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Social Media Spotlight: Six Must-Follow Rules for Minding Your Twitter Manners

If you’re an active Twitter user, then you know that working within the confines of Twitter’s restrictive character limit can be tough—what’s the best way to cram in a catchy message, a link, and a few important hashtags without exceeding 140 characters?

I know I’ve struggled to write catchy tweets—sometimes I feel proud of my messages, other times, I feel like they just enter the Twitter stream only to be completely ignored. So I set out to get some advice, and turned to our resident expert, Alex Krasne, for her tips.

Alex is a veritable Twitter expert, having used the service for years, both for personal use as well as through @Cisco_Channels. She offered me some advice on how to get the most out of Twitter, and how to tweet effectively to reach your ideal audience.

In addition to her tips, Alex has advice on how to mind your Twitter manners. Watch her video to see what you need to know to maintain and grow, rather than alienate your followers.

So what do you need to know to use Twitter effectively? Here’s what Alex recommends.

Think Like a Headline Writer. Think extremely catchy—plays on words, for instance. Anything that uses creative wording is likely to catch eyes. You can even draft different versions of tweets and see which ones get the most attention.

Observe Grammar Rules, and Watch Your Spelling. Nothing can throw readers off more than seeing a mistake in your tweet. Avoid mistakes by reading your tweets carefully before hitting the Send button. (You can even plug tweets into Microsoft Word to spell and grammar check them first.)

Don’t Abbreviate Too Much. Sure, you need to abbreviate some words to make your tweet fit (to = 2, or for = 4, for example), but over-abbreviation will cause readers to have to stop to interpret what you’re writing. And if your audience is global, abbreviations that might make sense in one country will go over the heads of those in another part of the world. So, aim for consistency, seek brevity, and abbreviate really obvious words when necessary.

Take Time, Think About It. Sure, 140 characters is brief, but shaping that sentence or statement isn’t easy. So think about it, take your time, don’t rush it. Sometimes the best tweets develop over the course of an hour.

Observe Your Own Twitter History. Go back and look at your previous tweets—which ones generated a ton of buzz, getting a lot of retweets? Which ones zipped past without notice? Your followers will give you a good indication of what works, so follow their lead when crafting your tweets.

Those are a few of Alex’s ideas—I definitely feel more empowered to write more catchy tweets with these tips in hand.

Got any of your own Twitter tips and tricks, or do’s and don’ts? Be sure to share your advice in the comments.

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  1. Thanks the point of checking spelling is a very common area I have to watch all the time.

  2. In the gaming world, you get a lot of "elitist" talk - like saying "owned" or "pwned" to refer to being better than someone, for example. One of the popular posts on my blog is "7 tips to make you pwn at Call of Duty: Black Ops multiplayer". So using terminology from your target audience is a great way to help level with them and spark their curiosity to read your words of wisdom. Sorry for the late response :)

  3. Thanks, Jeff. Love that idea. Is there a slang that you can think of as an example?

  4. Great list! Just want to mention one thing, which you touched on a bit under "Don’t Abbreviate Too Much", watch how your audience constructs their tweets. If they use a common slang then use it to help promote your tweets/links.