The Newcomers Guide To Twitter Part 6: How To Write Great Tweets #New2Twitter

The Newcomers Guide To Twitter is a ten-part series of introductory lessons, tips and suggestions for people using Twitter for the first time. Please share these articles with your friends, family, colleagues and anyone you know who is struggling to “get Twitter”.

So, you’ve studied the basicschosen the perfect usernamesetup your profile at Twitter.com, started following some cool people and picked up some followers yourself. Now, you need to figure out a way to hold on to them, and attract more folks to your Twitter table, and the best way to do that is to write great tweets.

Here are 10 tips to get your on your way.

1. The Maximum Number Of Characters In A Tweet Is 140

And that’s a hard limit. There are services that let you “extend” the size of a tweet so you can say more, and readers will have to click away to read anything beyond the 140 characters. I strongly advise that you do not use these services. Twitter is a short messaging system, and that system is made up of tweets of no more than 140 characters. Learn to work within these limits.

Indeed, you should quickly get into the mentality of leaving 20 characters free – that is, tweeting to a maximum of 120 characters – to leave plenty of space for people to retweet you. And if you’re sharing links, get into the habit of writing 100 characters of copy, or less. It’s a good practice to adopt – and stick with – as soon as you start using Twitter.

2. Write The Perfect Tweet

Like it or not, people will judge you on grammar, spelling and punctuation. Books and covers, and all that. Don’t give them the opportunity – be excellent at all times.

3. Become An Authority Within Your Niche

Everybody is an expert on something – identify what you know, and tweet about that. And if knowledge isn’t your thing, become an expert connector, placing person with problem A with person with solution B.

4. Be Consistent

People look for and value consistency. Yes, it’s okay to go crazy once in a while, but find out where your middle is. Middle doesn’t mean boring. It means balance. Exception: if crazy is your thing, be consistently crazy.

5. Hashtags

Use them sparingly. #Not #on #every #single #word.

6. Don’t Make Unnecessary Noise

There’s an important difference between crediting others for their efforts (courtesy) and thanking for retweets (noise/egotism). Always do the former; think twice about the latter.

Also, please don’t be a metweeter.

7. Don’t Automate Anything

Repeat after me: manual good, automatic baaaaaad.

It’s okay to schedule tweets – in fact, I encourage it – but don’t automate anything, or use any service that auto-publishes to Twitter. No exceptions. That means no FourSquare check-ins, no Runkeeper workout fluff, no cross-posting from Facebook, and so on. It might be okay to you, but many people see these kinds of updates as nothing more than irritating noise. To be clear: it’s absolutely fine to tweet about where you are, what you are doing and so on – just do it by hand, on Twitter, and not via a third party.

8. Be Personable, Not Personal

Be a real person, but think about the children. Don’t tweet drunk. Don’t tweet while you’re on the toilet. Don’t provide every little detail. And unless reviewing food is what you do for a career, don’t tweet about every meal.

9. You Are What You Tweet

Ask yourself: why am I using Twitter? Then keep on asking it, as both you, and Twitter, are always changing. In fact, Twitter doesn’t mind if you want to reinvent yourself completely, but people sometimes do. Give them time to get used to the shift.