Ask yourself these questions before you tweet

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Before you post to Twitter, ask yourself these ten questions.

topIs your tweet message ready to post? Well, before you send it, ask yourself the following questions.

Twitter is a great way to promote our businesses or our work. It’s so very easy to do and takes only seconds. And that’s part of the problem. Because it is so quick and easy to do,  it’s also the case that we often forget to take quite enough care with our messages. But a few moments of thought can have remarkable benefits.

Anything you post to the internet, including Twitter messages, affects your own online reputation. It will have an effect on the authority of your messages.  Part of the problem some people have is that Twitter seems to move so fast – messages come in at a rate of knots. So they appear to be fleeting and unimportant.

But that’s definitely not the case. More and more, people (including large and important sites) are embedding Twitter messages on their sites – or showing screenshots of tweets. Would you be happy for your Twitter messages to be seen by millions? You never know – they might be, so make them count.

oneIs your tweet truly interesting /useful?

The mantra we all know about any social media is that our messages should add value to our followers. Does your message do that? There are of course,many definitions of adding value. A gorgeous photograph, for example, can bring a smile to your followers’ faces.

Before you post your message, check to see that you are genuinely adding value. Are you showing your readers – via a link – how to do or make something? Are you telling them about a book you’ve read that might interest them?

A great way to do this is to imagine someone you admire and whose opinion your respect. Would you be happy if they saw your message?

two

 Is your message right for your followers’ demographic?

Every so often, take a few moments to look at your list of followers. Who are they? What are they interested in? There’s no need to analyse for ages, just equip yourself with a general overview. This way, you’ll get a good picture of what they expect from you. Why did they decide to follow you?

Remember that they voluntarily decided to follow  you. Why? Think of yourself as a magazine editor. You want to please your customers (readers) by writing about that they want. Otherwise, they ‘stop buying your magazine – unfollow you, in other words.

three

What do you hope to achieve with your message?

What is your goal? Of course, you have a general goal. It might be to increase the readership of your articles, attract sales, promote your business – there are so many possible goals.

So is the message you are about to send fulfilling that goal? Let me give you an example. Recently a local restaurant tweeted a review. Why?  I wouldn’t be following their account if I didn’t know the place. I want their news, not reviews on someone else’s site. I know they’re good or I wouldn’t be following. Why not tweet a photograph of today’s lunch special? That could fill the dining room – a review won’t. Don’t send out a message without a purpose. Know exactly why you’re sending it out.

foue

Is your message littered with hashtags?Are you using hashtags correctly?

Some people seem to believe that hashtags are a seemingly magical way to get attention. They are not. If you’ve added hashtags to your message, ask yourself why and what you hope to achieve by doing so.  It may be that you’ve read ‘expert’ advice which recommends the use of hashtags – without fully explaining their use – their correct use and their incorrect use.

Are they, to get back to an earlier point, adding value? Or are you just adding them without thought? Do you know what company you’ll be keeping? Who else is using that hashtag and why? You might be giving away a free ebook but bear in mind that the largest users of the hashtag #free are porn accounts.

five

How many characters are you using?

Hashtags use up valuable characters which is another reason not to use them. But are you using other characters unnecessarily? One of your goals is that some of your followers will pass on your message to their own. Make it easy for them by not including too many characters – give them space to comment.

Be succinct. For example, don’t type ‘and’ when you could use ‘&’. Do you really need a three-character ellipsis (…)? Exclamation points are rarely necessary, if ever.  And I promise, there is absolutely no need for ‘LOL’.

six

Does your message include an image?

Of course, not every message to send out on Twitter will need a photograph or image. Are you using an image? You’ll remember that above I suggested that restaurants post an image of their lunch or daily specials. That explains so much more that mere words can, especially when you are short of space.

I mentioned above how more and more people are embedding tweets on their websites – an image makes them so much more attractive and, if there is such a word, embeddable.

As always, be sure that your image adds value.

seven

Does your message correspond with your data?

What data, you may ask? Nothing too complicated.  You’ve no need to study analytics for hours but getting a general picture of what works and when it works will help you make your messages more productive. THere are several free services that can help you do this but it’s easy to check yourself.

For example, the time of day might make a great difference to you.  If you’re appealing to a local crowd, for example, then lunch times are an excellent plan. People are taking a break from work so check their Twitter feed.. Do you find that messages with images have a greater number of shares?  Every account is different but it’s worth taking a few minutes to see which are you most successful messages and plan accordingly.
eight

Is this the first time I’ve sent this message?

Or have you sent it before? Why did you send it then and why are you sending it now? When users look at your timeline, they might look back over several days or even several week of your messages. Are you repetitive? Be careful that your followers don’t see the same tweet over and over again.

I have unfollowed so many people because they are so predictable.  Sometimes that’s because they have set a message to go out at noon every day. Effortless yes, but I’m going to unfollow anyone I suspect of auto-tweeting. I don’t want my feed filled with the same message time after time. Neither do your followers.

nine

Why am I sending this message on this date at this time?

Do you have a schedule for your tweets? No? Well, ask yourself why you are sending this message on this particular date. Take a moment to think about whether your message is right for the season,month or time of year.

Does that sound obvious? I know it does but i can’t tell you how often I see Valentine’s products tweeted in June. Or Thanksgiving recipes in February etc.etc. I have no idea why people do this but they do.Often. How can I, or your followers trust you if you seem not to know what time of year it is?

ten

Can I respond to my messages?

Yes, it’s great to be able to schedule tweets and forget about them. Will I be able to respond? I do often. But I only do so if I can keep an eye on the message in case anyone has a question or query. It’s easy to do from your phone of you’re not going to be at your computer.

Any questions or comments are most likely to come within an hour or so of your message being sent. Twitter is not a one-way street or a billboard. Be there to respond if you’re asked a question.

Finally, before you send the message,check for typos.

Are you happy that your message fulfils all the criteria above?


 

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Jackie Jackson, also known online as BritFlorida, is a highly experienced designer and writer. British born and now living in the USA, she specialises in lifestyle issues, design and quirky stories. You can see a wide range of articles here, or visit her website Tastes Magazine. See The Writer’s Door for more information.

Author: Jackie Jackson

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