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Don’t try too hard on Twitter

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in Office Technology,Web Tools

Great storytellers work for The New York Times, yet social media baffles them, too.

For example, the story of a security guard’s run-in with the Secret Service went out over @NYTimes with a regular newspaper headline. It did well. The next day, staff shared it again with a guess at more Twitter-friendly language. It didn’t do as well on clicks (as recorded by SocialFlow).

The @NYTimes learned this: Don’t try too hard to write a great tweet when you already have one in the form of a headline. Good enough is good enough.

The rise of photos. Three rules here: (1) Hold out for great photos; (2) Provide as much context as you can; (3) Credit photographers (using watermarking tools). Not every tweet requires an embedded photo. Use your discretion.

How worthwhile is video? Tweets with video trailers can perform well. But tweets using a still image from the video may generate even more clicks. Sometimes a simpler approach yields a stronger performance.

Don’t “peacock” your work. The Times did this and their story underperformed. When they tried another approach that focused on simple details of the story, the click-through to the documentary doubled. Focus on the story, not the medium.

When you get trolled. Engagement can bring criticism, anger and even hateful trolling. Companies facing a maelstrom of outrage on social media tend to use their platforms to monitor, moderate and respond. Consider how best to respond to sincere criticism.

News is king. If your products or services can be linked to a buzzy event, have some fun. Launch polls and contests with your products as prizes.

— Adapted from The New York Times via NiemanLab.

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