Having success with Twitter takes more than luck and enthusiasm. It takes forethought and planning, but there are some tactics that have proven to helpful in raising profile and increas influence.

  1.  Influence matters

The most influential people on Twitter tend to get the most retweets…just look at Stephen Fry. Still, newbies can leverage the influence of others by making a personal connection with someone who is ‘big’ on Twitter. How do you do that? Well start by following this person and taking an interest in what he or she tweets. Retweet often and look into what else this person does online. If he’s a blogger, leave a comment. If she’s on Facebook ‘like’ her page and invite her to be your friend. Try to be as helpful as possible, without becoming annoying. That’s how you make a ‘real’ friend.

Hopefully your new friend will retweet you once or twice too, because reciprocity is a key part of social media. Getting retweeted even once by an influential person can drastically increase the chance of your tweet going viral. Check out free tools like Klout and PeerIndex to find out who are the most influential people in your area of interest.

  1.  Linking to quality content

It’s a fact that tweets that contain a link are retweeted more often than those that don’t. This is partly because lots of publishers have handy ‘retweet’ buttons on all their content, but also it’s part of the Twitter ethos of ‘adding value’. Tweeps like to share content that they find interesting, useful or entertaining. Facilitate this process by ensuring your websites and blogs have easy to use ‘retweet’ buttons.

  1.  Say it like it is

Tell tweeters what you want them to do. This doesn’t mean begging or carpng for people to ‘please RT’, that will backfire for sure. Instead headline you links with ‘take a moment to read about (subject)’. Or headline it hinting at the content of the link. For example..”Look who’s number 1 in Ottawa…” This sparks curiosity and people will be more inclined to click.

  1.  Tweet breaking news

Follow the oldest rule of journalism…break news first. It’s a surefire way to get retweeted. Photos of events can work really well if you post them as ‘it’s happening’. News of the recent Manx 2 airplane crash in Cork spread across Twitter long before the mainstream media were able to get a report out. The company’s name was trending within a few minutes of the accident and stayed at the top of agenda for hours.

  1.  Time it right

Take the time to learn about when your Twitter community is most active. You’ll see there are definite patterns for peak traffic times taking into account the day of the week and the time of the day. People have the best chance of seeing your tweets and therefore, retweeting them at these peak times. As a general rule of thumb the busiest times are Thursday and Friday afternoons, but this varies based on the time zone your reside in and other cultural factors such as normal days off bank holidays. Crowdbooster has a tool that analyses your Twitter followers activity and recommends the best time for tweeting. Or you can run test yourself by using a tweet scheduler like Tweetdeck or SocialOomph.