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How to get more retweets – the ultimate guide

You may be a Twitter enthusiast or think it’s just a big mess and no tool will allow to fully control it. But the thing here is that Twitter simply works. Millions of people use it to share information or ask questions and that’s why it’s worth your interest. And as they say: since you can’t beat them – join them.

There’s lots of noise in Twitter streams, so being engaging is pretty much crucial. Doing it “manually” (asking questions, being controversial etc.) is one thing, but it would be unwise not to use Twitter’s mechanisms designed to help people connect.

Retweeting is about spreading the news, engaging, appreciating good content and so on. Here are a few tips that will help you write tweets which should spread all over the Internet.

 

7 ways of tweaking your tweets

1. Include links

Yep, it’s that simple. Including a link increases chances for a retweet. Of course keep in mind that you still ought to provide some good or interesting content, not just ANY link.

Also, use link shorteners. Though twitter shortens links automatically, it’s good to use an separate tool. Statistics say that bit.ly links are the most retweeted ones, so this seems to be a good choice – especially that it’s a really convenient tool.

2. Use #hashtags and @

In general, these “mechanisms” attract peoples’ attention. Using @ makes you sure that a certain person won’t miss your tweet, and using #hashtags make it easier to find your tweet for people, who are interested in a certain subject. And this means you simply reach more people, not only those who follow you.

3. Choose the time and day

There are certain peek hours which are just more effective. Remember that your followers may come from different timezones and your morning might be their middle of the night. Schedule your tweets (using e.g. Hootsuite) to make sure that you’ll reach your audience.
You can also determine your peek hours using such tools as tweriod or 14blocks. The results may not necessarily be great, but still one of the best you can get.

But not only hours matter – days also are important. For example, tweeting on Sundays makes it least probable to be retweeted.

4. Simply ask for a retweet

Now I know it may sound desperate, but it simply works. Furthermore, there are even stats that’ll tell you that the „Please retweet“ phrase is more effective than „Please RT“.

5. Retweet others…

Don’t just take, try to give something as well. If you find a tweet interesting, retweet it. It doesn’t cost you anything, your followers may be interested in it too (and that’s an advantage) and it’s more likely that the author of this tweet will return the favor.

…and appreciate being retweeted

Simply saying „thank you“ is just nice. Again, such pleasant feedback doesn’t cost you anything and leaves a good impression. This way you’ll probably won’t be retweeted only once.

6. Pay attention to the content

Now I know that „provide good content“ is an empty phrase. Now it’s rather obvious that tweeting about yourself won’t bring you retweets (yet still lots of people do that!). Twitter users like to pass on mostly news. Also „how-tos“ are a good choice. Try to google such statistics, you’ll probably find some results that’ll help you adjust you „tweeting style“. And if you’re stuck and have no idea what to tweet about – tweeting about Twitter itself is also pretty effective.

7. Make your tweets „retweetable“

The last, but most certainly not the least. If you want anyone to retweet what you’ve written, make it easier for them. Prepare such a form that anyone who’d like to retweet will only have to click – no editing required.

Also study some stats on retweeting tendencies. For example, did you know that people pay attention to punctuation and are more likely to retweet when it’s correct? On the other hand, using semicolons may reduce your chances.

 

Making your tweets „retweetable“ – tips

Since the last point is a pretty big one, I decided to write some detailed information in a separate list. So here we go.

Length matters: the shorter – the better

Although tweets are short by definition (140 chars), it’s apparently still too much. Don’t use the whole limit, try to fit under 127 chars. I know, if you include a link, you stay with even less chars. But it may force you to write better messages – short sentences, that are easy to read and tell what’s most important.

No self-reference. Period.

People don’t care about your mood, lunch, health, holiday plans or your dog’s name. Writing about yourself may be interesting for you and a few of your close friends, but that’s it. Such tweets simply won’t be retweeted. By the way, if your followers don’t care – why should your followers’ friends?

Correct punctuation is a must

People are more likely to retweet messages with correct punctuation. Yet semicolons are usually in those tweets, which aren’t retweeted too often. Now that’s just statistics, but…

Emoticons – don’t overdose

It’s like writing with caps-lock on – simply irritating. A single smile is ok (of course when there’s a reason), but repeating it or writing seven different ones is just stupid. It’s also better to use „classic ones“ than those „childish“ (like xP or %D).

Use words that increase your chances

Tweets that include some certain words are more likely to be retweeted. This may sound strange or absurd, but try to google some statistics and see for yourself. For example, you’ll probably learn that it’s good to add an adjective or an adverb. Tweets spiced up with words like „excellent“, „great“, but also „worst“ or „crappy“ are more likely to be retweeted.
Also some common phrases can help, for example „how to“, „check out“, „top [number]“, „blog post“ etc. As you can see, they either tend to be related to the most popular retweeted subjects or are simply call-to-action phrases (or both).

And of course there’s one more word that can help – „retweet“ ;)

Provide good content

Don’t let your Twitter stream become a mess. Well written tweets with links are one thing, it helps promoting, but you still need to be interesting and provide good quality content. It’s up to you whether you want to get to know your followers and give them what they want or just publish things that are interesting for you and gather folks with similar taste. Whatever your strategy here is, simply don’t mess it up.

 

Contestable methods

There are several strategies or „theories“ that some find effective and good, but others remain rather skeptical.

„The Kawasaki way“

I’m sure that there’s no need to introduce Guy Kawasaki. What’s characteristic for his tweeting is that he repeats his tweets a few times to make sure that they reach more people in different timezones. However, some find this method not effective enough to make a mess out of their twitter stream.

It surely depends on who your followers are. If, like Guy, you have lots of them from all over the world, then his method might turn out pretty good.

Twitter flurry

Some people post two or more tweets one after another (it’s usually done by scheduling them to be posted at the same time). It’s sometimes supposed to draw attention – when you have a big messy stream of messages from all the hundreds/thousands people you follow, a bigger block of similar tweets might do the trick. But it turns out that many people find this annoying (or they treat it as spam). So if you’re willing to take the risk – be careful.

Adjusting content

Now I know that I wrote about googling some statistics and trying to tweak your tweets, but watch out and use such tips carefully. For example, you may learn this way that bad news are better than good news (meaning they are more likely to be retweeted). Even if statistics say so, it’s still pretty risky to follow that tip. I mean it’s okay once in a while, but I’m sure you wouldn’t like to be depressing for your followers.

 

The results

Ok, you read the tips, selected what fits you and started improving. But you won’t be counting your retweets, especially that even automated stats are unable to present good results. That’s because not everybody uses the Twitter’s retweet method.

In general, there are three most popular retweeting methods:

So it’s difficult to count this. And you actually shouldn’t do it. I mean – what’s the point?

But you still can follow the general tendency illustrating how you’re doing. Besides using some dedicated tools like Reetweet Rank, check out Klout‘s score analysis – that will show you how influential and/or engaging are you. Yet if you still prefer the numbers, perhaps TweetStats would fit you. Oh, and bit.ly itself also present some stats and though they show only how many times your links were clicked, it can still tell something about your influence.

 

Pictures:
http://www.flickr.com/photos/info_grrl/4596112134/in/photostream/
http://www.flickr.com/photos/v_teager/5186894074/in/photostream/

 


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