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If you do it right, you could go viral on Twitter. In fact, Twitter is one of the fastest ways you could go viral today. The key? Write compelling tweets that others will want to share. One retweet could reach hundreds or thousands of new people and each new person is another potential retweet. Imagine how quickly that could snowball.
Before continuing with the article, though, you should really prepare yourself with this: retweets and virality are never guaranteed. There’s a huge element of luck and coincidence involved in all of this. With that said, there are some things you can do to maximize your chance of being shared. Some will be easy, some will require effort, but if you’re looking to go viral, you should pay attention to all of them.
Pick the Right Time For Tweeting
Believe it or not, the day and time of your tweeting activities will have an impact on how likely you are to be retweeted. It makes sense, though, right? If you tweet at 11 in the morning, most of your followers will probably be at work or school. Similarly, if you’re tweeting after midnight, most followers will probably be sleeping. The same can be said about work days vs. weekends.
Ultimately, your optimal tweet time will depend on your followers and the audience you want to reach. There are services out there that will try to determine this optimal time for you, whether by analyzing your past Twitter activity to see when you were most retweeted, by analyzing your followers to see when they are most likely to retweet, or some other method.
Services like TweetWhen and Tweriod are best used in conjunction with tweet scheduling so you can always have your tweets go out when the time is best. To find out more, read more about the perfect way to schedule tweets.
Tweet For Others, Not Yourself
Put yourself in the shoes of your followers for a moment and imagine reading a tweet from someone you happen to follow: “I love strawberry jam and everything bagels!” How likely are you to retweet that? My guess is somewhere around 0%. But what about: “Be a good listener. Your ears will never get you in trouble.” Pretty good retweet material, isn’t it?
The first quote is all about “me, me, me” while the second quote is all about “you, you, you” or even “us, us, us”. If you want a tweet to be retweeted, then that tweet should have broad or universal appeal. Very few people care about what you ate for lunch. Tons of people love wisdom wrapped up in bite-sized quotes. Do’’t tweet for or about yourself; reach outwards. Find out why your followers are following you and give them what they want.
Now, this assumes that your followers are following you because you’re providing them with value somehow, such as advice, entertainment, or whatever else. If they’re following you not for what you can do but for who you are, then keep being who you are. Just know that “me, me, me” tweets don’t get retweeted very much.
Include Images and Links
According to research done by Dan Zarella, the self-proclaimed Social Media Scientist, 19% of all tweets contain a link. Contrast this with his findings that 57% of all retweets contain a link. I think it’s safe to conclude that tweets with links are more likely to be retweeted than tweets without links.
Combine this with the tip above and you’ll be sure to start producing retweet-worthy tweets. Tweets that have links often point to sites or pages that have interesting information on them. If you find a link that’s interesting enough to share, then it’s likely others will find the link interesting too.
The same goes for images. If you browse the Internet regularly, you’ve likely encountered the widespread phenomenon of image macros and memes. Why have they become so popular? Because images are quick to process, fun to consume, and easy to share. It’s the same reason why infographics are more fun to read than walls of text. Tweets that include interesting images are more likely to be retweeted.
Use Relevant Hashtags
There are too many people out there that will stuff dozens of strange hashtags into their tweets in the hopes of reaching a broader audience. Needless to say, this rarely works. When you see a tweet that’s more hashtag than content, aren’t you prone to rolling your eyes? I know I am, and I know I’m not the only one. But don’t go the other way and never use hashtags. That’s bad too.
Not sure what a hashtag is? No worries. We have an introduction to hashtags that will teach you all you need to know in just a few minutes.
The keyword here is relevant. Pick and choose two or three hashtags that are relevant to your tweet. You want to reach a wide audience, sure, but you want to reach a relevant audience because they’re the ones most likely to find your tweet interesting. Interest is what leads them to retweet. So which hashtags should you use? Try these tools that help you use hashtags correctly.
Reduce Tweet Frequency
One approach that some people will take to maximize retweets is to rapid fire dozens, even hundreds, of tweets throughout the day. They may repeat the same message, hoping that those who missed it the first three times will catch it on the fourth time around. This is the shotgun approach — throw it all out there and see what sticks — but, as it turns out, it doesn’t work well.
When you spit out tweets one after the other, you dilute your message. Some people will see it as spamming and refuse to retweet out of spite. Others will think that you’re tweeting your message so much that they don’t need to retweet or share. But really, a high tweet frequency gives off the vibe that you’re desperate because your message is weak.
Cut back on your tweets. Don’t send out 30 half-hearted tweets when you could send out 3 tweets that you’ve put more effort into. If you tweet 10 times an hour, try tweeting once an hour. If you tweet once an hour, try once a day. This makes each tweet have more of an impact.
The key isn’t so much the frequency as it is the concentrated effort that goes into each tweet. Make each tweet the best it can be and the retweets will follow.
If you follow the tips above, your followers will probably start retweeting you more often. Then again, they might not. There are so many variables involved and it can be hard to pinpoint why your tweets are or aren’t being retweeted. The most important thing is to put yourself in the shoes of your followers and think about what they would retweet.
What makes you want to retweet a message? What sorts of messages wouldn’t you retweet? And for avid tweeters, what other tips and tricks do you know for maximizing retweets?