Social Marketing Optimization

Going Viral on Twitter

Written by Jay Shapiro for Gaebler Ventures

Twitter has had a dramatic effect on the way information gets shared online. They key to using it successfully? Getting people to retweet you! Here's how

Anyone serious about web publishing needs to embrace Twitter. Micro blogging carries a lot of weight these days and is one of the simplest but most effective ways to gain high exposure online.

Going Viral on Twitter

Since the advent of Twitter, the way info is exchanged online has changed dramatically. Prior to 2006, when it first fluttered into existence, links were blogged, now they're tweeted.

In days gone by we relied on linking via blogs and good old fashioned 'Google juice'. While those practices are still valuable it's getting re-tweeted on Twitter that can help drive serious traffic to your website.

How should you tweet in order to get re-tweeted?

There are five fundamental but unspoken rules you need to bear in mind if you want to go viral on Twitter.

A call to action – but be polite and say please!

The very best way to get someone to do something is to ask them to do it. Simple. If you want someone to wash the dishes for you they are unlikely to do it if you just stand there grinning and never mention the dishes at all.

You want people to re-tweet you because when they do, they'll usually re-tweet your action call too, therefore adding their endorsement to it. Every little helps.

Oddly the word 'please' crops up more often in re-tweets than in others. How many times have you seen 'please re-tweet' in a tweet? And how many times have you responded to that particular request?

Other calls to action that occur frequently on Twitter are:

  • Check this out
  • Please vote for
  • Follow this person
  • Help me to…
  • Question format tweets: Do you like…

Timing it just right:

Twitter activity is most evident on Monday – Wednesday. Also between the hours of 9am – 6pm EST tweeting increases dramatically. Post on a Monday at 10am and you're likely to get re-tweeted at a better rate than if you did so on Friday at 7pm.


Nearly 70% of tweets that get re-tweeted feature a link. That's great news if you're a marketer. It shows that Twitter is an accepted method of spreading non-Twitter information.

The old favorite - Social Proof

Most forms of viral sharing include some aspect of social proof. We human beings have an innate tendency towards imitation; we especially like to be seen to be the same as those we assume are more knowledgeable than ourselves. The chances of a tweet getting re-tweeted increase significantly every time it is re-tweeted.

Adding Value

Social media experts will tell you that adding value is important in social media. But what do the mean by value? This is often a vague area. In the Twitter environment it comes down to about 4 areas. Offer the following to increase your chances of being re-tweeted:

  • How To Guides
  • Breaking News (Celebrities and World Affairs)
  • Scam and Damaging Virus Warnings
  • Free Stuff or Money Off Offers

Jay Shapiro is a freelance writer based in the UK. Jay has a particular interest in the emotive aspects of the entrepreneur's character. "Alongside the nuts and bolts of business, the character of the person is often the ingredient responsible for success."

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