tweetthedocs: Use Twitter to meet your users where they are

As a tech writer, it’s hard to tell how users get to your docs at all. They might be clicking on in-product help links, searching the web, or getting sent links from support. But you can get proactive about it too. Help users of your product get their questions answered by meeting them where they are—on social media sites like Twitter. You may already rely on marketing, sales, support, and search engines to bring users to your documentation, but social media is a direct option. You can tweet about anything from general topics that answer common user questions to drier topics that are important for people to know. Read on to learn how!

Why to try tweeting your documentation

Using a content marketing approach like tweeting can help you reach users with your docs—and thinking from the perspective of tweetable product documentation can help you write more approachable, plain language and even improve the topic headings that you may be using.

Short sentences are easier for people to understand, but they aren’t always easy to write. You may end up explaining things in long, complex sentences because you’re still trying to grasp the topic yourself. If you struggle to come up with pointers or teasers to your docs, you may want to rewrite them to keep readers reading.

Restructure your sentences by thinking about how you might phrase a lead-in from Twitter. One-liners that describe a problem (or part of one) help people understand what they’ll get if they click—or keep reading.

Collect tweetable candidate docs

Google helps your users if they know what to look for, but Twitter can help if they don’t know where to start. Good topics to highlight on Twitter are those that answer common user questions, topics that may be dry but are important for people to know, tips and tricks that may be buried in a longer topic, and getting started information.

Plan your tweets

Once you collect a set of topics that are good to share, it’s time to get ready to start tweeting. If you have a marketing or communications team, work with them. They’ll help you avoid common pitfalls of social media marketing and communication, set up a content calendar, and define a voice that works with the company’s goals. Many of the steps for tweet planning are the same that you already use for doc planning.

Start tweeting

Start writing your tweets!

After you start tweeting

Pay attention to what’s happening on Twitter.

Tweeting the docs

Improve your documentation and collaborate with other teams to #tweetthedocs. Write better sentences and headers, without sounding too much like a marketing #brand that you alienate your readers. Don’t wait for Google to bring customers to your docs—reach out to them proactively!