Seven Ingredients Of A Good Tweet (And Why It’s Not A Great Tweet)

seven ingredients of a good tweet

A good tweet is a successful tweet. A successful tweet is one that is retweeted, clicked on, or favorited. Sometimes a really great tweet gets all three. 


Here’s what I mean. I schedule  tweets in Buffer and Hootesuite. I use Buffer to schedule and comment on things I find on the web that I think my Twitter followers might like. I use Hootesuite to schedule tweets that have more of a marketing strategy behind them. Hootesuite helps me tweet about posts and pages from MyTeamConnects’ website, manage my direct messages, watch hashtags and trends, and communicate with other people in the Twittershpere. 

Buffer is quick, clean and easy to use; plus it displays analytics about your tweets after it posts them, which tells you what tweets your followers like (and ignore). Today I want to share a quickie lesson on copywriting I picked up on Buffer the other day. One tweet out of three was a clear winner. I set out to analyze why.

Take a look at three back-to-back tweets:

What's a good tweet?

Tweets are really just little morsels of copy. Tweet this.

Seven copywriting lessons from the top tweet, which got 574 clicks. (Can that be right?)

  1. Interjections are good. Words like “Wow,” “Holy Moly” and “Doh!” convey a universal emotion in a short amount of space. Copywriting basics.
  2. Known audience. It speaks to my known Peeps/followers. It reiterates a subject about which I often tweet to my followers; business, goals, entrepreneurship, etc. I also refer to someone I follow on Twitter, making this tweet a friendly compliment among like minds, rather than just a random article I liked. If you see it, you immediately think, “What is she talking about?”
  3. It invites readers in. Framing the tweet in such a social way brings others into the conversation. Although conversations like this happen all the time on Twitter, they don’t often have a link attached. It stimulates your curiosity, doesn’t it? (Truth be told, it was a one-way conversation. I found the article because I subscribe to the writer’s blog feed and I simply wanted to give him credit for the link I shared. I wasn’t necessarily looking for a reply, nor did I get one.)
  4. “Celebrity” name dropping never hurts. It drops the name of popular writer in the blogosphere. The blogger James Altucher is a popular writer/blogger. Lots of people follow him and his Twitter name @jaltucher. If one of this many followers did not see this article, his name alone probably made people curious what they missed. Using a name people know lends credibility/excitement/intrigue to your copy. That’s why names like “Bieber,” “Kardashian,” and “Gaga” have had their trending moments. If the name is popular it gets clicks.
  5. Intriguing title. The title appeals to the wild side of even the least risk-taking people out there. The article “10 Reasons Why 2013 Will Be The Year You’ll Quit Your Job”  is provocative to just about anyone who holds a job. Let’s be honest; even if you love your job, you fantasize about quitting every now and then. In fact, why not this year? I can’t claim credit for that really great subject line. I only piggy-backed on it. But here are more copy lessons from the title…
  6. It’s timely. People make resolutions in January. The year 2013 is only three weeks old at the time of the tweet. Everything is still up for possibility.
  7. The subject line contains a number. It’s human nature to justify bold behavior with reason. Enumerating the reasons for doing something “crazy” satisfies the rational corner of our brains. 

And I’ll leave it at that. By the way here’s another tip, which doesn’t really count as #8, okay? The number seven is a magic number in titles and prices. If you can do something in seven steps rather than six or eight, go for it. Seven is more memorable and appealing to your readers. Don’t ask me why, just try it.

Why no retweets, you ask? I’ve noticed that good tweets may also have scads of retweets, but that the tweets that get massive retweet action don’t necessarily contain links. I have no hard stats to back me up on this, but it seems like a good tweet is either/or…Either clicked on OR Retweeted; but not both. A really great tweet gets clicks and RTs. Something to shoot for.

Also, I think there were no retweets because the tweet looks like a personal conversation, a type of tweet that is a touch outside the retweet radar than a casual observation. That’s my guess anyway. I bet people tweeted the actual post on their own Twitter feeds, though.

Tweets are a great way to practice your writing chops.

Imagine a PPC ad or a Facebook post from the text of this tweet. I wouldn’t need to change much to get some great engagement. The words have already been tested on Twitter.

Play with words and subject lines on Twitter then check your clicks and retweets. It’s a crash course in copywriting. Tweet this!

Do you use any of the above writing techniques? What tweet techniques work for you?

Connect with me on Twitter! @jenmcgahan

Photo: Creative Commons, Zitona