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You Can’t Spell ‘Twitter’ without ‘Wit’: How to Write a Tweet To Engage Your Audience

A study done by researchers at Cornell University, backed by the National Science Foundation and Google, found that style may trump substance when it comes to Twitter popularity. This research found that including an engaging call to action at the beginning of the Tweet—for example, “please retweet, retweet, plz, pls”—can increase people’s engagement rate on Twitter. Now, what does this mean for social pros?

Recently, we conducted our own Twitter experiment to see what our followers found engaging. We found that knowing more about our audience, using images, and taking some risks really helped boost our Twitter engagement rate (TER). This helped us increase our TER by 180% in two months.

Researchers at Cornell gathered their findings and created a tool that uses an algorithm to automatically learn what kind of wording works better for Tweets. This tool, however, may not work for everyone because it still doesn’t factor in humor or personality—which we found was a key factor in how we increased our own TER.

Cornell University’s tool is a great start on learning what kind of content to use in your Tweets. But since our own experiment yielded some findings that weren’t accounted for by university researchers, we decided to add to this research. We’ve put together a template to help you know how to write a Tweet that people will want to engage with.

Here’s a template demonstrating how to write a Tweet


Breaking down this how to write a Tweet template:

You’re probably thinking, “Great, a template, but what does this template mean?” Don’t worry, I’ve put together 4 key takeaways that will explain the graphic and teach you to write engaging Tweets.

Write engaging content that speaks to your audience

The first part of your Tweet should be around 90-100 characters. This text should be engaging, show off your brand personality, and include a call to action. Yes, Twitter’s character limit is 140; however, if you’re going to ask people to retweet your Tweet, make sure you leave enough room for them to add ‘RT’ to the body of the Tweet.

Include a URL (or a shortened URL)

For majority of businesses, Twitter is used to drive their followers to their website, or to a landing page. If this is your goal, make sure to include a URL in your Tweet. Better yet, include a shortened URL, using a URL shortener like, so you can track click-through rate and save your character count.

Wrap up your Tweet with a hashtag

Increase the reach of your Tweet by using a relevant hashtag. Hashtags will increase your Tweet’s visibility on the network, and help you join the bigger discussion going on around the topic. For example, if your Tweet is about social media, include the hashtag #socialmedia.

Include an image, a GIF or a video

Still images, GIFs, and now videos can dramatically increase the engagement rate for your Tweets. Make sure the images that accompany your Tweet are relevant and high-quality. We recently did a test on one of our CEO’s Tweets. Below, you can see that the Tweet that has the image had a 79% higher engagement rate than the one without an image.

How to write a Tweet - photo engagement rate

Crafting Tweets doesn’t have to be as daunting as it seems. Just remember to always have your audience in mind whenever you’re writing a Tweet, and you’ll see your Twitter engagement rate rise. The best way to know how to write a Tweet to suit your audience is through practice, tracking, and constant improvement based on your engagement metrics. Happy tweeting!

Now that you know how to write a Tweet, start managing your Twitter accounts with Hootsuite.

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