All credit to the great and good Ed Latimore! My notes are a poor distillation of Ed’s course which you can buy here.
This document doesn’t tell you what to do on Twitter. Its purpose is to give you a framework on what you could do, the final decision is a judgment call and is for the author and publisher to agree on. This document is not exhaustive.
Basic Strategy is to remember platforms come and go, but the basics of networking and communication are forever. Add value. Be the network, not the node.
Principles for how to think.
The mindset you should adopt when tweeting.
Rule 1— add value.
Anything that alleviates or solves a problem. If you aren’t solving a problem or distracting people from it, you aren’t adding value. To be valuable, you must either…
- Educate people on solutions to their problems.
- Persuade them to feel better about their problems.
- Entertain them in such a way that they forget about their problems.
The value of someone comes down to their ability to do one of those things. If you can do one of those things, preferably two, or ideally all three then you’re going to do very well.
- Don’t make enemies for free.
- Let the trolls troll. You’re here to build something, not tear stuff down.
- You never know who’s watching or will see what you put out.
- If you get used to seeing people as the enemy, it’s not long before you imagine you’re facing an army.
- Polarization is taking a stand. Not talking shit.
- Be kind, but don’t be a pushover.
Rule 2 — be the network, not the node.
- “Networking works, but it’s not what you think. Networking is merely an exchange of value. To build your network, exchange value.
Rule 3 — view each person as the sum of their followers.
- Every follow comes with their own network. This is why it is VITAL that you gain the attention of bigger networks.
- Treat everyone with respect.
- Respect the power of Metcalf’s Law. The power of a network increases by the square of the number of people in it. If you have 10 people the power is 100ish. If you have 100 then power is 100,000ish. It doesn’t scale linearly. It scales like a curve.
Rule 4 — interact with each person as if they’re right in front of you.
- Treating people with respect is the easiest way to stand out.
- This will keep you from turning away people who can be your ally, even if only temporarily.
- Many opportunities will come your way because people will see how you interact with your audience.
- Build bridges, not walls.
Rule 5 — Value > Network > Dollars
- Deliver value. Don’t try to network. Don’t try to sell things. Simply try to improve the lives of those around you.
- Once you’ve figured out how you’ll add value, then double down on it. This will naturally build your network. No need to try useless “black hat” tricks.
- All you have to do is throw out what you’re good at.
- Once you’re delivering value and you’ve built a network, selling to it is easy. You’ve already prequalified yourself. Get this wrong and you won’t have a network or dollars.
Rule 6 — grow, evolve, discard, never diss
- Be authentic.
- What got you to one level won’t be what takes you to the next.
- Without celebrity, certain topics and angles work to accelerate growth better than others.
Rule 7 — be the producer, not the consumer.
- You shouldn’t follow that many accounts so you can focus on contributing. Don’t follow most people. But do follow some.
- Entertain genuine questions, but unless you can capitalize on it AND add value at the same time, ignore most inquiries and criticisms of your tweets (obviously do offer support if you’re a brand).
Summary of the Rules
- Use Twitter to build value via experiences and insight.
- Don’t waste time with trolls or trolling.
- Never forget that you are building a network with you as the central node.
- Use Twitter, don’t let Twitter use you.
Tactics — what to do
- Threads. Structure content. Index thread of content.
- When this tweet reaches X RTs I’ll give Y bonus.
- Link for X at bottom of thread.
Formatting — for maximum engagement
Short of celebrity, engagements are the ONLY way to grow. Readability is the ease with which your eyes can take in the information and process it. The overall theme is separation and clarity of ideas and the way that they appear.
Good formatting makes a tweet more “readable”. A readable tweet is a tweet that gets people to stop and look. Formatting is the book’s cover of the tweet. Once it makes the initial impression, engagement is more likely…
Aesthetics vs Content.
- Speaking clearly is one thing. Speaking well is another.
- Writing clearly is one thing. Writing well is another.
- Easy to read = easy to engage.
Bad formatting — is lonely, on a branch out by itself.
- A solid block of text with no breaks.
- Run-on sentences.
- No chunking of ideas.
- Poor attempt as a thread: not necessary and not introduced well.
- Unbalanced text.
Good formatting — says “I’m easy to understand”.
- Clear lead off with the colon
- Line breaks — a space between each idea
- Ideas well chunked and organized
- Naturally leads into a thread without prompting
- Excellently balanced and easy to read
- Correct spelling, punctuation, and grammar.
Punctuation, Grammar and all that stuff you learned in school.
- Readability is also about the mechanics of the sentence and making sure they’re properly executed.
- Avoiding typos and grammatical errors make the tweet much more likely to be engaged with. Misspellings and error DO NOT increase engagement (contrary to popular belief — we are not Prez Trump!).
Threads — when to thread
A thread (also known as a ‘tweetstorm’) is a series of connected tweets from one account posted in quick succession. With a thread, you can provide additional context, an update, or an extended point by connecting multiple tweets together. Threads can also index threads. It is an effective way to bundle content and break up ideas.
- Threading links ideas that extend beyond 280 characters.
- Threading is the best way to tell highly engaging stories.
- Threading allows you to preserve formatting for an aesthetically pleasing tweet.
The downsides to threading.
- Your whole message may not be read.
- You get diminishing returns. Lower engagement the further down the thread you go.
- After four tweets, you’re usually best off starting a new tweet.
Content — what to say
Engaging content is the best content. It’s more likely to be retweeted, liked, quoted tweeted, and commented on. This, in turn, makes it more likely that you will pick up followers.
- If it’s not making people take action then it’s not useful. If it doesn’t make them take an action then it is useless content as far as we are concerned.
- Engaging content does more than make people think. It compels them to take action. Actions lead to everything from followers, to subscribers, to new customers.
- Engaging content creates addicts and habits. They sing praises and give recommendations for your twitter account.
Framework — three types of tweets
No tweet is 100% one category. Good tweets hit all 3 areas. The better you get at tweeting, the more easily you’ll be able to blend these.
Intellectual — a unique take or insight that makes you think.
Tweets that challenge conventional thought, demonstrate insight or present a new perspective. Help you think about a thing in a different way. Reach new conclusions. Gain new insights.
- Meaning clear but not obvious.
- Likely to force engagement because ‘action begets action’.
- Looking up words.
- Thinking about how it applies.
- People will often misunderstand and will quote-tweet to show.
- Quote-tweet exposes you to a whole new audience.
- Sheds new insight on common ideas by contrast or combination.
- Worded well but not obtuse. Understandable but not basic.
Best topics to tweet about…
- Math & Science
- Occupation specific observations
- Cognitive Biases. See this ‘cognitive bias codex’ which breaks 180 cognitive errors into four quadrants of memory, meaning, information overload, and need for speed.
Unifying — builds bridges, tends to get the most followers…
Tweets that deal with fundamental issues that all people feel rather than think about. Reference our common experiences.
- Focuses on an experience everyone believes everyone else has.
- More relatable than polarizing.
- Forces engagement by agreement and perception.
- It highlights similarities rather than differences. It does not attack someone else or another group.
- Often contains actionable advice to improve or enhance.
Best topics to tweet about…
- Motivation is otherwise known as “platitude twitter”. It’s the Theory. Talking the talk.
- It’s an external thing “I give you something to motivate you”.
- Hopes and hardships. Common experiences both positive and negative.
- Inspiration. It’s the Practice. Walking the walk. Action.
- He did that, I can do that too.
- Self-improvement. Fitness, money, skills etc… we all want to be better. It’s a unifying concept.
- Self-doubt. Imposter syndrome is a big deal. We all have those moments where we think we’re not good enough and we can’t do what we set out to do.
- Try to capture that feeling. People gravitate to negative more than positive.
Emotional — build walls, tends to get the most engagement…
they cause an immediate and/or intense superficial emotional reaction. Emotional tweets are the walls. Tend to be about sex, politics, race and social class etc… the kinds of things that allow you to be polarizing (not necessarily wrong).
- Extremely polarizing. Polarization is selecting the side of an argument to the exclusion of all other possible interpretations or any nuance.
- Attacks a perspective or group of people.
- It focuses on differences rather than similarities.
- Often uses inflammatory language to make a powerful point.
- Forces engagement AND brings strong opposition.
- Tends to be most topical due to the social climate.
Best topics to tweet about…
- Religion. Present why you believe a certain thing (positive approach).
- You shouldn’t bash someone’s religion.
- Any “-ism” as it’s often a concept that divides people and affects their personal life.
- Subtle and artistic.
- Conspiracy Theories.
- Look at what people base their identity around or things they don’t want to be identified with.
Style — give new meaning to old
Stylistic devices make your message more engaging and allow you to make the mundane and make it meaningful. Stylistic devices (or rhetorical or literary devices) are any of a variety of techniques used to give a piece of writing auxiliary meaning, idea or feeling.
Like ‘love is a battlefield’ or ‘time is a river’. A combination of ideas can paint an image.
Sometimes a word diverges from its normal meaning or a phrase has a specialized meaning not based on the literal meaning of the words in it. Stylistic devices often provide emphasis, the freshness of expression, or clarity. It makes an idea easier to interpret. The stylistic devices work well with good formatting.
For example ‘a picture is worth a thousand words’ or ‘a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush’.
Literary Devices — these are a few examples
- Metaphor: i.e. “Love is a battlefield”. When you use a metaphor you’ll very often have to go into some kind of explanation. A metaphor is a figure of speech that gives an object a characteristic that’s impossible for it to possess, done for the sake of comparison.
- Antithesis: i.e. “Love is an ideal thing. Marriage is a real thing”. Place two opposite ideas together using a parallel structure to achieve a contrasting effect.
- Personification: i.e. “Nature abhors a vacuum”. Personification is the attribution of human characteristics to something non-human. Expresses something in a more engaging way.
- Anaphora: i.e. “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom”. Consists of repeating a sequence of words at the beginning of neighboring clauses, thereby lending them emphasis. Exact same words.
- Parallelism: i.e. “Tell me and I forget. Teach me and I may remember. Involve me and I will learn”. Compounds words and phrases using the same grammatical structure. It lends itself well to numbering.
Expression Through Abstraction
- Take what you’ve learned the hard way and break it down so that people can learn it the easy way.
- Give people a reason to follow by relating to the things we all know, but you or our team experience uniquely.
- Every journey of development has the same themes to play with and issues to critique.
- Human Behaviour
- Pattern Recognition
- Insightful Connections
How to Tweet 1000+ times per month
Roughly 2% of your following sees your tweet at any given time. You need to tweet a lot!
- Building a large and engaged following means you need something to say.
- Many people struggle building engagement because they can’t figure out what to say.
- Unless you’re a celebrity, you can’t gain a following unless you FREQUENTLY tweet things that people find valuable.
- Tweeting often is a mindset.
- Entertainment you consume. Books, videos, podcasts, talks, insights where you “ethically steal”. You don’t copy it. You modify it.
- Writing. Our blogs, newsletters and website copy.
- Real LIfe: experiences, observations, commentary, and memories. When. Where.
- Use Boolean searches. Plenty of guides for ‘Google Dorking’ that will help.
Twitter Profile — what makes a good profile
Make sure your profile has a link to the capture page or mailing list. The profile is where people form an image and impression. It’s where you can differentiate yourself.
You can design your profile in one of two ways — resume vs dating profile.
- Statements of expertise
- Established in field
- Offline accomplishments
- Value assumed
- Sale assumed
- Online presence
- Explanation of position
- Value explained
- Intermediate steps before the sale (i.e. funnel)
- Focused on Niching
- Best IOS App (and Mac) is Twitterrific https://twitterrific.com/ios
- Analytics https://www.twitonomy.com/
- Hashtag research https://hashtagify.me/
- Thread scheduler https://app.hypefury.com
- Thread Reader https://threadreaderapp.com
- Auto tweet deletes https://www.allmytweets.net
- Unicode text editor https://fsymbols.com
- Shadowban check https://shadowban.eu
Analytics — what to measure
The main metrics for Twitter are “impressions” and “engagements”. Impressions are how many times your tweet passes someone’s timeline in a position where it can be seen. Engagements are any actions taken in response to your tweets.
- Engagements — like, retweet, quote tweet, comments, profile visit and follow.
- Engagements are what matters. 1% — 3% should be considered very good. Impressions are only relevant in this regard.
- Engagement rates on a tweet of more than 3% are exceptionally good. But remember the best tweets are not always the ones that speak directly to your audience.
- New followers vs profile visits — 1% — 5% are considered to be high performance.
Thanks for reading.
Want to find out more about Ed Latimore? Of course, you do…