Twitter myth: when to write a thread?

Kevon Cheung

I bet you haven't looked at Twitter this way.

As a new person on Twitter, it is easy to look around and try to imitate the bigger accounts who have been around for a long time. BE CAREFUL!

When you're at different stage of your branding & audience building, you need to have a different strategy. So let me walk you through 2 of the most important concepts here.

Concept 1: Casual tweet vs value tweet

I always tell people to see Twitter not as social media but more like a library of knowledge. You're the librarian and your job is to curate the best knowledge and share it with everyone (your followers).

Once you see it this way, you want to focus on creating tweets with a ton of values. "My advice for ...", "I learned this from my last 7 years", and those short wisdom tweets that aim to inspire people.

But then ... I hear this question all the time from the people around me.

This is true! It happens all the time. I experienced it today:

Not only did I have a ton of engagement, I also got a number of followers from this tweet:

But ... does this mean we should just be casual and tweet about casual & funny things to get more likes? Then why do we still create value tweets?

Here is where most people get lost. They're so laser-focused on the likes & replies (so called engagement) and they lose the big picture goal.

Ask yourself now - why do you want to establish a voice & presence on Twitter? Why do you want followers? My aim is to build a trustworthy brand so that I can work with people (my audience) to grow my business. Is it the same for you?

In this case, let me show you how it works by reading into a follower's mind. You see that Armand just followed me in the screenshot above.

  1. [1st impression] When Armand follows me because of this tweet, he is thinking "Oh! Kevon is quite funny. He has a good number of followers and he is tweeting about building an authentic voice and growing an audience. That's what I want to do. Let me follow him!" At this point, the like & the follow are simply a signal of interest.
  2. [Ongoing] As time goes on, Armand is going to see what he can get from me. "Is Kevon really who he says he is? Is he going to teach me something I don't know?" If Kevon can deliver consistently, Armand will continue to follow me. If not, Armand will unfollow.

Now you see it. Too many people look at the likes, replies, and follows and believe that it is more rewarding to do casual tweets. They're short-sighted.

If you're thinking about long-term brand building, you need both! You want to be able to attract their eyeballs and then get them to stay. This brings us to the 2nd concept.

Concept 2: Tweet vs thread

There is a lot of debate on Twitter about whether tweet or thread can yield better results for you. I think it is like arguing whether apple or orange tastes better.

If you look into how we consume from our home feed, you'll know that

  1. [Tweet] You see a short tweet and get an urge to like or reply. You do it and then you move on quickly to the next tweet. This means that tweet is great for getting engagement (which means attracting attention). The more engagement you get, the more likely more people will see on their feed. More so, if you decide to follow this person, it is a quick irrational decision and you're thinking "let's see how it goes".
  2. [Thread] You see a thread and get hooked by its opening tweet. You now have to spend at least a few minutes to read the whole thread. You're learning a lot about how this author thinks and what he/she is conveying. If the thread content is good, your relationship with the author is strengthened. If you decide to follow this person, it is a serious relationship because you enjoy it.

Now you have it. Tweet gets you engagement and thread gets you loyal follower. Which one is better?

Like many things in life, you can't choose one. The best you can do is to balance it.

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