Sunday, December 8, 2013

Don’t Just Tweet the Headline!

People are lazy. Web publishers are no exception. When they install social-sharing buttons, all-too-often they leave the default settings in place.

As a result, when a user clicks the ubiquitous “tweet” button to share the content, nine times out of 10, the default tweet is simply the article’s headline.

Big mistake. This means that all your efforts prodding people to share your content is negated when they actually do.

Instead, for every post they publish, publishers should draft a headline that’s tailored for Twitter. As a result, when that “tweet” button is summoned, the user will be sharing a summary that’s suited to this specific channel.

Here’s how Upworthy, the site known for making serious subjects go viral, carries out these complementarities:

Headline
Tweet
A Church Told a Pastor That He Couldn’t Preside Over His Son’s Wedding. He Responded Like a Dad.
You don’t have to be a Christian to appreciate how amazing @StandWithFrank is.
This Is the Most Inspiring Yet Depressing Yet Hilarious Yet Horrifying Yet Heartwarming Grad Speech
This is why it’s good to have strange people like @timminchin give your commencement address.
This Kid Just Died. What He Left Behind Is Wondtacular.
Zach Sobiech: “You don’t have to find out you’re dying to start living,” by @soulpancake.
If This Video Makes You Uncomfortable, Then You Make Me Uncomfortable
Watch this @getup video and just TRY not to be open-minded.
A Brave Fan Asks Patrick Stewart a Question He Doesn’t Usually Get and Is Given a Beautiful Answer
THIS JUST IN: @SirPatStew is a friggin’ amazing human being.

Takeaways:

1. Capitalization matters. Unlike headlines, which follow title case, tweets should follow sentence case.

2.Give credit where credit is due. Each tweet references the originator’s handle.

Convincing someone to click that ubiquitous “tweet” button is the hard part. But once he clicks, don’t pop the champagne just yet. You now have a golden opportunity to achieve the holy grail of social media: getting his friends to follow suit, thus creating a virtuous cycle of sharing.

Related: Slate Publishes 4 Headlines for Each Article