Five ways to get Twitter users to retweet your content

Favourite icon vs. Retweet icon
Favourite or Retweet?

Since Twitter introduced the favourite button, businesses and individuals have been plagued by an ever-increasing problem: dead-end content. While the favourite button is intended for users to flag a tweet they like, or to bookmark a link so they can refer back to it later, many are now using it in lieu of the retweet function. And this means your content isn’t being shared.

While favouriting (or liking) something is an excellent way to endorse posts on closed social networks like Facebook, favouriting has the opposite effect on Twitter. Instead of spreading the word, promoting participation and improving exposure (and followers), the favourite button gives users the option to simply flag a post instead of retweeting it. This means content they might have otherwise shared is disappearing into a social media abyss… and that’s not good for business.

The task for businesses is now tougher than ever before. If people aren’t sharing, it doesn’t matter how great your content is. While you can’t force Twitter users to avoid that favourite button, here are five ways you can encourage them to go for a good old-fashioned retweet instead (or – if you’re lucky – as well).

1. Keep your tweets brief

People like to add comments to tweets that they share, so don’t use all 140 characters when you’re tweeting as this will put them off. Shorter tweets catch the eye and give your followers space to add their own remarks. This in turn endorses your content and will hopefully encourage their followers to share it too.

2. Retweet other people

Practice what you preach. If you want people to share your content, then share theirs – particularly content from key influencers within your industry or area of business. Of course, you should only retweet things that your audience will find relevant, but once you start retweeting others, they will start to notice you. And if you start catching their eye, this means they will be more likely to spread your content in return.

3. Have compelling content

Man using mobile phone abroad
Image provided by Tourism Thailand

Get to know your followers and their interests – not just in terms of business, but their hobbies too. If you tweak or angle your content so that it’s more relevant to your followers, this will make it more far more retweetable. Providing top tips, promoting giveaways, contextualising content with current affairs or even just making users smile are all sure-fire ways to grab their attention. And once that happens, chances are they’ll be more willing to retweet you.

4. Time your tweets

This one might sound obvious, but time your updates carefully. There’s no use tweeting when it’s too quiet (such as in the morning or late at night) because fewer people will see your content. Equally, tweeting at peak times often means your post will be lost amid a sea of other content. Tools such as Tweriod are excellent for helping find out when your followers are online so that you can increase exposure and your chances of that coveted retweet.

5. Ask for a retweet

As the old saying goes: ‘If you don’t ask, you don’t get’. If you have compelling content that’s relevant to your followers, asking them for a retweet can really pay off – interestingly, studies have also shown that spelling out ‘retweet’ rather than writing ‘RT’ improves the chances of sharing by about 23 times. Asking for a retweet can be an excellent way to promote discussion while increasing coverage and showing your followers that you’re interested in what they have to say.

Finally, engage with people, and don’t take yourself too seriously. Whether you’re a business or an individual, the best way to promote yourself on Twitter is to be real – after all, it’s called social media for a reason.

Did you find this post useful? Then start as you mean to go on: don’t just favourite it – share it!

Article originally posted on the Social Media Frontiers blog.

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