Going viral on Twitter is easier than most other networks. Twitter is designed for sharing and chatting at a very rapid pace. People love to retweet good information and share with their followers. So what does it take to go viral on Twitter?
Not all strategies need to be used at the same time but many can be used together to increase your chances of going viral.
1. A Great Crafted Headline
Headlines are everything when getting your content noticed. Your headline is the first point of contact with your potential reader and retweeter. But there are certain points you need to note when dealing specifically with twitter.
- Your headline must be short. Twitter only allows 140 characters and when the retweeting starts your headline or link could start to disappear.
- Tweeters like short bit sized pieces of info. So if you have 10 tips for something mention that.
- Research how to write headlines that work. The same goes with any social medium, certain headlines always get more clicks.
2. A Link To Great Content
According to Dan Zarrella most retweets contain a link, in fact over 69% of retweets contain a link. Since tweets are so small you can never fit anything of great value into 140 characters. Since twitter is a sharing mechanism and people love to share great information, links are used a lot on Twitter.
3. Link Shortening
Use bit.ly or another URL shortener. Tweets are incredibly small and you don’t want to waste space by adding a huge link at the end. Twitter now has it’s own shortening service called t.co. And if you use the Twitter share button it will automatically shorten the link for you.
4. Time Of Day
It is well known that you will only get noticed if there are people to notice you. You need to post when people are on Twitter, especially since Twitter has such a rapid pace. There are a few times when you should tweet.
- During the lunch during a working week. (this is the best time)
- At 9/10pm at night when people have had dinner and have relaxed for the evening.
- Also take note of Timezones. If you have a local following it is easy, if you have a global audience tweet at the correct times as above for large groups of your followers.
5. Getting More Followers
It is a fact on any social network the more people that follow you the more likely you are to be tweeted. At a rough estimate from sites I have run and monitoring of large sites you will at least get 0.1% of your followers tweeting you. I will link to my post on getting more valuable twitter followers shortly and link in here once it is done.
6. Watch Your Language
Another great fact discovered by Dan Zarrella is that certain words are tweeted more often than others. The data here is getting old in the social media space but I still can see it is just as applicable today. The words are: you, twitter, please, retweet, post, blog, social, free, media, help, please retweet, great, social media, 10, follow, how to, top, blog post, check out, new blog post As you can see these are all fairly predictable. Asking for help or a retweet and sharing valuable information.
7. Saying Pretty Please
I thought I would make a specific mention of asking for a retweet. When you ask someone for something they first off know what you want to happen and secondly people generally love helping other people. In a psychological study done when people ask for help they normally won’t respond too well. But if you ask for help and explain the reason why you need the help the response becomes astoundingly positive, regardless of the reason. Just having a reason inclines people to help more. So while I haven’t tested this aspect yet, if you can fit a reason as to why they should retweet your content the more likely it will be retweeted.
8. Social Proof
Everybody loves to be an individual, just like everybody else. When people see other people retweeting content you are far more likely to get more retweets. Actually the more levels down you are retweeted the more likely you are to be retweeted further. There are 2 factors working here:
- People like to agree with other people, connect and make friends. They like being the same as other people.
- The biggest reason however is people who retweet are adding their credibility to it. It is essentially endorsed material.
9. Talking About Twitter
Talking about something that everyone has in common, e.g. using twitter makes it lovable by a huge audience. The entire Twitter community. If you can relate your content to Twitter in some way it is applicable to everyone on the medium you are trying to go viral on.
10. Tag The Influential
If there is a big heavy weight in your division then tag them in your post. Let them know of your content. Try to engage them and let them know why you have tagged them. Having a good reason to tag them will certainly increase your chances of having them notice your tweet and maybe retweeting it themselves.
11. Leverage Other Outlets
No ones uses just 1 social media outlet these days. Post your content on other social media outlets such as Facebook and Digg. People are always looking for new information to share with their followers so they can become known as someone with great knowledge and hence increase their influence in the community. They might see it on Facebook and quickly tweet it to their other community.
12. Interact With Your Followers
For any of your followers to take notice of your content you need to interact with them. You must give them value for following you and interact with them on a personal level.
The more trust you build with your followers the greater the retweets will be.
13. Generate Discussion
If possible make your content generate discussion. Use the question headline. e.g. Why does this happen http://bit.ly?879343
This means people are more likely to discuss the content when they retweet it. Your content needs to be of a nature that people can discuss and voice their opinions on.
14. Entertaining Or Humorous
Some of the most viral content on the net isn’t a great piece of wisdom or a valuable article on how to improve something in the world, it is all about people getting overly emotional about double rainbows and cat’s playing piano’s.
They make people laugh and when people laugh they will share. But don’t try to be funny as that never works. If you are going to create a funny article or video then it will just happen.
15. Easy For Readers To Share
A simple thing to do is make sure you have a tweet button next to your content.
Go to: http://twitter.com/goodies/tweetbutton if you don’t already have one.
16. No Semi-colons
Dan Zarrella has compiled information on millions of tweets. He has found that a retweet with a semi-colon in it is almost non-existent. So be it for only superstitious reasons or maybe a psychological aspect we are unaware of, I would steer clear of the semi-colon.
17. Tweet Multiple Times
With followers from almost every country it would be hard to tweet at a time when everyone is online. So if you really believe your content is worthy of going viral then tweet it up to 3 times in a day at different times.
It is up to you to gauge how your following will react to the amount of tweets about the same link will be.
18. Time Of Week
Did you know that most retweets happen on a Friday? Sunday is the worst and it steadily climbs throughout the week. This makes perfect sense. The weekend many people are spending time with their family or friends. During the week people are working, but as the week progresses (yes we all do it) we start slacking off until the end of week when we are possibly doing more personal related activities than work activities.
So aim your post for lunch time on a Friday.
19. Tweet About Someone Influential On Twitter
Getting noticed by an influential person is enough on it’s own to get your tweet viral. If their is an influential tweeter in your network, talk about them in a post then tag them in on it. It more often than not gets their attention.
Many great viral campaigns start off by being pushed via advertising. I am sure you remember the Old Spice “The man your man could smell like” campaign. That originally started by super bowl ads.
In every other viral campaign, advertising has been the way to get things started.
Advertising on Twitter can now be done but as of the writing of this post they are still rolling it out meaning you might not have access to it yet.
21. Polarize Your Audience (use caution)
Posting something controversial is always going to get bites. But you need to use extreme caution. Do not say something controversial for the sake of it, say something you believe in that you know is controversial and that part of your audience agrees and the other part don’t.
Getting that mix to 50/50 is the perfect ratio as it will generate a lot of discussion between your audience and your content. Also encourage comments on your post to try and get the conversation happening on your site as well.
22. Be An Expert
This does take time and isn’t a quick way to get viral. If you tweet high quality consistently and do a few of the other expert making things such as
- Book Writing
- Interviewed By Someone
You can become an expert. Once you are an expert your tweets carry a lot of influence and hence are retweeted more often.
23. Know Your Audience
Look over past articles, posts and tweets. Which ones where shared or gained the most interaction. This is a sure way to tell what content your audience likes.
Then create a new article, post or tweet based on a similar idea and see how it goes. You will quickly see what your audience likes. Then keep giving it to them. Some people seem to forget that last sentence.
Do not over complicate your information. Stick with a single them. Twitter uses want quick sharable information about a specific point or topic. Make sure your information has a single goal or point. For example how to go viral on Twitter.
25. Use Hashtags
Now this one is more for when you get things going it will help keep it going. If you can get into the trending topics on Twitter your posts are more likely to go very viral. So hashtag your tweets. e.g. #binkd
It may not lead them to the specific tweet that is going viral but it will certainly create an awareness of you.
26. Freebies Or Competitions
Many big public faces have used competitions to get their posts going viral. It is essentially bribing them to retweet your post. It is something that I wouldn’t consider doing just to get a tweet viral but I would hold a competition on my site and tweet about it.
Freebies are also great source of getting things viral. I have once given away a free ebook and it brought me nearly 2,000 subscribers within the week. Make sure your free offering is digital as free samples of product can cause you a massive drain on your finances.
27. Give Value
Like every social media interaction some value must always be given. There are certain types of value you can give that do very well on Twitter
- How To
- X Ways To
- Entertaining Videos About Double Rainbows
If there is simple concise awesome value in your tweet it will be shared.
A great way to determine whether it would go viral is to ask yourself the question: “Would I retweet this?” Ask for your friends opinions too.
If you want to look cool because you found out how awesome #Binkd was before everyone else or you are just grateful I created this post, please retweet.