Continuing with the substance and nuance of Twitter for solar and other RE busineses, let’s discuss about what could possibly be of value and conveyed in 140 characters or less. If you missed my previous two Twitter posts, see the first post here about Twitter mechanics. The second one, here, is about the potential value of Twitter.
Today, I want to specifically discuss what goes into a good Tweet. You might think it’s simple and obvious, but that’s far from the truth. Let me break it down into a series of questions so that you can fill in the answers yourself ::continue::
1) What’s the purpose of my Tweet? For me, the answer is often to alert people about a blog post that I’ve just written here or for my solar referral site, SolarPowerRocks.com.
- Sometimes, however, my purpose is to ask a question of my fellow solar Tweeters. I’m looking for a quick thought about solar.
- Sometimes, it’s to share something interesting that I’ve just read about solar that might be useful to other solar biz Tweeters or potential solar consumers.
- Sometimes it is to respond to a Tweet that I’ve just read from one of the people I’m following, to either agree or disagree or comment. It could also be to respond to a customer’s complaint or compliment.
- Sometimes it is to build relationships by saying thanks to someone for RE-tweeting (passing along) my Tweet to their following. That’s how things go viral.
- So, to sum up, the purpose of a tweet basically breaks down into Publicity, Sharing, Responding, and Building Relationships.
2) How can I convey my Tweet most effectively in 140 characters or less?
- First, it’s not true that you have to Tweet in 140 characters or less. There’s no law that says you can’t continue writing in an immediate second or third Tweet if you run out of characters. That being said, Tweeters prefer a single focused, thoughtful tweet.
- Second, Tweets are often connected to a blog post or press release, so you’re often summing up your blog or press release in 140 characters.
- Consequently, think in terms of the news headlines. Make it count. “Avoid this Solar Company! The Internet Reveals All: http://tinyurl.com/mhqky7”
- Be casual and colloquial. The 140 character limit makes you use contractions and abbreviations. That’s okay. Tweeters and clients will not judge you for being informal with your Tweets.
- Ask a provocative question and answer that question with a link. For example: “Solar is Affordable. Don’t Believe Me? Prove it. http://tinyurl.com/m5mgps
- Simply comment: “Just found this great RE podcast. Check it out. http://bit.ly/QKNgE” Or “ACES just passed the House! On to the Senate.”
- Be genuine and courteous when Tweeting directly to another person. You’d be surprised how often we thank each other in the Twitterverse. “@REWorld Thanks so much for the RTs [Re-Tweets/forwarding of my message ] and #FFs mentions. [FF or “Follow Friday” is the day when people recommend other Tweeters to follow.]
- Use your own personality. You’re building connections in 140 character phrases, yet people will get a sense of your personality with a simple, “Awesome link, Solar dude. Thanks!” Is Tweeting like this “unprofessional?” Remember, Tweets are not a press release. It’s a very brief and casual conversation. Bottom line, Tweet how you talk.
3) Some Tweeting Don’ts:
- Don’t spam and Tweet the same message over and over again every hour. Pick a few good traffic times, like morning, and lunch time. Twice, maybe 3 times spread out over the day, tops.
- Don’t just Tweet your own messages. Contribute to the solar community. If you see a good article that would affect the industry, for example, a new Feed in Tarriff or solar subsidy, share that news with a Tweet. Perhaps recreate the headline in your own personality.
- Don’t just sit back and read other Tweets. If you like one you’ve read, comment to the person. Tweet back your opinion. Again, you’re building a virtual community. These are virtual neighbors and perhaps also customers. Either way, make it a point to give back.
The best businesses have the attitude of “How can I help or be of service to you today?” Not “What’s in it for me?” or “What can I sell you today?” Write a Tweet with that same concept in mind. If you do, you can’t go wrong, whatever you Tweet.
Next post: Time, Twitter, and Relativity.
Thanks. Unthink Solar.
Tor Valenza aka “Solar Fred” is a solar consultant and partner at solar referral service, SolarPowerRocks.com.