Getting your tweet (Twitter post) retweeted (shared by a follower to their followers) is the ultimate goal for users on Twitter. If it’s not, it should be. Ellen Degeneres’ Oscar’s picture has become a phenomena within Social Media Marketing. Group “selfies” are now compared to the “Ellen picture”, she gained 100s of thousands of new followers with one tweet, and met her objective: break the world record for most retweets. A week earlier, I had my own Twitter success with a tweet being retweeted over 90 times. I’ve heard many downplay the Ellen tweet that she only broke the record because she’s a celebrity and was speaking to a live, worldwide audience in the millions. Now obviously this was a factor in the world record and I do observe fans who will share anything their idol says, but most of us are mindful of what we retweet. So let’s take the celebrity out of the equation and talk about what makes a social media post shareable and answer why I retweet a tweet?
- It’s educational, entertaining, engaging. I always remember it’s a privilege to have people follow me and before posting anything online I am thinking: Will my followers appreciate this? Will they learn something? Will they be amused, touched or inspired? Will they want to answer/engage on the topic? If your tweet doesn’t get a “yes” to any of these questions, why would I want to share it to my followers’ news feed?
- It’s timely. Ellen took advantage of the moment of being surrounded by some of the most famous celebrities in the world. Whatever people say in retrospect, it was a timely picture. I shared it because it captured the moment and I wanted my followers to know about it.Social Media, especially a quick moving platform like Twitter, allows for amazing timely newsinformation to be shared. It’s often opportunistic because the first wave-of-people to share something are more likely to be rewarded with retweets.News items have a limited time factor and if you’re late it’s not going to get any traction online. I wouldn’t have shared Ellen’s picture after it made all the news shows, nor will I share your thoughts of news that’s a few hours late.
- It’s not just about you. Everyone understands that businesses are selling something, but only talking about you/your business without any goodwill offering is not likely to get shared. However, I may start talking (tweeting) in response so I get to know you better, which leads to my next point.
- Reciprocity & relationships. I am much more likely to share posts by people I admire, like and have a relationship with. Whether I’ve met you face-face is irrelevant, it’s whether we’ve engaged (communicated) online that will determine my support. My followers know I support like-minded people because I have shared their posts. But I won’t be in a one-sided relationship, so support my work if you want me to continue retweeting.
- Call to action. It’s amazing how few of us do this, and it does need to be done sparingly, but let your followers know what you want them to do. Ellen told her audience she wanted us to retweet the image so she could break the world record. That we did to the point of breaking Twitter!
So what was my tweet that people shared over and over?
My followers know that beyond being a marketer I am a mental health advocate. The timing was, sadly, the news of Charlotte Dawson’s death and at day’s end, after much online mental health counselling, I tweeted my favourite words on depression by Stephen Fry because I couldn’t articulate it better than him. Clearly I was not the only one who wanted to share his words.