Retweets are the backbone of the Twitter network. Thanks to the ripple effect, a retweet allows any user’s message to be seen by any and everybody – theoretically at least, your single tweet could reach 140+ million people.
This isn’t hyperbole – it’s a literal statement. All those interlocking micro-communities mean that everyone is connected to everybody else.
But, it takes effort. You can’t just put any old garbage out there and expect your network to lap it up. You need to do the work.
Here are 10 Twitter power tips that will get you a ton more retweets.
- Have a short and sensible username – Twitter allows a maximum of 15 characters for usernames but the longer yours is, the more awkward it is for people to retweet your messages, particularly if they’re long and you’re being retweeted by second (and third, and fourth) generations of users who prefer the old style retweet. You can change your username at any time. If it’s more than 10 characters, I’d seriously think about it.
- Leave enough space to allow people to retweet you easily. Twitter vets rarely use the new-style retweet. If they have to edit your long tweet to be able to retweet you, most won’t bother, and those that do risk botching your magnificent prose. It’s worth memorising your Magic Retweet Number. But if you’re lazy, always leave at least 20 characters at the end of every tweet.
- Learn what your readers want to read. This seems blatantly obvious but is so easily overlooked. To increase your chances of retweets and clicks, or to even ensure that somebody is reading your stuff, you have spend some time educating yourself about what exactly it is your network responds to. You don’t have to change who you are to meet this standard, but simply assuming that anything goes or that people will come around eventually in spite of all the evidence (i.e., hard data) is a good definition of madness.
- Share interesting and (where possible) unique content.
- Try and be the first to break the news. And if you can’t be the first, be the best – make your tweet interesting, funny or thought-pondering.
- Sell the link. Your headline is critical, both for clicks and retweets. If you’re ambiguous your readers will be cautious. If you lie or try to trick people, most won’t click on anything you say ever again. A little spit and polish goes a long way. Humour works brilliantly. Create an itch that others have to scratch.
- Always use bit.ly to shorten your links and no other URL shortener. Why? Because nobody clicks on anything else (relatively). If you’re still using TinyURL, this is why nobody is reading your stuff. Plus, bit.ly gives you some fantastic stats that allow you to really work on optimising your content.
- Accept nothing less than flawless grammar, perfect spelling and correct (and acceptable) punctuation. Take the time to really craft your tweets. If YOU can’t be bothered, why would you expect anybody else to care? Tip: avoid semi-colons. I love ‘em, but most people don’t like (or understand) them. And unless you’re a teenybopper – and even then it’s not advisable – leave the LOLs and text speak for people who don’t want retweets.
- Be consistent – if people don’t know what to expect from you, they won’t feel comfortable sharing your content with their own network.
- Don’t be a robot. It’s okay to schedule tweets in advance but write everything organically, adding your own spin and voice. Don’t just copy and paste headlines from other people. Avoid anything that makes decisions for you or automates your output. If you must use services like Twitterfeed, review everything before it goes out.
Remember – your name is going out with all this stuff. And hopefully, it’s a good name, with a strong reputation that you’ve worked hard to achieve. So this isn’t the time to get sloppy. Be remarkable. Be excellent. Do the work.
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