What makes your tweets worthy of sharing? One Twitter expert explains the time of day when you are most likely to be retweeted, "magic" words and other tips.
By Kristin Burnham
We all like to think we’re interesting. And on Twitter, that’s often measured and validated by how frequently other people retweet your posts. Maybe you’re looking to hear feedback on your recent blog post. Or you’ve found an interesting article or a funny YouTube video that you want to share with others. Aside from the instant ego boost that being retweeted provides (“Hey! They like me!), retweeting also helps you reach a greater portion of the Twittersphere than you’d be able to on your own.
Dan Zarrella, author of The Social Media Marketing Book, knows his Twitter stats. He’s combed through tens of thousands of tweets and compiled a report detailing his findings. Read on for his five tips to help you craft the kind of tweet that will get you noticed.
Zarrella’s research shows that to increase your chances of being retweeted, you should Tweet your links in afternoons, evenings and on weekends. More specifically, Friday yields the highest number of retweets, while retweeting occurs much more frequently from 3 p.m. to midnight.
2. Choose your words carefully.
Zarrella has found that the most retweetable word is “you.” “The word ‘you,’ while very common, seems to occur especially often in retweets, indicating that if you’re talking to ‘me,’ I am more likely to retweet it,” Zarrella says. The least retweetable words: game, going, haha, lol, but, watching, work, home, night and bed. “The lesson learned here is that if you’re trying to get more retweets, don’t just engage in idle chit-chat or tweet about mundane activities,” Zarrella suggests.
3. Include a link.
In a random sample of tweets, Zarrella found that about 19 percent included a link. Compare that to a sample of retweets, and the percentage almost triples—57 percent included links, suggesting that the presence of a link may increase a tweet’s chances of being shared.
4. Get friendly with bit.ly.
The most successful URL shortener, according to Zarrella’s research, is bit.ly, followed by ow.ly, most likely because they are newer and contain fewer characters, he says. The least retweetable URL shorteners are the older and longer tinyurl.com and twitpic.com.
5. Less is more.
“New data I’ve been working on seems to indicate that the more frequently you Tweet links, the fewer clicks you’ll get,” Zarrella says. If you tweet several times an hour, you decrease the likelihood of being retweeted. Keeping your tweets to one per hour will increase your chances of being retweeted.
Staff Writer Kristin Burnham covers consumer Web and social technologies for CIO.com. She writes frequently on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Google. You can follow her on Twitter: @kmburnham.