For Twitter users, having a tweet retweeted several times seems a mark of accomplishment, like having your advice passed along by word-of-mouth bringing a sense of pride. Yet how can this feat be accomplished? How can tweets on the latest news spread like a virus on the Net?
A recent study by UCLA and Hewlett-Packard shows that at least four factors determine an article’s social networking success: the source or publisher of the article, the article’s news category, the tone of the article – whether subjective or objective – and whether the Twitter user has cited famous brands, celebrities or renowned institutions in the tweet.
Select a category that can sell your tweet. Tweets on technology have been found to be most retweeted the world over, for instance, most of Twitter users are often looking for news on the latest innovations, gadgets or websites. Health headlines comes second and fun tweets third.
Watch your language. The big carry away seems to be language. Writing tweets in clear objective language is recommended as clarity is prized over extremely emotional or figurative language. However, it is often tempting to go an extra inch to include “OMG” over a tweet on breaking news. Studies however show readers are less attracted to such “added extras.”
However, if a user tweets headlines, it is acceptable when she tweets her take on certain news although they must constantly comprise less than 140 characters. Since, if other users want to retweet the news, they would want to share it without excluding any of her words.
Assume an influential tone. When it comes to news, trust is tagged as more of the essence than emotion since “sharebility is largely a function of reliability.” If the user is sarcastic in her tweets about certain news, then they [tweets] should remain consistent. If the user is identifiable as straightforward on her tweets, then they should be consistently objective and clear. Studies have shown that readers tend to appreciate the approaches and will retweet the message once they find the news interesting and the tone of the tweet consistent.
Choose an authoritative source. The source is therefore a key aspect for the audience, hence the questions: are you reliable? Do you often report objective and valid statements. For instance, it is easier for a company feed such as @NYTimes to establish trust with its followers. However, personal feeds call for more time to earn readers’ trust, meaning tweets should reflect the Twitter user’s voice as much as possible.