Seven Habits of Highly Effective Tweets

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Effective tweets have characteristics that are easy to spot. You’re going to want to take advantage of that and utilize some of the practices that make for popular tweeting if you want to become a reliable tweeter that people can turn to. Here are some Twitter traits that make for effective tweets:

1. Clarity

I have one person I follow who might as well be tweeting in a different language. Of course, he tweets in English, but his word sequence rarely makes sense. There’s always some hidden meaning to what he’s tweeting, and it’s up to his unfortunate followers to figure out what it is. Don’t be like that. Your tweets should be so clear that your followers can see what’s on the other side immediately. Your followers shouldn’t need a decoder ring to figure out what you’re trying to say.

2. Concise

Twitter only allows for 140 characters, and you may think that’s concise enough. It’s not. Ultimately, you should keep your tweets to 120 characters. Why? Well, if you want to get retweeted, you need to leave room for someone to include “RT @YourTwitterName” in their retweet. I find that I retweet much less for people who don’t abide by the 120 character suggestion. Be brief and you’ll have a better chance of being retweeted over and over again.

3. Keywords

You want your tweets to be searchable because that’s how people are going to find you and what you’re tweeting about. Therefore, you have to use proper keywords when tweeting. If your Twitter profile specializes in hockey information, you’ll need to include the words “hockey” or “NHL” somewhere in your tweets, because that’s what people are going to be searching for. Make it as easy as possible to be found.

4. Shorten your links

With those 140 characters being so valuable, you don’t want to waste space by putting an entire hyperlink into your tweet. You should use some popular link shortening services to clear up some space for you. There are plenty out there, but I prefer since it gives you a ton of great analytics data on who’s clicking your links. Whichever service you choose, just make sure you’re cutting down on the space your links take up.

5. Use “You”

People want to know how you can provide value to them. Catering to that need is a strategy that works extremely well on Twitter. Tell your followers how the link they’re about to click on will help them. It should come as no surprise that the most commonly retweeted word is “You.” Posting a tweet that utilizes the word “you,” statistically, gives you a better chance of being retweeted.

6. Link to lists

For some reason, people really like to read lists. You’re here reading this one, aren’t you? My Twitter stream is constantly full of people tweeting lists, and I tend to read almost all of them. I’m not the only one. People pay attention to tweets that link to lists, probably because they’re full of easily digestible bits of information that pop. Capitalize on that.

7. Ask questions

When you ask questions, you’ll sometimes feel like you’re just shouting into an empty room. But you’ll be surprised at the response the more you ask them. Engagement is a huge part of using Twitter the right way, and people love to offer help online. If you’ve got a question about something, ask it. You’ll get some really great answers most times, and what’s even better is that your followers will be even more aware of you. Never think your followers have nothing to offer you.

Who are some of your favorite tweeters, and why do you think they’re successful?

Join the Conversation


  1. John McTigue       Reply

    I would add – Be Consistent. If you want people to recognize you as an authority in some topic, tweet about that 90% of the time. If you're all over the map, harder to figure out who you are and what you're about.

  2. jayadams       Reply

    John, excellent addition to the list! So true, too. I found once I narrowed down my topics to social media and the like, people were more able to find my true Twitter value. Thanks for the comment!

  3. tinalouiseUK       Reply

    I respect people who tweet about more than 1 aspect of themselves. Scientists who walk their dogs & artists who do their accounts & frown

  4. Oliver Gassner: Digitale Tage       Reply

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  5. el7cosmos - Abi أب       Reply

    well…this is great tips, some of them isn't my habit!! i should use it more

    1. Best Freelance Writer       Reply

       Imagine this post was very highly effective that when I shared it using Buffer, it got 862 clicks. You lead by example. Great article on habits of effective tweets.

  6. Brad Barker       Reply

    I would also suggest using hashtags for keywords you would like to highlight in your posts. Don't overdo it though. 1 or 2 at the most per post.

  7. Ana Quillinan       Reply

    Indeed there is a science to effective use of Twitter, and I appreciate you using such a succinct 'list' to illustrate it. Be consistent, I second that!

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  9. pamperry       Reply

    This is so concise. I tweeted it! :) Thank you for clarity!

  10. Andrew Schiestel       Reply

    Two successful tweeters – completely different approaches: Chris Brogan & Mitch Joel.

    Chris tweets a tremendous amount – like 10-14 tweets per day. A lot of it is personal stuff and 'air', but his community loves it. I think it works for him because he's taken on a bit of a celebrity role.

    Mitch, much less – like 2-3 tweets per day. He keeps it very focused on providing value to his target audience of marketers.

  11. Petra       Reply

    Great Twitter traits. And really good explanation about the questions part. It truly feels like shooting in empty room, but that fades away after a while.


  12. Jodi Clark       Reply

    Great info, very helpful and informative. Thank you!

  13. John Schop (✔)       Reply

    I assume you know that the whole 120 character thing you describe in 2. is not valid anymore? You can now retweet a full 140 character tweet.

  14. Jennifer Duchene       Reply

    I enjoy people who seem genuinely interested in sharing, & responding. People who make me laugh think discover. Lots of favorites. I like lists too & I love to share lists about decorating whys with my clients.

    Jennifer Duchene
    The Home Makeover Mixtress blending cool & cozy style

  15. Juan Felix       Reply

    Great habits to be highly effective. Very nice looking website as well.

  16. Brady Lewis       Reply

    Great tips. You’re definitely right. I tend to read a lot of lists that I see passing through my stream. I’m going to put that tidbit to use myself.

  17. Smart Moms Saving Money       Reply

    Thank you for the very useful information. I learned quit a bit very quickly, your a very clear straight to the point writer I like that a lot.

  18. Lori Anne Brown       Reply

    Great tips! Thanks for the article.

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  22. kingtjap       Reply

    unfollowed the guy retweeting this captain obvious list.

  23. kingtjap       Reply

    unfollowed the guy retweeting this captain obvious list.

  24. Pioneer HVAC       Reply

    Great Article- lots of good comments!

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  26. Joe Burch       Reply

    Loved the 120 character Retweeting tip … #TheMoreYouKnow

    great article #StartItUP

    Joe Burch

  27. Prof KRG       Reply

    This has nothing to do with this post (although I loved it and tweeted it), but what social sharing tool do you use? I love the way it looks like a little drawer.

  28. Morritt       Reply

    I hate YOU…it is actually a word that should not be overly used in writing.   It implies everyone….I am male and I hate when they put up a commercial that talks about when YOU are pregnant or YOU have your period, etc.  That is a word to be very careful with when posting.

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  31. QJ Inspirationist       Reply

    If you want to go even deeper into the psychology and linguistics of successful tweeting then I have some really great insights. I’m working on it right now before I publish but will be very powerful I promise. For now, you could do worse than follow this page and watch the space.

  32. Spottyhen       Reply

    I think I fall into the catagory of tweeting ‘all over the place’ I just cant help it I just have to talk about loads of random stuff!!! Thats just me! xxxReally great points, thankyou so much for sharing!!

  33. Spottyhen       Reply

    I think I fall into the catagory of tweeting ‘all over the place’ I just cant help it I just have to talk about loads of random stuff!!! Thats just me! xxxReally great points, thankyou so much for sharing!!

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  39. Dabney Porte       Reply

    Love it! Twitter is the biggest networking event on the planet…don’t be quiet ~ Talk to those in your “nest” you will find more support than you ever imagined! Great post…I am off to share! xo

  40. Mayank Malik       Reply

    Great post Jay, You make a very valid point about engagement and how people like to offer help online.

  41. Cendrine Marrouat       Reply

    Interesting article! Thank you!

  42. rebekah       Reply

    This is really rich content I ‘ll share this with a few of my friends looking for tips on twitter thank you.

  43. Kim       Reply

    All great tips. Agree about the lists but they can get tedious after a while…the three most this, ten things you need to know about blah, 6 most blah, blah. Keeping within your main area of interest is also valid although it does tend to get boring if that is the only thing someone talks about, I like to know that a person is real and genuine and not just out to sell something. Twitter is, after all, supposed to be a social networking tool, not a business tool.

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