How to Use Twitter to Make Your Tweets Go Viral

A few tips to improve your chances of spreading viral content on Twitter

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Twitter is like a worldwide chatroom. You can connect and have a conversation with almost anyone who has a public account, from anywhere in the world.

When something goes viral online, it often gets some help from Twitter. Sometimes it even starts on Twitter and explodes from there.

Since newsworthy content catches on extremely quick on Twitter, it’s a recommended tool for some viral campaigns. You don't necessarily need millions of followers—you just need the right content and enough of a push from those first few retweets and favorites to get the viral momentum going.

Here are some tips you might find useful to get a little more “virality” from Twitter.

Work on Building an Authentic Following

You want to focus your time and energy on attracting followers who are genuinely interested in your tweets. This means focusing on the quality of your followers rather than the quantity.

You're likely to have a better chance at getting a tweet to go viral if you have 200 real, genuine followers made of real people as opposed to 10,000 unengaged followers with automated accounts.

Check out some of our tips on how to get more Twitter followers, and consider looking at strategies that go beyond just the follow-back-everyone-who-follows-you strategy. Remember that your tweets and your overall Twitter presence should be interesting and exciting to attract genuine followers.

Tweet About Newsworthy Topics

People absolutely love to retweet and favorite tweets about everything newsworthy—from current holidays and the weather, to scientific studies and politics.

 If you can somehow work your content into what’s making news, you may able to attract more attention from Twitter.

Keep in mind there’s a wrong way to do this. Taking advantage of a piece of news for your own gain can come off as greedy and out of bad taste.

As an example, take American Apparel's big mistake to launch a “Hurricane Sandy Sale,” which they tweeted during the peak of Hurricane Sandy’s presence over the northeast coast in late October of 2012.

The campaign backfired, and it sort of went viral for all the wrong reasons.

Tweet About Trending Topics

This goes hand-in-hand with tweeting about the news. Often times the news will be integrated with the trending topics displayed on the sidebar of Twitter.com (or within the search tab on the mobile app).

Adding these trending phrases to your tweets and also using popular hashtags can get you some more exposure. It definitely doesn’t guarantee that your stuff will get shared, but it’s a good place to start.

Pay Attention to Timing

If you send out a great tweet at 2 a.m. EST, you’re likely not going to get much interaction. Peak Twitter traffic hours usually start at about 9 a.m., again at 12 to 1 p.m. and lastly around 4 to 5 p.m. See the best times of the day to tweet.

If you don’t have time to tweet during those specific timeslots, you can use a social media application tool to schedule your tweets and have them sent out for you during those timeslots automatically.

Be Different

Easier said than done, right? There are a lot of copycats on Twitter, all using the same strategy to grow followers, asking for retweets and following back everyone that follows them. Sometimes the best strategy is actually the most unconventional strategy of all, and it’s the one that nobody or very few people are actually using.

Check out some of these great Twitter parody accounts. Most of them have all managed to go viral just by integrating witty humor into their tweets. Entertainment and humor is big on Twitter, so if you can leverage that to your own advantage, you may be able to attract lots of followers and lots of interaction without too much work on your end.

Always Strive to Add Value

Your tweets need to be useful, informative and generally add value in the eyes of your followers. If you just spam them with links and boring content, you won’t attract any followers and you certainly won’t get any retweets. In fact, someone could report your account and your account could be suspended.

Tweet stuff that people would find useful. Whether it’s a piece of news, a warning about something, a how-to guide, a download link or anything else, it should be relevant and not the least bit spammy—something that can be quite hard to do when promoting your own stuff on Twitter.