Other Twitter Topics:    Twitter BackChannel for Presenters      Navigating the Approval Maze      Social Media: Not Just for Kids    Email The Scoopdog Team

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tweet-retweet(Read time = 3-4 minutes)  One of the first investigations that marketers tackle when entering the social media game is likely to be Twitter. Near the top of the Twitter investigation will likely be re-tweets (RTs):  their value, characteristics, and strategies for gaining traction as will impact message persistence.  For those less Twitter savvy: a retweet is when someone re-posts a Twitter message that they received from somebody else. Re-tweets are usually preceded by an “RT” or “Retweeting” and then the source person’s name in an @ reply format to assign credit (akin to footnoting the original source.

So why the fuss to understand RTs? In simple terms, “authority” and the ability to sustain market messaging/buzz.  Being cited as an information source reinforces thought leadership and brand importance; gaining any level of viral messaging further impacts the marketing campaign.  But is it science… or just artful prose?

Consider the audience size:  Twitter June visitors wwide – 44.5 million (comScore). FYI, cS only counts traffic to Twitter.com; since many users instead use Twitter apps to consume/publish, Twitter’s total audience is significantly larger.  cS does provide a consistent measure, however, of Twitter growth.  Even when some research indicates that ~40% Twitter traffic is “pointless babble”  ( Pear Analytics study), the potential audience/traffic is large, indeed.

For a real-time Twitter traffic counter, GigaTweet estimates that the number of tweets recently passed the 5 Billion mark

Update 11/11: related video here; thanx Muneer.

Studies and Research

Microsoft employs social media research scientists: Here, Danah Boyd and Gilad Lotan (MS) joining with Cornell researcher Scott Golder to investigate the conversational aspects of retweeting: (draft paper on RT here) , scheduled to be published early in 2010.

Another social media research scientist, Dan Zarrella (bio here) pulls apart re-tweet trends and success analytics.  His data presentation is posted at SlideShare here.  Zarrella spent nine months analyzing ~5 million tweets and 40 million retweets.  He investigated when posts occurred, wording, link inclusion (or not), and much more. 

Briefly, some thought starters for consideration:

1.  Leave Room:  Write your original tweet shy of the 140 limit to both allow for the (RT @ Twitter User Name) addition, and avoid requiring that the pass-along author re-write your original text.  While challenging, an original character count of 115-120 should provide sufficient room to encourage a viral re-tweet.

2.  Timing matters:  4pm Friday EST!  I didn’t see that Zarrella’s data factored for content-type (ie B2B v. Consumer, etc.) but certainly the charting should give marketers pause;  A trend beginning to appear are marketers tracking their own experiences and building their own benchmarks, by industry target, as to most effective times/days for tweets and re-tweets.

Tweet-Graph

 3.  Include links:  Tweets that included additional content sources were 3x more likely to be passed along.  Interestingly, the research also noted that the shorter the URL link out, the more likely a retweet would occur.

4. Choose your words wisely:  “Please”, “retweet”, “check out”, “blog” and “new blog post” all appeared in Zarrella’s most frequently used word list.  In the least retweetable category were a number of “ing” verbs (going, watching, listening…”).  Takeaway: idle chit-chat, slang, and over sharing does little to prompt message persistence.

5. Original content:  Well, duh… original content is way more poular than news previously circulated.

6. Grammar:  Tweets that rely heavily on the  use of nouns and 3rd-person verbs (what we typically refer to as headline-style) were more likely to be retweeted

Monitor and Benchmark

The diversity in audience target segments, social media objectives and marketing goals demand that most B2B marketers establish their own benchmarks over time.  Tools are beginning to appear (think Tweetmeme, Retweet.com, etc.) but ROI for social media remains hotly debated.  By experimenting with approach, content and campaigns, individual benchmarks can evolve.  Would welcome reader insights and experiences as additions to the conversation.

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Other Twitter Topics:      The Graying of Facebook      Multiple Account Layering Strategy      Social Media: Not Just for Kids      Email The Scoopdog Team

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overloaded(Read time = 2-3 minutes) Information overload on steroids.  That’s a common theme the Scoopdog team hears  from marketers, agency leads and social media advocates.  How best to keep up… filter the noise… find the hidden gems?  Here’s three “insider” resources useful to help scrape away the clutter.

1.  Alltop: Your Personal Magazine Rack

For those struggling w/news overload, a solution worth the look is Alltop – a news aggragation web site worth discovery.  With self-loaded pages like “Twitter News“…  Facebook News… and Social Media News… quick snapshots are possible.  The site also enables a “build-it-yourself ” feature for constructing targeted magazine racks.

For the B2B pro, the advantages are:  aggragation and time savings.  The Scoopdog team uses Alltop as a means to quickly scan information sources for topics and trends that are perhaps worth further investigation and a blog post. The site is fed by tens of thousands of information sources and blog resources.  To say it another way, Alltop strives to be the  filter to find information nuggets, as the user specifies.  (Disclosure:  I have no assotiation – just like the site and service. Same for the others below) 

 A helpful tutorial steps through the process with point/click simplicity.  The Alltop blog provides tips/gricks… the Goodie page has all manner of widgets, badges, feed connections, groups and even the obligatory T-shirt.

 

2.  Twitter Accounts to Follow: Social Media Analytics

waworld  The official Twittter account of Manoj Jasra’s web analytics world blog. Insights into search marketing, social media ROI, and social media strategies.

analytics_  If you can’t analyze it, you can’t measure it;  if you can’t measure it, you can’t improve it. Here you’ll find tweets and links to various aspects of social media measurement.

WebAnalyticsGuy  Canadian RyanDinelle and is ~500 followers mashup the metric scene.  Google Analytics, media tracking, comparisons/distinctions between audience communities, SEO.  The breadth is impressive and the conversation intelligent.

 

3.  comScore Research and Digital Intelligence

comStore – the self-proclaimed global source of digital market intelligence.  While in the business of selling research, the site contains a plethora of library produts accessable free, sponsors webinars on 2.0 topics, and hosts digital audience measurement events.  Often sited resource for usage statistics.  Excellent blog here.

The company was founded in 1999 to focus on e-commerce trends measurement.  Acquisition of Media Metrix in 2002 expanded the media intelligence services.  Today, comScore has as its mission to shed light on the beharior of digital consumers using data collected from 2 million+.  One of the most valuable destinations on the site is the “Presentations and Whitepapers Library” here.

All: We love collecting little known resources/sites/references sources.  If you have favorites, please share.

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Welcome! If you like/are interested in B2B Marketing, the Agency-Client Relationship discussion and/or other Marcom mysteries, rss buttonplease subscribe to my RSS feed.