Can you deliver your key message in one tweet?

by Stratton Craig

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TEN recently claimed that you can tell people everything they need to know about personal finance in nine words. Should brands on Twitter be able to get their message across within the 140-character space of a single tweet?
As copywriters, we’re sure it must be possible. We could ultimately get our own approach down to around 60 characters and leave room for a hashtag:
“Engaging, effective copywriting, content and strategy. #contentwithcontent”
We also checked out the Twitter bios of some big names to see how they condensed their descriptions and whether they’ve left any room for improvement.
Innocent Drinks has a tone of voice that many brands aspire to achieve. Their bio is simply “innocent by nature”, and uses wordplay to sum up their values in just 18 characters – including the spaces. We don’t think we could make this much shorter, as there isn’t even a full stop on the end. Well done, innocent.
Then there’s supermarket chain Tesco, which uses 157 characters and manages to pack in both a hashtag and a joke: “Unidentified hashtag in the bagging area. Follow us for UK news, competitions, customer care, food and lots more… We’re waiting for your tweets #HappyToHelp!”
It’s debatable as to whether the bio needs the ‘follow us…’ line, as Twitter users now expect more varied content from brands. Taking that bit out would leave only 85 characters. As Tesco says, every little helps.
Clocking in at a slightly longer 160 characters, it’s London Midland. The rail company has clearly had a go at cutting their message down – see the ‘pls’ instead of ‘please’: “Here to help from 7am (8am weekends). We aim to reply to all tweets, but pls try to be polite if things have gone wrong – we’re real people just trying to help!” Even so, this bio still feels a bit wordy.
How about this: “Real people here to help from 7am (8am weekends). We try to reply to all tweets.” These 80 characters still reassure users that the account’s not being run by automated bots.
Can you sum up your brand in one tweet? Send your ideas to @strattoncraig.

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