Chances are fairly good that unless you’ve found a way to live without any form of media in your life for a larger part of the past decade that you know what Twitter is. Chances are even more likely that you yourself own one of the reported 883 million Twitter accounts in existence today. Even if, to this point, you’ve defied the odds, I daresay you would be able to pick out a good, quality message over a less popular one? How about being able to determine which Tweet was shared more than the other? Three Cornell students claim they’ve made a computer algorithm that can outperform the average person. Give it a try here and stop back in here when you’re done.
How did you do? My first try found me correctly selecting the more popular tweet nearly 73% of the time… not bad, but the computer algorithm beat me by one solitary tweet at 75% correct. I found myself asking some interesting questions: Why was the computer able to outperform me, what criteria is it using to select the better message? Is it possible that there is, in fact, an algorithm that can guarantee your message is more popular than other, similar messages, 75% of the time?
My questions led me to a discussion the Cornell students had regarding what criteria the computer was given to select the better message. What I found were seven items, among others, that the computer was trained to look for:
1. Know what topics trend on Twitter – A recent study broke down tweets from the second quarter of this year by category and found that tweets under the topics of sports, science & technology, politics, art & entertainment, and business finance performed better on Twitter than on either Facebook or Pinterest while tweets discussing family issues, health & fitness, and shopping were poorly received on this medium compared to the others.
2. Use an image or a video – Simple enough; you only get to use 140 characters on Twitter… so why not share something that’s worth at least 1,000 words?
3. Post any links about 25% of the way through your message – Twitter is geared toward those who want information NOW. If they have to wait til the end of your message to get a link, they may have already clicked on to the next message; don’t give them the chance.
4. Track and Learn – One advantage the computer algorithm has over us is that it’s got five years’ worth of analytical tools at its disposal instantly. If you want a true barometer for what does and doesn’t work for your site, consider working with analytical tools to fine-tune your online presence.
5. Preview with stats, quotes, and takeaways – Tweets that contain quotes receive 53% more retweets than your average post. Curiosity killed the cat, so draw in your viewers with a small taste of what your content truly has to offer.
6. Use your social media to inform your content – It’s the age-old marketing concept to know your audience, and it still holds true today. Chances are pretty good that if you’re talking about the things that are popular in your industry right now, you’ll get noticed a lot more than if you’re simply taking shots in the dark with your posts.
7. Sharing is caring – Not immediately (necessarily), and never something you want to consistently do (to avoid annoying others), but GOOD content, content that gives you an “AHA!” moment, content has opened your eyes to something new (perhaps something you’ve found on the Proforma Blog?) should be shared. If the message or content within was enough to make some kind of an impact on you, it’s a good bet that there are others out there that would similarly benefit from seeing the same message.
It won’t happen overnight, and you won’t always find success, but if you spend enough time working at these seven items, not only will you find yourself beating the algorithm (which I wound up doing 80%-74%) but, and more importantly, you’ll find yourself to be considered a thought-leader in your industry and the following you begin to gain can do wonders for expanding your business.