Social Media Strategy: Many people retweet links without reading them [infographic]

Twitter: Better strategies to win Retweets of your tweetsMore useful research here from Dan Zarrella who has previously looked at ‘How to get more clicks on Twitter’, more effective ways to Tweet and looked at how question and exclamation marks don’t work very well when it comes to 140 characters. His latest research looks at the levels of engagement we think we are getting when we see our Tweets being retweeted.

While most of us would take a retweet as a sign of success he says all too often the reality can be different. Zarrella looked at 2.7 million Tweets that contained links and he found something very interesting.

He says there is apparently “no correlation between retweets and clicks”. In fact, 16.1% of link-containing tweets he looked at generated more retweets than clicks. Simply put that means many people will retweet a Tweet with a link without even clicking on that link themselves. They might give the impression that they have read it, but the truth is they probably haven’t looked at the content the link carries.

His data also emphasises that the factors leading to a link-containing Tweet being retweeted are sometimes different than the factors that lead to it getting clicked on.

 What can we learn from this?

Firstly it is a message that when you’re planning your social media strategy you need to make your Tweets work hard. If your goal is to get clickthroughs to your content you need to look closely at some of his earlier research and experiment with the structure of the Tweet. You can not simply throw them out there. Tweets need to be crafted to get the best results.

For instance don’t put the link at the end. This is not the most effective place for the link as Zarrella has previously shown. He says “experiment with link placement within your tweets, use between 120 and 130 characters in your tweets, and test publishing frequency, word choice, and timing”.

However, clickthrough may not be your end goal and if that is the case then different Twitter strategies might work better. For instance if you are trying to develop your brand as a thought leader, and plan to share content you’ve found across the web in order to gain followers, then you want to “optimise those tweet to generate retweets”.

In this case he says asking for retweets with the phrase “please retweet” works very well indeed. That is what can be so great about Twitter you can be direct and literal and people will respond.

“In fact, my research indicates that including ‘please retweet’ in tweets generates 4x more retweets. For some other best practices for generating retweets, check out our article about “11 Guaranteed Ways to Get Others to Retweet Your Content. Obviously most companies will do some of both, but be clear which is the highest priority every time you tweet,” says Zarrella.

His data also emphasises that the factors leading to a link-containing tweet being retweeted are sometimes different than the factors that lead to it getting clicked on. Below, you’ll find an infographic detailing his findings.