Structuring a Twitter thread

Typically, we publish our social media content on Twitter as a thread. A thread is a series of tweets linked together, with each post a reply to the previous one, which has a clear narrative.

A thread should give a summary of the main points of a release from the Office for National Statistics (ONS). This allows the user to understand the story of the publication, and they should only need to read the full publication if they want further information.

When structuring a successful Twitter thread, it is important to consider the following points:

  • be succinct, as engagement tends to drop off further down a thread and long threads lose impact; five to seven tweets is a good guide
  • begin the thread with the most important main point; this will often see the most engagement
  • strong visual content (for example, digitally designed graphics or animations of interactive tools) should be prioritised in the earliest tweets to increase engagement
  • have a clear narrative as a whole, but also with each tweet making sense independently; news sites often only embed one or two tweets from a thread
  • additional “explainer tweets” can give more context, or explain lesser-known terms or methodology; these can be particularly useful with high-profile content that we expect will generate lots of enquiries