Self-reference is not retweetable
The more you tweet about yourself, the fewer retweets you’ll get. Or so says Dan Zarrella, HubSpot viral marketing scientist.
In research published in 2012, Zarrella compared tweets that had been retweeted with those that had not. Non-retweets had nearly twice the number of self-references of tweets that went viral.
Count me out.
Plus, the more you talk about yourself on Twitter, Zarrella’s research shows, the fewer followers you’re likely to have.
The corporate equivalent of self-reference is tweeting about mundane activities like:
- XYZ company moves to new office space.
- President of XYZ company to present conference speech.
- XYZ Company launches new product.
- XYZ company hires new VP.
Write about the reader.
Instead of tweeting about your organization and its stuff, try tweeting about the reader. If you’ll write to and about “you,” your tweets are more likely to go viral.
That’s another finding from Zarrella’s 2009 research: “You” is the most retweeted word in the English language.
“You” writing is effective on Twitter as well as in other channels because it puts the reader first and focuses your message on reader benefits.
Tweet like JetBlue.
JetBlue is a master this approach. The airline’s Twitter feed focuses on the reader. Sample tweets:
- “If you’re traveling today, be sure to check your flight status. Weather in the Northeast is causing delays. http://bit.ly/jbalert”
- “Grab fares for yourself from just $44. But your first bag always flies free on us. Terms apply. http://cot.ag/OWP5ly”
- “Traveling with kids? Check out some of our tips: http://jetblue.com/kids What are your #KidTravelTips?”
This reader-centric approach helped earn JetBlue a place on Time magazine’s list of the “140 Best Twitter Feeds of 2011.”
On Twitter as in so much else in life, better “you” than “me.”