One of the main reasons companies use Twitter is for sharing their content. The hope is, when they tweet a company blog post, lots of other people will retweet it, and then their followers will retweet it again, so on and so on until millions of people have read it.
It doesn’t take long to find out that the viral power of Twitter is more theory than reality, that getting influential people to notice your content and share it is far easier said than done.
Just the same, Twitter can be a powerful medium for content sharing — but not by mindlessly and haphazardly spewing out tweets. Here are suggestions for not only getting your content retweeted, but retweeted by people with influence.
- Write great content. Without remarkable content, you cannot motivate influential people to retweet your stuff, no matter how remarkable you are at relationship building.
- Identify the people you want to connect with. The people you want to reshare your content are people whose Twitter communities are relevant to what you sell. It doesn’t matter if someone has 10,000 followers if none of them has the slightest interest in what you do. On the other hand, someone with 500 followers — if they are the right followers — will be worth his/her weight in gold. I’ve learned that even firms in specialized niches like orthodontic website design and credit card gateway providers can find relevant connections on Twitter. It just takes a little work.
- Connect! Once you’ve found your power retweeters, it’s time to use those relationship building skills to get to know them, the kind of content they’re interested in, what they like to share with their communities. In this way, you can begin to shape your tweets to fit their needs.
- Make retweeting easy. Following through on the preceding point, the easier you make retweeting, the more retweets you’ll get. Don’t make people rewrite your tweet for clarity or relevance. Keep it short enough so the whole retweet appears without being truncated.
- Ask for help when you need it. Once you’ve established a real connection with an influencer, it’s OK to selectively ask him/her to retweet a post. People are usually willing to help if it’s a reasonable request. And again, if your content is remarkable, influencers are helping themselves when they help you by sharing.
- Give help before you’re asked. Companies sometimes get self-absorbed on Twitter. Big mistake. Even if you’re not especially influential, influencers will appreciate it when you share their content and tweeted observations.
- Timing is everything. Twitter is a real-time medium; few people bother to comb through their streams to find golden tweets from two hours ago or two days ago. With that in mind, it’s imperative to figure out when influencers are actually using Twitter, and either be there or schedule tweets around those times.
- Say thank you. I make a point of thanking everyone for retweeting my stuff, regardless of how influential they may be. Although these tweets can be taken by some as “stream clutter,” I think it’s worth the risk. First, I’m sincerely appreciative of anyone who takes the time to help me. Second, you never know how helpful their help will turn out to be!
- Measure. If thanking people is my strength, measuring is my weakness. There are tools inside and outside Twitter interface platforms that enable you to tell who and how many people are retweeting your content. The more carefully you review the data, the better you’ll be able to pinpoint the people in your community who truly are the community.
- Mix up your messages. I want to bookend this list with what I feel are the most important points. If all you do on Twitter is share your content and lobby for retweets, you will fail. You don’t want to be the person at the cocktail party who never stops talking about himself or pumping people for leads. It’s a sure way to stop getting invited to parties!