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Here’s my short, snappy, no-nonsense guide to tweeting for beginners. It’s not a definitive guide, but it might give you some useful pointers.

Use the space:
You have 140 characters (including spaces), but don’t go over or your tweet will truncate and lose meaning.

Shorter is sweeter:

Try tweeting at 120 characters to leave room for others to add comments should they retweet.

For example: Essential reading >> HOW TO TWEET: A beginner’s guide via @katetooncopy

Turn off Facebook autotweet:

There are no character limits or hashtags on Facebook, so instead of autotweeting your FB page status, write a bespoke tweet.

Don’t just follow for the hell of it:

Just ‘cos someone follows you doesn’t mean have to follow them back. Yes it’s sweet to do this, but your feed will soon become clogged with stuff you’re not remotely interested in.

It’s not all about you:

Follow the 80/20 rule for content: 20% about you and your brand, 80% other (related) stuff. Here are some ideas for things to tweet about:

    • Offer guidance: How to Tweet: A beginners guide
    • Pose a question: Why do men have nipples?
    • Offer a discount: BOGOF: Buy one (blog) get one free offer on your product or service
    • Share your latest news: Let everyone know something awesome that’s just happened
    • Be funny: What do you call an Italian with a rubber toe?
    • Be human: When I die I want to be buried in a giant Creme Egg shaped coffin
    • Don’t over share: When you’ve learned to love Twitter, it’s tempting to tweet everything. One friend used to tweet every time he went to the loo; it was funny at first, then gross, then boring.

Name drop:

If you want to mention another brand, use the @ symbol. For example @katetooncopy.

Get personal:

Add a personal comment to your retweet if there’s room. For example

This is the best post ever > HOW TO TWEET: A beginner’s guide via @katetooncopy


If you want to mention a keyword, use the # symbol (#copywriting), but don’t over do it, as it makes your tweets really annoying. One per tweet is cool.

Length isn’t everything:

If your URL is too long, use Tiny URL or to shorten it.

Painless contractions:

Be creative with your word contractions, but don’t turn your tweet into goobledegook or teen speak. For example, ‘U R gr8’.

Don’t use ‘and’:

Try ‘+’ or ‘&’ instead and save yourself two characters.

Use digits for numbers:

So ‘Eight’ becomes ‘8’. Obvious but often forgotten.

Keep it clean:

By reviewing your tweet for empty spaces, pointless full stops, etc, you could claw back enough space for another word.

Retweet sparingly:

If all you do is retweet others, I’m going to unfollow you.

Rewrite retweets:

As long as you credit the link (@[twittername]) and don’t change the meaning of the post, it’s okay to retweet.

So there you go. There are obviously heaps of other points I could add, but my best advice is to get stuck in. It’s only by using Twitter that you’ll wrap your head around it.

Further reading:

Share your thoughts:

What essential Twitter advice have I missed? What Tweeting tactics work for you?

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