Twitter offers a great way to extend your influence online: the retweet.
When you use them wisely, retweets often lead to more influence, followers and Web traffic. According to Statistic Brain, as of April 2013 there were more than 550 million active Twitter users, 58 million new tweets daily and 135,000 new Twitter users every day.
What are all these people doing on Twitter? This infographic clearly shows that a big chunk of them use Twitter (as well as other social media platforms) to learn about businesses, brands, products and services.
Your potential reach on Twitter is huge, but so is your competitions’. There are hundreds of thousands of marketers just like you competing for attention on Twitter.
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Sharing good information and writing bold headlines are vital to winning the tweet-retweet war, but to maximize your odds, there are several other factors to consider.
Based on my experience and online studies, here are 10 ways to get more retweets:
1. Tweet at the right time.
Casting your tweets at the right time is perhaps the most important factor. After all, there is no point pushing out tweets when none of your followers are tuned in, right?
According to Dan Zarrella’s report, The Science of Retweets, 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. EST is the best time to ask for a retweet.
But wait! There is no one-size-fits-all solution for this. Your followers may not live in the same time zone as Zarrella’s study samples. That’s when Tweriod comes in handy.
Tweriod is a free Twitter tool that analyzes where your most recent 1,000 followers are from, and recommends the most strategic time to send out tweets.
2. Ask for retweets.
The easiest way to get a retweet is to, well, ask for it. Did you know that by adding the phrase “please retweet” you increase the chances of a retweet by 160 percent?
A few effective call-to-action phrases for retweets are:
- Please retweet
- Pls RT
3. Tweet links.
One of the main reasons people tune into Twitter is because they are looking for news updates or need help with something.
Multiple studies have shown that news updates and instructional posts are two types of content people retweet the most. In other words, a tweet referring to an online resource or news update has a higher chance of being retweeted.
It’s no surprise that in Microsoft Research’s Conversational Aspects of Retweeting on Twitter report, 52 percent of the retweet samples contained a URL.
If you want people to retweet your tweets, embed a link in them.
4. Send retweets more often than you promote your own tweets.
People who send out retweets tend to receive more retweets.
Like everything in life, what goes around comes around. Chris Brogan practices a 15:1 ratio when it comes to retweets—for every self-promotional tweet, he will help promote at least 15 tweets for his followers.
5. Avoid idle chit-chat or tweets about daily activities.
Here are the 20 least-retweetable words according to Zarrella’s report:
Do you notice a trend? Most, if not all, of these words are common-use words for conversations or describe mundane activities.
Tweets that use these words are a big turn off for retweets; no one is interested in a tweet about your bed time or what you listen to on Sound Cloud—unless, of course, you are Justin Bieber.
6. Use retweetable words.
Zarella’s study also shows the 20 most-retweeted words. They are, in descending order:
10. Please retweet
8. Social media
5. How to
3. Blog post
2. Check out
1. New blog post
If you want to get more retweets, consider using these words and phrases more often.
Zarella also shares a great tool named The Most Retweetable Words Finder. It’s a free tool that helps analyze your specific topic, and shows you the top 20 most-retweetable words for that topic.
For example, when I type in “SEO,” the tool returned these words: #digg, #apple, #canon, #kaskus, #photography, #instagram, #bogor, #news, #garut, #lintasinfo, #nikon, #ios, #wikimotive, #campaign, #google, #well, #line, #drop, #fix and #mistakes.
These are the recommended words to use if you are casting SEO-related tweets.
7. Leave room for retweets.
How often do you cancel a retweet just because you can’t add a comment in the retweet message? I bet you do it a lot.
I tend to add a short opinion to my retweets like “good read” or “solid article.” If you use all 140 characters in your tweet, your followers will need to edit it before they can add theirs and retweet. That’s not cool.
People are lazy. Tweets that need extensive editing simply get fewer retweets. Ideally, you should limit your tweets to between 80 and 110 characters.
8. Use hashtags.
Use hashtags. Just don’t use #too #much #of #them #and #make #yourself #look #like #a #spammer. Don’t use extremely long hashtags, either.
Tweets with hashtags are more likely to see retweets. In a Microsoft Research study of 203,371 retweets, 18 percent of them contained hashtags.
9. Tweet quotes.
Quotes are good for retweets, especially if they strike a chord with your followers. I witness the power of quotes every day on Twitter, as well as on Facebook and Pinterest.
I see the people I follow retweet—or share or pin—quotes regularly, and they never fail to attract more retweets and shares.
If you wish to build up your Twitter presence with quotes, try to dig up some great ones from the Internet. There are plenty of websites or blogs that collect quotes, and it’s easy to find quotes using Google. Just search “best quotes for [your topic].”
10. Speak your audience’s language.
Before you post a tweet, consider the terms and labels people use.
Google Trends is handy when it comes to localizing your language. For example, in the United Kingdom, people use the term “cookie law” more frequently to refer to the new law that came into force in the United Kingdom in 2011 instead of “cookie regulations” or “privacy law.” When you tweet about this incident, it’s best to use the phrase “cookie law” to resonate with your followers.
Those are my 10 tips to drive more retweets on Twitter. What other methods do you use to win more retweets from your followers?
Jerry Low is a geek dad who is fiercely passionate about SEO and website UX tweaking. You can get more from him on his new venture WebReveue.co and Google+. A version of this article originally appeared on The Daily Egg.