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How to get 146 retweets on Twitter

August 6, 2012

WadeOnTweets - Chick-fil-A tweet

America is a funny place. Seriously, you can never run out of material here.

In the middle of Chick-fil-A Appreciation Day on Wednesday, I threw out this observation about “slacktivism” on Twitter:

I’ve picked up retweets before, a few here, a few there. Some for humorous one-liners or for breaking news.

Never have I received so many retweets before, 146 and counting. (More, really, counting old-style cut-and-paste retweets.) It’s flattering. It’s weird.

I do have some guesses as to why this tweet took off …

  1. Timely. You can’t go wrong with focusing on what people are talking about. (Note: Be sensitive to what’s going on and how a poorly worded or poorly timed tweet can enrage rather than engage.)
  2. Unique. I had seen plenty of tweets about people supporting the restaurant or chiding it, but only a few discussing alternatives. (I like options, not either-or.) I’m a big proponent of civic activism, including the most basic form, voting. I found a way to express it in under 140 characters.
  3. Provocative. It certainly wasn’t an inflammatory position, but it did get people talking and debating. A few even challenged me on the numbers. That’s fair, but in the end, I got my point across to a wide audience.
  4. Highly visible. With 4,500 followers (most real, none bought) earned over 3 years, I have a great audience. If I tweet something, someone will see it no matter the time of day. And it will be in the big three of retweetability: interesting, informative or entertaining. It’s tough to pull this off with 10 Twitter followers.
  5. Self-contained. This unique tweet had no links or photos or @users or even hashtags. It was a simple short sentence. In this instance, less is more.

WadeOnTweets Chick-fil-A tweet metrics

More metrics on my popular tweet via Buffer

It comes down to consistency in tweeting regularly, rather than once a month. It means having a personality and a point of view, not just auto-tweeting blog posts and Foursquare check-ins.

When you’re tweeting on behalf of your company, think about how to incorporate these aspects into your communication plan. How will you build your audience so your tweets are highly visible? What information or perspective can you share that’s unique? What are your followers talking about right now?

Then, tweet hard and regularly. (It applies to Facebook and LinkedIn updates, too.)

And don’t be chicken. No one wants to retweet someone who clucks up all the time.

Jules Chick-fil-A

• • •

Want to chat on Twitter with me?
Follow or message me at @WadeOnTweets.

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11 Comments leave one →
  1. Arlee Bird permalink
    August 6, 2012 5:42 pm

    Yours was an excellent tweet and I think it resonated for all the reasons you indicated.

    Tossing It Out

  2. Arlee Bird permalink
    August 6, 2012 5:43 pm

    Yours was an excellent tweet and I think it resonated for all the reasons you indicated.

  3. Anonymous permalink
    August 8, 2012 9:17 am

    Wade this is a good analysis as to the ‘whys’ of sharing content. There are many different dimensions that must be considered. Just because I think something is clever doesn’t mean the world will also. And even if many do like a tweet, there is a certain threshold it must meet to be shared. That is, not only did it resonate with the person sharing, but they will receive some perceived benefit from sharing it with others, i.e. a lift in status, a positive impression (smart, clever, influential, etc), helping others, etc.

    I can tell you from personal experience that the tweet above has 6th dimension in that it is quintessentially “you.” It reflects your personality traits of insightful analysis that you developed as a journalist with your observations and concerns about the social fabric of our society. That’s a whole lotta punch for a handful of words. It’s reminiscent of the quote: “I am sorry this is so long. I didn’t have time to make it shorter,” which has been attributed to Blaise Pascal, Mark Twain, Oscar Wilde, Voltaire and Benjamin Franklin.

    Keep up the good work. Sorry this wasn’t shorter, I like to hear myself type.

  4. August 9, 2012 8:41 pm

    I recently started my blog and a Twitter account for it; you have great information in this piece. I’ve been struggling with my Follower count but your tips are giving me hope! Thanks for sharing!

  5. Sara G permalink
    August 15, 2012 11:32 pm

    Nice article. I use [redacted] to get tons of free retweets. I get a good amount of retweets everyday and I’m getting more exposed thanks to this wonderful site. http:// [redacted]

    • August 16, 2012 2:26 am

      Sickening. This site does not allow spam comments, especially ones that promote the opposite of the spirit of the post: In this case … buying retweets.


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