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How To Use Twitter When You’re Not You.

by CRAFT | Media / Digital

There is no greater faux pas in social media than a personal Twitter account that is obviously run by someone else. Accidental, careless posts in the third person or tweets that just lack an overall sense of genuine humanness can completely derail an otherwise sustainable social media strategy.

First-person updates have to be spot on—even if it’s just an illusion. The voice is the most important skill we can provide our clients. Our ability to capture the unique personality and voice of our clients sets us apart from everyone else. It engenders a higher-quality, more engaging following—the kind that cares enough to vote or donate to a cause.

The bottom line is that people on Twitter love personal accounts. For the first time, regular people can directly communicate with celebrities and public officials and have their voices heard in real time. But nobody wants to engage with an account when they understand that a social media director or a summer intern is on the other side of tweetdeck, copying and pasting general messaging points in response. It’s boring and uninspiring and offers no information they couldn’t just as easily Google to discover.

So we want a consistent voice. Whenever you tweet on behalf of someone else—be it for a campaign or otherwise—don’t forget that you’re being that person.

Here are some general guidelines to get you started:

  • Listen to the person. This might seem like a no-brainer, but it’s important. Pay attention to speech cadence and tone. Don’t take this lightly—you’re studying for a role. Imagine that you are creating that person in each of your posts.
  • In the same vein, think about how word choice and punctuation affects that voice. Is the person monotonous? If so, it’s unlikely the person would use frilly words or exclamation points. Are you tweeting for an enthusiastic guy? Don’t let any followers think he doesn’t care. His followers will see him, in video or otherwise, and that’s important they see a consistent “whole person” on camera and in social media.
  • Text doesn’t emote. If your client is sarcastic and witty in real life, people will assume his tweets are being written in the same spirit—proceed cautiously.

Here are some other tips for successful tweeting from a study by Dan Zarrella:

  • Keep tweets between 120 and 130 characters if you can help it. This length gets the most hits. But that doesn’t mean a short tweet won’t get any attention. If you can pique interest in few words, do so.
  • Use action words. More verbs and adverbs, fewer nouns and adjectives. The adverb rule goes against the conciseness of standard editing, but makes tweets stand out more against bland counterparts in the reader’s feed.
  • Link your tweets. To websites, to other users, to hashtags. Research says using “@,” “via” and “RT” increases click-through and tweet visibility.
  • Use some form of imperative, whether a direct call to action or in the structure of the tweet itself. Tweets with “please” and “check” got more hits. Send them to your site/video. If nothing else, separate tweet text with a colon or dash before your link. Don’t let them finish reading at the period and move on.
  • Put your links in the first quarter of the tweet. Higher click-through rates = more retweets and more views. This is what we want. Interrupt the reader’s thought, let them read through and click. Ditto with the previous— don’t let them move on without clicking.

Remember that every tweet should have a purpose. Are you inspiring new followers, engaging in a conversation, making a bold statement to gain retweets and favorites? Know what you’re aiming for—and who you’re tweeting for—before you hit send.