The Secret to What to Say on Twitter

By , The Solo-CEO: Content Marketing Strategist

Solo-E Certified Solo Entrepreneur Expert

Terri Zwierzynski - The Solo-CEO: Content Marketing Strategist

What to write in Twitter? Lots of new tweeps and even veterans ask this question. Should I tell people I had chicken salad for lunch? Should I only write about business? etc.

The answer to that depends on how you want to use Twitter. If you prefer to connect with people only professionally, then only tweet about business stuff. If you’d like to connect on a more personal level occasionally, then tweet about personal stuff and respond to other’s personal tweets. The more you do whatever you are comfortable with, the more your tweeps will respond in kind.

Ho hum. So what’s the real secret? CONTENT. If you are using Twitter with the intent of building business (and you are, right?), you have to write a least some tweets that share something of your expertise (Guy Kawasaki is a great example…he consistently shares (lots of) interesting content, and hence has a huge Twitter following.)

Daunted by the thought of having to write something useful in 140 characters several times a day? Tweet an interesting blog post you read, or if you know of a great class coming up soon, or an article or resource.

And the super-duper secret? RETWEET. It packs a double whammy in that at the same time you are sharing valuable content with your tweeps, you are also complimenting the original tweeter, and introducing them to your tweeps, too. For a triple-whammy, retweet someone else’s retweet, keeping both names in the tweet. So for instance, Sandra tweets about her new blog post, Kendall re-tweets it, and then I retweet Kendall’s tweet. You may need to get creative to edit it down to 140 characters.

And the deluxe, with a cherry on top please secret?? Follow people who tweet about the same kind of things you tweet about, and share great content. Then retweet them occasionally. These could be colleagues, JV partners, even competitors. Your followers will be interested in some of what they have to say. Bonus: they might return the favor and retweet something YOU tweet, exposing you to all of their followers too.

P.S.–a retweet looks like this:
RT @KendallCoach: Spending next 2 days w/Prvt Intensive clnt @BriaCoach planning her empire. This lady is up 2 big things so follow her. (-:

Terri Zwierzynski, MBA (UNC-Chapel Hill) became a corporate refugee in 2001, after 15 years of servitude employment. After her initial shock at being unemployed, she vowed to “never work for an idiot again!” and decided to be her own boss (and try to live up to that vow!) She launched in 2003 to provide a quality selection of online resources for building a Solo Entrepreneur business, from hand-picked, proven, truly Expert coaches, consultants, trainers and implementers - mentors she personally trusts.

© Copyright 2009 Terri Zwierzynski
14 comments on “The Secret to What to Say on Twitter
  1. Tamera Nelson says:

    Thanks for clearing up what/what not to tweet about. I’ve been on twitter for several months now and started out tweeting personal tidbits of information. Since starting a virtual assistant business I changed it up to include tweets about VA related topics.

    I’m embarrassed to say I always wondered what the ‘RT’ meant at the beginning of tweets by those I’m following.

  2. Tamera — we all started out that way…at least I did! It took me several months to figure out @ and RT. I’ve had the privilege to learn from one of the experts (Mari Smith, @MariSmith) which has helped a lot. But a lot was trial and error.

    Glad you found the article helpful 🙂
    Terri Z

  3. Excellent post Terri. It’s so important to use, not abuse, our time on Twitter. Providing quality content, not constantly selling and developing a strong network is essential.

    I so like your post I retweeted so others could also enjoy.

  4. Thanks, Kathleen. And thanks for adding that super-important point about not thinking of Twitter solely as a sales tool! I don’t think that can be emphasized enough!

  5. This is an important topic, Terri. I also get asked this question a lot. One tip I’d like to add is that if you want your tweets to get retweeted, don’t make people work too hard by having to edit your tweets. If you keep in mind to make your tweets only 120 characters, then there is usually room for your handle which is included in a retweet. Personally if a tweet is too long, I usually don’t retweet because I don’t have time to fiddle with editing.

  6. Denise — that is an excellent tip! If it’s a long tweet, I might take the time to shorten words to make it fit (great = gr8, etc.) or I might remove part of the phrase. It is extra work though and I admit my eye goes to shorter tweets more often than longer ones!

  7. Jillian Coleman Wheeler says:

    Really like this post, Terri. For myself, I mostly post about business, but often also throw in some personal notes about my life, my family, my day. I find my readers respond to getting to know the “whole me.”

  8. Jillian — I like mixing the personal in too, at least a little. I like reading about what other business owners are doing outside their businesses, and I figure they would be interested in my outside-business life too. Hopefully I’m not too boring! LOL!

  9. Great points Terri. Content always has, and always will be, king and queen. It gets pretty annoying when someone’s first tweet is to sell you something. Granted, I definitely promote on Twitter but do what I can to give more high content with links back to my blog with a content driven post, or to retweet a great post like this one.

    Social marketing is just that; social. Seems we have lost one word in the equation. With information like what you provided we can find what we lost. 🙂

  10. Kathleen, your comments made me think a little bit more about what “social networking” really means. It’s certainly not limited to online! And if you think about social networking in an in-person situation, you’d be chatting with others, introducing people, complimenting or congratulating folks on their latest achievements, etc. You wouldn’t walk up and hand someone a product brochure (at least I hope not!) Social networking online isn’t really different…I think we tend to lose site of that amidst all the technical gizmos…

  11. Lara Packard says:

    Hi, Tamera
    I am new to tweeting. Great post! just the information on the
    subject I was looking for. I would like to start a virtual assistant
    business. Where do I exactly look for you’re virtual assistant
    site? Also, I looked at a company online called who
    hires virtual assitants and hooks them up with clients. Have
    you worked with or heard of this company?

  12. Hi Lara,

    I’m not familiar with, but one resource I know of for Virtual Assistant business training is

    I’ll look for some other resources and will post them if I find anything!

  13. Terri says:

    Hi Lara
    This was the one I was looking for!
    Tina Forsyth & Andrea Lee have a VA Ecommerce course starting tomorrow

    And Tina and Cindy Greenway start a new Online Business Manager program in February

    Those should get you started!
    .-= Terri´s last blog ..Lessons from Elite Runners =-.

  14. Great advice about following those who tweet about the same things. Kathleen is so right about the ‘social” in social networking. Way too many use it for spam. Nothing wrong with promoting, but we must be informative, interesting and engaging first or the promotions fall on deaf ears.

    Celene Harrelson

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