For a better RT chance: Shall I tweet less or more?

I have been reading, with much enthusiasm, the blog of Dan Zarrella (@DanZarrella) which contains a lot of useful information about social media. Zarrella defines himself as a social media and viral marketing scientist. The most interesting part of his work is the research he has done around the Twitter RT (retweet) functionality. He actually studied the “science of retweets” over a period of nine months and analyzed roughly five million tweets and 40 million retweets to discover the art behind getting retweeted.

Retweet Decision Model

Zarrella had come up with a flowchart model that illustrates the steps a tweet needs to go through in order to get retweeted. The flowchart is one of those things that we all know is common sense, but then we realize that  it gives a better idea when we have it illustrated.

The number of followers is a very important factor; where the more the number the better the chance of your tweet to get noticed. The more people noticing your tweet, the better chance for some of them to make a conscious decision to pass it forward – retweet it. In his presentation, The Science of Retweets, Zarrella addresses a lot of factors that may increase the chance of a tweet to get retweeted, it is formed mostly by the best words to use and the best time to tweet in order to catch people’s attention. For instance phrases like “Social Media”, “Please Retweet”, “How to” and “New blog post” give a tweet a better than to get retweeted. Along the same lines, tweeting at 3pm EST on a Friday maximizes your tweet’s chance of getting retweeted as well!

ReTweet Decision Model FlowChart

ReTweet Decision Model FlowChart

Tweet less for a better click-through rate?!

Twitter has been used on a wide scale as a marketing tool; a venue for social media marketers to constantly push their blog posts and web links to their audience. Like other social networking sites, Twitter has become an important source for web traffic, but then again: what is the chance for people – even those who RT you – to click on the link you forward in your tweet?

Zarrella found out that the higher the number of links an account Tweets in a given time frame, the lower the CTR on each individual link. That makes sense as well, I mean, if I am following someone who has just tweeted 5 links in 5 different tweets, I, for sure, won’t check all the 5 links unless I am really a huge fan of him. In addition to that, from a psychological point of view, people would give more value to someone who tweets few quality links than someone who tweets many links.

Or Tweet more for a better chance of getting noticed?

On the other hand, and going back the to the tweet decision model flowchart, being noticed comes before the decision of people to share, and in order to get noticed you need to tweet your link many times through the day because, unfortunately, tweets suffer from a short life span.

Tweet more or less? Contradiction? Is there a Solution?

Frankly, there is no clear answer to this contradiction! I would recommend working on increasing the number of followers as the first and most important measurement in order to give your tweets more exposure and thus a higher chance to get noticed and retweeted. In addition to that you must build a reputation of tweeting high quality content and also try checking out and reading some Twitter tips online. Maybe counting to 10 – slowly – between your tweets would help also in spreading your tweets into a longer time span?

What do you think of Dan Zarrella and his realizations? Do you see the contradiction we present? What do you think: one should tweet less or more for a better retweet chance? Let us know your opinion in the comments section.

Comments and Reactions

6 responses to “For a better RT chance: Shall I tweet less or more?”

  1. Beiruta says:

    Great post! From my humble experience on Twitter, I think for a better RT chance, tweeps need to use moderation: tweet various types of tweets (links, quotes, #FFs and so on) and also retweet for others! Like I always see: RT others like you like to be RT'd :)

  2. Ahad Bokhari says:

    I like Dan's blog too, he has some good information there. Funny thing is that most people don't even click the links of the RT, they just associate it with the name before it. I don't even feel that they care about whats tweeted, which is pretty lame.

    From personal experience i used to tweet alot, and in about 150 tweets a day I got around 100-400 RT's depending on a couple of factors. As i stopped tweeting (now i tweet about 20-40 tweets a day) and my RT's are about 25% less.

    Problem here my friends is that everyone is sensitive about this, you know how these kiddies get when you don't RT them. LOL! There are two approaches here. (1) Tweet alot and RT the hell out of the big guys so they notice you and RT you back (chances are they'll get the right tweet). (2) Don't tweet as much but add a crap load of value in your stream, I'm talking about good quality blog posts and links – Like you guys do :-)

    I'd opt out for the latter folks..Its valuable content that will get you noticed not strings and strings of RT's of the same ole *crap you say everyday. Talk about boring.

  3. FadiPick says:

    hey man, it is good to see you here. It is impressive that you have that much of your tweets and you only got 25% less RT's! but thinking about it, it is actually less RTs! and maybe you didn't add the factor of your increased twitter followers?

    For me, I still can't derive a real pattern, sometimes I get lucky sometimes not! Maybe it has to do with the timing but not sure how much weight is there behind it. I guess that it is best thing to follow your second advice, concentrate on the quality of your tweets and build a good reputation :)

    Cheers mate!

  4. sociolingo says:

    I felt this was a really helpful and thoughtful post. One variable not mentioned was length. I find it frustrating when someone posts something I'd really like to retweet but even with usual shortening I just cannot get it down enough to do it. Short good tweets with a link catch my eye and I'm more likely to retweet. I agree with Beiruta that one needs to tweet varied kinds of tweets – back to the relationship building stuff really.

  5. FadiPick says:

    hey sociolingo, I totally agree with you, the length plays a factor here, but I took it for granted for we try to keep our posts titles retweetable here at thoughtpick :) thanks for the addition!

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