Friday, April 15, 2011

What makes a GREAT tweet?

Twitter has become such an integral part of social media strategy that its use – good, bad and otherwise – is worth thinking about. So what makes a truly GREAT tweet?

I decided to ask people on Twitter. I asked people I follow, people I’m friends with and people whose Twitter use I appreciate for all kinds of reasons.

I was overwhelmed with the responses – some came in minutes; others in just a few hours.

I got responses from 15 countries from people who have a few thousand followers to those with followers numbering in the six figures. Some came from BNOTs (Big Names on Twitter) and some came from MPFTs (My Personal Favorites on Twitter).

The responses made me say “Aaw,” made me think or just made me laugh. Some answers were brief, some long and all were very thoughtful.

I hope you enjoy them as much as I did.

I feel very blessed to be connected to all of you. Thank you.

Responses to the question: “What one thing makes a GREAT tweet?” sorted by the length of the response (I had to organize them somehow!):

Eric Schwartzman (@ericschwartzman): Brevity

David Meerman Scott (@dmscott): Passion

Chris Brogan (@chrisbrogan): Relevance

Shelly Kramer (@ShellyKramer): Personality

A. R. Karthick (@arkarthick): Conciseness...

Amy D. Howell (@HowellMarketing): Link to great content

Dharmesh Shah (@dharmesh): One that is worth retweeting

rogersmithhotel – a k a John Birdsong (@RSHotel): Keep it real and keep it brief

Robin Fray Carey (@robincarey): A great tweet makes you hungry for more

Dave Larson (@TweetSmarter): Caring about the people who will read it

Chris Voss (@CHRISVOSS): A tweet that challenges readers mindset

David Armano (@armano): Attitude, personality, authenticity, brevity

Tim Moore (@TimMoore): Direct, exciting, inviting, link is not spam

Michael Brito (@Britopian): Relevant content that adds value to the conversation

Iggy Pintado (@iggypintado): One that makes you think, feel, respond to and share

Ann Handley (@MarketingProfs): When it's clear it comes from a human and not a machine

Mark Aaron Murnahan (@murnahan): I would have to say bacon. Anything is better with bacon!

Suzanne Vara (@SuzanneVara): One that is helpful and/or provides value to the community

Spike Jones (@spikejones): There is no such thing as a great tweet. Only great statement

Eric Miltsch (@AuctionDirect): Makes me smile, think and/or remember the person who sent it...

Misty Belardo (@mistygirlp): When a tweet is relevant to the people who listen to your stream

Julia Roy (@juliaroy): Positivity and energy around a topic, thought or conversation

Chris Lazuder (@TechZader): One thing that makes a GREAT tweet is brevity; less truly is more

Calvin Lee (@mayhemstudios): Gr8 tweet = 1. useful or helpful 2. Inspirational 3. If it rings true

Adam Vincenzini (@AdamVincenzini): The formula for a GREAT tweet: U.F.O Useful, fresh and original content

Liz Strauss (@ lizstrauss): If you want to be heard, make your tweet about the people you want to listen

Lolly Daskal (@LollyDaskal): A great tweet is one that inspires, encourages, empowers and engages you. It leaves you thinking

Todd Defren (@TDefren): A great tweet inspires either a click, a laugh or a renewed sense of perspective

Paul Steele (@paul_steele): Positive, clarity, humanness and no negativity… Importantly touches many people’s thoughts!

Jay Baer (@jaybaer): A clear point-of-view and a succinct description of benefit (if it includes a link)

Jawar(@jawar): Adding tremendous value to your target audience is one thing that makes a great tweet

Sree Sreenivasan (@sree): The most useful tweets are useful/helpful/timely and closer to 120 characters than 140

Gary Schirr (@ProfessorGary): Simply a controversial idea and a good headline. Engage people on all sides of the issue

Paul Smith (@twitchhiker): A great tweet might inform you, entertain you or educate you - it will always engage you

J.D. Andrews (@earthXplorer): IMHO: The difference between a "good" tweet and a "great" tweet, just like in comedy....timing!

Anne Deeter Gallaher (@AnneDGallaher): We should be conscious of making tweetworthy soundbites, so it’s something meaningful and memorable

Susie Blackmon (@SusieBlackmon): A great tweet .. is not about 'me' .. elicits responses/conversations .. adds value .. adds interest

Reg Saddler (@zaibatsu): Content is king. A catchy title grabs ’em, but to hold a Twitter audience the old adage still wins out

Ekaterina Walter (@Ekaterina): Relevancy and value-add – share interesting, useful, fresh content and add value with your own comment

Jason Falls (@JasonFalls): The same thing that makes for great content: It informs, entertains or makes my drink come out my nose

Sam Mallikarjunan (@Mallikarjunan): Relatability - what makes a great tweet is when we see it and can see ourselves tweeting the same thing!

Albert Maruggi (@AlbertMaruggi): Maruggi's rule of INK – makes you think or link – and linking is either to a new person or deeper content

Jazz Baker (@ jaycbee ): Current topic is always important, reputable link shortener and connecting with audience you are targeting

Iconic88 (@Iconic88): Extreme kindness. Great tweets should be extremely helpful, emotionally and spiritually, for the next person

Alessandra Colaci (@AlessandraCo): Great tweets are comprised of compelling content that gives useful information and spurs further conversation

Mark Ragan (@MarkRaganCEO): A good tweet provides helpful news and information that establishes you or your brand as an expert in the market

Tommy Clifford (@tommytrc): A great tweet is one that catches me off guard and just makes me genuinely laugh out loud. Off the wall is great!

Debbie Weil (@debbieweil): The tweet provides quick context for 1. an important issue 2. breaking news 3. a timely topic - usually w/ a link

Kevin Purdy (@kevinpurdy): If you can't write a joke or line that makes people smile after seeing 400 other tweets, it better have a good link

Robert Clay (@marketingwizdom): A tweet that stops me in my tracks and links to information of great value. Or a meaningful interaction with someone

Kent Huffman (@KentHuffman): Inside Info + News + Original Thoughts + Useful Links + Conversations + Personality + Humor + RTs = Effective Tweets

Ted Rubin (@TedRubin): Be authentic, be genuine, be interesting. Become known 2b responsive & interested. Keep Tweets to 122 characters or less

Ruhani Rabin (@ruhanirabin): A great tweet consist(s) of elements like ... "Great Content" and "Great Statements" (e.g. quotes, thoughts, creative notes)

Mark Schaefer (@markwschaefer): Great tweets connect people and facilitate relationships by consistently sharing meaningful content and authentic helpfulness

Susan Elaine Cooper (@BuzzEdition): A great tweet should engage the reader with content that inspires a reaction or response, or intrigues the reader to know more

Deirdre Breakenridge (@dbreakenridge): Relevant information makes a great tweet ... you become a valuable resource when you share meaningful content that helps people

Blair Semenoff (@Flipbooks): Typography. It's something Ppl overlook. I make adjustments to almost all my Tweets. If a Tweet looks like shit Ppl dont click

Carrie Wilkerson (@barefoot_exec): 'Great' tweets are in the eye of the beholder. Sometimes an answer to a Q, a quip, a resource or something inspiring. It varies

Aaron Lee (@AskAaronLee): A headline that stands out and different for a blog post. For normal tweets "Hello" because every relationship starts that way :)

Kriselle Laran (@ bullfrogmedia): An appeal for response based on personal connection. A really good tweet is one that will make you want to respond to it in some way

Restaurant Marketing (@JeffreySummers): There's nothing different between a great conversation and a great tweet. Both have to hold meaningful value for the targeted audience

Sean Malarkey (@SeanMalarkey): The author. LOL humor works, short to the point, phrasing the tweet as a question. Depending on the desired outcome – the answer could vary

Jovana Grbic (@ScriptPhD): A great tweet is smart, relevant to a multifaceted person, promulgates information or interest, and ALWAYS offers a platform for engagement

Diana Adams (@adamsconsulting): The things that separate a good tweet from a great tweet: Great tweets provide valuable, objective information combined with compassion. :))

Jennifer Cisney(@kodakCB): VALUE - tips, useful info, humor, answering a question, news, making a personal connection & showing that you are listening not just talking

Joe Bob Hester (@joebobhester): Completeness. A great tweet delivers a complete message. Even if it includes a link, the tweet tells readers exactly what is being linked to

So, what do you think? Does the collective wisdom of the crowd here cover all the answers to the question? From my perspective of looking at social media strategy I’d love to hear your answer to the question (“What one thing makes a GREAT tweet?) in the Comments area below.


  1. Good stuff, Mike. Thanks for including me.

    I thought about it, and I still have to stick with my earlier answer. Everything is better with bacon.

  2. You won't get an argument from me! Thanks for participating. :-)

  3. Great stuff. There's similarity in the answers, but not as much as you'd think. Word cloud! Word cloud!

  4. Thanks for including me and great tips. :)

  5. Thanks Jay! Great idea. A word cloud is now there. Thanks also to you Calvin - I greatly appreciate all who took the time to answer this seemingly little question. :-)

  6. Thanks for the inclusion amongst such notables!

    Cheers, Iggy

  7. WOW what a powerhouse listing of awesome social media pro's... I love Rochester! YOU ROCK Mike!

  8. I agree re powerhouse of awesome social media pros. What a great effort and post! Nuggets to share. Thank you very much for the delicious nuggets, and for including me.

  9. Thank you so much Mike, I can see some of the most applicable answers. Some of them are from very different perspective. :)

  10. Ans thanks to all who contributed and those who were generous enough to share this on Twitter (and Facebook!)

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