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Twitter writing: Five tips to win in 140 characters

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If Shakespeare ever had a great Twitter writing tip, it would have to be, "Brevity is the soul of wit." Yet, the undeniably witty Will buried this well-known quote in a long, drawn-out speech by a not-so-witty character inĀ Hamlet. Shakespeare was, of course, going for comic irony. However, when marketers and social media gurus write posts like "Twenty Tips to Take Twitter to the Next Level and Leverage Social Media Shareability for Optimum Revenue Generating Virility," it's just ironically comical. So, to stay on point, here are five quick Twitter writing tips you can actually use and share.
  • Just the facts, Jack. SEO friendly titles get lost in translation on Twitter. The fact is, long fluffy titles just don't work. The goal of your title is to say what the piece of content is and why people should consume it, all while leaving room for your Twitter followers to add their own commentary. On Twitter, any SEO lift comes from the title in your link, not in the tweet text, so you can always create a shorter, Twitter-friendly title.
  • Good Twitterers borrow, great Twitterers steal. For humility's sake, that was borrowed, not stolen, from a quote sometimes attributed (but perhaps erroneously) to the poet T.S. Eliot. Tweets that ring of familiarity tend to resonate in retweets and mentions. Wrapping a piece of content in a pop culture reference, a famous quote, a hit song or anything that triggers a positive association can give your tweet a whole new level of impact. Be careful, though—the greatness comes in making the tweet your own, not simply copying, pasting and praying that it works.
  • Be timely. There is a disproportionate advantage on social media channels for early responders, and nowhere is it more apparent than on Twitter. When writing for Twitter, you need to remember you're writing for a real-time audience. Your message needs to fit your followers' interests at that moment. When you hit the right rhythm, you can tweet your way into online conversations. When you hesitate for too long, your entire message may be lost.
  • Get together and feel all right. In his book, "Likeable Social Media" (McGraw-Hill, 2011), David Kerpen likened social media to a cocktail party. And how often do you go to a cocktail party alone, or without your friends present? The beauty of Twitter is that it's tailor-made to bring your friends into your tweets. If, for example, you're sharing a post about content being king, why not invite a content marketing-savvy friend into the conversation with a mention? Here's an example: "4 Reasons Content is King [Link]... @SavvyFriend do you have anything to add?" One caveat: Your mention, like any invitation, has to fit the context of the relationship. When you bring someone into a conversation on Twitter, it has to be in a way the invitee can appreciate. Otherwise you may come off as spammy or intrusive.
  • Less talk, more interaction. Sometimes it's better to inspire others to write about you than to write strictly on your own. Contests, sweepstakes, polls and other interactive content that you can include in a tweet can be great ways to invite others to do the writing for you.
Seth Lieberman is CEO of SnapApp (www.snapapp.com), a marketing platform for creating interactive content to drive leads and engagement. He can be reached at slieberman@pangeamedia.com.
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