For brands using Twitter as part of their content marketing efforts, retweets are highly valuable in helping their messages spread through the social network. Obviously it is important to tweet information that people will find interesting and valuable enough to want to share, but content is not the only factor to bear in mind.
New research from Track Social has found what it deems the optimum tweet length for high levels of engagement. Its report noted that tweets of under 40 characters have the lowest probability of being retweeted. Engagement then increased and peaked for messages between 71 and 100 characters in length, after which it tails off slightly.
Track Social said that while this does not mean a particularly long or short tweet is destined for failure, or posting a mid-sized tweet is a sure-fire way to Twitter success, tweet length is something to consider.
But length isn't everything
Ideally, tweets should leave enough characters so that other people are able to retweet it after adding their own thoughts and your Twitter handle. People can get around this by adding their thoughts to a subsequent or preceding tweet, but many Twitter users do not like doing this.
Another option is for the retweeter to change your tweet by cutting information or altering words, which is often indicated by MT (modified tweet) – but again, it is only those who are most determined to share the message who will do that. Also, some people may change your original words in a way that is unacceptable to you.
So what can small businesses do to ensure their messages spread like wildfire on Twitter and other social media platforms?
• Make content retweetable by ensuring it is interesting, relevant and of value to your audience. Nobody likes a boring tweet that doesn't really say anything, so don't waste your time just adding to the online noise.
• Be economic with your words and don't say in 120 characters what can be said in 100. Use & rather than 'and' or common abbreviations to reduce the number of characters you need to use.
• Monitor. See which type of tweets you post is most likely to be retweeted and focus on creating content to support those. For example, we've noticed that our audience really likes stats, so we ensure that a good proportion of the content we create features standout stats that people will find interesting and share on social media.