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3 types of tweets that are rarely retweeted

By Heather Mansfield | Posted: March 28, 2013
 
If your organization is failing to earn retweets, you haven’t found your Twitter voice. 

Retweets lead to increased exposure for your company or nonprofit’s online presence. In fact, Twitter has said that influence on Twitter on the social networking site is not in a user’s follower count, but in how often it gets retweeted. 

That means you have to give your followers something that’s retweetable. Here are three types of tweets that rarely, if ever, get retweeted: 

1. Truncated automated tweets from Facebook. 

There are no short cuts in social media. Folks on Twitter don’t want to follow robots. They want to know there’s a human being behind your account. Avoid cross-posting tweets from Facebook to Twitter, especially when they’re automated. This sort of tweet is not going to draw retweets: 

2. Tweets with too many hashtags. 

Studies and anecdotes have shown that tweets with more than two hashtags result in a drop in engagement and become much less likely to be retweeted. 

Buddy Media study from last year found that tweets with one or two hashtags saw a 21 boost in engagement; a report from Twitter put that number at nearly 50 percent. However, engagement drops when tweets have more than two hashtags, according to Buddy Media. 

More recently, New York Times social media editor Daniel Victor said in a column for Nieman Journalism Lab that hashtags fail to attract audiences. 

3. Poorly formatted tweets—and those with semicolons. 

Research has shown that accurate spelling matters to Twitter users, as does proper grammar and punctuation; adverbs and qualifiers have been shown to decrease engagement on Twitter. 

Tweets that are too long or short, as well as those that employ ALL CAPS or fail to include a link, also turn off Twitter users. 

Curiously, punctuation can boost engagement on Twitter. For instance, periods and colons can lead to retweets, but tweets with question marks and semicolon see fewer shares, according to research from Dan Zarrella, a “social media scientist” with the marketing firm HubSpot. 

RELATED: The anatomy of the perfect tweet 

Heather Mansfield is the owner of DIOSA Communications, author of “Social Media for Social Good: A How-To Guide for Nonprofits,” and principal blogger at Nonprofit Tech 2.0, where a version of this story first appeared.