There are many uses of Twitter, some use it to follow famous people, some use it to glean important news and product information, market researchers often use it as a source of market research. But, of course, many people use it to broadcast a message they hope will reach as many people as possible.
One great tool to find out how far a tweet has reached is tweetreach.com.
For example, on Tuesday's in the UK a number of fire services have started reminding people to test their smoke and carbon dioxide alarms, using the hashtag #testittuesday. So, late afternoon I used Tweetreach.com to tell me how far the hashtag #testittuesday had reached. The answer, by 17:30 UK time, was 7164 (try it here, the results will vary according to when you run Tweetreach.com).
Of the 7164, 5296 had received just one tweet on the topic, 1792 had receive 2 or 3 tweets with the hashtag #testittuesday in it, and 75 people had received 4-7 tweets including #testittuesday.
Of the 25 tweets recorded by Tweetreach.com, 7 were tweets and 18 were reTweets.
Note, it is reTweet that gives Twitter its viral power. If you tweet something interesting people will reTweet it, extending its reach. The best analogy I have heard is like a dog that barks in the night. nearby dogs hear it and they start barking, then the dogs near them hear the barking and they start - this barking and re-barking is like tweeting and reTweeting.
So, if you want to be successful in getting your tweets to travel here are four things that help:
- Have as many people following you on Twitter as possible, to give it a good start
- Make you tweet as interesting as possible
- Keep you tweet well under 140 characters, under 100 is good, when people tweet it typically makes the tweet longer, if you have used the 140 character limit, the reTweeter will have to edit it.
- Try asking people to reTweet it, e.g. pls RT
ps in the 45 minutes between researching this article, writing it, and publishing it, the number of people reached by the hashtag #testittuesday went up to 7986.