Making the Most of Twitter Threads

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Twitter threads have been around for a long time. When they first came about, everyone was all about threads and threading stories. Gradually, they started to lose their appeal. Twitter was evolving as a platform, and threads didn’t seem to be as top of mind for users. Over the last few years, however, threads have made a comeback. This time, more strong than ever before, and with more potential. How can you make the most of Twitter threads? We asked content creator and master threader, Greg Lunt. Here’s a summary of our chat.

Guest: Greg Lunt
Topic: Making the most of Twitter threads
Format: Eight questions directed at the guest. Everyone’s welcome to share.

Q1: What kind of research should you do to write a good Twitter thread?

The amount of time and research you dedicate to a thread depends entirely on the concept and content of the thread. As our guest said, if it’s a technical topic, he’d spend a lot of time studying about it, collating links and ideas into a document, and then start writing it. For more personal threads, however, he’d do little to no research, but he would still let a draft sit as a draft for a while before posting it. This way, he could revisit the phrasing of the thread and edit it so that it’s just the way he intends it.

As Yashin suggested, you can also get ChatGPT to do the research and collate information. Remember, though, ChatGPT is known to hallucinate (make up events and dates). Be sure to verify the incidents that the AI comes up with to ensure your content is accurate.

Q2: How do you identify topics to cover in threads?

Our guest told us that all of his threads fall into one of three categories: personal, actionable, or entertaining. For personal threads, he usually refers back to his own life and lessons he’s learned. If he were to do actionable or entertaining threads, he’d recreate ideas from YouTube videos, podcasts, and books he’s read. That way, he doesn’t have to come up with the ideas, but only has to curate popular topics.

Anna told us about her strategies for identifying topics. She’d look up what’s trending to see which topics her audience is most engaged in. Then she’d match those trends against the news streams to see which ones are most talked about. She also asks her audience what they want to discuss. These are all great ways to get the pulse of your community and create content that they can resonate with the most.

Q3: How do you create a good hook or headline for a thread?

There are three things you should consider doing to create a good hook in your thread. Start with an attention-grabbing sentence with bold and emotional words. This is an excellent chance to tell your readers what problem you’re going to talk about or suggest a solution for. Next, emphasize the first sentence to strengthen your case. Finally, explain what value the reader will get from reading your thread. Our guest told us he also includes an image in the first tweet to help get people’s attention.

The most important thing to remember when trying to write an attention-grabbing heading or opener is never to use clickbait, as Madalyn pointed out. Be genuine in your thread. If you use false promises and sensationalized sentences, you’ll quickly lose credibility among your audience.

Q4: How do measure the success of a Twitter thread?

How you should measure the success of your threads depends on the goals you set for each thread. In our guest’s case, though views are important, sometimes the goal is to get a particular person or a group of people to engage with his thread. If that works, he’d consider that a success, regardless of how many or few impressions and likes his thread has received. For other threads, like personal experiences, our guest’s goal is to strengthen his relationship with his audience. He’d judge the success of those personal threads based on the engagements and discussions that those threads garner.

As Pavel also emphasized, every thread should have goals and key performance indicators (KPIs) such as impressions, audience growth, and mentions. Hitting those goals and KPIs is the indicator of your thread’s success.

Q5: How has Twitter threads evolved over time?

A lot more people have started seeing the value of threaded tweets, which means that there’s a lot of competition to get people’s attention. That’s why your hooks and openings should be strong. Using multimedia like images, videos, and GIFs can help you nudge your threads a bit higher in the feed. If you subscribe to Twitter Blue, you can also create longer, 4000-character tweets, and include them in your threads. If done properly, that can help you achieve your goals as well.

As Alexia pointed out, you can now give life to an older tweet by starting a thread with it. Every time you reply to a tweet in a thread, the whole thread gets a boost in the feed. It’s also a great way to build links and constantly stay on top of your audience’s minds.

Q6: What should you do to encourage your audience to engage with your threads?

From our guest’s experience, it’s not easy to get people to engage with your threads. What’s worked best for him, though, and what he suggests, is making the last tweet of a thread a quote-tweet of the first tweet of that thread, and giving the audience a call to action. Have a look at the example Greg shared. As Madalyn added, if you’re using a social media management app, you could set it up to do that automatically.

Our friends from VirtuDesk explained that you could also try and get people to engage with your threads by asking questions that directly address your audience’s pain points. Have a look at the excellent example they shared from Jack Appleby.

Q7: How do you know when to include multimedia (images, video, GIFs) in your threads?

Adding multimedia elements to your threads is always a good idea. As Greg mentioned, add these elements in the first tweet to give your threads a boost. People love multimedia in their feeds, and the algorithm promotes it as well. Just make sure that you use a clean image to grab attention without distracting your audience.

Our biggest advocate for video replies, Madalyn, also suggested explaining the concept of your thread in a video, as part of that thread. It’s a great way to make your thread accessible to a broad audience while also making it more attractive in a busy feed.

Q8: How do you translate complex or technical topics into easy-to-understand threads?

Keep it simple: Make sure the concept of your tweet is simple enough for a layperson to understand. If you have to use complex technological terms or industry jargon, explain each of those words in everyday language. Use examples to illustrate your concept—this is where your storytelling abilities come in handy. Structure your example/story in a sequence so that it’s easy for readers to follow what’s going on.

Use multimedia, as our guest suggested in previous questions. These could be explanatory videos or diagrams and flow charts.

Finally, and most importantly, read your thread back to yourself out loud. This is a great way to identify sentences that are too technically or grammatically complex. If that’s the case, then break them down into shorter, digestible sentences so that the reader can consume them easily. Remember, the goal is to communicate with your audience—not to show off your technical prowess.

Use humor to help people understand complex ideas, as Jason from Bunsen and BEAKER suggested. Jason runs a science channel, and everything he talks about is complex. To make his content more approachable, he uses comedy, dog photos, and simple words, and encapsulates each idea/concept in one thread.

Well folks, that’s all from me this week. Thanks for reading through and for more great insights from our chat with Greg, have a look at this Twitter thread. If you like this summary, you’ll love the real-time chat. Join us next Thursday at 1 pm ET for #TwitterSmarter. We also have an after-chat on Twitter Spaces at 5 pm ET. See you there!

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About me, Narmadhaa:

I write all the things—marketing stuff to pay the bills; haiku and short stories so I feel wholesome. A social media enthusiast, I hang out with the #TwitterSmarter chat crew, and am always happy to take on writing gigs.

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