Twitter Threads and the Surprising Value of the Tweetstorm

title image twitter threads

Best practices on social media change all the time. The current trend in many social networks is to tell more stories and provide more value directly on the social network without the need to click through to an article. The Twitter feature that allows you to do this with short tweets is Twitter threads.

Let me tell you everything you need to know about using Twitter threads to build your brand and grow your audience and community on Twitter.

What is a Twitter thread?

A tweet only gives you 280 characters and an image to express all you want to say. 

A Twitter thread allows you to string together up to 20 tweets to tell complete stories and provide more information on one topic.

This way a Twitter thread allows you to provide a ton of value directly on Twitter – instead of adding a link to a tweet to make your audience click through to a website where they can find the complete information.

Twitter threads are also called tweetstorms.

How to create Twitter threads

To create a Twitter thread, you start with a tweet. But before you click “tweet”, you click on the little “+” symbol beside the “tweet button” to add a second tweet.

the first tweet in a twitter thread

This opens a second tweet but it does not (yet) tweet the first tweet in the thread. You can add more tweets to your thread. All tweets of your not-yet-tweeted Twitter thread show in consecutive order.

You can also add a tweet between tweets in your thread. For instance, if you already created three tweets but then realize that you forgot some information that should be between tweet1 and tweet2, you can simply click the “+” symbol on your tweet1 and another tweet will open between the existing tweet1 and tweet2.

Adding another tweet between existing tweets in a twitter thread

You can also add tweets to your Twitter thread once you tweeted the complete thread. 

How a Twitter thread looks in the feed

At first glance, you may get the impression that the Twitter thread is a perfect tool for spammers. You could expect your feed to be flooded with up to 25 tweets from one person that we have to scroll over to find more content.

That is not so.

A Twitter thread with more than three tweets will only display up to three tweets in the feed, all the other tweets in the thread will unroll if you click on the “Show this thread.”

Show the twitter thread in your feed

You can also add an image to the first tweet in your Twitter thread to add more information – and to give the tweet more visibility in the feed.

How to unroll a Twitter thread

If you see a Twitter thread in your feed and want to read it, you might find it a little annoying to read all the separate tweets. In that case, there is a Twitter Bot App called ThreadReaderApp to help you create an ongoing text from the sequence of tweets. This process is called unrolling a Twitter thread.

ThreadreaderAppis a Twitter bot that will unroll the Twitter thread into an ongoing text and provide you with a website that looks just like a blog post with the text from the Twitter thread:

You simply reply to one of the tweets of the thread with an “unroll @threadreaderapp” and the bot will start its magic.

Once the unroll is done, Threadreaderapp will tweet you with the link to your unroll. You can also see the latest unrolls on their website – or log in and see your personal unrolls.

Twitter thread unroll through app

How to use Twitter threads

Twitter marketing is all about providing value to your target audience. While a couple of years ago it was enough value to throw out links to your blog posts, today people expect to receive more value directly on social platforms.

Providing a lot of value in 280 characters of one tweet can be challenging.

You now have various options to add more value to your tweet:

  • add up to 4 images. With text overlay on the images, you can squeeze in some value.
  • add a video. This allows you up to 2 min and 20 sec. and 512 MB of value.
  • add gifs or memes – the value in this case often is a smile but not overly much information
  • add more tweets aka create a Twitter thread. In a thread, you can string up to 25 tweets together to one story. Some Twitter tools even give you the opportunity to add more tweets to your thread.

From the above, the thread poses the most options. You can still add images or videos to the tweets in your thread. You can add tweets to your thread if you missed some information you wanted to give. 

A Twitter thread allows you to tell stories in multiple tweets, provide a condensed version of list posts or explain something fairly thoroughly.

Twitter thread best practices

Not every Twitter thread has what it takes. Taking a closer look at the Twitter threads that make it to fame and inspire thousands of likes, comments, and retweets, here are the Twitter thread best practices you should know and put into action in your Twitter threads.

Draw them in with your first tweet – consider your first tweet as if it is the headline plus the caption. Most people will see the first tweet and decide if they click on the “Show this thread” to view the other tweets in the thread.

Example first tweet as the headline

Provide an overview of what they can expect – the second thread should usually be used to provide an overview of what you are going to share in the thread. Give a list of the questions or issues you are going to discuss.

use the second tweet for an overview what people can expect

Utilize structure in the tweets – yes, tweets always have a max of 280 tweets. But you can work with line breaks and empty lines to add structure and make a tweet easier to read. Plus, every tweet in your thread should have a header.

Tell a consistent story – make sure that your thread has a clear line of argument. That is easy for a list of things. But it may be a little harder for other stories. Imagine you read the thread as an ongoing text and ask yourself: Is your thread easy to understand and does it tell a consistent story?

Stand out – don’t tell common knowledge – It is the same with Twitter threads as with blog posts: If you only tell what everybody and their mother already covered it is boring you your thread is not going to give you much success. Find topics, angles, and tips that people cannot find anywhere else.

Provide proof – This does not only apply to Twitter threads. You should also consider this for your blog content. Don’t make empty claims. Everybody can claim something. But what really shows your expertise and inspires trust is when you instantly provide the why and some backup for your claim. You can provide an image with a statistic, a screenshot of a poll, or a quote from an expert. There are endless options for how you can provide proof for your claims. Use them and you will tremendously help build your reputation and status.

Work for shares – not everybody has a huge and engaged audience to start with. But you still want your thread to reach a considerable audience. You can increase the reach of the thread with the same methods you can also use for your tweets: 

  • Mention other Twitter accounts – you can do this if you use a quote from someone, or share a tool and mention the tool’s Twitter handle. 
  • Ask experts for a comment on a topic that you can use in your thread – then mention the expert.
  • Create a thread of threads – you can create a roundup of the best threads you have seen in the past week.
  • Include a ton of value – the more value you share the more likely are people to like and share the thread.
  • Tweet when your audience is online – you will reach a larger audience if you tweet when your followers are online. Usually, that is during the daytime of your target group. But if you are not limited to one time zone this may be a little more difficult to find out. In this case, a Twitter tool may help. I recently started using Circleboom for scheduling some Twitter threads. They also provide an analytics feature that checks when most of my followers are active. That is the time when my tweets are most likely reaching the largest audience.

Respond to engagement – If you earn comments on your thread, you should always answer. Engagement on your thread is what you are looking for. If people engage with your thread, don’t let this opportunity pass by unused.

Watch your results – Not every audience expects the same on Twitter. That means in some niches other things respond well with the audience than in another niche. Also, you may sound more authentic if you find your own way to tell stories in Twitter threads.

To figure out what works best for you and your audience you need to experiment. Listen to your audience and figure out why some tweets run well and others don’t.

Why are Twitter threads special? 

When I started with social media marketing in 2010, it was “normal” to post a headline and a link. The goal was to drive traffic to a website. The website then (hopefully) should provide value to the reader.

Today’s social media world is different. People expect to get the value (or at least a lot of the value) directly on social media platforms. People don’t want to click on a link to find out what it is all about. At least a summary of the value is expected on social media.

You can see this trend in the most used and pushed formats on some social networks: Instagram still does not allow you to post links in captions to images. The most pushed formats on Instagram are reels and videos.

Pinterest which was a huge source of blog traffic added a new pin format “Idea pins” that does not allow you to add a link. 

All these are attempts to bring more value directly to social media platforms.

On Twitter, providing value in 280 characters was fairly hard. You could add images with text overlay or use videos to provide more information that could fit in the short tweet text. Twitter live was another format to provide value on Twitter.

Twitter threads now allow you to provide a ton of value in a series of tweets with 280 characters. 

Can you Schedule a Twitter Thread?

The short answer is: Yes. Sure you can schedule Twitter threads.

The longer answer is: You cannot schedule Twitter threads with the Twitter scheduling feature, but there are a couple of tools that can schedule them.

Why should you schedule your Twitter threads?

There are several reasons to consider scheduling a Twitter thread.

#1 Your audience lives in a different time zone than you. You may not even be online when most of your audience would see your thread.

For instance, I am living in Germany. Most of my audience is in the US. The perfect time for me to tweet a Twitter thread is very late in the evening or even in the middle of the night back here in Europe – which is daytime in the US.

best times to tweet

Before I used a scheduling tool for my Twitter threads, I often forgot to tweet the thread late at night or I was simply busy living my life and forgot about the Twitter thread I planned to tweet.

#2 You have other things to do – Let’s be honest not many of us can spend the whole day on Twitter. We have to do other stuff. And that means that often the Twitter thread we meant to send simply is forgotten. Scheduling can help you to send the thread at the time it should go out, even if you are busy working on something else.

#3 Scheduling several threads at a time can be more efficient – I find it much easier to create several Twitter threads at one time than creating one thread every day. With scheduling, I can create a week’s worth of Twitter threads and schedule them.

The tool I am usually using for scheduling tweets is not good for scheduling Twitter threads. Yes, they can schedule threads but they don’t provide all the options that Twitter gives you for a thread. That is why I had to look for a tool to help me schedule Twitter threads. 

Other standard Twitter scheduling tools like Buffer and social media management tools like Sprout Social cannot handle Twitter threads.

Here is a quick selection of scheduling tools you can try for scheduling Twitter threads:

Circleboom – This is what I am currently using. And yes, this is an affiliate link. That means I may earn a small commission if you use this link to sign up for Circleboom. I use and recommend Circleboom.

With Circleboom, you have all the options you have when posting your thread directly to Twitter. Creating a Twitter thread on CircleBoom also feels a lot like creating a thread on Twitter. What is more, you can add more tweets to your Twitter thread if you schedule it with Circleboom than if you directly post on Twitter.

Typefully features for Twitter threads

Typefully – is a full-blown Twitter scheduling tool. It also includes scheduling Twitter threads.

Typefully also gives you the opportunity to unroll your threads into blog posts. This is a different kind of unroll than what ThreadReaderApp does.

Typefully Twitter tool

Chirrapp – is a Twitter thread maker that also allows you to schedule tweets and provides you with analytics.

Chirrapp twitter tool

typeshare_co – Typeshare has an extensive library of templates – including templates for Twitter threads. They also allow you to post directly from the app to Twitter and provide you with some post statistics.

typeshare template library

From the above, I only have tried Circleboom (and am still using it) -I cannot vouch for the other tools.

Experiment: Can Twitter threads increase traffic?

Obviously, even in Twitter threads, you can share links to your blog content. Simply post the link in one of the tweets in your thread. Often this is done in the last tweet as kind of “If you want to know more about this topic, you can read the article.”

That leaves the question of how well this strategy works for blog traffic generation.

What are we comparing?

  • Either you post a tweet with a headline or short teaser text and a link. This does not include much information the value is all hidden behind the link.
  • Or you post a Twitter thread. In several tweets, you already provide at least part of the information and value directly on Twitter. In the last tweet, you include a link with a short teaser tweet text.

According to an experiment from social media scheduling tool and social media marketing blog Buffer, the links within threads brought in a little less traffic than stand-alone tweets that include a link to a blog post.

buffer experiment compare twitter thread link tweets

Does that implicate that Twitter threads do not work as well as link tweets?

Not at all.

Just consider the other impacts of Twitter marketing as there are branding, thought leadership, and trust.

Twitter threads can reach a huge audience on Twitter, even if they do not inspire that many clicks on the link as a standalone tweet. The power of Twitter threads lies in community building, branding, and audience building. They can help to grow your followers on Twitter fast.

How useful are Twitter threads?

Twitter threads are extremely efficient and useful when it comes to providing value to your audience directly on Twitter without the need for your audience to click on a link and find the value on your website. 

This makes Twitter threads a great Twitter post type to grow your audience, reputation, community, and brand on Twitter.

But you have to keep in mind that only outstandingly valuable Twitter threads have this potential. Mediocre or generic information in Twitter threads is not going to cut it.

However, if your Twitter account is still small and you only have a couple of followers on Twitter, threads are probably not the quickest Twitter tactic to grow your Twitter audience. In this case, you need a plan for how you are going to promote your Twitter thread to reach a large enough audience to make it take off through likes and shares.

Twitter threads are also often not the most efficient way to drive traffic to your blog – but if you combine the brand and community-building ability of Twitter threads with other Twitter marketing tactics, you have a solid and effective Twitter marketing strategy in place.

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