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A few of Zarrella’s key takeaways:
- Scarcity rules. Tweets that center on news — particularly urgent information — are more likely to be retweeted. Content that is informative or entertaining also spreads well because these qualities are relatively rare. More mundane tweets, such as personal observations, get less traction because they’re something everyone already has, he notes. If you want your tweets to spread, their value has to be readily apparent.
- Choose your words carefully. Tweets that focus on nouns — particularly “you” — are more retweetable. Tweets focusing on personal actions — “watching,” “going” or “listening” for example — tend to be less sharable.
- Tell people what to do and they’ll do it. It might sound cheesy, but Zarrella says that if you add “Please Retweet” to a tweet, people are more likely to share it. The same goes for other calls to action — telling people what to do increases their likelihood of following through, he notes.
- Variety is a constant. Zarrella is quick to point out that many of the best practices revealed by his findings don’t work as well if used to excess. Instead of slavishly repeating of formula, Zarrella says users should experiment with different tactics and develop patterns that help their content find new audiences without becoming stale.