Five Tips to Writing Awesome Tweets that Get Read and Re-tweeted

Aug 11, 2011

Recruiters can use Twitter to advertise jobs, build employment brand, spread influence, and improve reach or popularity. However, before any of this can be accomplished, the first step is to get people actually reading your tweets! A tree falling in a forest may make a sound, but if no one is around to hear it then who cares…right?

Twitter’s growth has exposed a weakness in the recruiting world. We can cover up bad writing with templates and canned messages, but it is very tough to “fake it” in 140-characters or less. Uncompelling tweets heavy with slang or abbreviations, or with little discernible value, are common and banal and serve more to damage your brand that to strengthen it. Twitter accounts consisting of nothing more than spam robots spewing out job posting RSS Feeds can be easily ridiculed or banned, or just plain ignored.

Follower count is a weak metric. Just because you have 20,000 followers it doesn’t mean they are being influenced.  The key is in getting your target audience to take notice – AND to take action. Re-tweeting is the twitter equivalent of emails that get forwarded. A re-tweet means your message worked because someone took the action of “passing it along.” The more your messages get re-tweeted, the farther your reach. If your goal is to influence a new audience of people and get them interested in specific job opportunities, it helps to be re-tweeted by people who don’t already follow you. Klout and PeerIndex help inform you of how influential you may be among your followers, but metrics like Klout’s “True Reach” reveal how much response your messages get.

When we look at the most ‘retweetable’ users in recruitment a few common threads appear. Content is far more important to the number of re-tweets than the “popularity” of the person who posted it. Tweets containing exclusive news and information seem to have the most value and deepest reach.

Look through the @sourcecon timeline and you’ll see some of the most retweeted messages are calls to action like “please ReTweet,” timely content, and new original blog posts. Here are a few more tips and suggestions to help you build your true reach.

Pithy: You may think 140 characters is plenty short enough yet high performing tweets are typically shorter. Plus, with room for others’ comments, you’ll be re-tweeted more often.

Frequent: Like blogging, you won’t build trust by showing only once in a long while. The challenge is that inspired tweets don’t come easy. Fortunately sources of inspiration abound. Sit down with Summify for ten minutes a day to digest all the most popular posts from among your Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and RSS feeds. Make a list of tweets with your thoughts/comments as you read your Summify, send them all to Buffer and to be automatically staggered and posted for your followers during times they are most likely to read them.

Special: Great blog posts are unique but that isn’t the case with tweets. Great Tweets are retweeted hundreds of times. Don’t just “retweet” but contribute a bit to the original, and you can immediately upgrade the quality of your Tweets. It shows your followers that you are fully engaged with the content, not just a “thought repeater,” and that you have actually considered this topic even if briefly before clicking the retweet button. If the message is already perfect, try adding a crisply relevant #comment or personal endorsement.

Balanced: Tweeting nothing but linked content is common, boring, and alerts “spambots” so think of something to add other than a shortened URL. Strike a balanced with links, questions, thoughts, comments, quotes, videos or photos. Ask for feedback and solicit others’ opinion. This can greatly help to create engagement and kick off discussion. Try adding “…you?” at the end of your tweet and see how responses increase.

Tagged: Use #hashtags sparingly and wisely, only when you are certain they add value. Well implemented, they improve the quality of your tweets, increase engagement, and your ability to be found. Overuse them and you’ll become annoying, confusing or frustrating to your followers. Focus on your tweet content then add one or two hashtags if they contribute to your successfully answering the “What are you doing” ethos of Twitter. If you join words, try using CamelCase to increase legibility.  So instead of sourcingconference you would use SourcingConference. Thought technically not  #hashtag, a creative use of tagging is to @mention a well known or established expert in the the topic you are tweeting about. This can bring about attention from their audience to your twitter stream.

A cautionary message: before using #hashtags it pays to research because if you accidentally or intentionally hijack others’ established tags and you could provoke some nasty retaliation, come across as rude or be seen as clueless. To find out which tags are being used and how check out What the Trend? (, Twubs (, (, and Tagalus ( )

Many tweets never get noticed, they just flop into oblivion. For further reading check out @DanZarrella’s in-depth analysis and charts on the Science of ReTweets on his website.

So now, re-tweet this post and add your thoughts!

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