December 11, 2014

Social Media Strategy: How to Create Effective Twitter Content

By Lewis J.

With approximately 284 million active users and 310 million monthly visitors, Twitter is the second most popular social media platform in the world. It is also a powerful sales generator. Twitter users who read a tweet from a business are five percent more likely to visit their website, and 38 percent more likely to make a purchase. Approximately 33 percent of Twitter users follow at least one brand or company. They are 67 percent more likely to buy from that brand and 76 percent more likely to recommend it to someone they know.

Viral Tweets


Users favorite, retweet, or reply to posts that they like on Twitter. There is no set formula for creating viral tweets, but here are some features that help drive interaction.

1. Photos & Videos: Tweets that contain a photo or a video are retweeted 35 percent and 28 percent more often than text-based tweets. Photos are the most popular. They’re retweeted 128 percent more often than videos, though videos are favorited 49 percent more often. Humorous images make up 62 percent of all image-based tweets. Photos are a great way to introduce new products, punch up company announcements, or draw attention prizes and giveaways.

2. Links: Tweets with links to websites and articles are retweeted 86 percent more often. Links embedded approximately a quarter of the way into your tweet are clicked on more often. Tweets with links to how-to articles or lists were retweeted three times as often. Twitter automatically shortens links in tweets to ensure that they don’t use up all of your 140 characters. Users can also shorten their links with Bitly, a free web service that compresses internet links.

3. Quotes: Tweets with popular, meaningful, or humorous quotes are 19 percent more likely to be retweeted. Twitter users that tweet quotes have 43 percent more followers than those who don’t. Quotes are easy to find. Check out Brainy Quote and Goodreads to find some famous ones that relate to you.

4. Questions: Addressing your followers directly is an effective way to starts conversations. Tweets that ask questions receive 1,050 percent more replies than plain statements. Ask them their opinion about your company, a new product, or an industry trend. When you get a reply, reply back. It’s the easiest way to keep them involved.

5. Hashtags: Tweets with one or two hashtags (#hashtag) are 24 percent more likely to be favorited or retweeted, though tweets with more than two hashtags are 17 percent less likely to be favorited or retweeted. Find out which hashtags are trending by visiting and being creative. There’s a lot to hash out.

6. Length: Tweets with less than 100 characters are favorited and retweeted more often than longer ones. Tweets with links are favorited and retweeted most often when they are 120-130 characters long.

7. Moderation: Tweets from users that tweet once or twice an hour are read 300 to 100 percent more often than tweets from users that tweet three or more times an hour.

8. Phrasing: Tweets with “via,” “@,” “RT” (retweet), “please,” and “check” are read more often than tweets without them. Tweets that used action verbs and adverbs are also read more often than tweets that use nouns and plain adjectives.

9. Ask: Tweets that ask to be retweeted are retweeted 12 times more often than tweets that don’t. Tweets that use the word “retweet” instead of the abbreviation RT are tweeted 23 times more often. Ask people to retweet to show support for a cause or as part of a tweet poll. For example: “Retweet if you like X. Favorite if you prefer Y.”


People follow businesses on Twitter to read about related topics, keep up on company news, get exclusive content, and learn about sales and product releases. They also want to be entertained, and to receive discounts and free merchandise. Give your followers a behind-the-scenes look at your company, keep them up to date on what’s going on, and reward them with Twitter exclusive offers. The most important guideline is to make sure that your content is fan-focused. If you’re not certain what’s working, track your followers’ engagement with Twitter’s conversion tracker and readjust. Find something new and interesting to tweet about every day; experiment and be creative.

Next week, we’ll explore how to use Facebook and Twitter ads to reach new customers.

Have something you’d like to say about Twitter? Post a comment!

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