What to Tweet to Stand Out from the Masses

Filed in Featured , Twitter , Twitter Basics 62 comments

hiroko What to Tweet to Stand Out from the MassesNow that 106 million Twitter accounts have been set up, it’s a great time to distinguish yourself from the rank & file. Building an online presence — whatever the platform — is, in fact, under your control.  People using the “Global Whiteboard,” i.e. the Internet, must keep in mind that “Whatever you post can and will be held against you.”

So if you want to grow your online reputation by prudent and intelligent use of Twitter’s microblogging technology, you do need to be deliberate: Plan a Tweeting Strategy that will help you build relationships, grow a community of followers, find answers to your own challenges, and become a Go-To Source for information.

What should you Tweet?

Here are ten ideas to help you stand out from the crowd and achieve your communication goals:

1. Be your own unique self: When you have a personal insight that you would like to share, your “microblog” on Twitter helps paint a picture of you as a caring, thinking individual.

e.g. “People are NOT merely numbers. When businesses fully understand this, their strategies and tools will adjust.”

e.g. “The future of advertising is evolving, so take a risk and try something new and different. If it doesn’t work, don’t lose the lesson.”

2. Be a curator: The most valuable information on Twitter for many Tweeple are the links alerting them to useful information. And some of that indispensable wisdom could be your own blog posts, photos, or videos. Of course, you will need to use a URL shortener like bit.ly [http://bit.ly/] or you will not have enough characters to write a context for the link.

e.g. Creating a video resume is only one of the fantastic tips for “Enhancing Your Online Presence Through Video”: http://bit.ly/di2Tmo

e.g. This weekend, it’s time to Tweak that LinkedIn profile: http://bit.ly/ad6Bjr [NOTE: Shameless plug for one of my own popular blog posts.]

3. Reward with Retweets: One of the best ways  to build relationships on Twitter is to RT (ReTweet), i.e., expand the reach of someone else’s Tweet so that it can be read by your followers.

NOTE: It’s fun to see RT’s of your own Twitter updates. There’s even a scientific study that shows the most (and least) RT’d words and phrases:  To earn your own RT’s, try to use any of these Top Ten Retweeted Words: (a) you, (b) Twitter, (c) please, (d) retweet, (e) post, (f) blog, (g) social, (h) free, (i) media, (j) help

4. Search & Reply: Search Twitter for a keyword or phrase in your line of work. Find a Tweet that resonates with you and REPLY, i.e. @twittername with a comment to them.

e.g. Search for “local marketing tips” — Find a Tweeter whose advice you like — Write a comment or tip of your own to that person.

VOILA, you have started a new, possibly productive relationship!

5. Use hashtags: The pound or number sign – # – signifies a particular topic that can be commented upon and easily found by anyone searching Twitter. These “tags” are either created on-the-spot by anyone OR they are regularly used to continue conversation/discussions.

If I am Tweeting at a conference like SocialBiz2010, I would add #SocialBiz2010 to all my Tweets, and other participants could keep track of my notes AND add their own.

Same goes for books. I’m reading Brian Solis Engage, so when I like a certain insight, I can Tweet something like this:

“Brandstreams are fortified content channels dedicated to reinforcing brand personality & value proposition across the Social Web.” #Engage

6. Get personal: People new to Twitter are turned off by such seemingly insignificant and frivolous references to restaurant visits and waiting in lines at airports. However, this type of banter does NOT make Twitter “stupid” as some newbies say.

Rather, Twitter offers a very, very easy way for people to let one another know they are “listening” and that they care. People do business with people, so the more human we are with one another, the easier it is to build trust.

Plus, you may read about that restaurant and want to know more about the food & service OR perhaps your Twitter pal is on his/her way to your city and you hadn’t even known it.

As email becomes less and less read (recent statistics say that 90% of email goes unread), Twitter Updates are great ways to send a note to someone simply to keep in touch. When you put the at sign @ — in front of the name @yourbuddy, the friend can easily find these references in his/her Twitter stream.

7. Don’t forget DM’s: When your personal friend is following you, you can always send a DM, i.e. Direct Message, that only he/she can see. Common Twitter courtesy is NOT to RT DM’s. icon smile What to Tweet to Stand Out from the Masses That is, you shouldn’t share private Direct Messages with the rest of the Twitter world.

Given the simplicity of Twitter in comparison with email, DM’s are a great choice for arranging meeting times, sending a personal tip, or just saying HI to a friend.

8. Ask questionsBecause Twitter is quickly becoming a popular search tool, you should consider asking for information you need — or would simply — like to know:

e.g. What’s your favorite new movie out now and why did you like it?

e.g. Has anyone else had trouble getting Foursquare to work right on their Droid?

You just may cultivate new friendships as you learn useful new information. People on the Social Web LOVE to help one another . . . and show their expertise.

9. Company promotions: FINALLY, we get to the more business-type uses for Twitter. Common Wisdom suggests that no more than 20% of your Tweets should be strictly business, or you will be considered a spammer.

You certainly Can and Should Tweet about special sales and even discounts for Twitter users:

e.g. Discount prices on adult and child tickets to such-and-such attraction in Orlando. Use coupon link [URL].

e.g. $249.99 for a 1 Year Membership to Fitness Club. Use coupon link [URL].

10. Company news: Why not add short blurbs about people and events as well:

e.g. @lizzywebmart is now offering discounts on website home page videos

e.g. Social Media University class schedule for September is now available. Click link [URL]

Fifty-five million Tweets a day: But how many of those will be worth reading and following through on? Plan and implement your own Tweeting Strategy — and your Tweets will be the OutStanding ones.

What other Twitter Strategy ideas have worked for you?

FURTHER READING:

Twitter does NOT have to be “stupid”

Twitter 101 – What should you Tweet, part ONE

What should you Tweet, part TWO

Twitter Basics “cheat sheet”

What to Tweet so your company becomes a Brand All Star

21 Tips for using Twitter and Facebook for business

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Posted by Shari Weiss   @   1 August 2010
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Comments
Aug 1, 2010
7:36 pm

Good tips, will try and implement them into my own Twitter account.

Author Aug 1, 2010
8:54 pm

Great, James. I’ll be looking for you on my Tweetdeck, where you are in the column of Top Influencers.
:-)

Aug 2, 2010
9:57 am

Thanks for the great tips, Shari. I’m going to RT this.

Author Aug 4, 2010
1:11 am

Greatly appreciate it . . . when Tweeple follow my advice.
:-)))))

Aug 4, 2010
1:12 pm

Very useful post! I like the way you think and write… I guess that’s why I follow you on Twitter:-)

Author Aug 4, 2010
1:24 pm

Sylvie, thanks for the kind words.
:-)
You are exactly why I do “this”
:-)

Aug 12, 2010
2:39 pm
#7 Alex Eaton :

Still need to get my head round tweeting – your advice is good and clear. Will def use it! Thank you!

Author Aug 12, 2010
2:57 pm

Alex, I just read a couple good Twitter blog articles today from Jay Baer and Chris Brogan. Let me know if you’d like the URL’s

Oct 4, 2010
6:54 pm

Hey Shari you have a fantastic site here with loads of information. I’m relatively new to social media marketing and the information you share is fantastic. Have bookmarked your site and will be back many times for further insight.

Thanks so very much,

Michael

Author Oct 4, 2010
7:52 pm
#10 Shari Weiss :

Michael, YOU are exactly the person whom I am now writing for . . . Baby Boomers who are “getting it” and want to figure out how to “get more” from this great new opportunity to share and build. Looking forward to many great conversations to come.
:-)
PS If you haven’t checked out my LinkedIn Basics category, you will have missed the article on how to TWEAK your LinkedIn profile . . . probably my most visited.

Oct 10, 2010
6:32 am

Nice list Shari :)

Feel like I need to revisit it sometime …

Wondering if you’ve ever considered offering a printable version with lists like this as well?

I serve the same market that you are now writing for (per your comment to Michael) – and one thing they have said they often want is something on paper to refer back to.

Just a thought.

Make it a great day,
Andrea

Author Oct 10, 2010
11:15 am
#12 Shari Weiss :

Wonderful idea, Andrea. I could possibly do a Lists of Lists OR, better yet, since we “talk” to the same people, maybe we should do the lists together . . . and then bring in both of our audiences.
:-)

Oct 15, 2010
9:58 pm

Great tips Shari! What has worked best for me is using #hashtags and RT’ing other people’s tweets.

Author Oct 15, 2010
10:12 pm
#14 Shari Weiss :

Now that I’m following you, I’ll be certain to offer some RT’s
“-)

Oct 22, 2010
5:18 pm
#15 Vanessa :

Hi Shari,

Thanks for the tips, I thought I’d known most of the tips but there are still some valuable lessons to be learned so thanks!

Another one I’ll add which I’m sure everyone will agree on – have integrity when Tweeting.

Keep up the good work.

Vanessa

Oct 23, 2010
4:02 am
#16 Mike Sweeney :

hi Shari,

I would like to polish my twitter skills. Thanks for the tips and suggestions. The personalize (tip number 1) surely will go a long way in building an online name for yourself.

Mike Sweeney

Author Oct 23, 2010
9:13 am
#17 Shari Weiss :

Mike, what’s your Twitter handle. I’ll follow you and see how that polishing is coming along.

Oct 27, 2010
1:06 pm
#18 Kathy Jodrey :

Hi Shari,

Most of my focus has been on blogging, driving people to my sales funnel, and SEO. Social media has been one of the missing links for me – not that I don’t know how to use it or have accounts established, but that I just don’t make the time.

Thanks for these tips. As I begin to develop a social media plan I’ll keep this all in mind.

Author Oct 27, 2010
4:05 pm
#19 Shari Weiss :

Hi Kathy, I’ve checked out your blog and like your content. It certainly shows when people are passionate about their posts.
:-)
Good luck with Twitter. I’ve made lots of friends in addition to business contacts.
:-)

Oct 30, 2010
1:15 am
#20 kiaran :

Hey Shari neat post – I think Twitter is a social medium platform that is evolving very fast and many of us have a love hate relationship with it – as it can sometimes seem spammy and anonymous – but at other times you appreciate it as an aggregation of broadcast headlines and its handy to tune in to the buzz that’s been tweeted – the real content is in the link so I guess you’ve got to play the game to benefit

Cheers Kiaran

Nov 2, 2010
12:53 pm
#21 Beth Allen :

These are fabulous tips, Shari. I’ve never used the Search feature on Twitter, so will definitely have to play around with that.

I need to be more consistent with my use of Twitter ~ I just never take the time to set up automated tweets so it’s sporadic. It’s daily, but mostly just RT’ing blogs posts I found valuable (like this one!) :)

Personally I prefer Facebook so much more ~ so when I make a connection or find someone that I want to know more about, I go search for them on FB and start the dialogue there.

This list gave me some new ideas to try out though, so I really appreciate it!

Author Nov 2, 2010
1:10 pm
#22 Shari Weiss :

Beth, while my own Facebook participation is pretty consistent, I, too, notice that sometimes I neglect Twitter for awhile AND I DON’T WANT TO because I know how valuable it can be — for many reasons.

That being said, I don’t believe that automation is the answer, and here’s my post with the “whole story”: http://sharisax.com/2010/10/11/im-so-lucky-i-just-found-a-way-to-update-to-all-my-sites-at-the-same-time/

Nov 18, 2010
12:07 am
#23 Dr. Erica Goodstone :

Shari,
Thanks for so much explanation of how to use Twitter. I was never sure how to use hashtags, and I have never searched keywords and then replied. What a great suggestion. Adding just one or two new strategies like these, regularly, can make a huge difference in your online presence.
Erica

Author Nov 18, 2010
12:21 am
#24 Shari Weiss :

Erica, so glad you got something from the article.
:-)
I love Twitter but wish I had more friend on the site to speed up LOTS of my messaging.

Dec 8, 2010
4:09 pm

Hi, Shari,
Love your blog and your approach to topics. Your list is very clear and informative. Thanks a lot.
Angela

Author Dec 8, 2010
4:19 pm
#26 Shari Weiss :

So happy to have you visit, Angela
:-)
Re: Twitter — So many people “do it wrong” that when you “do it right” it is easy to stand out and become influential, i.e. become a GO-TO source for your area of expertise.

Jan 25, 2011
11:09 pm
#27 Berlyn Traylor :

thank you so much for the straight forward input. it really helps and very useful.

Jan 26, 2011
7:16 pm
#28 Taniesha Ramirez :

Again! another very insightful piece. With being new to twitter it gives me very helpful information in order to be more aware of the site which is so popular, but also as someone who is trying to become a journalist and an entrepenuer, these tips will be so greatly beneficial to me.

Jan 27, 2011
1:21 am
#29 Vanessa Jensen :

Very helpful information!
Thanks for the help Shari *

Author Jan 27, 2011
2:30 am
#30 Shari Weiss :

The key point of this post is that SO MANY people do not know how to get the most value from Twitter, so there is a lot of noise and nonsense. However, those who learn what to do and what to say will shine.

Author Jan 27, 2011
2:37 am
#31 Shari Weiss :

Did one of the tips resonate most strongly with you?

Jan 27, 2011
3:13 am
#32 Neysa Ordaz Sifuentes :

hello,

wow! I think this is a great guideline blog for new tweeple {as you had said :) } like me that havent ever explored twitter before i plan to put many of your tips to use!

Thank you!

Author Jan 27, 2011
3:33 am
#33 Shari Weiss :

And, Neysa, you will have a great opportunity to do plenty of that in the next several weeks!

Jan 27, 2011
1:55 pm
#34 Anthony Thompson :

I definitely agree because i am a very active user of twitter and when i tweet things of intellect i get a lot of re tweets but when i just tweet random things going on i don’t ..

Jan 27, 2011
7:08 pm
#35 Billy Rivera :

I first got a Twitter account a couple years ago when I was getting ready to release my first album. I was pleasantly surprised that most of my favorite journalists, musicians, bloggers, and even Barack Obama had an account. Throw in a couple guilty pleasures like the Kardashian sisters and I soon had a thoroughly entertaining experience checking my Twitter for updates from everyone I followed. When it came time to do business and promote my music, I really struggled at getting people to go from hearing (and hopefully liking) the music on my website to taking the journey one step further with me on Twitter and Facebook.
Now that I’ve pressed pause (temporarily) on using Twitter specifically for music promotion, I’m looking forward to implementing some of your helpful tips for creating my “own voice” and standing out among the millions of “Tweeple.“
I especially liked your point about getting personal. I can’t tell you how annoyed I get when people I follow post their every breath, footstep, and random thought. But at the end of the day, it does allow you to get “personal” with someone without overstepping boundaries. I enjoy taking a peek inside people’s lives that you wouldn’t normally be given the opportunity to see.

Author Jan 27, 2011
10:53 pm
#36 Shari Weiss :

Billy, to my mind, Twitter participation is only scratching the surface. This is definitely the type of platform that you can use for an almost unending array of applications. For instance, soon we will be “chatting” with one another and using #journ65 to archive data. Stay tuned.

Author Jan 27, 2011
11:04 pm
#37 Shari Weiss :

and you are not surprised, right?

Jan 31, 2011
1:02 am
#38 Talia Taylor :

Some personal events are worth tweeting. I wouldn’t mind reading about one’s experience in the bathroom, so long as it doesn’t read average. “I am using the bathroom” is not the most interesting tweet. “I just woke up from a two minute nap while on the squatter” is more likely to catch my attention, maybe make me smile and increase the chances of me responding with my own urinal oriented experience. I believe twitter can possibly increase the wit quotient of our nation; perhaps lead to a splintering of perception and diversification of both personal and cultural analysis.

Author Jan 31, 2011
1:13 am
#39 Shari Weiss :

Talia, I like to respond to all my commenters, but I’m not a fan of scatalogical humor.

Jan 31, 2011
1:49 pm
#40 Mike Maynard :

I understood all that except the use of hash tags; I’ll have to figure that out. I have to Tweet more humour; that isn’t easy in 140 characters.

Author Jan 31, 2011
4:19 pm
#41 Shari Weiss :

I’ll be explaining vocab in a Twitter post this week, but in the meantime, the HASHTAG — # — [the number sign] signifies a topic. In the case of my course which is designated Journalism 65, I have chosen to use the hashtag #journ65.

What that does is make it easy for students to find anything I Tweet that has to do with our course, e.g. links to stories I want them to read.

Does that help?

Feb 11, 2011
7:10 am
#42 Terez M. :

Well, I must admit, I am one of those ‘newbies’ who found the personal updates to be annoying and excessive at best! In fact, I have found that facebook has taken on much of the character of twitter in that sense, with people posting pics of their lunch and ‘checking in’ at various locations. When I open my home page and the fb newsfeed is filled with comments like “oh, i just had the best tuna melt in my life, thanks restaurant ABC!” I think, how gratuitous!
Having said all that, item #6 on your list really helps me to understand the actual value of that. So if I am following a popular beauty blogger or even a media expert, I will look differently at personal tweets as a chance to connect with their audience beyond typical content that a reader would expect to find.

I also really liked this line: “People do business with people, so the more human we are with one another, the easier it is to build trust.”

So, I’ll quit whining and start ‘listening’!

Author Feb 11, 2011
11:44 am
#43 Shari Weiss :

sounds like a great plan, Terez, “to start listening.”
It’s amazing how many times we hear something in a certain way that really changes our perception of things — so that we can see value where formerly there had only been nuisance
:-)
How about posting this comment on the JOURNALISM 65 Facebook Group. I think it would be helpful to be more widespread. Then, if many of us LIKE it, our friends will get this message as well.

Feb 16, 2011
9:45 pm
#44 Deandre Johnson :

Shari you have an interesting blog. I really understand what you are writing.

Feb 16, 2011
9:54 pm
#45 cwtts :

I believe these are useful tips on how to be successful on twitter. A lot of people don’t really know what to tweet but understand the general idea but this helps understand what to post to a full extent. The explanations on different ways to tweet is extremely helpful as well. Since this is becoming somewhat of a search engine now it is great to get to know the ins and outs of the site.

Feb 16, 2011
9:57 pm
#46 edwin tsang :

thank you for the website about and how to use twitter. now i dont have to explain it to linda’s boyfriend, he will understand this more than me.

Feb 16, 2011
10:06 pm
#47 Linda Lieu :

Well let’s see how this goes. I am new to twitter. I am still a little bit confused on how to use twitter. Reading this article helps.

Feb 16, 2011
10:32 pm
#48 rhyisha24 :

I will learn to enjoy twitter by adding people who know how to work twitter. I need more friends. Can some one help me out?

Feb 16, 2011
10:33 pm
#49 rhyisha24 :

I would like to connect with some famous people on twitter to add my input and thoughts on how I’m feeling about a certain situation.

Feb 16, 2011
11:03 pm
#50 emma :

Ok this is my first time with tweeter and I am really hoping for some good feedback. I am a positive person as well as a nonviolent person, I have a foundation that I have stated for at risk youth to show them that they do not have to live life through the street.This foundation is based around my son Isaac; maybe later I will get into why I started this foundation. But every year I give a silence the violent event, so now that I’m on twitter maybe I could get some good ideas about the events that I give.

Feb 16, 2011
11:08 pm
#51 cwtts :

When sharing your microblog you are advertising the picture you want to be seen as.

Feb 17, 2011
3:09 am
#52 Talia :

@rhyisha24…I have found the best way to acquire followers on twitter is to follow them. the second best is to create a strong virtual presence throughout various social networking platforms. that way people will be more inclined to follow you once they find out you have a twitter account.

Author Feb 17, 2011
6:11 pm
#53 Shari Weiss :

I like searching for topics of interest to me and following people who tweet about those subjects.

Jun 29, 2011
4:10 pm
#54 Jiayu Wen :

I am going to start to be a tweet right away. Very clear instructions, and also attracts people to sign up for twitter.

Jun 29, 2011
4:11 pm
#55 omari :

thenk you again for the very useful information, i find that the more tips and info i get from your blog post helps me get a better understanding on how to make good blog and twitter post

Jun 29, 2011
4:25 pm
#56 Yoartra Tham :

I have to agree with the quotes, “Whatever you post can and will be held against you.” You gotta understand that what you post everyone is going to see it whether you like it or not. For example there was a girl who posted a video on YouTube about Asians at UCLA. She said all these negative and racist remarks about Asians, when the whole school found out including teachers and faculties. She had to leave the school because she figure out what she had done.

Jun 29, 2011
4:29 pm
#57 harolds :

now this is an article i totally agree with. to be a good tweeter you have to unique and different. there is a lot of diversity throughout tweeter and to able to reach them you have set your self apart from the predictable.

Jun 29, 2011
4:34 pm
#58 edil gulaid :

great ideas, thanks for the advice, much needed!

Jul 18, 2011
8:40 am

Hey Shari,

These are great tips! I have to admit to being a bit overwhelmed with Twitter. I’m mostly a FB guy, but I know I need to add Twitter into the equation at some point.

I struggle with exactly the topic of your post… what do I tweet to stand out from all the noise? You’ve answered that nicely in your post.

Thanks!

Jul 25, 2011
1:45 pm

Hello Shari

How to stand out from the masses on twitter is something that I have been researching and thanks to the TSA I found your article. In my opinion your ten ideas make you stand out. Most of what I have found has been someone copying what someone else had written. I have printed your list of retweeted word and phrases and will be using the words.

Thanks

Perry A Davis Jr
Music City

Author Jul 25, 2011
2:21 pm
#61 Shari Weiss :

Perry, interesting that you should make that comment.
:-)
When I first began blogging, I simply discussed things I was learning about social media. Then, when I “got the hang” of blogging, I started to do a lot of aggregation and curation, i.e., geting together what others have written [as you state above]. Now, however, the articles I like writing most ARE the ones where I do talk from my own experience. Thanks for noticing.
:-)

Nov 1, 2011
6:26 am
#62 Angela :

Hey Shari! Great post! I see so many people missing opportunities on Twitter by how they are using it. I think far to many people use it to talk but not listen and interact. You have some great tips here.
thanks for sharing this!

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