use textspeak. ‘I tryin 2mak dis shrt so it ftz in2 twtr’ will not win you followers. The point of Twitter is to make things easier for your readers; people will not spend time deciphering text!
- Use smileys 🙂 , LOL, ‘win’ and ‘fail’
- Forget spelling, punctuation and grammar rules. If you want to be taken seriously, you still need to use proper English
- Use jargon
- Send out automated messages i.e. spam
- Use capital letters all the time (also – this should go without saying – but no bad words please)
- Write about yourself in the 3rd person
- Be vague or misleading when you tweet
- Use long words or description where you don’t need to – it’s not a formal essay or report (But don’t use abbreviations like l8r, b4, 2 or u that will compromise ur credibility
And finally, here’s what you definitely shouldn’t be doing! Enjoy some of the very best worst Tweets in history.
Get in touch! Let us know what you think the best Tweeting habits are. You could even follow us @EnglishTrackers and show off your Twittability in a Tweet.
About the Author: This post comes to you from Natalie, English Trackers’ current intern. After graduating with a degree in Classics and English from Exeter University she moved to Beijing for six months to learn Mandarin.
Give me more!
Textspeak. Good or bad? Read as we weigh out the pros and cons.
While you’re at it, check out this cool infographic that shows how texting can affect your grammar.