My Five Preferred Kinds of Tweets

I get asked a lot how to Tweet. Sometimes it’s important to get over the early adopter attitude about not talking about use, and just share what you do. So this primer on how to tweet is based on my personal style and experience on Twitter.

After three plus years on Twitter, it’s my belief that a balanced diet of tweets is essential to success. While I use these kinds of tweets, I think it’s important to stress natural conversation. In fact, when Jason Falls recently analyzed types of Twitter Marketing, he dubbed my approach the epitome of Conversationalist tweeting.

When you are over contrived on Twitter, it creates an obvious level of staleness. This is a real problem for most organizations and “business” tweeters (see Beth Kanter’s Twitter Ladder of Engagement). It’s social media, not PR Newswire. Incidentally, this is a general approach I use across my social media communications.

Most importantly, you, we or the organization is not the center of the universe. I like to remind myself that everyday is a good day to have a Copernican revolution on Twitter.

OK, so now that the sermon is over, here’s how I go about it…

Personality Tweet: Baseball, rated PG talk about my wife, musings, etc. No one talks to a corporate monolith or a link stream. Show you’re a human being, let people like the real person that you are. Don’t manufacture this stuff, talk about genuine interests, and people will be naturally attracted to you.


Conversational Tweet: Novel concept. Actually talk with people. It’s amazing to think that people actually participate in social networks to talk with other people that have similar interests. There’s nothing worse than watching a stream of links and self promotional junk.


ReTweet: Notice we have yet to publish our own promo? Copernicus! There are many styles of retweeting, some with commentary, some without. Editorial commentary shows more engagement and thought, but whatever style you use, RTing demonstrates love and thought towards the larger ecosystem. That includes highlighting your peers’ ideas, thoughts and content.


Link Tweet: Add value to your network by showcasing content they may be interested in. What a great way to provide value, demonstrate that you are educating yourself on the larger industry underpinnings, and that you are not completely self promotional. I would say sharing content from a conference, while not a link tweet, is in the same vein.


Content Tweet – I think most people know how to do this. Unfortunately, it seems to be their only form of tweeting. A balanced diet is needed, and if you’re doing this more than 50% of the time, your community is likely not engaged. Whether it’s your work or your art, do your best to maximize the 140 characters and write a great tweet (see tips on headline writing).


Some other general tips about Twitter. I find it’s not much good for anyone if I am tired, cranky or not in a good mood. I have definitely ratcheted back when and how I tweet so I can do so mindfully, and be of service to my community as much as possible (see the Zen of Tweeting). Some people build huge followings based on snark, tough conversations and nasty wittiness, but for me, this was just not how I wanted to represent myself, or how I wanted to contribute.

What about you? How do you tweet?