Anatomy of a Good Tweet

I’ve said it once, and I’ll say it again, Twitter is fast paced and if you blink you’ll miss it. If your Twitter feed looks anything like mine, then you’ll have to have a fairly impressive reading speed to be able to keep up with the 140 character updates from the hoards of people you’re following.

Using Twitter as a Marketing tool is a genuine challenge for businesses; you have to remember that you’re not aiming to provide shorter updates, you just have less characters to play with. Composing a really great Tweet is an art form, with some universities now offering ‘Tweet Scholarships’ to those lucky few who can condense their admissions essay into 140 characters or less.

So, what makes a Tweet valuable? Lucky for us, the Harvard Business Review has conducted research using 43,738 tweets to determine which are considered ‘worth reading’. Here are some great tips to keep in mind next time you’re let loose with the business Twitter account and you’re feeling less than inspired.

1. 36% were considered worth reading, 39% were considered ‘ok’, and 25% were considered not worth reading.

2. Quite surprisingly, the highest rated Tweets were random thoughts or observations. These are a notoriously difficult Tweet to grasp, as the research also showed that opinions/ complaints were amongst the worst tweets. Your tweet has to remain close to neutral, and point out something which your followers will relate to.

3. Certain Tweets to avoid are the presence maintainers like ‘hello world!’, and ‘good morning everyone’, and the innane ‘what i’m doing right now’ tweets. As a general rule, if you’re eating a bag of percy pigs, no one will care; if you’re sharing said bag of percy pigs with Ryan Gosling, then Tweet away.

4. Sharing information, like news stories, was very popular, with 33% saying these tweets are worth reading. Likewise, asking questions and trying to gather information was similarly popular.

5. Finally, avoid excessive use of mentions, as these create the impression that your followers are listening in to a private conversation. If you must communicate with other users, try keeping it to DM’s.