Twitter Cheat Codes

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blue bird plush holding magnifying glassPopularity used to mean having a lot of friends, but not today. Today it means having engaging people online so that they like, comment, or share. In the case of Twitter, it isn’t just the number of followers you have, but the number of retweets you get for any given message you tweet.

That then begs the question: how can I get more retweets? Or maybe if you are in the same boat as me, how do I get any retweets? There are three types of tweets that rarely, if ever, actually get retweeted. So avoiding these types of tweets is probably a good idea.

  • Automated tweets. Like automatic tweets sent out from Facebook or another networking site. Don’t use them. People probably don’t care enough to read them, let alone retweet them.
  • Tweets with more than two hashtags. Or for those who are more Twitter literate, I mean “#”. If half of your tweet is full of “#”s people won’t be interested.
  • Poor formatting or spelling. You went to school, so use that knowledge from your high school English class. Also, don’t use “?” or “;” in your tweets. It turns off followers.

Now those are rules for what to avoid, but there are some guidelines that will make your carefully crafted message more retweet-friendly.

  • Try including links. People like to be directed when it comes to the Web. Adding links can build your credibility as well.
  • Be timely when posting news stories. Don’t post tomorrow about Obama winning the election for president. Most Twitter users don’t live in caves; they are current.
  • Share tech news. Everyone loves to hear about new gadgets they don’t yet have but will clearly want as soon as they read your tweet about how cool they are. Or mention a celebrity. Namedropping is acceptable in Twitter land.
  • Stay away from making “I” statements and use more “you” statements. “You”, “Twitter”, “please” are all words that show up in tweets that get retweeted a lot. But please don’t ask people to retweet your tweet. It defeats the purpose, and it’s kind of like paying kids to be your friends—without actually paying them. I hope.
  • Use objective language. Don’t go around throwing out hyperboles left and right; you’ll scare the tweeters away.
  • Make your tweets longer. Just don’t go over 130 characters. Try and keep it a little under that. If you want people retweeting, they might want to add their own comment to it so that will give them room.
  • Remember how “?” and “;” drive the retweets down? Well, “.” and “:” drive them in the opposite direction.
  • Drop a brand name into the conversation. Don’t go overboard, but it’s OK to drop a couple of names.


Now you can hopefully craft the Mona Lisa of tweets every time. Become the ruler of Twitter because you are gaining more followers than @Textsfromlastnight. Best of all you can become the master of getting retweeted. Just remember: being retweeted brings you more followers. More followers means more people read what you tweet. PR Daily, a subsidiary of Ragan Communications, has more info on the anatomy of the perfect tweet.


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