Want your tweets to go viral on Twitter?
If the secret to going viral on Twitter is to get retweeted, these blog posts from renowned bloggers, Internet marketers, and social media experts should get you started on the right track to creating the kind of Twitter content that will have your audience practically begging to retweet you! (how’s that for hyping it up?)
So you can hit the ground running with some good, solid, how-to-go-viral information, the first set of posts explore the more practical and creative elements of how to get retweeted.
And if you’re anything like me, you always need to know “why” things work the way they do (could be the engineer in me). If that’s you, the second set of posts will give you a good solid grounding in the science and theory of getting retweeted and going viral on Twitter.
So without further ado, here’s how to get retweeted.
The Art of Getting Retweeted
Great video overview of getting re-tweeted with some fresh Twitter-bait ideas:
In this post for the American Express OPEN Forum, Guy Kawasaki outlines six tips for making your tweets more viral:
- In your tweets answer the question: “What’s interesting to my followers?”
- What’s the one thing all of your followers have in common? Twitter of course! So talk about Twitter.
- Tweet How-to’s and other instructional and informational tidbits. In other words, tie the topic of your tweet to a tangible outcome that’s desired by your followers.
- Break news. Being in-the-know is social currency, and the earlier you know about something the more valuable it is to you and others who follow you.
- For some reason people have always been drawn to the sensational, outrageous, unconventional, and bizarre, and therefore these types of tweets are ripe for retweeting.
- Boost your credibility by including a supporting link.
Dan Zarrella sifts through the top 10,000 (out of over 158,000) retweets in his ReTweet Mapper database to uncover the top 20 keywords and phrases found in the most frequent retweets, and explains why these words lend themselves to being retweeted.
Brian Carter analyzes 10 days of his own personal tweets and retweets to answer the question: “What gets tweeted the most?” Among the seven tips (go to the post to read them all) were two very interesting and novel ideas:
- Consider retweeting yourself 3-4 times a day, if you have something that is really interesting to your audience. People jump on and off Twitter all day long, so this boosts your chances of being noticed. Do not be annoying with this tactic.
- An even better approach, when tweeting about lists and list posts, trickle your tweets out over time by tweeting about one item on the list at a time. I thought this was a tremendously insightful tip!
Aside from the obvious advice to “be interesting”, Louise Doherty provides a useful rule-of-thumb for giving your tweets the best chances of being retweeted, hinging on the length of the tweet and some ethereal “interestingness” factor.
The maximum length of a Twitter message is 140 characters, therefore the length of your tweets should be 140 — [length of your username + 5]; the 5 additional characters account for the addition of ‘RT’, ‘@’, and corresponding spaces.
For example, my (JohnSomerton) maximum tweet length would be 123 characters in order to allow space for someone retweeting to pre-pend it with ‘RT @JohnSomerton’.
As an aside, anyone want to posit a mathematical formula for “Twitter Interestingness”? Would make for a great blog post!
In this post Marko Saric talks about how he got his Top 18 most downloaded WordPress plugins blog post to go viral using Twitter.
The key takeaways from his post (above and beyond what is already been discussed here) are mainly to do with being a little more “proactive” in promoting your blog to the Twittersphere. His strategy of directly targeting other influential Twitter-ers is particularly interesting, and the entire post is well worth reading.
The Science Behind Viral Tweets and Getting ReTweeted
Now that you generally know how to get retweeted, digging in to the scientific intricacies of what works best and why it all works will definitely help take you to the next level of Twitter stardom.
Dan Zarrella is the indisputable guru of viral messaging on Twitter, and takes a very methodical and scientific approach to dissecting Twitter dynamics. I highly recommend you just go and subscribe to his RSS feed, but if you’re not quite ready to make that kind of a commitment to Dan, at least read these few posts!
At some point in the future I may also include a section here on Social Psychology since social dynamics are so fundamental to Twitter and social media in general. For the time being though, I’ll just recommend that you go out and buy Dr. Robert Cialdini’s book Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion.
Read it. Then read it again. Then again. It is that good.
So there you have it, some of the best minds in the blogosphere on the art and science of getting retweeted. These were the best posts and thoughts I could find at the time of writing this, but if you know of a great blog post that deserves to be on this list, please let us know in the comments below.
And if you liked this post, please feel free to retweet it – thanks!