Twitter offers a great way to extend your influence online: the retweet.
When used wisely, retweets often lead to more influence, more followers, and more web traffics. According to Statistic Brain, there are over 550 million active Twitter users as of April 2013, 58 million new tweets daily, and 135,000 new Twitter users every day.
What are all these people doing on Twitter? This infographic clearly shows that a big chunk of them are using Twitter (as well as other social media platforms) to learn about business brands/products/services.
Your potential reach on Twitter is huge. So is your competition. There are hundreds of thousands of other marketers just like you, competing for attention in the Twitter space.
Sharing good information and writing bold headlines are vital in winning the tweet-retweet war, but to maximize your odds, there are several other factors to consider.
Here are the collections of my experiences and online studies.
1. Tweet at the right time
Casting your tweets at the right time is perhaps the most important factor of all. After all, there is no point pushing out tweets when none of your followers are tuned in, right? According to Dan Zarrella’s The Science of Retweets, 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. EST is the best time to ask for a retweet.
But wait! There is no one-size-fits–all solution for this. Your followers may not be living in the same time zone as Zarrella’s study samples. That’s when Tweriod comes in handy.
Tweriod is a free Twitter analysis tool that analyzes where your recent 1,000 followers are from and recommends the most strategic time to send out tweets.
2. Ask for it
The easiest way to get a retweet is… well, ask for it. Do you know that by adding the phrase “Please Retweet,” you increase the chances of retweet by 160%?
Using call-for-action words on Twitter is just as effective as using “Click Here,” “Order Now,” and “Call 1-800-xxx-xxxx Today” in your sales copy — it works.
A few known effective call-for-action phrases for retweets are:
- Please retweet
- Pls RT
3. Tweet links
One of the main reasons why people tune into Twitter is because they are looking for news updates or help in something.
Multiple studies have shown that news updates and instructional posts are two types of content people retweet the most. In other words, a tweet referring to an online resource or news updates has a higher chance to be retweeted.
It’s no surprise to see that in Microsoft Research’s Conversational Aspects of Retweeting on Twitter, 52% of the retweet samples contain a URL.
Next time, if you wish your tweets to be retweeted, embed a link in them.
4. Send out retweets more often than you promote your own tweets
Known fact: People who send out more retweets tend to receive more retweets.
Like everything in life, what goes around comes around. Chris Brogan practices a 15:1 ratio when it comes to retweets — for every self-promotional tweet, he will help promote at least 15 tweets for his followers.
5. Avoid idle chit-chat or tweets about daily activities
Here are the 20 least retweetable words according to Dan Zarrella’s report:
Notice any trend here? Most (if not all) of these words are common-use words for conversations or to describe mundane activities.
Tweets using these words are simply a big turn off for retweets — c’mon, no one is interested in a tweet about your bedding time or what you are listening to on Sound Cloud — unless of course, you are Justin Bieber.
6. Use retweetable words
Dan Zarella’s study on over 30 millions retweets shows that the 20 most retweeted words are (in descending order):
- please retweet
- social media
- how to
- blog post
- check out
- new blogpost
If you are trying to get more retweets, consider using these favorable words/phrases more often.
On top of the list, Dan also provides a great tool named The Most Retweetable Words Finder — a free tool that helps analyze your specific topic and show you the top 20 tweetable words.
For example, when I type in “SEO,” the tool returned these words: #digg, #apple, #canon, #kaskus, #photography, #instagram, #bogor, #news, #garut, #lintasinfo, #nikon, #ios, #wikimotive, #campaign, #google, #well, #line, #drop, #fix, #mistakes.
These are the recommended words to use if you are casting SEO-related tweets.
7. Leave room for retweets
How often do you cancel a retweet just because you can’t add in your comment into the retweet message? Well, I bet it’s a lot.
Personally, I tend to add in a short opinion in my retweets, something like “Good read” or “Solid article.” If you are using all 140 characters in your tweet, your followers will need to edit your tweets before they can add in theirs and retweet.
And, that’s not cool.
People are lazy. Tweets that need extensive editing work simply get fewer retweets. Ideally, you should limit your tweets to between 80 – 110 characters.
8. Use #Hashtags
Use #hashtags. Just don’t use #toomuch #of #it #andmake #you #looklikea #spam or #extremelylonghashtags.
It’s a known fact that Tweets with #hashtags are more likely to be retweeted. In a Microsoft Research study of 203,371 retweets, 18% of them contained #hashtags.
Here’s sample of 10 original tweets on Crazy Egg Twitter Account.
I captured this screen when I was writing this article. Can you see the similarity? Crazy Egg, the pros who have all the advanced web metric tools and insider data, uses at least one #hashtag in almost all their tweets.
9. Tweet quotes
I don’t tweet quotes often, simply because I don’t like doing it. But that does not mean it can’t work.
Quotes are good for retweets, especially if they strike a chord with your followers. I witness the power of quotes every day on Twitter, as well as Facebook and Pinterest.
I see friends, acquaintances, and those that I am following retweet (or share or pin) quotes regularly and it never fails to attract more retweets and shares.
If you wish to build up your Twitter presence using quotes, try to dig up some great ones from the Internet. There are plenty of websites or blogs that collect series of quotes. And, it’s easy to find quotes using Google (just try “best quotes for [your topic]”).
10. Speak your audiences’ language
Before you post a tweet, consider the terms and labels people are using.
Google Trends is handy when it comes to localizing your language. For example, the term “cookie law” is more frequently used to refer to the new law that came into force in the United Kingdom in 2011 instead of “cookie regulations” or “privacy law.” Hence, when you tweet about this incident, it’s best to use the phrase “cookie law” in order to resonate with your followers.
Well, those were my 10 tips on how to drive more retweets on Twitter. What did I miss? What other methods do you use to win more retweets from your followers? Do let us know in the comment section below.