Too many people start planning Twitter campaigns with thoughts about retweets, likes, and new followers in mind. But they should be thinking about the most important thing: The content! When it comes to tweets, it’s the content — words, hashtags, photos, and videos — which makes them go viral.
Knowing what type of content is well received will help your tweets spread as you create better content. Keep reading to learn about some of the most successful tweets in recent history and the content that made them great.
@BarackObama: Four more years
With three simple words and one incredible photo, President Barack Obama celebrated his election to a second term as President of the USA.
Four more years. pic.twitter.com/bAJE6Vom
— Barack Obama (@BarackObama) November 7, 2012
With no hashtag or call to action, the content that made this tweet work was the photo. It made a major moment in the USA’s history relatable, as a man and a woman who love each other celebrate a victory. You can’t help but feel an emotional connection.
You may not have just been elected to your second term as President, but your content will do well when it makes emotional connections with your followers. This can include anything from staff parties, to celebrating a business win, to welcoming a new hire. Show emotions. Show excitement. Your Twitter followers will feel those emotions and share in that excitement. And by ‘share in that excitement’ I mean they’ll retweet you!
@TheRealNimoy with all the feels
Leonard Nimoy’s last tweet contained some of the most poignant words you’ll ever come across on Twitter.
A life is like a garden. Perfect moments can be had, but not preserved, except in memory. LLAP
— Leonard Nimoy (@TheRealNimoy) February 23, 2015
It was the perfect content for the perfect moment, and couldn’t help but touch the heart of all of his fans. This is another piece of content with a strong emotional appeal, like President Obama’s, to his followers. The difference, of course, is that this is a purely text-based tweet. You can not underestimate the importance of psychology on Twitter. Emotions are a major sharing factor.
For your own content needs, no one has to die. But you do need to put thought into the content you share at important moments in your account’s history. To make things easier, shareable quotes from other people are actually great pieces of content to share. Use them as part of an emotional appeal to your followers, and ask for shares. The hashtag #quote can also be used in the content to find new followers who are searching this hashtag for inspiration.
#LoveWins …wins Twitter content marketing
Not only was #LoveWins a landmark moment in the quest for equal rights, but also a fitting example of a unique way to use content to push a message. With profile pictures turning rainbow colors across Twitter and Facebook, and everyone from the President on down tweeting out the hashtag, influencers are what made this content relevant.
Today is a big step in our march toward equality. Gay and lesbian couples now have the right to marry, just like anyone else. #LoveWins
— President Obama (@POTUS) June 26, 2015
The hashtag was used to make an emotional appeal to a uniting event. It was short and to the point, and easily understood by all people regardless of their personal feelings toward equal marriage rights.
Your Twitter account may not be able to have this deep of an impact on the world, but it can learn something from the content here. What worked so well for #LoveWins is that the momentum for this movement grew and grew as profile pictures changed to the rainbow colour scheme, as the tweets were shared, and as the content grew.
Build this into your own content plans by:
- Creating profile and header images on Twitter which work in tandem with a major content push.
- Adding the hashtag to your header image, and even your profile’s bio.
- Doing this across all of your social platforms, and on your website.
Complete unification can go a long way to pushing your content even further as it creates an experience. That’s what #LoveWins really was on Twitter, and across social media: An experience we shared together.
#PlutoFlyby: The moment we never thought we’d love so much
The #PlutoFlyby was, at first, something that only the real science and astronomy geeks were following. *cough*me*cough* When the @NASANewHorizons account first started tweeting out content about the flyby they were smart to connect it all with the #PlutoFlyby hashtag. Why? Because of what happened once we all saw this iconic image:
— NASA New Horizons (@NASANewHorizons) July 14, 2015
Once this photo went viral it gave everyone the chance to click the hashtag and discover all of the previous content. They had built out their content in advance to be found once the story broke, and every Twitter account needs to plan for their future in a similar way.
This created a public space, via the hashtag, for people to communicate about what they thought about Pluto. This is the other aspect that you need to build into your content – a plan for user-generated content like this:
these are my favorite Pluto memes, so freaking sweet pic.twitter.com/siPan16e7T
— anel (@xbluerose) July 15, 2015
Twitter is a big conversation. Plan your content to include hashtags so that your followers have a place to read opinions and share thoughts. When you surprise your audience with great content, giving them more to find via the hashtag may make the difference between liking one piece of content and liking your account.
@NiallOfficial and the One Direction phenomenon
One Direction has to be looked at in any discussion of successful Twitter content marketing. (Sorry.) Despite their rabid fanbase, some content performs better than others. For example, content they tweet out personally, and in celebration of a milestone, typically performs better than the highly-polished stuff the PR team cranks out. Case in point:
— Niall Horan (@NiallOfficial) August 29, 2015
This birthday wish, accompanied by silly text and a purposely embarrassing photo, did very well. All too often on social media, birthdays and major celebrations are only celebrated by the fans. Messages of congratulations are sent to the Twitter account and it makes things feel …disconnected.
What Niall did here was take the time to create content which directly connected with fans. It’s similar to President Obama’s ‘Four more years’ tweet from above, except it goes in a different route. It went after a laugh instead of an ‘awwww.’ Either way, it’s a powerful emotional connection. As you learn how to use Twitter, there’s nothing more important than understanding the emotions you’re going to share through your content.
Creating great content for your Twitter account
Great Twitter moments that are shared and interacted with, whether for a branded or personal account, don’t just happen. As we learned from the examples above, it takes:
- Photos that connect on an emotional level.
- Text and quotes that are instantly impactful and inspirational.
- A total content plan which goes beyond the content itself, and connects with account profile and header images.
- A plan from the start to preserve the history of your content so that once you do go viral, there’s content ready for people to look through.
- Sharing moments directly with your followers, and giving them a lighter side of who you are.
While you will not be able to do each of these things with every piece of content you create for Twitter, you can build each one into your overall plan. How successful you are going to be on Twitter comes down to knowing what type of content is popular, and using this content to your advantage.
Out of the four content marketing examples shown, which is your favorite? Do you feel that I missed something important? Please discuss with me below, I’d be happy to chat with you!
About the author: Matthew Yeoman is the writer on the Devumi.com Digital Marketing blog. You can find him there on Fridays as he writes about what’s important to him in the social world, and brings you the latest ideas in content, strategy, analytics, and everything else social! @Devumi is the account to follow on Twitter!