The short form content style and rapid updates that are at Twitter’s core make it a great channel for sparking and participating in conversations, and in turn growing a brand and driving traffic to business platforms (ex. Websites, blogs, ecommerce stores etc.). The element that drives these conversations is a Tweet, or what Twitter calls its post format.
Similar to posts on other platforms like Facebook, LinkedIn, or Instagram, Tweets can be created using multiple formats like video, text, and images, and offer features for social bookmarking like location tags and hashtags. The features of a Tweet give content creators options in terms of the types of posts they can leverage in their Twitter marketing strategy.
In this blog post, we’re going to examine the anatomy of a Tweet so you can understand their characteristics, and the opportunities those features present for helping your Tweets get exposure and engagement.
Copy is the one of the most basic elements of a Tweet. Over the years Twitter has changed the number of characters users can include in a Tweet, expanding from 140 characters to today’s 280. This character limit has been a relatively controversial aspect of Twitter, as users tend to want more characters, but at the same time, the character limit is what allows Twitter to maintain newsfeeds full of real-time updates. This is why Twitter has evolved as a source for news as it happens, and also enables it to be utilized as a search engine for information and conversations about current events.
Follow these tips in your Tweet copy to best take advantage of Twitter’s character count.
Best practices to follow for Tweet copy:
Get inspiration for your own Tweets with these "10 Content Ideas For Building Your Personal Brand On Twitter"
Twitter features the ability to tag other accounts in Tweets, similar to the way in which you’d tag a friend or brand account in a post on Facebook or LinkedIn. Using the “@” symbol before a profile name or company page name in your post copy will embed a URL to that page within your Tweet when you share it, and also notify the user you tagged.
Advantages of tagging user and brand accounts in your posts:
In another blog post, we break down "Tweet Examples to Use in Your Twitter Marketing Strategy," where you can see examples of profile tags and other aspects of a Tweet's anatomy in use.
Tweets give you the option to add images and video. By clicking the media button, you can upload image and video files from your computer or phone to include in your Tweet.
With image Tweets, you can add a single image, or multiple images in a collage format. The maximum number of images that can be included in a Tweet is 4 images.
Media content like images and video not only offer an engaging content format to include in Tweets, they also enable you to establish your Twitter branding, having your personal brand or company brand represented on the platform.
Twitter image size specification:
Basic Twitter video specifications to follow when creating and posting videos:
Benefits of including images and videos in your Tweets:
Another common Tweet type is a Tweet that contains a link. Tweets containing links function similarly to LinkedIn or Facebook posts with links, in that they display the URL and enable users to click the link and be redirected to another website.
Links can also display a preview image if the web page or blog post being shared has a preview / feature image set up in the web page’s open graph data (the information and image that is displayed when a web page is shared on social media platforms).
Tips for linking within Tweets:
Want more Twitter marketing tips? Check out this blog post: "20 Twitter Marketing Tips to Help Grow Your Brand"
Given Twitter’s short form content style, high volume of content in newsfeeds, and reputation as a news source, hashtags are particularly useful on the platform. Operating like hashtags on Instagram or other social platforms, Twitter hashtags bookmark Tweets that use the same hashtag and make them searchable by that hashtag. Users can click a hashtag within a Tweet to see the most recent and most popular Tweets that have used that same hashtag.
This makes hashtags invaluable for increasing Tweet impressions, and also opens up the opportunity to see and engage in conversations that are happening on Twitter focused on the same topic.
Tips for Including Hashtags in Your Tweets:
Tweet favorites function like a like button on Facebook, Instagram, or LinkedIn. This is one of the most popular and basic ways for users to engage with a Tweet, and serve as an indication of its performance and reception by your followers.
When someone favorites a Tweet, it has the dual benefit of causing the Tweet to receive more exposure via the Twitter algorithm, and also sometimes Twitter will actually display it to followers of the individual who liked the Tweet. Both of these scenarios encourage further engagement, and signify the importance of the favorite button.
Measure your Tweets’ average number of favorites over time to see if your efforts on Twitter are yielding increasing engagement. You can also try measuring the average performance of different types of Tweets (ex. Link vs. non link posts, like in the example discussed in the link preview section of this blog) to see which Tweet types in your Twitter marketing strategy are having the most impact
Retweets are Twitter’s equivalent of a post share feature, and are the most coveted form of engagement in the platform. Like with a post share on Facebook or LinkedIn, a Retweet from another user takes your Tweet and shares it on their newsfeed where their network can see it.
Retweets unlock new impressions for your Tweet, and also present the opportunity for additional engagement from the person’s followers. Retweets can be done as a simple share, or there is a “Retweet with comment” function that enables users to add additional copy that will appear above the original Tweet.
The ability to comment is another key element of a Tweet, and a great opportunity for engagement. When someone comments on your Tweets, there’s a chance your Tweet shows up in the Twitter threads of that individual’s followers, offering your Tweet expanded reach.
This is why responding to every comment you receive on your Tweets is critical. It opens up the opportunity for engagement with your followers, builds on your organic relationship with them, and gives your post the opportunity to reach new people you otherwise might not have.
Twitter Comments Best Practices:
Polls are a Tweet type that has its own unique format, featuring a list of preset options that you can offer to people to choose from. Poll Tweets enable users to select from the options listed in the poll, and are open for submissions for a set period of time. Once that period of time is up, the poll closes, and the Tweet will remain on your Twitter feed displaying the poll results.
Polls represent a good way to shake up your Twitter marketing strategy in terms of your content mix, and give you the opportunity to get engagement from followers and a format that’s easy for people to participate in.
Twitter Poll Ideas:
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