WP to Twitter is a time-saving tool for sharing your WordPress-composed content with your Twitter followers. But creating a smart Tweet is different from authoring great content: when you’ve only got 140 characters, you’ll want to think strategically.

There’s always a compromise between saving time and authoring something unique. The maximum in time savings comes from using the template tools in WP to Twitter to generate the text of every Tweet. An effective formula using your post title, your URL, and some tags is simple enough.

But what if you want to do something different? Now you’re into customization.

Writing a smart Tweet is about effective use of language: appealing to your followers with the fewest words you can.

Short Tweets are effective — they allow for easy sharing and re-tweeting; long tweets mean that either your Tweet must be shared using the Twitter “ReTweet” feature or the user needs to edit your copy in order to share your Tweet.

Hashtags are useful, so it’s worthwhile to include at least one. A hashtag creates an avenue for people to view your Tweet because they’re monitoring that hashtag. It’s absolutely valuable to reach the audience that is topically interested in your content but may not already be following you!

Your URL is obviously a crucial element, to send readers back to your site.

But what else?

People like to add their own commentary to Tweets when they share them – it may be nothing more than “This is cool: “, but when there’s room for those 14 characters, the likelihood that your Tweet will gain traction is noticeably higher.

There’s an interesting article at Social Media Today about re-Tweeting: Crafting the most Re-Tweetable Tweet You Can, by Charles McGuinness. In that article, the author demonstrates that there is an inverse relationship between re-Tweets and the length of Tweets: the longer the Tweet, the less it is re-Tweeted.

Over about 36 characters, the re-Tweet frequency levels out, with a spike of higher re-Tweeting at 120 characters.

Now, given that if you’re using WP to Twitter one of your goals is to share your web site content, keeping your Tweets under 36 characters is probably not at all realistic. Once you’ve got 20 characters for a URL, you only have 16 characters left for a title. That’s the word “self-sacrificing”, and I don’t think that’s what you need to be in this case…. So, not a lot of space.

But that spike at 120 characters is interesting. It’s a sharp and decisive spike – right back up to the popularity of a 24-28 character Tweet.

So what’s the value of maximizing that 140 characters? Do you gain anything by fitting in a couple extra words? In a word, I think…no. You just don’t. Your Tweet has a little more information in it (assuming that keeping information density high and leaving out anything extraneous), but it’s a little less likely to be shared — and it’ll reach fewer people.

So, what’s an ideal Tweet?

  • 120 characters or less
  • Links back to your content
  • Includes one hashtag, maybe two if they’re really relevant.

I could set the character limit at 120 characters in WP to Twitter – but, honestly, that’s just getting pedantic. You’ve got 140 characters, and you’re free to use them. But I recommend against it.

SO, I can hear you asking, why are there so many options for customization in WP to Twitter? Well, that’s all about special cases: you may want to include a reference to another author. You may need to reference an alternate URL. You may need to add extra tags. It’s great to have lots of options: but smart usage is knowing that you don’t always want to use them.