Twitter’s surprise announcement that they’re doubling the maximum number of characters in a tweet, from 140 to 280, got me thinking about top-performing social posts. We all know that some posts outperform others. But why? What goes into a top performing post? After analyzing an array of posts, here are five tips to create a top rate post:

  1. Build your base. Before you have great social posts, you need some posts – and some people to read them. Start by connecting with colleagues, partners, customers and thought leaders on Twitter, LinkedIn and (yes) Facebook. Post consistently, so the people you’re connected to will see what you’re saying. Be sure to thank new Twitter followers and like, share, retweet and comment on others’ posts, to connect to the conversation.
  1. Timing is everything. By their very nature, social posts are perishable content. To engage with your tribe, you need to be socially posting and listening when your peeps are out there, too. Start by reading this great CoSchedule blog on the best times to post. Then, use the analytics tools built into each of the social platforms you use. They’re good – and they’ll help you confirm when “your” people are tuned into social media.
  2. Keep it short. Even when Twitter rolls out 280 characters, this Hootsuite blog reminds us that shorter is better.
  3. Tag your friends. Or, in the GovCon world, tag the thought leaders who are engaged in conversations you care about. One of our top tweets appropriately included the Twitter handle of a top federal agency CIO. This won’t work all the time, but…the strong engagement certainly confirmed that we were in the right conversation at the right time.
  4. It’s not all about you. Top posts are not usually about you and your organization. While it’s great that you’ve won an industry award or just rolled out a new government service (and you should post those milestones), your top posts will be for helpful things you give your audience. Share a great research report or make an astute observation about an industry development. Send kudos to a deserving thought leader for a public win. These kinds of posts, written with your audience in mind, are valuable. People are likely to react to and share great news and resources.

Whether you’re just starting out on social media or you’ve been managing your organization’s social presence for years, it’s always smart to pause and see what’s working best and why. After all, things change. A top post from even one year ago may not be the best model for what works today.

If you’re looking for a social media sounding board or an extension to your social media team, please let us know. We’d be happy to support your program!