Even on some of the larger accounts I have run which receive many retweets every day, I still get excited over every one. I don’t think there is any bigger complement someone can pay you on twitter than re-sharing your content. It’s a big twitter thumbs up. So what can you do to optimise the number of retweets you get?
Share great content
This is a real no brainer. Whether you’re sharing links, writing witty one liners or canvassing opinion, content is king. If the content is poor or even mediocre your followers will look elsewhere. Share content that piques your interest or makes you think ‘wow’ and you’re off to a great start.
Create great content
Sharing great content that other people have slaved over is one thing, actually putting it together is quite another. Obviously it’s a lot harder work but it’s also a thousand times more rewarding. By creating content you’re giving your unique steer on the topic in hand, and if it’s well put together people will want to share it – and they’ll be hearing it from you first and therefore be far more likely to retweet it.
I said recently that you should think carefully about your twitter account’s aims – the reason for this is that people will choose whether or not to follow you based on the types of things you tweet about. It’s fine to have a little variety but if you want to be known for sharing a particular type of content then you should try and consistently share content in that niche several times a week. You want people to see your tweet come up in their timeline and immediately think ‘oh great, @andyjohn will be sharing some more great ideas on knitting’ or similar, that way they’ll be primed and ready to share before they’ve even seen what you’re actually tweeting about in this instance.
Make yourself a ‘brand’ people want to be associated with
By consistently sharing great content and exchanging ideas with your network you will become a trusted source of information and opinion. As your name gains credence amongst the community of tweeters you network with, your followers will become more keen to share your content as they are keen to be associated with you and are essentially acting as a brand advocate for you.
People who tweet fairly seriously tend to prefer to use old style retweets – “RT @amywinehouse ….” – this gives them the opportunity to share your tweet using their avatar rather than yours and also provides the opportunity for them to add a comment. But not if you don’t leave them space… My biggest bugbear on twitter is people who write great tweets but use up all 140 characters. If I want to retweet them I have to go about truncating their tweet. Often life is simply too short and I move on. By making sure your tweets are 120 characters or less you will leave your followers space to include “RT @yourname” and add a short comment too. In my opinion less is more when it comes to tweet length.
For people to want to share your tweets, they’re going to need to know what they’re about. If you’re linking to something state exactly what it is and/or why you’re linking to it. People should ‘get’ your tweet right away. If they have to think for a few seconds, that’s too long and they’ll move on.
Get your grammar right
If you make typos or grammar gaffs, your tweets are a whole lot less likely to be shared either because they don’t make sense or because your followers don’t want to look like an idiot! Take a moment to reread your tweets for errors before hitting send.
If you share because you care it will shine through in your tweets. Passionate tweeters are a joy to follow and it’s always fabulous to share their tweets because their tweets exude passion and enthusiasm – and it’s catching!
Give your own take on things
Don’t be afraid to have an opinion or share a witty take on something. These are the things that will make you stand out from the many less than exciting tweets filling up people’s timelines. Having an opinion will often revoke a reaction in people which is the first step to exchanging ideas. Often people will retweet you even if it’s to talk about the fact they disagree with you. Either way, it all promotes conversation on the topic you’re interested in which can only be a good thing. As for humour, that always goes down well on twitter. You don’t have to be a comedian delivering constant one liners, but the odd bit of humour here and there tends to be eminently sharable I find.
Ask people to share
One very simple thing you can do is just reach out to your network and ask them to share your tweet. Don’t do it every time but if occasionally you’re tweeting about something you’re particularly passionate about, or a blog post you think will really interest people add ‘please RT’ at the end of your tweet and lots of people will do as you ask, especially if they already have you pegged as a top tweeter.
What have I missed?
What else can you do to promote retweets? I’m sure you have plenty of ideas to add – please do so by commenting below.