The Anatomy of a Tweet

Twitter LoginMany of us take to Twitter wearing especially rosy glasses. We hear of celebrities with millions of followers, tweets receiving thousands of retweets, and it’s easy to envision our own grand success.

But the truth of the matter is, most of us won’t garner millions of followers and thousands of retweets on a single tweet. The non-celebrity on Twitter is dealing with much smaller numbers, but that’s no reason to throw in the towel. Instead, adjust your expectations and know when to recognize your successes.

To assist, here’s a breakdown of a tweet from our DexOne Twitter account that’s a more realistic example of success. Notice how there’s a series of small gains — it’s not a one-tweet wonder and the popularity of the tweet gains momentum over a few days.

November 8

I tweeted this:

how to write a successful tweet

Notice how I used the hashtag #smb, which stands for “small business,” so the audience I want to reach will see it. I also included the author’s Twitter handle, as well as the handle of the site the article appeared on. This will let both know that we’re promoting their content.

The response that day:

  • 3 retweets, including one from The New York Times Small Business Section, who has about 260,000 followers — that’s a large new audience to be introduced to.
  • 4 favorites
  • 5 new followers — these followers were not necessarily a direct result of the retweets and favorites, but typically, a successful tweet does  result in an influx of followers.

November 9

  • 3 new followers

November 11

  • 1 retweet
  • 2 favorites 

The tweet was still performing, but it was definitely slowing down, so I thanked retweeters and reposted the tweet. That way, you show gratitude to those who are helping make your tweet a success and send a popular tweet through your feed again, giving it a chance to be seen by new people.

How to thank for an RT

Notice how it’s written differently this time. You want to avoid sending the exact same tweet through your feed. Change up the language to keep from boring your followers. Also, new language might pique the interest of different followers.

This version of the tweet garnered:

  • 1 retweet
  • 2 favorites
  • 6 followers 

November 12

  • 1 retweet
  • 6 new followers

The major success story here is that one tweet yielded 20 new followers who are now regularly looped into our brand. That’s excellent considering it came from 140 characters that cost us absolutely nothing.

Please continue to be optimistic. In fact, we encourage rose-colored glasses — just make sure you get the prescription right.

Let us know what you think!