Twitter: What to Say and When to Say It

Despite its spotty reliability and assorted frustrations (including several that Lee recently noted), Twitter is proving itself as a legitimate business tool. At least two brands – Dell and Moonfruit – openly report sales increases directly tied to their Twitter marketing efforts.

Over the past year, Mashable has several posts about the possibilities:

How can you pack an effective message into 140 characters or less? In his latest Alertbox, usability guru Jakob Nielsen shares his iterative messaging process for a conference announcement.

The variations included:

  • Leading with a strong verb (announcing…)
  • Leading with city names
  • Leading with city names and conference months
  • Leading with a fragment and colon
  • Adding a stronger benefit message

He also reviews his thinking behind when to Tweet, since his message targeted users in multiple time zones.

For many organizations, the debate focuses on whether (and why) they should have a Twitter presence. Others dive in with little strategy or planning.

What to Tweet, and when to Tweet it, is often relegated to the we’ll-figure-it-out-when-we-get-there phase, or maybe it’s assumed that the marketing or communications staff will handle it. But as Nielsen’s thinking shows, many message variations are possible in 140 characters or less – and your Tweets should always be intentional and audience-focused.

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