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How to Write on Twitter. Social Media & Science, Part 2


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This guide examines the anatomy of a tweet and shares tips on what to keep in mind when writing for Twitter.

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How to Write on Twitter. Social Media & Science, Part 2

  1. 1. Social Media & Science, Part 2: How To Write On Twitter Katja Reuter, PhD Associate Director of Communications Clinical and Translational Science Institute (CTSI) University of California, San Francisco (UCSF)Friday, January 18, 2013
  2. 2. The Anatomy of a Tweet Mention: Another users Twitter Retweet: Re-posting of someone Content of the message username. elses Tweet RT@FasterCures: "We overpay for health care, but we underpay the people we expect to fix it“ @matthewherper #Forbes #in Shortened link Hashtag marks keywords or Mention: Another topics in a tweet. Can occur By adding a “+” sign in the end of a users Twitter anywhere in the tweet. url you can track the clicks username. statistics for any bitly URL without having to register, login or install any software. Appears as update on integrated LinkedIn pages. Hashtagged keyword: Used to categorize messages. People follow particular hashtags. Those that become popular are often trending topics.Friday, January 18, 2013
  3. 3. Types of Tweets Normal tweet: Any message with up to 140 characters posted to Twitter. Mention: A Tweet containing another users Twitter username, preceded by the "@" symbol. Example: This is very useful advice on participant recruitment. @PRSatCTSI @Reply: Begins with another users username and is in reply to one of their Tweets. Example: @FasterCures "It is no longer sufficient to have a novel product that’s safe and effective and gets through #FDA #WhoWillPay? Direct message: A personal message sent directly to someone who follows you or sent directly to you from someone you follow. Retweet: Re-posting of someone elses Tweet. They are distinguished by the retweet icon (RT) and the name of the user who retweeted the Tweet.  Example: RT @ImSatCTSI: National Assoc. of Public #Hospitals & #HealthSystems Aannual Meeting San Francisco June 20-22Friday, January 18, 2013
  4. 4. Things to keep in mind when you write a tweet...Friday, January 18, 2013
  5. 5. How to Write a Tweet 1. Start a tweet using action verbs, or via and @. Suggest your reader do something. Examples: Find tips @link to design a successful clinical #research study. @FasterCures asked interesting Q about #mobile software in #healthcare. "Will government regulators suffocate it?", January 18, 2013
  6. 6. How to Write a Tweet 2. Use a capital letter with each new sentence. 3. Hyphens, periods and colons are the most retweetable punctuation. (Ref., 2009)Friday, January 18, 2013
  7. 7. How to Write a Tweet 4. Focus on keywords: Include the most relevant keywords related to your field. Anticipate your readers’ search behavior. (Ref. retweets.pdf, 2009) Examples: "We cannot conquer disease without engaging patients" MIs Margaret Anderson #disease #NIH Learn from routine site visits conducted by the #QualityImprovement Unit (QIU). Get training at #UCSF, Aug 7. Approx. 2500 #OrphanDrugs approved to date with an average #trial size of 100 patients. Jim Healy @sofinnova @orphandrugsum #ctsiFriday, January 18, 2013
  8. 8. How to Write a Tweet 5. Place the link about 25% of the way through the tweet. Linked tweets have an 86% higher retweet rate than their linkless counterparts. Examples: Find tips @link to design a successful clinical #research study. See new article @ on preparing hispanic students for the real world: problem-based learning projects. @ccph201ian Ref. Dan Zarrella, HubSpot;, 2012Friday, January 18, 2013
  9. 9. How to Write a Tweet 6. Include “Please RT” on your tweets if possible. People are more likely to respond favorably to “please” and retweet.  If you ask followers to “RT,” you’ll get a 12X higher retweet rate. If you spell out the word “retweet,” that figure jumps to 23X. Ref., 2012;, 2009Friday, January 18, 2013
  10. 10. Words that Are Least Likely to Get Re-Tweets Ref., 2009Friday, January 18, 2013
  11. 11. How to Write a Tweet 7. Include numbers: People react to numbers, especially when associated with funding, impact & results. Examples: About 5 cents of every U.S. health dollar goes to medical research. #investincures 500+ #UCSF researchers benefited from #ConsultationService last year.View all areas of expert advice @ and get your first hour for free. 10 recommendations aim for more transparent #ClinicalTrial reports #SmartBriefFriday, January 18, 2013
  12. 12. How to Write a Tweet 8. Entice readers to go to your webpage for more information to increase traffic. Examples: See new article @ on UCSF clinicians who get new ammunition in fight against childhood. #cancers #in Successful leadership in #teamscience. Join #UCSF workshop for faculty leaders, June 5. Find UCSF experts and their networks with a few clicks. #UCSFProfiles yjhd62Friday, January 18, 2013
  13. 13. How to Write a Tweet 9. Mention influential individuals & groups that might be interested in a tweet. They’ll be likely to read it, tweet about it, re-tweet it, and potentially they’ll start following you. Example: UCSF gene therapy may offer relief for 116 million Americans with #ChronicPain @ccfa @CrohnsandUC@aapainmanage #ctsa Q&A with @WSJHealthBlog Amy Dockser Marcus "Working toward a new social contract for #healthcare"Friday, January 18, 2013
  14. 14. How to Write a Tweet 10. Keep it short and to the point. To allow maximum retweetability, write 120 characters or less to leave room for others to retweet your message. Keep them to fewer than 100 characters. Tweets of fewer than 100 characters got a 17% higher engagement rate than other, comparatively windy tweets. Ref., January 18, 2013
  15. 15. How to Write a Tweet 11. Include images in tweets. Posts with images have double the engagement of those without even though users can’t see them until they click on them. (Ref. 2012/06/26/marketers-failing-twitter-study/)Friday, January 18, 2013
  16. 16. How to Write a Tweet 12. Learn Twitter lingo, for example:  FF = Follow Friday  RLRT = Real Life Retweet (used to quote sth. a person said in "real life")  atm = at the moment  lol = laugh out loud. See Twitter Glossary |, January 18, 2013
  17. 17. How to Write a Tweet 13. Use hashtags (#) One that already has some popularity in search engines or new ones that your organization wants to establish. Tweets with hashtags get twice the engagement of those without. Best practices: 1-2 hashtags per tweet. If you add a third, you’ll begin to see an average 17% dropoff in engagement. Use hashtags only on Tweets relevant to the topic. Example: Join @Predoc at UCSF’s Students Research Festival this week & learn about the latest research trends link. #diabetes #ResearchMattersFriday, January 18, 2013
  18. 18. Shorten URLs 14. Use one of the free URL shortening services: Bitly ( Tiny URL ( Google ( More examples @ services-vote-your-favorite/ Note: Microblogging Management Tools such as Hootsuite and Buffer offer URL shorting functionality as well.Friday, January 18, 2013
  19. 19. When To Send Your Tweets 15. Time and schedule your tweets: Use Microblogging Management Tools such as Hootsuite and Buffer to schedule your tweets. Tweets between 8 am -7 pm got 30% higher engagement rates than those those that occurred after-hours. Note: Facebook posts on “non-busy hours” get 17% higher engagement.(Ref. Tools such as Tweriod helps you find out the best time to tweet — when your followers are active on Twitter. “Sweet Spot”: Four tweets/dayFriday, January 18, 2013
  20. 20. CTSI is a member of the National Institutes of Health-funded Clinical and Translational Science Awards network. Under the banner of "Accelerating Research to Improve Health," it provides a wide range of services for researchers, and promotes online collaboration and networking tools such as UCSF Profiles.Friday, January 18, 2013
  21. 21. Katja Reuter, PhD Associate Director of Communications Clinical and Translational Science Institute (CTSI) University of California, San Francisco (UCSF), January 18, 2013