How many mistakes can I spot in a single tweet?

Ticket selling arrangements for [subject] have now been confirmed. Read: [url] #hashtag

I’ve hidden details of which organisation shared this tweet. I have a lot of respect for them, and don’t want this to be a name-and-shame.

Much of my analysis below may seem trivial. But each point represents a mistake I see repeated all too often. And all, I believe, will impact on conversion rates.

Let me know what you think.

1. Ticket selling

The second word of the tweet inspired this post.

Marketing communications like this should always be designed to appeal to the reader’s needs and desires. You want them to identify with the message, and act on it.

In this case, the reader is being asked to care about how the organisation sells a ticket. Organisations care about selling. People care about buying, or perhaps more accurately they care about getting.

Of course, the reader can make the connection between selling and getting — but why should they need to? It’s a needless barrier that disrupts identification with the message, and thus motivation to convert.

Furthermore, it reminds us that this is a business that wants to make money from us.

2. Have now been confirmed

Confirm != announce.

This is an irrational pet hate of mine. It’s comparatively inconsequential, but an oft-repeated misuse of language that could have negative effects for your brand.

Google defines confirm as ‘ establish the truth or correctness of something previously believed or suspected to be the case.’ Yet, organisations (and people) too often use it as a synonym of ‘announce’.

Confirm has connotations of weakness. It suggests something hasn’t been kept under wraps — it’s been leaked, or worked out; the publishing organisation has lost control over its message. Announce, on the other hand, is more authoritative— it says the publisher is in control, and as such it’s stronger.

3. Have now been confirmed (part 2)

It’s difficult to get inspired by passive language.

Passive language is inherently neutral. It’s usually employed to reassure the reader that the message has been observed from afar. It puts distance between the publisher and the message. That’s why it’s how media reports news — it says ‘we have no vested interest, we’re just reporting what has happened.’

Persuasive marketing should speak directly to the reader. Particularly on social media, where users expect more personal connections. Using passive language places more barriers between the organisation and a potential customer.

The industry this organisation comes from still has digital teams which have grown from — and remain part of— press and media teams. I’d hypothesise that this link to traditional neutral media plays a significant role in language like this.

4. Read

A call-to-action should always reflect the user’s motivation.

That’s why successful submit buttons on forms never say ‘submit’ — instead, they say ‘buy’, ‘join’ or something else that the user wants to do.

Here, the reader wants to find out something, not read something. Reading might be the way they find it out — but it’s not their motivation.

You could argue that reading is the thing that comes between the user and the information they desire. They want to get the actual reading out of the way, and reach their goal as soon as possible.

5. #Hashtag

Hashtags reduce conversions.

On Twitter, hashtags look exactly the same as links. Exactly the same.

When driving a conversion we should remove all other distractions. It’s why Amazon removes all headers, sidebars and other chrome when you start the checkout process. It’s why anyone born after 2000 will never know that ‘reset’ buttons on forms were ever a thing. Focus the user’s attention on exactly what you want them to do.

Yet here, the reader has two options side-by-side, with no weighting.

Twitter itself has recommended publishers avoid using hashtags when driving conversions. Anne Mercogliano, head of SMB marketing at Twitter, said that tweets without hashtags generated 23% more link clicks.

“For driving for a specific click that you’re looking for off Twitter, the less noise that you put in between the better.”

The hashtag also adds to the character count — and we know that fewer characters = better results.

A couple of my alternatives

  • How to get your tickets for [subject] [url]
  • Check out ticket details for [subject] ➡️️[url]
  • Ticket details for [subject] are here. Check them out: [url]
  • We’ve just announced ticket details for [subject]. Check them out: [url]

I’m on the lookout for more digital communications to run a critical eye over. Hit ‘follow’ to see more like this ⬇️️