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The perfect retweetable tweet

Posted by Danny Whatmough on 25th November 2009

Retweeting – the process by which you repeat (or retweet) a tweet written by someone else – is standard currency on Twitter. By retweeting someone else, you are assigning value to what they’ve said or shared. And by being retweeted, you are expanding the awareness of your brand and your reputation on Twitter and beyond.

It’s the way that messages spread, virally, around the Twittersphere and, for that reason, is the holy grail for brands.

Controversially, Twitter has recently revamped the way that retweets work, but despite this, the power of the RT still remains. So what makes a perfect retweetable tweet? Here are my top five tips:

1. Brevity – When you retweet and credit the original author, additional content can be added to the tweet. If the original message is 130 characters, there won’t be much space left, meaning you will have to edit the original message to get the character count down.

Try to keep your tweet short and snappy to make retweeting easier

2. Content – Be a bit of a tease by giving enough content to hook readers, but leave them wanting more. Controversial statements and questions all work well in enticing your followers to RT.

Content is king and brevity is important, so use your words wisely

3. Links – The link is usually the call to action of any tweet. Often, you will link to a page that provides more information about the tweet, for example a blog post or website page. Studies have shown tweets that contain a link are more likely to be retweeted, but use a URL shortener to make sure you don’t use up too many characters – bit.ly is the most common and most ‘trusted’.

Include a link and make sure it’s bit.ly

4. Timing – It goes without saying that if there are more people using Twitter when you send out your message, then there is a greater chance that someone will see and then retweet the message.

Tweet between 3pm and 4pm on a Thursday or a Friday as this is when Twitter is busiest

5. Relevance – There are two key points here. Firstly, know your audience: make sure your content is perfectly tuned to your particular set of followers as these are the people that will get the ball (or tweet) rolling. Secondly, be topical: if possible, try and tweet on issues that are in the news or ideally, that are just breaking.

Engage your followers by being relevant and topical

Following these five steps should help you maximise your retweet potential, but remember, this is not an exact science; sometimes it is the tweet you least expect that will be successful.

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