This is a question I see more and more in business settings. A version of this question was on LinkedIn a couple of days ago, and I know organizations are looking at the Twitter activity of their employees to evaluate if it's just a waste of company time -- the retweet makes for a compelling Key Performance Indicator (KPI).
There's also the ambition that content you produce will go viral -- that ever elusive and sought after effect. Dan Zarrella has written all there is to read about the science of retweets -- from the words that get the most reactions, to the punctuation type you need to use.
I'd like to add my experience about context to his comment about time of day -- he calculated that after 1pm EST gets a lift. To me timing matters. When you think about the information you're sharing, you know who it will appeal to and when *they* will be more likely to see it. If that's hard to determine, why not create a regular appointment with them by sharing news or relevant content at a certain time every day, for example?My take
I've been using Twitter as a way to connect with people and share ideas since October 2006. Since March 2009, I ran a yearlong experiment in sharing, which I documented in a post titled the Twitter @ConversationAge effect (see also the resources at the end of that post).
What gets the most retweets? In my own observation and research content that is thought of as useful both for the person who finds it (to read and learn from ) and for their networks (to share for gaining social status). It needs to be both.
In order of magnitude:
- research -- you look smart by sharing and your network benefits from receiving
- news -- you look like you're on top of things, your networks sees and benefits from that
- easy to digest tips and lists -- plenty of those out there, the one you're sharing is better, and your network thinks that, too
- offers -- free is a great concept, esp when it's a report, or an ebook something substantial that will make everyone feel more valuable/valued
- genuine requests for help -- causes/stories you believe in and are passionate about. Being good in public and spreading collectively is almost irresistible, and thank goodness for that
If for some reason, the content is super useful advice to improve performance and the source is not known (thus easily discoverable), do you know what happens? The finder tends to keep that to themselves. Forget being social when human competitive nature kicks in.
I think that when you're consistently helpful and stay curious and interested in the information you share and the people with whom you share, you will become a credible source of good content. If the tweet comes from you, and you're not the self-referential or promotional kind, you're more likely to get retweeted.Your take
I asked the question on Twitter the other evening and without pasting a long stream of great tweets, I will give you a digest of the best:
- Links 2 good stuff w/ concise description why it is interesting & keep tweet to <125 char. so no editing b4 RT. @Conniereece
- I think tweets that are funny, have a connection with your followers and or are unique, new or different makes tweets cool @Justinfitter
- I RT things I learn something from and think, "others would learn from this too." Thanks for asking! @Marciamarcia
- i also find that I will get retweet the most when I expect it the least. so, still some sort of trending :) @Kariamcatherine
What happens when your tweets are all about you and your company? When your team only tweets your own content? Not much. So go out there and make friends. Be interesting, above all be interested.
© 2010 Valeria Maltoni. All rights reserved.