Digital/Online Marketing Communications Strategy

Will You Please Retweet This Great New Blog Post.

By on September 24, 2009 in communications strategy, Twitter with 3 Comments

Cover to The Science of ReTweets by Dan ZarallaHave you noticed that more people are including “please retweet” in Twitter messages?

This is interesting because in certain circles it’s considered bad Twetiquette (boorish) to request a retweet.

Joel Comm in his bestselling book Twitter Power: How to Dominate Your Market One Tweet at a Time writes: “While you can ask specifically for retweets — and some people do — it’s not really good form.”

The reason for retweets

A retweet is akin to forwarding an email. If you receive a message you like so much you want to pass it on to your followers, just do a retweet, or RT.

There are many reasons for an RT, such as to let others know about breaking news. News about Twitter is especially RT worthy. For illustration purposes here are a few RT examples from my account:

This one earns a double RT. The message links to a terrific resource for search rank marketing information. Many of my followers are into SEO, so it gets an RT.

Example of a retweet from Deni Kasrel's Twitter account

Quotes/words of wisdom comprise a good deal of Twitter traffic. I like the sentiment in this message and think my followers will, too.

Example #2 of a retweet from Deni Kasrel's Twitter account

This news item caught my eye and it provides entrée for a little humor. I like to give followers a chuckle now and again.

Example #3 of a retweet from Deni Kasrel'sTwitter account

Report: The Science of Retweets

About the recent rise in people asking to be retweeted — I have an idea why it’s happening.

Earlier this week Fast Company posted an article titled Report: Nine Scientifically Proven Ways to Get Retweeted On Twitter. It gave a sneak peek of a paper by Dan Zarrella, a noted marketing scientist and web developer who’s into scrutinizing all things Twitter.

Zarrella then posts the full report, The Science of Retweets, on his blog.

Zarrella says his interest in retweets is inspired by the notion that the web enables us to see how an idea catches fire and goes viral: “For the first time in human history we can begin to gaze into the inner workings of the contagious idea.”

Hmmm, sounds a lot like the tipping point.

Retweets have implications beyond the idea that those who get RTed are flattered to receive a virtual stamp of approval. They’re word-of-mouth marketing. They play a role in politics, as happened when talk about death panels and the health care debate got RTed around the twitosphere.

Those two letters pack a lot of heat.

OK, so what’s the secret to getting an RT?

Zarrella’s report presents statistics on several aspects of retweeting to identify what he refers to as “contagious traits.” His findings include the following:

  • Messages containing links are three times more likely to be RTed than those without.
  • It’s good to be first out of the gate; novelty/newness accounts for many RTs.
  • Punctuation is preferred, and top RT getters include a colon, period, or an exclamation point.
  • Negativity and potty-talk are out — religion, work, money and celebrities are in.
  • The highest daily volume of RTs occurs on Friday.

And then there’s these last two items; the top list likely accounts for the recent upsurge in RTs:

Most Re-Tweetable Words & Phrases according to Dan Zaralla

Chart of least re-tweetable words according to Dan Zaralla

Take another look at most RT-able words and phrases and then take a gander the title of this post. See why it is how it is?

Will you please retweet this great new blog post?

– Deni Kasrel

What do YOU think of the science of retweets? Comments welcome.


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About the Author

About the Author: Deni Kasrel is seasoned (slightly spicy) specialist in digital/online communications. .


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There Are 3 Brilliant Comments

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  1. LaNeshe says:

    I’m just getting started on Twitter, and just recently started to understand the RT phenominon. I’d agree that it is slightly bad twitterquette to request a RT. The content should stand for itself.

    • Deni Kasrel says:

      I am personally neutral on this one. Asking neither offends me or does it make me more inclined to do an RT. As you say, ultimately it’s the content that makes the decision.

  2. Misty says:

    At least a person has asked in a good way but, twitter is fast getting to be a marketers dream land.

    Many of the tweets are rubbish, a pitty really as it is such a good concept.

    Misty X

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