Sometimes people will favourite your tweets, other times they’ll reply and if you’re really lucky you might even land a retweet. While each of these interactions are great, the retweet often has more benefit than any other.
You know just as well as I do that generating retweets isn’t easy. You can send out as many tweets as you’d like but unless you’re an internet celebrity, it’s not easy generating a consistent stream of retweets.
Have you ever sent out a tweet and wondered why no one responded? Have you ever wondered why people would favourite a tweet instead of press the RT button?
One thing I’ve learned since joining Twitter many years ago, is that there’s both an art and science to getting retweets. While it’s a complex challenge, it’s one that I’ve studied and hope to shed light on in this very blog post.
Here are four of my own tried and tested strategies that will spark retweets:
Only Use Relevant Hashtags
Every once in a while you’ll come across a marketer who sends out a tweet like this:
Here’s my #superannoying #marketing #blog #post on #socialmedia #strategy: [Link]
Have you made this mistake? You know, the who overdoing it with hashtags thing? If so, this is your chance to be forgiving and to make a commitment to never doing it again. Using too many hashtags is a sure-fire way to be unfollowed by people who once subscribed to your content expecting value.
Instead of using hashtags whenever you can squeeze one into your tweet, use them when relevant (tweet this). There are a handful of hashtags that are relevant within a wide range of industries. For example, if you’re a startup that spends its time in the political field, it might make sense to follow and use those specific hashtags more than it makes sense to just use a random trending topic.
While you don’t want to use trending topics at random, you do want to consider using highly relevant and popular hashtags when they are unique to your business or tweet. If you’re implementing the strategies of reactive storytelling the using a relevant hashtag makes sense. For example, when I wrote Life Lessons from Don Draper, it makes sense to share this post with a #MadMen specific hashtag.
At the end of the day, hashtags need to be relevant. If you don’t place emphasis on relevant hashtags, you will be more likely to annoy your followers than captivate them.
ReTweet When People Retweet Most
Remember when I told you there was science to generating more retweets? Well this is where the data starts to really come to life and support some ideas that you need to consider. As you can see, the majority of the retweets are sent 2PM and 6PM with the least amount of retweets happening in the morning.
People also tend to be more likely to retweet you at the end of the week rather than the beginning of the week. If you don’t have any time constraints to your content, this insight provides you with a chance to test different times of sharing and to capture your own learnings.
Share Quick Inspiration & Insight
There’s a love hate relationship with some people on Twitter and quotes. A lot of people love seeing inspirational quotes grace their newsfeeds while others hate seeing quotes being shared. Now, just because there’s a love-hate relationship with quotes, doesn’t mean it doesn’t work.
There are a handful of people on Twitter like FlipBooks and Reg Saddler who are always sparking retweets because they share timely, relevant and inspirational quotes. But quotes aren’t the only type of tweet that tend to generate a significant amount of retweets.
Another powerful approach is the ability to capture and deliver an insight through twitter. It could be anything from a stat supporting your businesses offering or it could be a sudden thought you have that you think has the ability to turn heads. The CEO of Box, Aaron Levie, is the king of insights when it comes to Twitter. He will share a thought or idea on a topic that is buzzing through the tech community and generate a wave of retweets and discussion because of it.
If you wish to build up your Twitter presence using quotes, you can easily do that by going to google and searching for things like inspirational business quotes. If you’re looking to share insights, it’s going to require a bit of self analysis and inner thought. Maybe even a glass of wine or two.
Scratch My Back. I’ll Scratch Yours
Have you ever had someone buy you a coffee and insist the next time you see them that you pay for their cup? As humans, we have a natural instinct to feel obligated to help those who help us. Put another way, we scratch the back of those who scratch ours.
If you’re like most people, the majority of your tweets are centred around your brand and your business. You might inject a few links here and there of relevant content but very rarely do you send a retweet. You’re not alone.
That said, retweeting others is a great way to generate more retweets. One of the pioneers of social media, Chris Borgan once expressed that he tries to follow a 15:1 ratio where he will promote others’ tweets fifteen times for every one of his own self-promotional tweets. He’s giving to get. It’s the oldest yet one of the most effective strategy in the book.
If you want to implement all four of these strategies to optimize your tweets for retweets, by all mean do so. But if you want to keep the testing alive, dabble in all four of these strategies and see which ones work best for your business. Monitor the times in which you send out tweets and monitor what types of tweets (links or quotes) are generating the most feedback from your followers.
Additionally, I strongly recommend checking out tools like Hootsuite and Buffer for better managing your Twitter presence. These tools are very different but both provide a new level of effectiveness and efficiency. Beyond these, I’d also recommend checking out this tool from Dan Zarella, the same guy who brought the chart above showcasing the best times to send retweets, The Most Retweetable Words Finder.
These days I use a combination of Hootsuite, Buffer, the Word Finder tool and good old fashioned web browsing to find content and stories worth sharing.
What tips and tricks do you have in your Twitter toolkit?
(Photo via Aon on Flickr and RayBouk)
Great post Ross
Great post Ross