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March 26th, 2009
3 min read
Twitter is awesome and is changing the way information is spread on the Internet. It is also an awesome example of how the world of online marketing and information publishing has changed.
The old-school way to get information out there is to try to get a bunch of blogs to talk about you and to get Google to throw you all kinds of love by getting to the top 10 for your search terms. These things still work, but they are long ways to go about it. In the case of Twitter, we’re talking about people and the power of the retweet. If people find your tweet interesting, they’ll pass it on. Doing this over and over again exposes that one tweet to different crowds all across Twitter.
Hence, it can go viral. It happens quickly, too.
How can we maximize our reach on Twitter, then? What can we do to give our tweets the most viral potential? Here are a few ideas:
- Ask for the retweet. Just tacking the simple “please RT” onto your message will result in a ton of people doing it. Like any form of online marketing, there needs to be a call to action. And you just tell them what to do.
- Make it retweet-worthy. People are going to want to retweet things which are interesting or valuable. Being limited to 140 characters, chances are the real value of a tweet is going to be in linking to something with more information. A cool resource. A cool blog post. So, link to something good and you’ll get more people retweeting it.
- Seed your retweet tree. Do you know a few people on Twitter a lot better than others? Friends of your’s? Then, hit them up and specifically ask them for a retweet. This helps to plant the seeds for a viral tweet. People do tend to imitate others and if they see many people retweeting a message, they’re more likely to do it themselves. Especially if the people you seed it with have some authority with their own followers.
- Be different. Twitter is like a river that keeps on flowing rapidly and endlessly. To stand out, you need a tweet which interrupts the pattern and stands out. So, don’t be afraid to be provocative. Some of the most retweeted messages I’ve seen have a catchy headline that just begs them to click the link to find out what the hell that was all about. Remember, apply the skills of copywriting to your tweets and you’ll get more reaction. When writing a sales letter or a blog post, the purpose of the headline is to get the person to keep reading. Do that in a tweet, and you’ll invite action as well.
- Watch the clock. Not everybody has Twitter open all day long. Expecting to get some retweets at 4AM on a Sunday is probably going to prove frustrating. Doing it so that it is out there in time for the lunch break (12-1pm) might work a lot better. You’re probably going to see the most retweets during the work week and from mid-morning through lunch time.
If you want to watch what some of the most retweeted messages are on Twitter, check out Retweetist. Pretty interesting if you want to sit down and study this stuff.