7 Ways To Get Retweeted

Being retweeted increases the exposure of your ideas or company to potential followers so it’s more than a boost to the ego. Before we get down to the nitty gritty, let’s be clear: the following tips will increase the chances of you getting retweeted, some quite significantly, but you still have to have something worth retweeting. So, content is still king. Leo Widrich at Bufferapp.com did an experiment and found that Tweets are more likely to be shared if they contain actionable tips, news, fresh research or are about your followers.

1. Be Funny. If retweets are gold, a Tweet that people find funny enough to share is the mother lode. I like the one written for the PG Tips account which parodies the popular Pussycat Dolls’ song: ‘Doncha you wish your boyfriend was hot like tea?’

2. It’s All About You. ‘You’ is the word that crops up most in retweets so use ‘you’ and ‘your’ if you want to increase the likelihood of being retweeted. The word that occurs least in retweets is ‘game’ followed by ‘going’, ‘haha’, ‘lol’ and ‘but’.

3. Get the Timing Right. Tweeting when the most people are reading might seem the most obvious factor. For business blogs, that’s between 12 and 4pm. For the rest it’s 5pm when we finish working. However people engage 19% more at the weekend according to research by Dan Zarrella.

4. Use an Image. According to Shopify’s research on viral Tweets, your tweet is nearly twice as likely to be retweeted if it contains an image, especially one using pic.twitter.com.

5. Add a Link. Almost 70% of retweets contain a link, says Shopify’s research. Put anogther way, a tweet with a link is 86% more likely to be retweeted. This may seem like bad news if the link is to someone else’s interesting website but it’s good news if it’s yours. When you use links, shorten them- by far the most popular shortener is bit.ly.

6. Use a #Hashtag. Using a recognisable hashtag leads to approximately twice the level of engagement.

7. Length is Important. 100-115 words is the optimum length for retweeting success. Short Tweets are the least successful.

Bonus Tip: Say Please. Asking for a retweet is very effective, especially if you say ‘please’. Dan Zarella found that 50 percent of tweets with the phrase ‘Please retweet’ were retweeted compared with the 10% figure for tweets that didn’t. Put another way, saying ‘please retweet’- and spelling out ‘retweet’- gives your tweet 23 times higher chance of being retweeted.

Sources: Dan Zarrella Shopify Bufferapp

This blog was written by Paul Seven Lewis, owner of the marketing consultancy The Lewis Experience based at Hampshire Workspace, and former Head of Marketing and Operations at The Mayflower Theatre. You can connect with him on Google+ and LinkedIn.

Why Social Media May Be A Bad Idea For Your Business

Lots of organisations get involved with social media because they think they ought to but then do it badly and are disappointed at the result.

Part of the problem seems to me to be that social media are ‘free’ and therefore of low value in the eyes of people who are used to spending money on various forms of advertising.

The other part is that it’s difficult to measure the Return On Investment in terms of short term gains, so there’s no incentive to use social media consistently, let alone well, when other more pressing uses of time come up. Certainly you can promote an offer and see how many took it up but much of the use of social media is about increasing brand awareness, building loyalty and spreading word of mouth, none of which provide immediate revenue (although they can be measured against targets).
So, in my experience, many organisations get involved in social media because they think they should but let that involvement slide as soon as other demands on resources come along.
There is something else. Using social media requires a huge change in approach, from the traditional marketing role of leading your customers to the brave new world of being led by them. Many marketing people either don’t understand this or they don’t want to do it. Social media, whether it’s blogging and microblogging (Twitter), social networks (Facebook, LinkedIn), sharing (YouTube, Flickr) or forums and comments, is a conversation not a monologue.

So, best not to get involved in social media if you don’t have the commitment or an appreciation of why you’re doing it. All that will happen is that you will produce a half hearted effort that won’t impress your followers and may even alienate them and that will waste your time.

If you want to do it properly, start by looking at my 10 Tips for using Social Media.

I Guess I’m Right or The Importance of Research

We’re all guilty of thinking we know our audience. Often it’s based on what we are like ourselves or what we would wish our audience to be like. I came across this article on Social Media Today which illustrates the gap between what managers believe their customers use their Facebook page for and what they actually use it for.

We would probably all like to to think that when someone signs up to follow our Facebook posts or our Tweets, it’s because they like us, they like what we have to say and they want to know about us. That’s what the marketing officers surveyed thought. However the majority of consumers said they signed up because they wanted offers, games and info about new products. Only 38% said they wanted to show they were a fan. (I assume this leaves out all the people who sign up purely to try to sell you something.)

If we don’t research why our customers follow us, buy our product or visit our venue, how can we hope to market effectively to them? We often can’t afford to do our own research but that’s no excuse when there’s so much available on the internet. You may be right that your customers are different to those in this particular bit of research but it can’t harm to make sure that your postings on Facebook and Twitter include plenty of offers and news about new products.

Heard It Through The Grapevine: The Power of Word Of Mouth

Word of mouth is your most valuable marketing tool, which is good news and bad news.  The good news is that it works so well because it’s authentic.  The bad news is, you can’t fake it.

If you’ve got an email or postal list of people who like your product enough to sign up, you have a massively valuable tool.  So when someone buys in person, on the phone or online, ask them if they would like to join. Encourage them with an offer, something that will appeal to those genuinely interested in what you have to offer.   In other words, don’t offer an M&S voucher or everyone will sign up.  Offer a ticket discount voucher or a free programme.  Actually most people will sign just to be better informed, so offer a regular newsletter. At Your Life Your Style, we have forms by the till and a box on each page of our website, and we promise special offers and exclusive information.

So how do you turn your email or mailing list into word-of-mouth?  People love to share good things with their friends because it gives them kudos. So, when you email them, encourage them to forward it to a friend.

Given the value of a mailing list, it’s astonishing how little care some people take with it.  Please, don’t send unsolicited emails- it is actually illegal to send emails to someone who hasn’t opted in to your list, unless they are a customer.  You should take advantage of a ticket sale acknowledgement email to sell future shows and of course your email list but pestering people with emails or postal mail is not the way to win friends.  It’s also good business practice because you get reported as a spammer if you don’t.  For the same reason, make it easy to unsubscribe.

Always send your emails from the web address you say it is.  You may only be trying to be helpful because the address you are sending from is a bit obscure but, since this is what people trying to steal your bank details do, you are likely to be identified as a spammer.  Spam filters will also pick up on certain words like ‘free’ and ‘discount’ because they sound like sales letters.   Once you are identified as a spammer (and apparently it takes very few bad reports), you may find yourself banned by your Internet Service Supplier.  And that’s completely for all emails.

The internet is another great way to generate word-of-mouth. In fact the main reason people belong to social networks is for word of mouth. So set up Twitter and Facebook accounts and encourage your customers/supporters to follow you. If you post interesting information or offers, your followers will pass them on. Give visitors to your website the opportunity to send the page or a link to the page.  Encourage comments and conversations on your website.  Track comments being made elsewhere on the web and join in conversations about your product. However, you must be upfront about who you are – pretending to be a disinterested person can be very damaging, as a top Hollywood production company found out!

‘Bring A Friend’, as in letting your loyal customers give discount vouchers to their friends, works well because sending a gift really impresses

Samples are an excellent way of kick starting word-of-mouth.  You know how you can go to your local supermarket on a Saturday morning and stuff enough free samples down your throat to see you through to supper?  People taste the product and quite a few not only buy it again but tell their friends and family that they were given something nice at the supermarket.  How can we apply that to seeing a theatre show?  My own experience is that CDs and even DVDs don’t really make an impression.  Giving away tickets for the whole event somehow defeats the object.  Fortunately, we already have a tried and tested solution.  Put a lesser known artist on as a support or get a sample of a stage show or act into an awards ceremony, charity fundraiser or festival.

Or… a personal appearance.  An interview accompanied by a photo or a recorded extract from a show is an ideal way to enthuse a potential attender into a ticket buyer.  Having said that, there are a number of bricks that must be in place.  The interviewee must make the show sound like it’s worth seeing.  Enthusiasm, amusing anecdotes, clear description of the show are all de rigeur.  I’ve been surprised how often a performer is unprepared to perform in an interview or else is so scripted they persuade no-one.  Go through likely questions and have snappy answers.  The interviewee must know what needs to be said and make sure they say it.  Ditto you must have top quality production shots, video or sound recordings available.

Feel free to pass this advice on.