How to Share Content on Twitter Effectively

Every day millions of twitter users share links to articles. Probably about as many bots do the same    But many of the humans do it so clumsily that they barely outperform the bots.

What I see way too often are tweets that just give the title and the link. Even worse is when people post a clickbait tweet like "you won't believe this!"  This might have worked in 2010 but today most people are smart enough to see through that.

So how should you share an article to be respectful to your audience and actually add value to the Twitter community? Here are three best practices.

Summarize key points. Rather than  just writing "awesome article" you should try to extract some useful learning. Describing a recent article in Fast Company I could have written "Interesting article in Fast Company", which isn't terribly helpful. I could have written "Article about phones in Fast Company", which again is very uninformative. In the end I chose to tweet "Not answering your phone could hurt your career says @abmarkman in Fast Company. Solid advice.", which summarizes a key point and maybe helps someone decide if they would like to read more.

Sometimes when you are sharing a short article or a blog post you can list some or all of the key points, like the time I blogged about how to avoid presentation disasters. I could have written "How to avoid presentation disasters" but chose instead to include the three main points in the tweet.

Mention the writer: In every post sharing an article you should try to at mention the writer. This is respectful to the author and it is actually helpful to the reader because it helps them to find interesting accounts to follow. As a side effect you are very likely to get a response from the writer -- at least a favorite and likely a retweet -- because few people think of this.

Always add some extra value: Apart from summarizing key messages and identifying the author you can also add value by taking the message of the article and adding your own interpretation that adds value. For example, you might share an article with a note explaining that you think the same idea is applicable in another situation. Make sure you actually read the content first and add something that shows that you are human.

There is a general rule with sharing. The less effort you put into it the less return you get. Automated sharing and zombie-like sharing stuff you have never read is easy but will never get you an audience or help build your network. 

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