4 Ways to Compose Fantastic Twitter Updates for Your Brand

So much has been written about Twitter, but I think the core essentials can be boiled down to four reminders:

  1. Be Relevant
  2. Be Useful
  3. Be Original and Surprising
  4. Present Variety

Golden Rule #1: Thou Shalt Be Relevant

Even when you are tweeting about your company or brand, your tweets should be news-related whenever possible and appropriate.

No business or nonprofit can relate each and every tweet to what is going on in the moment.  However, it does pay to keep an eye on what is trending among your followers (not what is trending on Twitter as a whole).

Importantly: if there is a major crisis or breaking news story that everyone is talking about, or an impending adverse weather event, you do not want to be tweeting about your sales promotion at that time.  The response can be unfavorable, and it can make you appear insensitive. (For this reason, I counsel against the use of scheduled tweets with third party platforms.)

On the other hand, if there is an uplifting story that everyone is talking about, such as the Royal Wedding, you could, in a clever way that is still relevant, relate your key message to that trending topic, with a little creativity.  Just don’t go overboard and appear spammy.

Golden Rule #2: Thou Shalt Be Useful To Thine Followers

What do your followers care about?  What matters to them?  What are they worried about?  How can the information in the tweet you are about to post make their job easier? Help them save money on groceries? Be healthy? Do something in a better way?   Reveal new ways to have fun?  Tweet about that.

Useful tweets almost always require a link to an article, special offer, or YouTube video. The tweet is just the teaser; more information should be contained in the link.

If you’re wondering how much “useful” content you should post, as opposed to strictly “promotional” content, you might go for an 80/20 ratio and see how that works for you (standard recommendation for email marketing content).

Golden Rule #3: Thou Shalt Be Original and Surprising

Alternatively, the tweet for your brand can convey surprising or entertaining information.  These can be short tweets that don’t have links.

If you’ve got an amazing statistic or information nugget to share that you think will shock or surprise, that’s great tweet material.

A funny saying or joke can work, but it still should be relevant to your brand.  There is a PR firm that tweets cocktail recipes, at least once per week.  In fact, they tend to tweet more information about cocktails than they do about their expertise or client work. On the other hand, Firefly Vodka tweets entertaining content about cocktails — which makes sense for their brand.  There is a way to be both entertaining and brand-relevant: find that way.  And if you can’t be entertaining in a classy way, just go for informative and helpful.

Golden Rule #4: Thou Shalt Present Variety Amongst Thy Tweets

You wouldn’t want to eat the same meal everyday, would you?  The predictable soon becomes boring.  So, do you follow any companies or people on Twitter that JUST post famous quotations?  Or those who just post links to articles other people have written?  They’re not much fun, are they?  Don’t lapse into these lazy communications habits.  Show your followers that they are worth the effort and mix it up!

Your Twitter profile should present a variety of tweets (all related to your brand, of course), including

  • Golden nuggets: short, funny or informative updates; quick and helpful tips; milestone or anniversary announcements (no link required)
  • At replies and at mentions to followers (@Twitter name)
  • Links to articles and blog posts (no less than 50% of these should be authored by you or someone in your company)
  • Links to YouTube video
  • TwitPic links (to photo images)
  • Retweets (sparingly!)
  • Thank you’s and acknowledgements
  • Questions for your followers; requests for suggestions or advice
  • Quick comments on timely or news items, when appropriate
  • Announcements of special events, promotions, or giveaways
  • New product or service announcements
  • Etc. (got more ideas? please list them in the comments!)

Lagniappe!  Extra Twitter Tips

  • Space your tweets at least an hour apart.
  • Keep tweets brief; under 100 characters when possible, for retweeting space.
  • Use real words, not abbreviations, for searchability.
  • Add hashtags (#) for common words and search terms (but no more than one or two per tweet).
  • Use retweet-generating words and phrases, such as “how-to,” “top,” “blog post” or “blog,” “great,” “help” and “check out.”
  • Avoid these terms in your tweets: “lol,” “ha ha,” “home,” “game,” and “work.”
  • Reconsider the use of paper.li dailies, if you are currently using them. Unoriginal, auto-generated filler content really does nothing to enhance your personal or corporate brand.
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About Mary Fletcher Jones

Mary Fletcher Jones is a public relations and marketing consultant, and owns Fletcher Prince (www.FletcherPrince.com). Follow Mary on Twitter @FletcherPrince.

Posted on May 18, 2011, in Twitter Tips and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 5 Comments.

  1. Nice Tips, Mary.

    I think that if this set of commandments was broken and you had to go back up the mountain to get a new set then Thou must be Engaging might make the second batch.
    If you’re looking interact with clients, I just wrote a that offers up some tips on how to go about doing that.

    Thoughts?
    Thanks!

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