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No one can deny the phenomenal rise of Twitter over the past few months. But with a massive 750% growth rate within 12 months and hundreds of tweets every second, it means there is an awful lot of ‘noise’ being channelled through the medium.

So how can you make yourself heard through all this activity? What will make you stand out from everyone else? Although there’s no definitive rule, we’ve come up with ten tips to guide you in the right direction.

Econsultancy has long been an advocate of good online copywriting. After all, you can have the biggest budgets and the best marketing strategies, but if your text isn’t up to scratch, you’ll lose out on opportunities. Exactly the same principle applies to Twitter, minus any obvious financial payments. You need to have a strategy in place and this has to be supported by good writing. Interestingly, with Twitter being a free-for-all, you get a mix of commercial businesses, various organisations and countless individuals, all trying to grab each other’s attention.

Whichever of these categories you fall into, if you’re trying to utilise Twitter as a communication channel (as opposed to an instant-messaging service), perhaps the best way to think of a tweet is as a paid-search ad. The similarities are certainly there: PPC ads allow a fixed amount of characters and you certainly wouldn’t waste time, effort and resources creating an ad that users will be unresponsive to, so why should a tweet be any different?

Both concepts behind Twitter and paid-search are relatively simple enough on paper, but in practice it’s another matter. One of the largest complexities with Twitter is that because users interact with each other on a real-time basis, this means that constantly creating engaging copy becomes fairly difficult to both manage and measure, unlike a fixed paid-search campaign, where variations can be tested. So, as a starting point, you should perhaps consider one major point before engaging with other users, in order to create good copy and maximise the impact of your tweets.

Ask yourself why you are on Twitter. Are you operating on a personal or commercial basis? As an aside, it is important to acknowledge that if you answer the latter, you need to understand whether you are an individual ‘face’ of an organisation or if you’re Twittering under a brand name.

Following on from this, you have to be clear about your objectives when tweeting. This will help you in creating clear, concise ‘Twitter-copy’ that will engage your followers and help pull in new ones. Are you using it as a customer service support? A brand monitoring tool? A marketing or sales platform? Understanding why you’re using Twitter will help you follow these guidelines and create great copy...

1.  Make it personal
Everyone loves to see their name in lights. Ergo, everyone loves to see their name being tweeted. It's social media at its best and by treating users as individuals, this will ensure happy followers. Don’t insult, confuse or be offensive. This will backfire in a bad way.

2. Keep it relevant
It doesn’t matter what you do or what you know. Investment banker to plasterer, you need to keep your tweets relevant to what you know best. You generally have followers because you’re offering niche communication. Share your knowledge and anything else that may be interesting – no one cares you just made a cup of tea

3. Engage your followers
Ask questions, speculate on theories or ideas and invite others to join in. What’s going on in your industry or in the news? What insights or opinions can you offer? Feeding out links is fine, but add commentary if necessary. Make people want to retweet you!

4. Don’t be lazy
Don’t use txt spk – it looks terrible. Always finish anything you’ve started, whether it’s a conversation or a follow-up tweet. Always reply to anyone who asks you a question or contacts you with an issue.

5. Offer something that’s wanted
Give your followers something they want. This crosses the boundary of relevant information into the territory of online offers, information, free online tools, discounts, job openings, etc. Anything of value that might benefit them in their lives or careers, tweet it.

6. Ask away
Don’t be afraid to ask questions or to challenge others. Obviously, this needs to be done in a tactful way; don’t act like a bull in a china-shop. By showing you have an opinion, this generally can help bring respect from your peers.

7. Stand out from the crowd
Following from point six; go against the grain if that’s what needs to be done. Again, this needs to be done tactfully. Don’t tweet anything too outrageous, or people won’t take you seriously – recognise that if you have an opinion that contrasts with the general consensus, it can be made diplomatically.

8. Good links
There’s nothing worse than an irrelevant link; apart from one that doesn’t work. Check that everything operates smoothly and you’ll have happy, engaged followers. Enough said.

9. Offer exclusives
Give exclusive news, offers or insights and you’ll find that your tweets will be full of great content to please your followers, get you Retweeted and entice new people to join your network.

10. Stop. Think. Send.
It’s not a bad thing to question your tweets before sending them out. Go back, re-read what you’ve written. Does it make sense? Will it engage your followers? Remember, you only have 140 characters… use them wisely.

Jake Hird

Published 20 March, 2009 by Jake Hird

Jake Hird is Econsultancy Australia's Director of Research and Education. Follow him on Twitter and Google+, connect with him on LinkedIn or see what he's keeping an eye on via diigo

126 more posts from this author

Comments (8)

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Mark Kobayashi-Hillary

But your twitter link here does not seem to be valid!


over 7 years ago

Jake Hird

Jake Hird, Director of Research and Education at Econsultancy

Hi Mark, I recently had some technical issues with my Twitter account, but the link seems to be working fine for me...

over 7 years ago


Wayne Varga


I appreciate the information. It was informative and helps me undestand the why?

I personally like the social contacts and the variety of people I have contact with. I also have some comercial goals. I realize I need to get a web site up and take advantage of the othet side. I initailly was palnning on getting people to www.ilearningglobal.biz/wvarga but see a larger picture now.

Any suggestions?



over 7 years ago


Dawn Comber

Hi Mark, Since your article is called "Copywriting for Twitter", I would add that with each and every tweet, you need to be sure that it is spelling-error free, makes sense grammatically and doesn't have any embarassing typos.

over 7 years ago

Jake Hird

Jake Hird, Director of Research and Education at Econsultancy

@Dawn - An excellent point; one that possibly falls under point 10. I'm always surprised by the amount of poor spelling and grammar that can be found on Twitter. 140 characters doesn't excuse it!

@Wayne - I'm not entirely certain what you're driving at, as you seem to be asking a fairly broad question. But if you're asking how to engage and drive users to a commerical website, then yes, social media can play a strategic part in this, but don't neglect other areas of SEM, as these are more measurable and can usually offer a greater degree of control.

- Jake

over 7 years ago


Paul, copysnips.com

These are great tips, and in addition...

Keep in mind also that if you *are* using Twitter for business reasons, you don't want your tweets to put off potential clients. Tweets are a glimpse into the personality, mindset and attitude of the writer, so Twitter gives the opportunity for someone to read your tweets (and hence your personality) before deciding to do business with you - or not.

over 7 years ago

Jake Hird

Jake Hird, Director of Research and Education at Econsultancy

@Paul - Yes, I agree in the sense that some form of personality should be apparent... But there's a fine line between being professional and personal. Recently, I've seen a number of business-based Twitter accounts where a focus upon the business is ignored in favour of trivial tweets. This returns to my first point in the list: "Ask yourself why you are on Twitter." Indviduals or organisations need to understand their objectives and how they can be met through Twitter and in doing this, a sense of individuality can shine through. 

@Ryan Thanks, glad to hear you're picking up new followers. 

over 7 years ago



it has a tremendous effect for most blogger out there who want to create an account to twitter cause it has an advantage using this site to promote your blog to other readers.

almost 7 years ago

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