140. The mythical number. It’s the maximum amount of characters you can use in a single Tweet. Whether you’re a marketer managing an account for a business, or a personal user trying to share the latest news, you want to get the most out of those 140 characters. Here are some tips to help you make the best tweet!
Hashtags (#) vs. Mentions (@)
You see the syntax all the time, but what is the difference? And when should you use one or the other? The general rule is that if you are looking to get the attention of another Twitter user, you put “@” before their Twitter handle. This will give them a notification that they have been mentioned and it will be brought to their attention.
Conversely, hashtags (#) are used to group topics together. If you’re going to an event or tweeting about a particular topic, hashtags are a way for users to search for related content by using that tag. No one will get a notification for using a hashtag, but it’s entirely possible someone searching for a particular tag will come across your content if you use them.
Generally, you should use hashtags instead of mentions in your tweets. Unless there is a chance the person you are mentioning is going to retweet it, or you’re part of a movement to petition an account by drawing attention to them, hashtags are the way to go. If someone is searching for a topic, they’re going to use hashtags as their search terms, not mentions.
Currently, any link, no matter what it’s length, will use 22 characters if it begins with http, and 23 characters if it begins with https. The reason for this number comes down to the developers and the algorithms behind the scenes, but it’s important for you as a user to understand your limitations when forming tweets.
This means your 140 character limit drops down to 118 or 117. Make sure your copy fits the required length. However, even though you’re losing out on character length when you use a link, there are other ways to make up for it…
Twitter Cards are basically Twitter’s way of performing link previews. There are a variety of cards you can use, from ones that will showcase media, to featured images, or simple link summaries. They’re a great way to draw attention to your tweet and make it stand out from the rest.
If you are tweeting links from a personal website, you have to set up these cards manually, otherwise your links will just appear as text. Twitter has instructions on how to do this on their website, with some supporting data that proves tweets that use cards get more engagement than those without.
If you are using a WordPress site, some plugins such as Jetpack have Twitter cards build in. Again, you still have to set this up for your particular website, but the process is much simpler.
Make Your Tweet Engaging
Ask a question, create great content, and have a strong voice! The same rules for creating relevant content and engaging with your social audience is the same for Twitter as it is everywhere else! The only difference is your character limit, but you were keeping your posts everywhere else short and to the point, right?
Twitter users are coming across your tweet amidst a sea of other tweets. Make sure they provide something of value to your readers. Attach a picture, a video, or simply ask a question to draw people in. Make sure to use hashtags within your content so that they flow naturally, but still provide the critical function of making your content searchable.
Above all, you want people to associate your account with great content. The better your tweets, the more likely they’re going to be keeping an eye out for your account when scrolling through their feed.
140 characters isn’t so scary once you know how flexible Twitter can be when it comes to sharing content. If you have any other suggestions or tips of your own, let us know in the comments below, or contact us if you have any more questions!