Want more retweets? 5 secrets to success + an example

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Why do some posts get retweeted more than others?  Here are the results of a recent experiment.

The experiment: Same article, different results

Last week, Marketing Profs published my article entitled Accelerate Referrals: 9 steps to success and their readers retweeted it 73 times!  This week I began publicizing the article  and it was retweeted at least once. Same article, different results...

So what can we learn from this?  Here are some of my conclusions.  Please chime in with yours!

1. Publish where others will see your article

This seems obvious, but the only way that others can retweet your articles is if they see them in the first place.  One of the reasons that I post in MarketingProfs is that they have cultivated a large number of followers.

Sure, a lot of people visit my site; but the numbers are smaller.  My company is a B2B marketing consulting firm with a healthy articles section.   MarketingProfs is in the business of publishing others' submissions and therefore offers significantly more content.

2. Build a following across multiple channels to expand your reach

You can expand your reach by publishing the same information across multiple channels as I did.  I have several hundred followers on both LinkedIn and Twitter.  So, chances are a large number of people saw it, but it takes even larger numbers to generate retweets.

Compare my reach to that of MarketingProfs, an organization that has made significant investments in building a following for each of their communications channels.  Examples include the Get to the Point newsletters which they send out each week, the LinkedInGroup they started and moderate, and a strong Twitter presence built bit-by-bit with over 17,000 tweets.

They have greater than 72,000 followers on Twitter alone.  No wonder they got all those retweets.

Building a following takes time, but it really pays off.  When you build a following across multiple channels each feeds the other and amplifies the impact.

3. Convert your following into a community

"Followers" and "community" are not synonymous.  The term "followers" connotes a one-to-many relationship.  The term "community", however, implies peer-to-peer interactions.  

While I don't  have data to support this assertion, I suspect that communities are more likely to retweet posts than mere followers.  For one, most communities promote sharing.

For another, sharing likely begets sharing.  Those that have participated in sharing-or even just observed it-have direct experience with the benefits it provides and are likely to want to share more.

MarketingProfs has made significant investments in building a community that promotes sharing.  They started a LinkedIn group actively moderate it  to foster inclusion and conversation.  The organization's The Get to the Point email newsletters acknowledge particular community members for thought leadership-whether or not the content first appeared on one one of their own properties.  On Twitter, many of their tweets are informational, but a lot are strictly conversational.

4. Keep the community engaged

Communities erode over time unless there is a process for re-engaging with community members.  The best way to keep people engaged is by continuing a conversation on a topic they've already signaled they found interesting.

To that end, each MarketingProf article and LinkedIn thread has a box that participants can check to receive notifications whenever someone else comments.  This helps ensure the community is there, listening, and ready to retweet when opportunities arise.

5. Actively encourage retweets

The first thing you see on a MarketingProfs article is the number of people who already retweeted it.  This sends a clear signal to others to do the same.  Then, at the end of the article, MarketingProfs presents readers with social sharing icons to make it easy to share across whatever media the reader prefers.

Content is king-but the king needs a kingdom

Writing great content is a necessary-but not sufficient-condition.   When all is said and done, you need a great list just as you do with conventional marketing.

Think of it as a cycle.  Develop great content, publish where your readers congregate, develop a following across multiple channels, convert your followers into a community, keep the community engaged-and start your "list building" efforts anew.  When the list reaches critical mass, assuming the content remains strong, the retweets will follow.

Those are my conclusions about what it takes to get more retweets.  What are yours?

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