Seven Habits of Highly Effective Tweets

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?

Jay Adams

Jay Adams is a graduate student at the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University focusing on new and social media. Jay spent six years in the newspaper industry as a sports reporter before going back to school to pursue his passion of social media marketing. You can follow him on Twitter at
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