The 20 Words and Phrases That Will Get You the Most ReTweets





To help expand my ReTweeting research, please take my new survey and encourage your followers to do the same.

My research has shown that the number of followers exposed to a Tweet has only a weak correlation to the number of ReTweets it gets, indicating that the content of the tweet may be more important than the user posting it. To begin to understand the key characteristics of highly-ReTweetable content I took a look at the top 10,000 (out of over 158,000 total) most ReTweeted tweets in my ReTweet Mapping database.

I broke down the most common words and phrases in these highly ReTweeted posts and cherry picked through the list (ignoring very common words) to uncover what I think are 20 of the most ReTweetable words and phrases. Browsing through the list below should give you a pretty good idea of what kind of content gets ReTweeted the most.

Some highlights from the list:

The word “you” while very common, seems to occur especially often in ReTweets, indicating that if you’re talking to “me” I’m more likely to ReTweet it.

Its really not surprising that “Twitter” ranks high, but this is a good reminder that self-reference is always good for buzz in social media.

Again we see “please” and “please ReTweet” (“please rt” also ranked highly). I’ve written about this a few times, but its hard to overstate how important it is to ask for the ReTweet when you want it, calls to action work.

The word “free” seems to remind is to provide value, especially value at no cost to our readers, as does the word help.

The occurrence of the word “help” could indicate either a tweet that promises to help you or a request for help. Whichever it is, it reinforces both providing value and calls to action.

Social Media” as a phrase ranks high, so again, don’t be afraid to tweet about tweeting, blogging, networking, digging, etc.

The number “10” made a surprise appearance high on the list. Top 10s are popular, always have been and always will be, don’t forget it. The word “top” also made an appearance on the list.

New Blog Post” is the common prefix used when a person tweets about, well, a new blog post to their site. That this ranks so highly tells us that tweeting your posts is a very smart thing to do.

Occurrences Word or Phrase
1364 you
1138 twitter
701 please
598 retweet
397 post
389 blog
352 social
306 free
304 media
269 help
262 please retweet
262 great
237 social media
229 10
222 follow
187 how to
165 top
164 blog post
128 check out
118 new blog post

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{ 46 comments }

Michelle Rafter January 30, 2009 at 11:45 am

Following this advice, this should be the most retweetable Twitter post of all! (except that I couldn’t squeeze in a URL)

Thanks for the follow. Can you please help retweet a great new blog post – top 10 free social media tools on how to find people on Twitter

Michelle Rafter
WordCount: Freelancing in the digital age

Ryan Kuder January 30, 2009 at 11:47 am

“You post great help blog about free how to Twitter social media. Please Retweet!” <–Big RT Winning Tweet

Allen Kelly January 30, 2009 at 1:05 pm

I am going to put this to the test in my next tweet.

@allenkelly

Allen Kelly January 30, 2009 at 1:19 pm

New Blog Post: Twitter is Top 10 Free Social Media marketing for you. Check out how to get great follows! Please ReTweet.

Diana Freedman January 30, 2009 at 1:43 pm

This is a great article! That’s really interesting that “please” and “please retweet” actually work. Definitely something to keep in mind in the future.

To clarify on the stats… I’m assuming there’s no crossover in your stats between “social” and “social media”, and then “please” and “please retweet”, etc. :-) Also, are those occurrences by day?

Thanks!

Missy (from Twitter Tshirt Blog) January 30, 2009 at 1:49 pm

For me (usually) the tweets i re-tweet involve brevity and the following words:

Breaking
New
Free
Hot
Easy

And a few others. Including many from your chart above.

Joyce Sanders January 30, 2009 at 3:14 pm

Super Article Dan! I am so glad I found your Tweets. I am going to do and blog about this subject at my blog and at CMU7. I will refer to your article and place a link in the article. Do I have your permission to use the link to this article?

Regards,
Joyce (roadcat) Sanders

Lyell E. Petersen / @93octane January 30, 2009 at 3:33 pm

I tested your theory, and you’re totally right! I tweeted:

http://twitter.com/93octane/statuses/1162230153

and then this happened:

http://search.twitter.com/search?q=%22you+twitter+please+retweet%22

Proof!

Alex Schleber January 30, 2009 at 3:49 pm

Great follow-up to your first post, which was already excellent. This is the kind of useful data that only very few are beginning to wake up to, as far as Twitter as a data goldmine and hive-mind is concerned.

And the, sometimes unexpected, uses and connections are only increasing by the day, which I attribute to Twitters striking simplicity…

Came up with a new SMM Twitter hack just on my way over to this post from “re.twitd.com/hours” ;)

Follow me on Twitter, I follow back:
Twitter.com/AlexSchleber

Florida SEO January 31, 2009 at 1:55 am

At it again with your brilliant titles … :)

Book em’ Dan O’

:)

EB

theBandwidthHog January 31, 2009 at 9:49 am

The words “you” and “please” really don’t surprise me at landing so high on the list.

I think there are multiple benefits for using “you”. In using it for a blog post title, it does make it more personal to the blog reader. And by being in the title, it also gives the potential re-tweeter the ability to provide value to their followers by simply forwarding the information.

I believe that “please” is a very powerful word. I don’t think anyone enjoys being to be told what to do, and by simply asking for assistance, one is bound to get better results.

Thank you for the post.

Jeff Korhan January 31, 2009 at 1:06 pm

Dan – I guess we all got the same idea, that this is the most easily retweetable post ever! Here’s what I threw together on Twitter with very little thought.

Top 20 Words or Phrases Most Often Retweeted :http://adjix.com/3ct2 Please Retweet 10 times. It’s great. Helps your blog and social media.:)

You should have a contest. The most Retweetable Tweet using these words!

Jeff Korhan

Chris Morin January 31, 2009 at 8:15 pm

Great article Dan! I will keep these in mind when I’m posting. I just started adding the please rt… :)

Thanks!

J. D. Ebberly January 31, 2009 at 8:27 pm

If you have a blog post that presents good content relevant to the space, someone tweets it, and I spot it, I’ll definitely guarantee you that I WILL RETWEET your tweet ASAP!!!

Thanks for an EXCELLENT article!!! I retweeted it, btw.

Miguel Alvarez February 1, 2009 at 2:51 am

I twitted your post using the TweetSuite link. But it didn’t take.
Anyway… another great article Dan. Thanks for sharing! =)

Alex Newell February 1, 2009 at 10:59 am

I guess this study is the beginning of the Science of Twitterology.

You got an “ology”, you got a science.

Keepin tweetin’

/AlexNewell

Paul Castain February 1, 2009 at 1:07 pm

Thanks Dan!

This is very helpful, useful and right on target!

Paul Castain
Consolidated Graphics

Beth Bridges February 1, 2009 at 1:36 pm

I think this shows the interesting conjunction between the friendly, helpful nature of Twitter with the exploration of the commercial possibilities.

Still, it definitely shows that the positive traits of good “real world” networkers (provide useful information, ask for help, be other-focused) still apply in the Social Media world.

Thank you for digging into the info stream for us!

Nathan February 2, 2009 at 3:14 am

Good post Dan – love some kind of statistical breakdown – but why, why, oh why didn’t you follow your own advice and name it something like “The Top 10 x 2 Words and Phrases That Will Get You the Most ReTweets”?

Ricky C February 10, 2009 at 11:19 am

Nice Tips!! I just saved those keyword and i will give it a shot once i got something to tweet to my followers

Dave February 10, 2009 at 6:02 pm

I am not concerned about getting retweeted.

Isaac Yassar February 15, 2009 at 3:13 am

Some words are known to be having special psychological effect on people, a research about them in twitter is certainly useful. Good job!

Felipe Coimbra February 16, 2009 at 1:38 am

Interesting results here about “Please Re-tweet” tweets: http://twtpoll.com/r/durw1m

Judy H. Wright aka Auntie Artichoke, the storytelling trainer February 16, 2009 at 5:14 pm

Hello from beautiful Montana;

thanks so much for sharing information and ideas. This is the change that is coming-for all of us to help all of us to succeed.

I learn a lot from others like you, and invite others to learn from me.

Judy H. Wright aka Auntie Artichoke, family relationship coach and author

http://www.ArtichokePress.com

Ruth Purple February 17, 2009 at 3:36 am

Great article, Dan. Quite helpful. I’ll be checking for your updates!

Marianna Hayes February 17, 2009 at 1:52 pm

Very interesting… as a journalism and psych major who still hoards interest in human thinking and motivation, this is curiously fascinating. I’ve shared with my blog readers as they launch into the Twitter world as well.

Bertil Hatt February 20, 2009 at 2:12 pm

I’m sorry to come so late to the party — and to bring not just flowers, but you know how us academics are: something is only good after we’ve spent a few hours bitting it to pieces. . .

So, as usual in seminars: Fantastic work — but:

* You are assuming that if twits with “please” are more re-tweeted, adding it will encourage re-tweeting; it certainly is interesting it is, but I’d rather interpret is as a signal from the author that this is a a cause worthy of interest beyond his circle; to be more blunt: no one knows what it re-tweetable better than the original poster.

* In more recent posts (I went anti-chronologically, sorry) you mention vectors, seeders: you must have seen the debate between Duncan Watts who though those were too changing to be identified and. . . was Gladwell the leading figure “for” seeders? Well, you might as well be it. I’d love to see more higher-level thinking about that issue, before your followers start to stalk my idol Stephen Fry for endorsement & RTs.

* That is certainly next steps, but I’d love to see more about timing, hashtags and the clients used: from my experience, the design makes one’s behaviour completely different. E.g. I don’t care about posting lame comments if I filter by keywords most of what I look at.

More generally, if you publicly encourage a behaviour (and you are becoming increasingly popular) then many would copy and the community will develop copingmechanism. It’s good to remind people that common politeness is effective to signal a re-tweetable post; this will become ineffective when marketters will abuse it to the point of being synonymous with optimised advertising.

Finally (I didn’t wanted to end on a critic): I’m assuming that you are familiar with graph concepts like centrality, clustering, etc. Those would be great to include in your analysis.

More generally I would love to spend more time, probably off-line, to talk about methodology — if you care for some NetworkX code-sharing ;).

Srini Kumar February 21, 2009 at 6:03 am

amazing analysis !

have you read “the nine billion names of god” by arthur c clarke by any chance ?

words…. the vedas…. reciting of words and shaping of words…. meme overload….

but better overload than hegemony, eh ? thanks for the analysis.

Louise Ross March 11, 2009 at 10:53 am

Gawd, is it really that easy! Will apply these simply rules and see what happens. Thanks so much.

James Holmes March 11, 2009 at 10:59 am

Dan – In reviewing your list I find that many of the words you listed are part of my tweet vocabulary. This is a useful posting and I appreciate the information.

Have a blessed week!

James
http://Twitter.com/AskJamesHolmes

james March 16, 2009 at 7:18 pm

good job pointing out the obvious.

Internet Strategist March 18, 2009 at 12:14 am

When I used to test ppc ads I found that using the word HELP greatly reduced CTR (click through rate). I suspect people don’t like to think THEY need help but perhaps they don’t mind retweeting when SOMEONE ELSE needs help.

Any chance you might check this out the next time you do research? I’d be very interested to know in what context help occurs in retweets.

Ted Eleftheriou March 26, 2009 at 10:27 am

It’s hard to believe that the words, “Thank You” aren’t on this list!

Julie March 31, 2009 at 12:09 pm

This was a great list – I think it is also helpful if you have followers that are within the same interests as your business. Those people will want to RT

Anita April 5, 2009 at 2:00 am

Hi, thanks for sharing this useful info! However, I do most of these and rarely get retweeted. If I do, it’s only by one person and usually the same few people. Once I mentioned something at the end of a description & link “A design must read/retweet” and nothing. I want people to want to retweet me, not have to ask them to — I’d think that would annoy them. Also, I can see on bit.ly that a link gets views, but no one retweets it. I know it’s got to be useful to someone. :-/

Missy April 9, 2009 at 12:13 am

I just came back to check if TIP was on your list – as that is another word i tend to retweet fairly often.

It is not. I guess it’s just me, then. lol.

atul chatterjee May 12, 2009 at 6:30 am

You should post the occurrence of the first 50 words. Strange but ‘thanks’ is not on the list. If we have the occurrence of the first 50 words we may have a wider choice of sentences.

kristinasummers September 18, 2009 at 11:23 am

What a great resource. I have been somewhat mystified by the whole RT thing and as a the SM coordinator at work (meaning I am supposed to know all this stuff) was feeling a little worried that I was not making the RT connections. Thanks for the advice!

James_Howard September 19, 2009 at 5:48 am

Excellent post I came here from an RT that said please RT and I am about to do that.

Not only asking for an rt but making sure the content is of some value always help.

Thanks for the list,

James

bibowski December 9, 2009 at 11:54 am

Great webinar today Dan, lots of nice pointers and comparing traditional word of mouth to the whole social media concept.

dontcry December 22, 2009 at 1:38 am

Thanks for the follow. Can you please help retweet a great new blog post – top 10 free social media tools on how to find people on Twitter
club penguin cheats

dontcry December 22, 2009 at 1:53 am

What a great resource. I have been somewhat mystified by the whole RT thing and as a the SM coordinator at work (meaning I am supposed to know all this stuff) was feeling a little worried that I was not making the RT connections. Thanks for the advice!
club penguin cheats

dontcry December 22, 2009 at 9:53 am

What a great resource. I have been somewhat mystified by the whole RT thing and as a the SM coordinator at work (meaning I am supposed to know all this stuff) was feeling a little worried that I was not making the RT connections. Thanks for the advice!
club penguin cheats

inwebitrust January 28, 2010 at 9:41 am

I consider tweets with please RT as spams

Payday Loans April 21, 2010 at 10:24 pm

Thanks Dan!

Great article with really good and valid arguments. payday loan store

heredownunder SYDNEY July 28, 2010 at 2:52 pm

Are the words from these retweets just popular because that's the words the more prolific tweeters use in the first place? So, because most people tweet using the word 'you' (or 'twitter' or 'please' etc) in their tweet means it will automatically be the most tweeted word. Its not because people are subconsciously selecting to retweet those tweets more than others, its because there are more already. Yeah?

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