Get ReTweeted Like a Champion

Fast Company magazine recently publicized some very interesting findings from viral marketing scientist Dan Zarrella, who examined what types of Tweets are most likely to be retweeted. This is incredibly useful for businesses who are looking to get out the word about what they offer — and for bored college students who think everyone should know they are eating Zingers while watching the World Series of Poker: 

If I wanted (to) make sure this post did not go viral–according to the standards put forth by Hubspot viral marketing scientist Dan Zarrella in "The Science of Retweeting"– I could promote it on Twitter by posting something like this:

"was bored watchin the game on tv and saw this thing about RTs…made me lol after i had really bad stomach cramps"

Note the lack of punctuation, the use of of slang and abbreviations, the limited vocabulary, and the awkward overshare–all traits that Zarrella can now definititively say would turn Twitter users off. How? Because the avid Twitter-er and author of the upcoming The Social Media Marketing Book spent nine months analyzing roughly 5 million tweets and 40 million retweets (which are usually symbolized with an "RT" on Twitter). He noted when they were posted, which words they used, whether or not they included links, and more. Then, he says, he compared the two groups to get the first "real window" into how ideas spread from person to person: "Retweets may seem like a small idea…but many of the lessons [they teach us] will be applicable to viral ideas in other mediums."

The full report is 22 pages, and won’t be available until tomorrow. But Zarrella offered me a sneak peak–via Twitter, no less. Below, his nine most effective ways to get retweeted on Twitter:

1. Link Up (But Don’t Use TinyURLs)
In Zarrella’s sample, links were three times more prevalent in RTs than normal tweets (19% to 57%), suggesting that their mere prescence could help buoy your bon mots. (Not sure whether that holds true for sporadic use of French terms.) But choose your URL shortener carefully: Newer, shorter services, such as,, and, were much likelier to get retweeted than older, longer services, such as TinyURL. Ouch…

Zarrella also discovered that asking people to "Please Retweet" actually works, and he came upon something that I’ve noticed based on our Hootsuite tracking, which is that Tweeters are much less active in the morning. The most RTs tend to come between 3 pm and 6 pm.

For the full report, read it here.