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Ever started a round of applause? if you have, you'll understand that weird sense of satisfaction you get by doing so. In fact, I've sometimes felt the need to tell people about it. How sad is that!
A much better game is to see if you can actually achieve the last clap of a round of applause; my six year old daughter wins that game every time.
Anyway, can a single Tweet have a similar contagious effect? Is there something that can be done to enhance its attractiveness. make it retweetable and build up a crescendo of intense internet noise?
I believe there is, and this is much more than just having lots of followers, in fact, you don't need thousands of followers on Twitter for this to work. Point to note: this isn't theoretical, it's from a very recent practical experience. Like most things, to gain attention and have people listen to you, you have to have something interesting to say. The more interesting and creative that 'something' is the better the chances are for people to share it with others.
Fairly basic and simple, but worth keeping in mind before you start to Tweet things like 'check out our latest blog post' or look at our pics from our company bbq' or 'X% Discount on abc' as they may not get the 'viral' effect you'd like. So the first thing to have in the armoury is something that creates genuine intrigue.
Easy to say and probably the most difficult thing to achieve, hence the need for great creativity around drum playing gorillas or gossip and insider information. This blog post for example, won't 'go viral'. It may be of some interest to those in the digital industry but that is probably all.
What would be more interesting would be that video of Ashley Friedlein, CEO of Econsultancy, being arrested at 3am on his walk along the Grand Union Canal for drunk and disorderly behaviour; mooning the canal boats as he walked past. This of course did not happen, but I'm fairly sure it would have gained significant interest if it had.
The central point of interest then needs to have a purpose. What is it you are trying to achieve with this great piece of content? A clear and simple objective helps. So, assuming you've got something and it ticks all the boxes of interest and intrigue how can you post a tweet to make it create a wave?
The recent personal experience I mentioned previously saw over ten times of a single month's visit to a site in a single day. There was, and still is a follow up increase in activity due to the impact on natural search. So here are some practical steps I'd like to share, which may help.
- Place the great piece of content in a central location, maybe two . A blog, a website or a social network site, it needs a home where you can measure activity. Add 'retweet' button to the html where the content resides if you are able to.
- Before you tweet ensure that your Twitter feed is synced up with your LinkedIn account, Facebook, Plaxo, Friendfeed etc. so that your tweets auto-update the status of these various networks, extending reach and exposure.
- Use the Twitter widget and import it (Flash or html) into your own site or blog. Placing a widget next to the content may result in increased followers. Of course, you'll already have a Delicious, Digg, Stumbleupon or Reddit account in place as well. Bookmark your content in these. Ensure your Friendfeed is set up to update your Twitter Feed. Remember this, as it can be prone to duplicating things if not managed carefully.
- Have a Twitter management app on your computer, such as Tweetdeck, so you can see all activity. Set up some Twitter searches within Tweetdeck relevant to the original content. This will show you who and what is being said around the areas of specific interest. You don't need to follow these people or have them as followers.
- Wherever you've posted your content take the url and make a tiny url out of it. Do your best to give it a name as opposed to accepting the code they give you. Look at hashtags.org for relevant tags associated with your content
Create and broadcast your well worded 140 character tweet including tinyurl and hashtag! If you're lucky you may get some interest straight away. If so, thank those that RT, don't be ignorant! Look at the individuals discussing such topics. Be noisy, check out their profiles and followers. Ideally, they share the same hashtags - @reply to them (not DM as they need to follow you to do this).
- @Reply to them in a meaningful and personal way, as they should genuinely find what you have to say to them as interesting. Keep doing this at regular intervals (not always to the same person of course) remembering your tweets are all sync'd up to your social network accounts. Ensure your tweets encourage and are involved in an interactive conversation, NOT a regular broadcast of blurb. Update your conversation on any developments, keeping it dynamic and news worthy.
Immediate indicators that you are gaining interest include RT's of your own tweets, more followers, increased views in the places where your content resided, as well as an increase in site visitors in your web analytics, looking at network properties for reach and id; and geographical overlay.
- You should also check addictomatic.com regularly for increased visibility, set up Google alerts or ideally some buzz monitoring tools (socialmention.com is a good one).
- Lagging indicators are found in the the natural search rankings: Tweets are picked up, as are tweets within widgets that reside in other people's sites, bloggers may pick up on your subject matter and post their views, as is increased visibility of the original content and improved rankings in Google, Yahoo! Bing etc.
I'm not saying this is perfect, best practice or will work every time, as I said earlier, it's all about the original content being interesting. However, the above will help enhance your chances of creating the desired levels of visibility. It is time intensive and needs focus; the results however, should make up for the hard work.
If you're an e-commerce business, will it create more sales? In the short term, probably not, but it will enhance interest and when the time comes for the consumer to think about committing you'll be on the radar.