Twitter: 10 types of tweets you should know

Making your message count in 140 characters or less is a vital part of your business strategy. When you use Twitter, you can either send the same types of tweets all the time and risk blending into the social media universe or you can mix things up and be that go-to person everyone’s talking about.

Your choice. Assuming you picked the second, here are 10 types of tweets that will help you be a Twitter superstar in no time.

Boring
Snore. Tweets that give Twitter a bad name such as “I am eating a sandwich.” This type of tweet is uninteresting and doesn’t encourage interaction. Twitter started this trend by asking the world a boring question: “What’s happening.” They should have started with “What has your attention?” That could be the difference between tweeting “I’m eating a sandwich” and “I need your help to find the best burger in Chicago.” Which of those tweets interests you more?

Introductory
Introduce a Twitter user to either another user or a group of people. Example include: “I’d like everyone to meet @soandso, who is new to our team here at the Tribune” and “Hey, @Suchandsuch please meet @soandso, who is also an avid golfer.” Introductory tweets are a great way to build community quickly on Twitter.

Spammer
Trust me. You don’t want to be viewed this way. Spammer tweets aren’t necessarily tweets that come from an automatic spambot feed. Sometimes, spammy tweets can come from a user who only seems to shill for his or her own projects or products. An often cited formula for avoiding being a spammy twitter user is to follow the Rule of Thirds: Talk about your own products a third of the time. Share other links and ideas in your niche for another third. In the final third, reply to people, answer questions and ask questions of your followers.

Quote
Consist of an attributed quote and that’s all. Example: “In three words I can sum up everything I’ve learned about life. It goes on – Robert Frost.” This type of tweet is common, but should be used very sparingly because it generally does not encourage interaction with others.

Retweet
Retweets (or “RTs”) are simply re-sharing the content sent from another user. These can be done by hitting the “retweet” button to share the original tweet and automatically source the tweet (“RT @scottkleinberg Today…”). The retweet can also be accomplished by sharing a link obtained from another user, recreating a version of the tweet, and including “MT (modified tweet) or via @username” in the tweet.

Marketing
Let’s talk about these. In and of themselves, they are harmless, straightforward communication about a product, deal or brand. For example: a hardware store twitter account could tweet “This week only: all BrandX paint and rollers 50% off” and that would be an example of a marketing tweet. The problem arises with marketing tweets when that is all or the majority of tweets posted by a given account. This isn’t likely to be a problem if the tweeter follows the aforementioned Rule of Thirds. Sticking with the hardware store example: this account could also share how-to guides and tips, relevant industry news, and address customers service and/or advice questions. Everyone buying paint wants to know how to get it out of the carpet.

Giveaway or Benefactor
Tweets giving “insidery” info on deals, freebies, contests and other giveaways. Most giveaway tweets are designed to go viral by being widely retweeted to share the information.

Link
Tweets sharing links to compelling or entertaining articles, images or blog posts. Such links can be original content from the user, or outside content he or she wishes to share with followers. Be sure to mix link tweets with other types of tweets for maximum impact.

Question and Answer
User asks a question of his or her followers and this hopefully results in answers. Question tweets can range from rhetorical questions (which can be entertaining, but generally aren’t extremely useful because they do not encourage interaction) to polling followers about product and purchase recommendations (Buying a new dishwasher. Any recommendations?)

Customer service
Can be either from the customer raising an issue with a service or product, or from a company acknowledging a widespread customer issue, or working to satisfy an individual customer’s issue.

Watch “30 Second Social,” the web video series hosted by Scott Kleinberg and Amy Guth, for more tips and tricks about Twitter and other forms of social media.

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