Have one of your tweets retweeted by another Twitter user is a good feeling, and it can help expand your audience or network without any extra work on your behalf. But having your content retweeted isn’t luck, and it won’t happen very often if you don’t work for it. Here are five tips to maximize the chance you’ll be retweeted.
1. Have a snazzy title.
While you don’t necessarily want to borderline sensationalism, or pump out “linkbait”—where an often misleading title is crafted specifically to generate click throughs—an effectively attention-grabbing title will go a long way toward earning retweets.
And keep your tweet to just the title; potential retweeters may not even read a full-length tweet, let alone consider putting it on their Twitter page. Ideally, you can pull readers in 5 to 8 words, and simpler, shorter words let the reader scan more information faster. It’s better to say “5 tips for getting your content retweeted” than “Here are 5 tips for you to read that may improve the percentage of your tweets which get rewteeted by other users.” They say the same thing, but almost everyone will react more positively to the first.
2. Add a splash of humour or controversy.
The two types of content most likely to go viral are funny content and controversial content. Avoid deliberately creating funny content—forced humour typically backfires—and don’t write controversy strictly to boost traffic. But if you’ve got a comedic flare, or a bold opinion, go that extra mile to make your content rich in its strengths. Going back to the first tip, make sure your title evokes this humour or controversy; don’t wait for people to read the actual content to find out it has a particular flare.
3. Engage an influencer.
If you’re distributing content you honestly believe somebody in your network will benefit from, mention them in a tweet linking back to your content. Still tweet the content with just the title separately; the idea is that your personal message will pull them to your twitter page (either before or after reading your content) and then retweet the original message (title tweet) or mention it to their network in a similar manner as you did. Hopefully, a chain effect is created where your message is connected to networks far from your own by one simple link. This tip works best if the person you mention is an influencer with many followers—but not so many that they’re apt to ignore you.
4. Don’t ask for retweets.
If you post a tweet that starts or ends with, “PLZ RT THIS!!!” or even “Please RT,” chances are it won’t get retweeted (unless you’re Justin Bieber). Nobody wants to be told what to do in social media, or be begged for favours. Very few twitterati will react well to somebody requesting RTs, mentions, or followers; quite frankly, it’s akin to a homeless person begging for money on the street. Some may take pity, but overall reputation is shot.
5. Build a strong network.
Social media isn’t exclusively about numbers, but they certainly help. Who’s going to get more retweets—Ashton Kutcher with more than 6,000,000 followers, or a boutique startup with 250? Quality of followers matters, but so does quantity. Build your network (strategically; not rushed) to increase your chances for retweets—it’s a simple numbers game that will reap other benefits as well.