How to Get Millions of Retweets

Easy! Get Samsung and the Oscars to sponsor you and be as funny as Ellen. Since for most of us that’s not possible, you have to be a little more creative in how you get retweets.

Clients are always asking me how to get more followers and engagement on Twitter. Unfortunately, none of my clients are named Ellen and none are sponsored by Samsung, but there are ways to get people interested in your social outlets without being famous. I’ve managed dozens of Twitter handles ranging from brand new accounts to accounts with hundreds of thousands of followers and can tell you that every account is different but the best practices apply to all of them.

1. Pay attention to the conversation. – The most important thing about managing a Twitter account is paying attention to the conversation at hand. Follow competitors, high profile people in the industry, brands that support the industry or subject matter you’re dealing with and also follow relevant hashtags. By following what’s going on you can become aware of what’s important to your audience, what culturally relevant events are important and what kind of language is used.

2. Talk to people. – You should be able to have casual conversation on any of the subject matters that you see on your timeline. Compliment people, ask questions that show you are interested in their opinions, experiences or stories. If you’re tweeting in the footwear industry, socks, sports and hip hop might be some things you should know about. Whereas if you’re tweeting in the pastries industry, lyrical references probably won’t have much resonance with your audience.

3. Be opinionated. – It’s good to have an opinion and express it but do it in a tasteful way. If you’re just a loud mouth for the sake of ripping into other people, you probably won’t have the account your working on much longer. No matter how funny it is to call people out, the negativity seldom translates into future customers (unless you’re Tesco from the UK).

4. Think about what you retweet. – As much as we are all different, we are all very much the same. We respond to controversy, emotions and passions. If you can include anything that (tastefully) can raise an eyebrow, ruffle feathers, stir the pot, or whatever other analogy floats your boat, you should.

Case in point, the tweet below. On my personal account, most people follow me because of sneakers. The Nike Air Yeezy 2 “Red Octobers” released the morning of February 9th and my tweet received over 1,000 retweets despite my account only having 2,600 followers. Here is why it was so successful. (1) This is one of the most buzzworthy sneakers of the past decade. (2) It’s the industry I know very well and the “Yeezus” reference is bigger than sneakers, it ties in another part of the world that many sneaker enthusiasts are passionate about. (3) It’s Kanye West’s sneakers I’m stating an opinion on. (4) Choosing between Kanye and Jesus is about as controversial as it gets.

You can never truly predict the success of a tweet but if you add these four tips to your process, I can all but guarantee that you will see improvements in the engagement levels on your account.

The Complexity of Social Media: Even Facebook Admittedly Fails

Facebook goes public today in one of the most anticipated business events in the last, um, forever?

According to Forbes, the stock will sell at $38 per share, making the value of the company around $104 Billion. Pretty crazy, especially considering that even Facebook admits to not knowing how to consistently monetize the views of 488 million mobile users (according to the video below). Funny, I have as much frustration using the mobile versions of Facebook as they do making money off of me using them. I guess it’s just a case of what Big predicted, mo’ money, mo’ problems.

The same could be said about social media in my opinion. Trying to figure out social platforms and consistently update each of the seemingly countless “cool” newcomers is increasingly impossible. As an individual we have it easy, imagine having the chain of command that most corporate structures have in place. How much approval is needed for 140 characters or less? I can only imagine, a lot more time goes into approval than the amount of time that goes into potential customers reading it. According to this Buddy Media post, 178 is the number of corporate social media accounts on average, as of last summer. No doubt, that number has increased. A look at the graphic below from Business Insider shows just how wicked the web of social media is woven, and that doesn’t include the latest social trend, Pinterest (which, clearly I have been slacking on). After just a glance at all the different social media platforms and connected apps, mobile apps, analytics, tracking, advertising, marketing and more, it kind of makes sense that Facebook is valued so high, clearly none of the companies below can claim over 900 million users worldwide, not even on a good day. Even if Facebook’s engagement is horrible (hypothetically speaking), they’re still going to have more engaged users than nearly anyone on the web at any given moment. That’s worth a lot of billions by itself.

The Craziness of Social Media

Social Media Side Effects: Cloudy Vision on A Clear Day

Image courtesy of Spiros Derventiotis/

Seeing things from someone else’s perspective is probably the one single thing that is challenging to all people. Everyone, myself included, probably thinks they are able to see things from another’s point of view. I’d say that most people are capable of seeing another’s perspective with an asterisk. The asterisk meaning, as long as there isn’t emotion involved.

It’s easy to be defensive, it’s easy to be hurt, and it’s easy to be overly passionate about your position. So often people forget that a person’s opinion is merely that, an opinion. Emotion clouds our ability to clearly see what the big picture is. It even keeps us from realizing it’s ok to have differing opinions from one another and still treat each other with respect. The lack of perspective is becoming a concern for me in the future of humanity because of the effects of social media.

Social media gives people digital courage. From behind a computer screen people will say and do things they would be ashamed to do in person, or at least I’d like to think they would be.

I’ve said and done much worse things in person than I ever have on Facebook or Twitter. Something to be proud of? Not exactly. More like some things I’ve apologized for repeatedly. However, social media takes away the need for apologies for many people. It’s become the norm to be overly critical and abusive towards businesses.

For instance, people are constantly saying unbelievably rude things on Twitter to retailers. Take your pick, Eastbay, Finish Line, Foot Locker, Nike, etc. Someone doesn’t get the product they want because it sells out or there is an error in the system. Profanities and threats follow on Twitter until the person slowly steps away from the computer and moves on with life. The next week they are back trying to buy from the same place once again. I see this primarily in the sneaker community but even in other areas too.

In the real world, if you cursed out an employee at a store or restaurant, odds are you wouldn’t go back. Especially if you had to look the person in the eye that you were throwing insults at. If you did go back, an apology might be the only way you would be able to do so without the uncomfortableness.

Just kind of thinking out loud here like I usually do…perhaps this is one of the most concerning elements of the “social media revolution” even more so than missing out on the live experience to be the person tweeting/posting about it.

Is this something that we should be concerned with?