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To maximise a tweet's effectiveness you need to use the 140 characters in the most efficient manner possible. This post offers five simple suggestions to optimise tweets for engagement and ultimately CTR. 

The number one rule before applying these quick fixes is ensuring your tweet content is relevant to your audience. Although these are generic tips applicable to any industry your tweets must communicate the value of your product/service to your customers.

Start by putting the customer first and construct your tweets around them paying particular attention to language, writing style, and the call-to-action your customers will most likely respond to.

With that in mind here are the five suggestions:

1. Tweet length

The easiest and most frequently addressed issue, and also the issue where common sense plays its biggest part. Twitter is a fast-moving social network, people are often accessing from a mobile device and therefore more than likely to be on-the-go.

Keep your tweets snappy and succint. The longer a tweet the more time a follower will need to spend reading it. When you're flicking through your twitter feed it's simply easier to digest the shorter tweets than the longer tweets. 

Optimal length suggested: 70 - 100 characters.

2. Hashtags

People (alright mainly my Dad) ask me all the time what hashtags are for and what their purpose is. Take the 'hash' away and what do you have? Et voilà, it's a tag and nothing more. 

The beauty of the hashtag is it lets others find your tweets based on a particular category. If you're tweeting about cupcakes then #cupcake would be a sensible thing to include. This would get your tweet infront of anyone who is searching for #cupcake around the time you tweeted it and for longer if it gets retweets. Popular tweets linger around in searches for longer.

Don't overdo it though, too many hashtags and a tweet will look spammy and just generally yucky.

3. URLs

Back in the day you had to use a URL shortener to maximise the characters available when inserting a link into a tweet. Nowadays Twitter does this for you, but there is still room to optimise the tweet further.

Bit.ly amongst other URL shortening services allow you to edit the jumbled up characters at the end that represent your link. This means you can show something more human, something that a follower can relate to and something that will stand out more. For example, consider the two examples below and note how RateSetter use the link bit.ly/ProvisionFund to direct followers.

RateSetter Provision Fund Tweet

Another suggestion that works as a branding tool is to tweet just the name of the website as Twitter now recognises it's a link without the need for the HTTP prefix. I do this regularly as not only is it a link back to the website but it also drills home the name and for any RTs people will see a company name and not a shortened URL.

Note this only works for the shorter domains, if it's too long Twitter will shorten it to a t.co link.

4. Imagery and rich media

A picture is worth a thousand words. Relate this to your tweets and it results in increased engagement as followers have a visual cue. Not only that but a good image, humerous (careful), factual or just attractive can tempt followers to RT and share with their followers.

Look at the below example of how Prezzybox used an image alongside a competition where followers needed to RT to enter. Perhaps one too many hashtags but the image being used shows Prezzybox trying to get optimum engagement.

#cupcake

This isn't to say add an image to every tweet, but make it part of your strategy to include an image maybe once a day or at least weekly. After all, pictures can be worth a thousand RTs.

5. Interaction

Let's not forget Twitter is a social network; the key word being social here. Prompt influencers in your industry to engage with you, mention a couple in key tweets, respond to a tweet mentioning someone who you think will agree/disagree.

Stir things up a little in a good way to get your tweets in user's interactions feed.

Quick tip: to ensure followers see tweets mentioning others make sure you include the handle of the person you're tweeting toward the end of the tweet. Handles at the front of a tweet indicate it's a reply and will not be seen in a follower's news feed.

Summary

Ensuring your tweets are as refined and optimised as they can be will lead to greater engagement with your followers. Use these simple suggestions to get a higher CTR from your tweeting and to build your following.

Other helpful articles:

How do you get the most out of Twitter?

What other tweet optimising methods do you use that are working well? Have you ever been blown away with engagement to a tweet you weren't expecting?

Please leave a comment in the section below, it would be great to hear from you.

Simon Hawtin

Published 18 February, 2013 by Simon Hawtin

Simon Hawtin is Marketing Executive at RateSetter and a contributor to Econsultancy. Simon blogs here, and you can follow him on Twitter or connect via LinkedIn or Google Plus

7 more posts from this author

Comments (14)

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Paul Harding Jr.

Thanks for clearing up somethings.
Great tips that I'll be passing on to other CyberSurfers.

Loved The Mix of pics and texts.

Sincerely,

iCyberSurfer

over 3 years ago

Hannah Rainford

Hannah Rainford, Associate Director of Social Media at Jellyfish Online Marketing

You have a good point about the URL shortener. How many of us have not clicked on a bit.ly just because we're not quite sure where it will lead to?

It might have been worth mentioning a little more about the content of your tweet, although you did mention hashtags. I think it's always a good idea to think about what audience you want to reach with your tweet and using words that your potential audience would search for, whether it's part of a hashtag or not. The internal Twitter search is used often and the majority of the time it's not to search for hashtags.

I agree about using images more often, always makes a tweet stand out. I'm also loving Vine at the moment, makes the experience of using Twitter all the more fun and interactive.

over 3 years ago

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Nick Stamoulis

My favorite is when someone uses a dozen hashtags AS their Tweet. Calm down everyone! I think one or two is plenty to get your point across.

over 3 years ago

Andrew Redfern

Andrew Redfern, Owner at Hit Search

Time of the day - is another addition to this list. Tweet when your audience is actually around!

over 3 years ago

Simon Hawtin

Simon Hawtin, Marketing Executive at RateSetter

Paul: thank you, I'm glad it's helpful. Always makes reading a little easier with imagery, breaks it up.

Hannah: thank you for your comments. Tailoring a bit.ly link stands out more and looks more trustworthy. Agree with you on the hashtags, it's good to include core keywords and themes in the actual content also. I'm going to explore Vine further, I don't feel as if I'm in a position to comment just yet but from what I've seen of it so far I've only had positive experiences.

Nick: this made me chuckle, it reminds me of the late Michael Winner "calm down dear" commercials. I'd say no more than two for sure, any more and it looks like search bait.

Andrew: yes, absolutely time of the day is important. Another common sense point to put alongside tweet length.

over 3 years ago

Andrew Isidoro

Andrew Isidoro, SEO Manager at Gocompare.com

I agree with Hannah that uncertainty of where a link will lead to is a factor. This is one of my main arguments for implementing Twitter Cards on-site.

https://dev.twitter.com/docs/cards

Not only does it give the user a richer experience but it also lets them know where they are going when they click.

over 3 years ago

Simon Hawtin

Simon Hawtin, Marketing Executive at RateSetter

Andrew Isidoro: excellent suggestion and something I must admit I've overlooked. Thank you for commenting. Have you any experience/results with increased CTR from this? Alternatively, any articles you can suggest reading?

over 3 years ago

Andrew Isidoro

Andrew Isidoro, SEO Manager at Gocompare.com

We are currently implementing it for our own site at the moment and we hope to learn much more about the potential of twitter cards as, above the theoretical, there is currently nothing to prove an increase in CTR.

I'd suggest taking a look at this marketingland post to get a feel of what they consist of:

http://marketingland.com/twitter-cards-how-savvy-marketers-get-more-out-of-twitter-25318

over 3 years ago

Simon Hawtin

Simon Hawtin, Marketing Executive at RateSetter

Thanks Andrew, very helpful. I personally think it will improve CTR because when the tweet is expanded there is a physically bigger area that draws the reader/follower in. There's also the opportunity for obtaining more followers. Interested to see how you guys get on. Please keep in touch.

over 3 years ago

Nichola Finan

Nichola Finan, digital marketing at Media-input

... agree time of day is crucial, proves you really can empathise with your followers, and are not just getting content out there by rote. Images and video definitely 'lift' the stream and interaction ratios

over 3 years ago

Simon Hawtin

Simon Hawtin, Marketing Executive at RateSetter

Thank you Nichola for your comment, I like how you phrased the increase in engagement! Also a good point on not overwhelming your followers.

For all: Twitter today has changed the way it's own URL shortening service works reducing the available characters to tweet. If you obey the optimal tweet length guideline this isn't a problem. But good to keep on top of these slight alterations.

Link here to the news: http://mashable.com/2013/02/20/twitter-tco-length/

over 3 years ago

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Elena Oppedisanoq

Great tips. Clearly tweets which run over without getting to the point are useless and hard to follow.

I also want to chime in on 'time of day'. This is absolutely crucial. I once read a great article on the best times to tweet and not to 'overtweet' or 'retweet' everything you receive. It only results in Twitter overload. I can't tell you the number of people I've 'unfollowed' because they were tweeting every hour or simply retweeting all their tweets to their followers. The latter simply tells me they have nothing original to offer on their own, but still want to 'engage' so they just RT everything. If I have to scroll and scroll past 10-15 RTs of someone I follow, I'll usually end up unfollowing them because it's exhaustive and half the stuff they RT I'm not interested in.

I utilize HootSuite and schedule my content a month in advance, hitting the optimum 9:00am hour and (when I have more content than usual) the 3pm hour. These were the times in that article I read where people we're likely to be the most engaging.

over 3 years ago

Simon Hawtin

Simon Hawtin, Marketing Executive at RateSetter

Thanks for your comments Elena. You are absolutely right on with the overtweeting. I too have unfollowed people because of this, it's irritating and unhelpful. I always think 15-20 tweets a day (not including replies) is a good number to go with.

Scheduling with HootSuite is a clever way of ensuring a constant stream of good content for your followers. Again though, people can misuse this and pump out too many marketing messages too frequently causing followers to press the unfollow button.

over 3 years ago

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Summer Biggs

Great article. I'm still figuring out how to get my message across with only 140 characters. Being concise is a skill and Twitter users are learning how to deal with that limitation. Our world today is so fast-paced and Twitter is a prime example of that. The URL shortening advice is helpful also. It really does give a more human feel to the tweet as opposed to random letters and numbers in the link, which doesn't make anyone want to click on it.

over 3 years ago

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