It seems like everybody who is anybody is on Twitter these days, and among Twitters 300 million registered users, it’s possible to attract a big audience. When you show up at the biggest cocktail party online, however, you need a big presence to get attention. The twist? Your big presence has to come in small packages— 140 characters at a time.
Comments are called “tweets,” and there’s an art to composing them.
It’s part art (being likeable, engaging in good conversation) and part science (understanding how to speak the language, funny characters and all). Whether you want to amass more followers, amuse the ones you currently have, drive traffic to your blog, or just share your wisdom, you need to craft effective tweets.
1. Be entertaining!
@robdelaney: If you leave your baby unattended, I’m going to sniff it. I’ll tell you that right now.
When Rob Delaney started, he was a barely known stand-up comic from LA. He now has 350,561 followers, a loyal fan base that’s translated into many job offers. You don’t have to be a stand-up comic to entertain people. You can offer inspirational quotes, a tip of the day, your own observations. Even if your goal is to promote your business or blog, think like an entertainer, not a shameless promoter.
2. Use hashtags.
@MovieFone: Have #JohnnyDepp #TimBurton made the funniest 70s-set vampire comedy of the year? Maybe! Dark Shadows gets a trailer.
Hashtags are keywords preceded by a #. Incorporating hashtags into the body of a tweet allows it to be seen by anyone who clicks on the tag, thus putting your little Tweet in front of a wider audience. In the example above, anyone who is interested in Johnny Depp or Tim Burton might be “following” that hashtag and see your tweet, which might intrigue them enough to check you out on Twitter and follow you. As hashtags become more widely used, they “trend,” become super-popular. Check out trending hashtags now and again, throw your two cents into the conversation, and you may attract followers.
3. Reply to others.
@EvangelistaLA: @adrialang You are so funny! That tweet made milk come out of my nose!
Read a few Twitter feeds and you’ll notice some use their megaphone 24/7— they never talk TO their followers, just talk AT them. The more you engage with followers — answer questions and respond to tweets — the more well-liked you’ll be. Kindness and compliments beget kindness and compliments — so reach out and reply.
4. Post links.
@SaraKSilverman: People of NYC – Do yourself a favor & see NATURAL SELECTION this weekend only at the Angelika- I loved it so much- so … http://say.ly/jqf1AiM
Share links to articles, photos, videos, or links to other cool stuff online, and you’ll become known as a curator of great content a particular topic. When people click on something you recommend and like what they see, they’ll be more likely to keep following and tell their friends. Oh, and Twitter automatically shortens long links — every character counts!
@PatrickJSaxon: RT @homersimpson: Maybe, just once, someone will call me “sir” without adding, “you’re making a scene.”
The greatest gift you can give a fellow Tweeter is the RT, or “Retweet.” If someone says something fascinating, share it with your entire audience. Your tweet appears with “RT” at the front, people can check out the originator. Retweeting is good karma; it’s the “give to get” philosophy of Twitter in action.
6. Follow Friday
#FF @DalaiLama @Digitwirl
#FF (or Follow Friday), a hashtag that has become ubiquitous on Twitter, is yet another fun way to spread the word about people you follow. If someone has been particularly impressive during the week or you just like them lots, give them a #FF shout. #FF’s can be game changing if you are lucky enough to get one from someone with a big following.
7. Tweet with meaning.
Offer something of value. What you had for lunch or the whereabouts of the dog may matter to you, but unless it’s funny or otherwise interesting/informative, resist the urge to Tweet it.
So! Now that you’re a professional when it comes to Twitter etiquette, start making Twitter work for you! Your followers will come to know you as a funny, retweeting, Friday following, informative, link-posting member of the Twitterverse.