Some basic steps:
- Find unique and interesting content. If you’re amongst the first to break a story, it’s going to be noticed (and picked up) by others. Constantly track and scan the social bookmarking sites and major news feeds. Configure iGoogle so this is something you can do in less than a minute.
- Craft the tweet with care. Sell the story. Your prose should be as good as you can possibly make it. More often than not the existing headline will be sufficient to explain the content, but that doesn’t mean you can’t (or shouldn’t) put a little spin on it. You have to make people want to click on that link. If it’s ambiguous most will be cautious, and if you lie or try to trick others, the majority won’t click on anything you say again. A little spit and polish goes a long way. Humour works brilliantly. Memorise your retweet number.
- Use bit.ly to shorten your link and track the data. For your own website, add the Tweetmeme button.
- If you’re trying to get your own stuff retweeted, follow the same guidelines as above, but adopt a fair ratio of submitting your personal content against everything else. For example, tweet out only one of your blog posts to every nine or so you do for external links. Tip: there’s nothing wrong with re-submitting your stuff several days, weeks or months later, as long as it remains relevant and useful. Remember that at any given time, only a small percentage of your network will be logged on to Twitter and/or even notice your latest update in their timeline. But bombarding your network with just your content multiple times per day wins few friends.
- Be consistent. It doesn’t matter if you’re a Twitter Jack of all trades or focus entirely on one niche, but few react well to those who continuously do 180s.
If you get into the habit of being interesting and remarkable, it’s amazing how quickly you’ll grab the attention of others. The best way to do this on Twitter is by sharing great content, and thanks to the ripple effect provided by the retweet mechanism, your great submission has the potential to reach everybody. Literally.