Update notes: This article was published in late 2012. Some of the tactics mentioned may no longer work in today Twitter-phere. The social media world is lively and ever-changing. Remember to monitor your results when employing a new social marketing tactics.
Getting retweets is a combination of science and art. With millions of users competing for attention every minute; you need more than just work hard, you need to work smart.
To go viral in the Twitter universe, you need a sound tactic.
Actionable Advices, Tools, & Resources
The following list covers some of the most important elements in my Twitter success. If more retweets is all you want, I am sure you'll find it valuable.
- Ask for it. Have your family members, friends, and acquaintances to start the ball rolling.
- Use call for action in your tweets. Phrases like ‘Please retweet', ‘RT' and ‘pls RT' are proven words that get you more retweets.
- Tweet more on facts and meaningful quotes, people bite on those kinds of stuff.
- Tweet less on idle talks, gossips, and small chats. Don't just ROFL and Wassup me, say something useful.
- Tweet links. 52% of the retweet samples contain at least one link according to Microsoft Research. People get on Twitter to get updates or to learn something, so feed them that.
- Tweet trending topics. Use Twitter Search and Twitter Trending features to discover hot topics to talk about.
- Tweet breaking news (okay, this is a nobrainer).
- Tweet about Twitter (yes, that gets more retweets statistically).
- Tweet lists. Tip: tweet my 49 tips on how to get more retweets.
- Tweet WTF topic (curiosity sells).
- Tweet the right labels. Use Google Trends to check if you are using the right terms in your tweets – cookie law is not the same as privacy law – use the right term if you wish to resonate well with your followers. Learn more in this simple privacy guide.
- Get as many relevant followers as possible. The more followers you have, the more likely your tweets are going to be retweeted.
- Interact with your followers and build trust. A simple auto-generated thank you note is fine, sending out personal message manually is better. Making meaningful connections with your audience is vital growing your influence on social media and blogging.
- State your retweet/follow back policy clearly on your profile to encourage interaction.
- Create a memorable title (good headline writing skill helps).
- Repeat your best tweets shamelessly – use tool like Tweet Old Post.
- Send out new tweets repeatedly to your followers.
- Better still, schedule and send out the same tweets in various time in a day or week. For example, Tim Ferris posts the same tweet 12 hours after the first in order to reach followers from different time zone.
- On timing, 2 pm to 6 pm EST is the best time to ask for a retweet.
- But not all Twitter users live in the same time zone. Tweriod helps track your followers and customize the best timing to send out tweets, make use of the tool.
- The best days of the week for retweets are Thursday and Friday according to market research.
- Show that there's a real human behind the monitor, put up your personal photo on your personal Twitter account.
- Send out retweets more often than you ask for it. Chris Borgan follow a 15:1 ratio where he will promote others' tweets fifteen times for every self-promotional tweets.
- Don't just tweet the title of an article, add value to your tweets with your personal comment or summary of the subject.
- In the same time, leave room for retweets. Your tweet length shouldn't exceed 120 characters.
- Find the top 20 most retweeted words in your industry, use them more frequently in your tweets.
- Avoid common use words for conversations like ‘LOL', ‘hey', and ‘gonna'.
- Talk less about mundane activities. We are not your mom, no one is interested on what you are having for lunch.
- On tools, use Tweepi to manage your followers.
- Use TweetDeck to manage your Twitter interactions and streams.
- Use HootSuite in case TweetDeck is not your cup of tea.
- Use TwitPic. Most people are visual-oriented hence pictures tend to get more attention from the crowd.
- Use MentionMap to explore and learn more about your Twitter network.
- Use Twitonomy to understand your followers better.
- Use Twitterfeed to speed up your routine tweet operations (so you have more time to interact with your followers instead).
- Get more exposures, add yourself at Twellow.
- Track your tweets and outgoing links with bit.ly or su.pr. A/B test to get the best performing tweets.
- If you tweet more often on mobile, try out TweetCaster. It is the next (or, already?) big thing in Twitter.
- Use #hashtags more often.
- Promote others by using @mention. I do shout out for my followers regularly, something like “Please follow @userA @userB @userC etc” and it always bring back more follows and retweets. People normally tend to reciprocate others' goodwill, as the old saying give and you shall receive.
- Befriend with the connectors in your industry.
- Run a Twitter contest and ask the contestants to retweet your stuff (WebRevenue.co might be interested to be one of your sponsors, let's talk).
- Use Pay With A Tweet. Sell information products for the price of a tweet or ask for a donation in the form of tweets and retweets.
- Don't focus on selling. Take Twitter as a stepping stone in sales, direct your followers/prospects to your landing pages.
- Show numbers as numerals, “45” is better than “forty-five”. Data based on eye tracking studies indicate that numbers are better than words.
- Stop talking about yourself. There are only 1% of the retweets contain self-reference according to studies.
- Tweets clearly, write simple and direct words. Avoid being misleading or over-promise.
- Learn from someone who has done it, model his/her method.
- Last but not least, read Dan Zarrella's Science of Retweets. It's an old piece but there's gold in it – many of my advice here are based on Dan's statistics.
Over To You: Tell Us Your Retweet Tips!
Okay, those are my tips on how to generate more retweets. Now it's your turn: Share us your experience and tell us your retweet tactic on Twitter! I look forward to your input.