The world is nowadays full of gurus, who despite not having basic knowledge on a topic, make money consulting and “helping” others to be successful. Unfortunately it isn’t any different when it comes to the internet.
Known and unknown experts from around the world are selling blogging, social media and internet marketing advice.
Social media and more precisely Twitter is what the following article will focus on. With over two years of Twitter experience, in contrast to the “experts” mentioned above, I will give you sixteen practical tips that have helped me get hundreds of retweets on almost every article on this blog. And it will cost you nothing but a couple of minutes of your time!
1. Always Keep Numbers in Mind
If you have been into Twitter for any longer than a week, chances are that you have already come across an article, post, email or whatever claiming that followers’ count is not of a great significance. That, folks, is not true and here is why:
- Quitters – Although thousands register every day, thousands also quit on daily basis. It is pretty easy to see that yourself when searching for active tweeps in your area of expertise to follow.
- Twitter’s stream – They way Twitter’s stream works, makes it impossible for most of your followers to actually read your updates, since they are dug under hundreds of other tweets that pop up every ten seconds or so. That is valid for pretty much everyone who follows over 500-600 poeple.
- Self promotion - Most Twitter users prefer promoting their own stuff, rather than reading other people’s. One of the reasons is namely because of how the stream works. The best way to find interesting stories on Twitter is by adding people to lists but the feature is not quite popular.
- Twitter is not Facebook – Unlike Facebook, where poeple tend to spend hours and hours, most Twitter users value their time and therefore sign in only a couple of times per day for just a couple of minutes.
- Common sense – It is logical that the more followers you have, the more people will eventually turn into readers, subscribers, etc.
- Wider reach – Even if not all of your let’s say 5,000 followers are active, you still get a higher reach than most tweeps with let’s say 100 followers. With 100 followers you might get constant retweets from some folks, but in the end your tweets get shared by the same people over and over. On the other hand if you have 5,000 followers, pretty much every tweet will be seen and shared from different poeple.
2. The Quality Issue…
You are probably fed up with hearing “quality content that, quality content this” all the time. However as stale as it might seem, that is obviously one of the most important ingredients for an article that gets shared.
So in short, let’s sum up what makes an article get retweets and what doesn’t:
- Solving a problem - The kinds of articles that do nothing more than to overview a problem don’t have much of a chance for social media exposure. Unless you actually provide a solution that works for the bigger part of the readers, you can’t expect to hit it big.
- Giving practical tips - Emphasis should lie on the word “practical” here. The world wide web is full of articles, providing tips. The question is, can those tips actually be applied straight-away and return real results.
- Presenting one’s personal experience – That is yet another important point to consider, since your personal experience is somehow a proof to what you are saying. On the other hand that is often the best way to describe a situation and make it easy for readers to digest.
- An article that back ups what it claims – Backing up what you are saying with statistical information or examples is very important, as it proves your point. Otherwise poeple don’t really have a reason to believe a single word you have written unless you are a recognized expert.
More on the topic: 9 Random Tips on Improving your Writing Skills
3. You Article Structure Matters
So if we put aside quality content as a factor, what else can help you get more retweets? First let me give you an example of how I read articles:
Although I like reading from beginning to end, when it comes to finding good posts to retweet, I rarely have the time to go through and read word by word. What I do is rather scan through the contents. My case is not an isolated one. Since everyone’s time is precious, people rarely do in-depth reading.
So providing quality content that solves a problem or gives practical advice is not all you need. If your article fails to display the most important points for the visitor in the first couple of seconds, you will get a significantly lower amount of shares. The two most important elements are:
- The use subheadings - subheadings are used to separate key points in your articles. They are basically a styled heading tags (H2 or H3). The whole idea is to make finding specific information a piece of cake. So the best advice for subheadings is to make them easy to spot. Use a font size of at least 16 pixels and preferably a different font color. You can even go for sub-subheadings that divide your point into smaller chunks. My article “Quitting Blogging? Stop – Detailed Guide to Keep You Going!” is an example for the presence of such.
- The use of bolds - that is another good way to stress on the important keywords and sentences in your writing. Adding bold however should be done with caution. Overdoing can have the opposite effect. Remember – use bold on only the most important! You can also combine bold with bullet points make it easy to distinguish the closing of one bullet from the start of the next.
4. The Shorter your Tweets, The Better!
The length of your tweets can make a big difference and help you get retweets. The shorter they are, the more retweetable they are. Being able to describe your message in a straight-to-the-point manner with the least amount of characters is what Twitter users like.
From a different perspective, leaving more room is also important, since whoever retweets something from you will probably add RT @your-username to the tweet. If doing so requires cutting and editing the initial tweet, don’t expect too many shares. The easier you make it for others, the more you will benefit.
Further reading: “5 Effective Tips for Titles that Get People to Click and Retweet“
5. Be an Active Member of the Twitter Community
Another important point to consider is your activity on Twitter. As I mentioned earlier, most of the Twitter users don’t hang out that much on Twitter. If you want to get the most out of this social media platform, following what the crowd is doing is not the way to go though. You need to be active. You need to constantly show your presence on Twitter. That is how you build a loyal following. That is how you get poeple to find your work, to like it and start sharing it.
What I mean by being active is:
- Tweet often - My current tweeting schedule is something like a tweet every hour. You might say that this is a lot. For the six or so months I’m following that tweeting routine though, I have never gotten complaints about too frequent tweeting.
- Interact – My definition for interaction on Twitter is everything from saying ‘thank you’ (about which I will talk in a further paragraph), to turning replies sent to you into a discussion and posting questions every now and then for poeple to see that you are a real person.
More on the topic: “7 Ways to Keep Your Twitter Stream Alive“
6. Use Popular Shortening Services Only
What kind of URL shortener you use also has an impact on how much poeple will decide to share your content. That is because of the bad reputation of some of those shortening services. Another reasons is that whoever shares your stuff, wouldn’t like to have unfamiliar and spammy looking URLs in his tweets.
The top three shortening services I would recommend are:
- Bit.ly - probably the most widely used service to make URLs smaller. If you want to get the most out of your tweets, I would suggest using that one, as it will be easily recognizable to everyone.
- T.co – That is Twitter’s native shortener. You can’t go wrong with using it. The best advantage is that you actually get to see the beginning of the actual link (not a shortened version).
- Su.pr – That is StumbleUpon’s official URL shortening service. The reason you might like it is because similarly to bit.ly it is fairly popular and your tweets won’t be treated as spam. From a different perspective you also get to benefit from additional StumbleUpon traffic and their tracking service.
7. Prove You are not a Robot
Social media sites are all full of scammers, spammers and all kinds of nasty individuals. So poeple are always weary when it comes to interacting in this medium.
As far as Twitter is concerned, it is the same situation. There are countless of tools, aimed at creating automated Twitter accounts, without any real person behind them. Trying to market a business that way is a bad strategy, but some poeple obviously don’t get it.
Anyway, the point here is that if you want to stand out and get retweets, one important ingredient is authenticity. If you show poeple that you have your own style of doing things, you interact in your own way, then you have a better chance at succeeding.
There are different ways to achieve this:
- Your bio – first and foremost you should consider writing a good description of yourself. You have 140 characters and need to both be informative about who you are and what you do, but also do it in your own style.
- Twitter avatar – if you are a real person, use a real picture of yourself. It is simple as that. Even one from your webcam is better than putting a logo or keeping the default egg. The process won’t take more than a minute or two.
- Add comments – there is nothing bad in retweeting other poeple’s work. In fact it is a great strategy, as long as what you are sharing is good. Something you can do to make your tweets even more genuine is including a comment of some sort that reflects your opinion. Don’t go for something too long. Even two words will do a good enough job.
8. Join Triberr
Triberr is an innovative service, that allows you to multiply your reach on Twitter. By joining the so called tribes, you are able to get dozens and even hundreds of folks in your niche to share your content. When you join a tribe, your newest posts gets submitted on Triberr and it can then be shared by your tribemates.
With 74 tribemates, I’m able to get at least 450-500 views to my articles within two-three days. There are a lot of poeple with over 100, so you can imagine how much of an exposure they are receiving!
For more information, take a look at my Triberr review!
9. Use Hashtags with Caution
Hashtags are meant to help your content be more search friendly on Twitter and eventually reach a wider audience. Although that strategy might work in some cases, I’m generally not a supporter of using hashtags. From what I’ve seen on Twitter they are not retweet-friendly.
Your tweet might be seen by more people but that doesn’t mean you will get more retweets. I would recommend you to add one hashtag at most and make it as relevant as possible. Going for more will make your message look cluttered and messy.
10. Engage with who Retweets You
Getting retweets from someone is a good thing, but getting that same person to retweet over and over again is even better. Although there are no guarantees, you can help this happen by doing something as simple as paying attention to the ones who retweet you.
You don’t have to do an in-depth discussions or interviews. Something as simple as saying thank you and asking a question, based on the person’s profile information is enough to give spark to a connection, from which you will benefit.
As for thanking tweeps for sharing your content, I strongly advice you do this for every share you get!
11. Don’t be Scared of Sharing a Quote or Two
Until I decided to tweet some and see what the feedback will be, I believed that sharing quotes wasn’t a great idea. The results were a surprise to say the least. The quotes were receiving more retweets than the articles I was sharing. You don’t directly benefit from those retweets, but they do help your account reach a bigger audience.
Ignore such myths and share some good and relevant quotes every now and then. Of course those should not be the focal point of your Twitter strategy. Tweeting a quote two or three times a day is a good starting point.
Want to know about some other popular Twitter myths? Check out my article “7 Myths Surrounding the Twitter Universe“!
12. Add a Buffer Button
Buffer is a relatively new service that started in 2011. For that small period of time though, the tool became highly popular and for a good reason. The main idea behind Buffer is to help you keep a consistent flow of tweets, by adding articles you liked in your “buffer”. Those articles get automatically scheduled and tweeted for you.
Installing a Buffer button on your blog will allow others to include your articles in their buffer. Considering that the tool is becoming ever more popular, you can’t go wrong with adding a Buffer button!
For more information on Buffer and four other great Twitter tools see “5 Useful Twitter Tools that Will Save You Lots of Time and Energy“
13. Tweet your Own Posts
Obviously you will get more retweets if you share your posts once in a while. A lot of folks don’t find that a good thing though. From my two years of Twitter experience I came to understand one thing – as long as what you are sending to your followers offers solid information, whether you are the author or not doesn’t matter.
Don’t get me wrong nonetheless. Retweeting solely posts from your blog is indeed not a good strategy. You should always mix your shares with quality articles from other blogs in your niche.
14. Have a Personal and a Blog Account
As we concluded from the first point in this article, the more followers you have the more clicks your tweets will get. Similarly to that, the more Twitter accounts you have, the more poeple you will be able to draw into your business. Things are a bit different when it comes to creating multiple accounts though.
I would recommend having two accounts at most – one as your own personal, and another one specifically for your blog. There are two simple rules to follow when dealing with two accounts:
- Don’t retweet your personal account with your blog account or vice versa
- Don’t publish identical tweets simultaneously
More on the topic: “So, You’ve been Suspended on Twitter?“
15. Always Include via/by
If the same article gets retweeted, once without adding “via” or “by” and once with those added, the latter gets more clicks and more retweets. The difference is not huge, but well worth writing two letters and adding the person’s username.
I would advice you to follow that strategy on articles you are retweeting from other blogs and also once you are tweeting from your own blog. Having two accounts is a must, since when you retweet from let’s say your personal, you will give credit to your blog’s account.
16. Have a Retweet Button Under your Article Headlines
As I mentioned in my post about blog optimization I have tested adding different sharing buttons in different areas of my blog. If you were a reader here four-five months ago, you would have known that I used a sharebar (the vertical ones that don’t scroll and rather stay on the middle of the page).
Although the sharebar proved a relatively good idea, after having it for some time, I decided to get rid of it and try something else. The idea was to include the sharing buttons directly under the headline instead. The decision resulted in more retweets and social media exposure in general. The reasons is that the headline is pretty much the first thing that the visitor will see. Provided that the buttons are under that very same headline, they just can’t go overlooked. The same is possible when using a sharebar, since when reading, poeple don’t always pay attention to other elements on the page
I hope going through the thousands of words on this article was of a good use to you! The above tips are helping me get retweets we speak, they can help you too! As always I’m looking forward to reading your thoughts and tips in the comments section!