• Michelle Nguyen

You're writing tweets wrong. Here's how to fix it

Updated: Oct 4, 2021



When building copy for social, it’s not just “this, but shorter.” Remember: great social is not one-size-fits-all.

Anyone can write a sentence, but more often than not, it’s more than just one line of copy. Does it convey its purpose? Does it excite, educate or engage? Most importantly: Is it worth reading?


Crafting the perfect tweet is the ideal test of strength for any copywriter. Especially today as social media managers turn into designers, writers, analysts and even *shiver* gurus, it’s important to know how to convey information quickly.


Twitter is the ideal place to join conversations and stay on top of trends. Also since the platform treasures its 280 characters, you can be certain that you won’t run into that dreaded ’See More’ and lose precious social real estate. Thanks to that, you’ve gotta make the most of it.


The best tweets are rewarded for being fast, first and memorable. Here’s how I do it:


Hook

A quote, stat, or succinct one-liner worth reading


Line

Explain what it is and why it’s important now

Sinker

What do you want the audience to do?




But Michelle, what about threads?

Threads are also another great utilization of the Twitter platform! Check out this thread from TIFF about the cultural impact of Asian horror films. If you have valuable information that can’t be shared in one tweet, a thread will save the day. Create a narrative arc through threaded tweets to share a more holistic story. However, there are some questions you need to ask yourself:

  • Do these key messages deserve their own tweet, or can I further condense this into a single tweet?

  • Does this post require an external link CTA, or can this live as an Instagram post with a longer caption instead?

These questions can help you put your content in the right place, or really hone down what you’re trying to share. Especially if you have beautiful visual imagery, why not let it live as an Instagram post? After all, Instagram posts with 70-100 words perform best.

Anything else I should know?

Increase your reach through tagging

Whenever possible, tag everyone who is relevant to the tweet. It increases your reach to their audiences and is (hopefully) sharing information that they’d love to amplify. The best way to do this is through tagging the image. Stay away from too many @mentions and hashtags within the copy, as this often looks like spam. Keep the copy clean, clear and human.


Add alt text to increase accessibility

If you have the capacity to do so, add alt text to your images so that your content is accessible to a wider audience. For example, this thread is completely embedded with alt text captions. I totally understand if your team is already at capacity and may not have time to do this, however whenever you can, it is strongly recommended. The easiest way to do it is to simply explain the image out loud to yourself: Whatever you say, write that down. You can also skip the intro preamble. For example, instead of “This is an image of two cats on a picnic table,” “One orange cat and one black cat sitting on a picnic table” would be better.



 

With Twitter, keep expectations realistic and be open to having some posts that suck. The best tweets often have 10 before it that totally flopped. Trends can evolve over days or even hours. So my advice? Don't be perfect. Be nimble, smart and succinct in your tweets. The eyeballs will make their way to your feed soon enough.





Michelle Nguyen Lead writer and social media strategist at Super Duper Studios.