Earlier today on Twitter, the brilliant (and comical) Faris Yakob tweeted about a piece from Marketing Chap titled “Why blueprints for the perfect tweet are perfectly absurd”. Even before reading the article, I was in complete agreement, but found his jovial commentary enlightening.
The notion that there is a formula for how to make a perfect tweet epitomizes the thinking that defined the age of push-marketing, where messages were sent to customers regardless of who they were. While today’s marketing departments can geo-target messages, there still is no objectively perfect tweet for your audience, because your audience is not homogenous. The “perfect” tweet will connect you and your audience, and in fact, the best tweet often comes from your audience TO you.
- Call to action: Tell readers what you want them to do.
- Hashtags: Include one or two to increase your reach among people who don’t follow you.
- Tone: Use your own voice, but in a professional way.
- Format: Use a mix of headlines, questions and statistics to drive clicks and retweets.
- Shortened URLs: Bit.ly links earn the most retweets.
3. Blank space:
- Leave room for at least 20 characters at the end of your tweet so retweeters can add comments.
As Marketing Chap eloquently points out: “This is a style of tweet for pushing a message, pure and simple, and I am firmly in the camp that says that social media is not at its best when it is merely foisting content on followers.” He goes on to explore the Twitter account of the author and finds that this individual (Gerry Moran) indeed follows his own guidelines, but that does not make any of the tweets “perfect”. Marketing Chap’s comment mid-way through the piece identifies perhaps the most direct issue with the type of tweeting Moran prescribes:
“To my mind, the key word in the term ‘social media’ is ‘social,’ and the sort of tweets Mr. Moran advocates are decidedly asocial. What I mean to say is, there is no social interaction whatsoever. The @SAPNorthAmerica account is really just a cleverly packaged RSS feed hosted on a social media platform.”
He instead suggests the following guidelines, acknowledging that he doesn’t enjoy being prescriptive in general:
- Be generous. Besides being a splendid way to learn, being generous with other chaps’ content is an unbeatable way to cement a connection.
- Be unpredictable. If one tweets about the same thing again and again then why should a chap bother to stay tuned?
- Be interesting. Tweets that are humorous, clever or memorable will get chaps to pay attention to the next tweet and the tweet after that.
When we look at some recently well-received tweets, many of them include few of the above elements, but much more closely follow Marketing Chaps’ guidelines. Example 1: Audi’s tweet during the Superbowl:
Both of these examples received a number of responses and spread far beyond the original poster, which may or may not have been their goal.
Which brings me to the conclusion: The perfect tweet is one that achieves your goal. As with most things in life, making intentional decisions most often leads to your desired outcome. So, when wondering “what should I tweet?”, ask yourself “Who am I communicating with?” and “What do I want them to get from this tweet?” I bet it will yield much more success than arbitrary links and hashtags.