Continuing the quest to learn more about sharing behavior on Twitter, Dan Zarrella released new data which highlights more suggestions to earn more retweets on Twitter.
The latest findings were based on a dataset of more than 1.2 million randomly selected tweets. There were two techniques that increased the chance of retweets with 99.9% confidence.
According to the findings, “tweets that contain one or more hashtags were 55% more likely to be retweeted than tweets that contained no hashtags.”
Zarrella’s results did not mention causation, but the two basic functions of a retweet that might explain why. Hashtags are a great way to add context to a message that otherwise could be easily misunderstood, such as sarcasm or satire. The higher level of context may make tweets with hashtags more compelling to share.
However, it is more likely that the discovery function of hashtags explains why tweets with hashtags are shared at such a higher rate. Many people use hashtags to “tag” a subject, idea or event to be part of the bigger picture – which also means your tweet can easily be found in a targeted group. Many people and marketers use hashtags to take part and be discovered as part of a large group.
The next data point in Zarrella’s research might be a little bit harder to explain the ‘why’ and causation behind the findings…
Tweets that use quotation marks were actually found to be 30 percent more likely to be retweeted than tweets without them. I found this to be a bit surprising since I don’t see very many people using quotes in their tweets, and I rarely if ever use them myself (which now will change my posting habits as well as most social media marketers that read Zarrella’s findings).
After doing a bit of research myself, I couldn’t find anything other than anecdotal evidence that “people just love to retweet witty quotes.” In that case, just give the people what they want and let Zarrella figure out the causation data someday!