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The art of prompting retweets

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Twitter birdMore than three-quarters of Fortune Global 100 companies now have at least one Twitter account. This gives them access to a loyal bunch of customers: two-thirds of brand followers say they buy the brand they follow on Twitter.

It costs you virtually nothing to tweet, so make the most of your perch.

First and foremost, understand that if you get your followers to retweet your messages, you’re not only doubling your audience but also earning their endorsement.

Here’s how to increase the odds that followers share your tweets:

1. Stay under 100 characters with your tweets. Yes, the maximum is 140, but you need to leave room for followers to add their own comments, such as “So true.” Short tweets of 70 characters or less were retweeted nearly twice as often as tweets of more than 100 char­­a­­c­ters.

2. Keep it personal and conversational. You’re talking to one person at a time.

3. Ask to be retweeted. It increases retweeting by a third. Simply say, politely: Please RT!

4. Make it practical. Although hash­tags and links don’t show any evidence of increasing retweets, you’ll need a short URL (create it at bit.ly) to make a tweet useful. If your followers like the info, they are way more likely to share it, enhancing their own identity and helping their own followers.

5. Be timely. Playing off holidays and events is a quick way to build community. Topical content tweets are retweeted 41% more often than tweets that aren’t time sensitive.

6. Build anticipation. Say “act now” or “today.” Tweets that create a sense of urgency are 24% more likely to be retweeted. And tell folks to stay tuned.

Source: MIT Sloan Management Review.

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