What is a Tweet?

A tweet, like an SMS text message, is 140 characters long. In most cases, 140 characters is more than enough to to get your message across, but it can sometimes be difficult to keep the word count down.

What to post?

You've registered your Twitter account, completed and optimised your profile, and are ready to start tweeting.

Now, what to post? Work out what you want to get from Twitter, what your followers will be looking for, and how you can combine the two.

There are on average 500 million tweets sent every day

Some companies use Twitter solely as a means to market their products, but this kind of one-way marketing is not always the best option. Your followers will soon become bored of constant self-promotion, and before long, they will be reaching for the unfollow button.

The best way to engage your followers is to offer them content (tools and tips) they will find useful, and perhaps exclusive discounts on your products.

Remember, though: as soon as you hit the "tweet" button, the message is out there for the world to see. Be sure to check and check again before you send a tweet!

Writing concise copy

There is an art to effective business tweeting. The use of 140 characters allows for between 25 and 30 words, a hashtag, and a link. You may have to learn to abbreviate in such a way that your text remains legible but saves space. If you are posting long URL links, you may want to use a URL shortener to save valuable characters (more on this later).

Twitter @Reply screenshot


An @reply is usually any update posted by using the "reply" button on Twitter. You can do this manually by adding an @username to the beginning of your tweet in order to send the message to a particular Twitter user instead of sending it to all your followers. Replies will always show up in your "mentions" tab on Twitter.


Mentions are similar to replies. A mention occurs when a tweet is sent that contains an @username anywhere within the body of the tweet (other than the very beginning). You can include multiple @usernames within a tweet, and the tweet will show in the ‘mentions’ tab of every @username you included.


A hashtag, the # symbol, is used to mark keywords or topics within Twitter. By adding the # symbol before any particular word or phrase (without spaces), a hashtag is created, which in turn creates a clickable link. Clicking on a hashtagged word will show you any other tweets marked with that keyword.

For the Super Bowl XLVII in 2013, the hashtag #SB47 was used and included in 24.1 million tweets!

Try not to overdo hashtags, however. Overly frequent use of hashtags is one of the quickest ways to get users to unfollow you. Using popular hashtags that are irrelevant to your business is also a bad idea. It might seem like a quick way to get more people reading your tweets and following your profile, but ultimately, your real, valued followers could end up feeling alienated.

Look for hashtags in your industry that are already being used, and join conversions that have started around those terms. If you can post something that is genuinely useful, valuable or funny, you may experience your tweet going viral.

Shortening URLs/links

Due to Twitter's 160-character limit per tweet, you may want to use a URL shortener when posting URLs. A URL shortener simply takes the link you want to post, and shortens it considerably, allowing you to fit more readable copy into your tweet.

Two of the most popular URL shorteners are Bit.ly and Goo.gl.

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