A Twitter Primer

Twitter_logo_blueDo you ever read a tweet and ask yourself, “Huh?” So do we.

Composing a tweet is as second nature to some of us as breathing. But that’s not the case for everyone. So today, we have decided it’s time to break it on down and explain the elements of a good business or event-related tweet that will give people either all the information they need to know, or a link to all those important details.

Tweets can be used to promote a variety of topics, including events, blog posts, and relevant newspaper articles.

Our beef with a lot of events-related posts is that all too often, there simply isn’t enough information. Yes, you only have 140 characters in which to share your message. But you can pack a lot of good information into 140 characters. Trust us.

Just like a press release, you should strive for your business-related tweets to answer who, what, when, where, why. Sometimes you can cram all of that into 140 characters. Sometimes you need to leave room for a link where the reader can go to find the rest of the information.

Wrong: “What is better than food? Food on a truck in Downtown #Lkld! Food Truck Rally is coming up!”

We read this tweet and ask ourselves, “When is the food truck rally happening?” We don’t know, and we don’t know where to go for more information.

Better: “What is better than food? Food on a truck in Downtown #Lkld! Food Truck Rally is Nov. 13.”

Best: “What is better than food? Food on a truck in Downtown #Lkld! Food Truck Rally is Nov. 13. Info here: http://ow.ly/DKtz6

Either of these options is better, because they don’t leave the reader with a ton of questions. The first example tells the reader what’s happening, when it’s happening, and where, albeit not in great detail. The second one is best in our opinion, because it links to the Facebook event, which will give them date, time, location and other information.


Hashtag Wisely

Tweets also need to use hashtags wisely, and should call out businesses properly. We wrote a while back about how hashtags can be #silly and #annoying, as well as offered advice on how to hashtag wisely.  Take a few minutes to check those out. We’ll wait for you.

Now for an example of what we’re talking about when a hashtag isn’t used wisely.

Wrong: Tonight Frescos is hosting Pass the Mic at 7:30 p.m. Come listen to poetry and singing. #lkld #Frescos

We only have 140 characters. Why waste some of them by mentioning Frescos in the tweet AND hashtagging it? One purpose of a hashtag is to give people who seek information about that word a way of finding your tweet along with other tweets on the same topic. Read about other purposes for hashtags in this post. How many people are likely searching #frescos? It’s better to scrap the hashtag, and take 10 seconds and search to see if Frescos is on Twitter. They are. So why not do this instead:

Better: Tonight @frescosbakery is hosting Pass the Mic at 7:30 p.m. Come listen to poetry and singing. #lkld

Now we’ve called out Frescos and they know we’re tweeting about them. This helps us because it increases the likelihood that this tweet will be favorited or retweeted by Frescos. If people want more information, they now know they can tweet Frescos directly and get their information from the source. This also is about an event in Lakeland and the #Lkld hashtag is popular for those who wish to follow Lakeland-related news. People who follow that hashtag are likely to see this tweet in their feed.

Research Before You Hashtag

Here’s a larger scale example of the importance of hash tagging wisely: someone responsible for tweeting on behalf of the DiGiorno Pizza account messed up recently by using the trending #WhyIStayed in a tweet to promote pizza, apparently without realizing the hashtag was part of a domestic violence campaign. You can read more about this here.

Make sure you understand what a trending hashtag is promoting before you adopt it into your own tweets. Even if you make an error and catch it quickly, the likelihood that someone faster than you has captured a screen shot of your mistake is great. You don’t want to see that plastered all over the Internet.