Do you have Twitter-envy? Come on, admit it. You’ve been tweeting like a madman for months and have rounded up a grand total of 35 followers. Meanwhile your friend just started tweeting last week about nothing but pickles and already has 20,000 followers. And those followers are giving him retweets that help boost his fan base even higher.
How are they doing it!? Are there ancient secrets being hidden only from you? Is it a conspiracy? Is your Twitter account broken? Are poltergeists erasing your tweets? I don’t want to stop you from pursuing such valid leads, but just in case those aren’t the things doing damage, here are some tips to give your tweets a fighting chance of being more appealing and thus shareable.
1. Um, learn to write. Your friend has clearly mastered the pickle subject. Do you know how many tweets there are a day? Over 500 million. No one’s going to retweet you unless you can make them mentally say, “Man, that’s great!” You have to be that good.
2. Assimilate into the Borg. In this case, the Borg is your target audience, and there should be very little to distinguish you from them. Think like them, use their terminology, know what they like, know what they hate. Your audience can sniff out a poser.
3. Get their blood up. Get a debate going by bringing up something your audience is actually passionate about. Steer clear of contrived questions nobody cares to hear the answers to. If you can safely do so, prime the pump with your opinion.
4. Make other people famous. Guess what? When you mention someone in your tweet, they’ll think it’s a brilliant tweet and will spread it to as many people as possible. Make human nature work to your advantage.
5. Think about your posting schedule. Find your sweet tweet spot as far as how often you post and when you post, but base it on your target audience’s behavior. Avoid over-tweeting…unless you’re making it clear you’re live-tweeting something.
6. Put at least a little thought into your profile pic. If you have a recognized logo, use it. If it doesn’t stand out in a timeline of other faces, get creative and change it. People fly through their Twitter streams at top speed and that picture has to stop them.
7. In your Twitter profile, say who you really are and what you really do. If you’re cutesy, coy, vague, evasive, or say nothing at all, you haven’t given anyone a reason in the world to follow you or pay attention to what you tweet.
8. Promote your Twitter account. It’s okay, really. But be very clear about all the enriching goodness they’re going to get if they go to it. They sure aren’t going to do it just as a favor to a total stranger.
9. Keep it short. If you max out your 140 characters, there’s no room for people to retweet you.
10. First in wins. If you know a bit of news in your field and you notice no one seems to have tweeted it yet, get it out there. Suddenly you become the cited source in all the subsequent retweeting.
11. Tweet worthy, rewarding links. You don’t want to earn a reputation for links that make people regret having clicked it.
12. Get your ratings. Find a social media management tool that will show you how each tweet does so you’ll know what’s working and what’s a waste of yours and everybody else’s time.
13. Please, cool it with the hashtags. There are proper ways to use hashtags, but when your tweet has as many symbols as letters, you’re off the rails. Use them to put your tweet in front of existing category audiences. If you make one up to be funny, make sure it’s really funny.
These tips aren’t that hard and definitely shouldn’t scare you away from tweeting. The only thing you should really fear is a steady stream of tweets going out there from your handle that are imminently ignorable. Remember, you have pickle tweets to compete with.