Dan Zarrella opposes unicorns and rainbows, specifically the ones that speak such lies as: “Good ideas naturally go viral and are easily spread around the net.” Dan the scientist (a Social Media Scientist. Betcha didn’t know that existed till now) shows us that contrary to the filthy lies told to us by the “Prophets of the Rainacorn” that there are lots of good ideas that have indeed gone nowhere while lots of bad ideas have spread faster than the zombie making KV Virus.

Dan studies social media behavior from a data-backed position enabling him to teach us scientifically grounded best practices to help us maximize our time and effort. I just signed up for his newsletter and received his PDF report: “The Science of ReTweets 2009”. It’s slightly dated (based upon internet years) but it remains highly relevant.

Here is what I gleaned from Dan’s report:

12 Step Program to Achieving ReTweet Nirvana

  1. Follow The “Non-Suggested” (people Twitter DID NOT suggested you follow). The “Non-Suggested” statistically are more likely to retweet your stuff.

  2. Stick a link in it. People are 3 times more likely to retweet when your tweet has a link.

  3. Speaking of links… bit.ly (a URL Shortening service) links are retweeted more than other competing services.

  4. Use the force Luke. Using words and/or phrases such as: You (no surprise there), Please Retweet, Free, Help, Check Out… and New Blog Post all are retweeted with more regularity. This proves that the old “Call to Action” still works even in the Twitterverse.

  5. Wise Up. Writing at a higher grade level also seems to produce more retweets. So don’t dumb it down, smarten those tweets up!

  6. Get fresh. Novelty is also very retweetable. In other words if your ideas are “fresh and new” you are more likely to be retweeted.

  7. Extra, Extra! Read all about it! Use of a subject or headline orientated text greatly increases retweets.

  8. Punctuate This! Use of punctuation especially a colon, period and exclamation point will get you more retweets.

  9. Get physical. Physical action type concepts such as “build and “create” are far more retweetd than abstract and sensation-based concepts.

  10. Keep it upbeat. Tweets about negative emotions, sensations and swearwords aren’t usually retweeted. Interestingly enough some of the best subjects to speak positively about are: Work, Religion, Money and Celebrities.

  11. Watch the clock. The day as well as the time are important. The first rule? Avoid tweeting on the weekends. The two best days to tweet our Monday and Friday between the hours of 3 PM to midnight.

  12. Stop talking about yourself (unless you are a celebrity). Especially, boring/egocentric minutia such as: “I’m soooo sleepy right now” or “Yumm, I’m eating a cream puff”. Before tweeting ask yourself: “Can others benefit from this info?”

Utilizing all the ideas above, a tweet with theoretically great retweetableness should look something like this:

“How You Can Create More ReTweetable Tweets in Just 12 Steps” Check out this new blog post: http://bit.ly/RTthisPlease/ Please retweet!

Final Retweet Advice

Sign up with bit.ly. It provides you click-through stats so you can track your effectiveness. If you run a WordPress site (if you don’t you should) get the plugin: WG bit.ly Shortener. It connects to your bit.ly account and saves you time by generating a bit.ly URL you can paste into your tweet after you publish your blog posts.

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