The Science of ReTweets - A Social Networking Strategy

If you like this article, follow me on Twitter.

I just got an interesting Tweat from Dan Zarrella, who I follow on Twitter. Dan calls himself a "social media and viral marketing scientist" because he studies how information spreads through social networks.

This week I began a series of articles about Integrating Online and Offline Social Networking in which I wrote about how way too much of the activities of people using tools like blogs, Twitter, Facebook or LinkedIn, are little more than one-way shout outs.

In other words, many of us (myself included) are not using these tools to their full potential. Our (or at least my) behavior is a lot like those guys you see at Chamber of Commerce events who flit around from person to person handing out business cards and delivering a canned "elevator speech."

But in the offline world, we would all be much better off with a mere 25 names in our Roledex, than a massive collection of business cards, provided those 25 names are people we regularly call, have lunch with, send birthday cards to, send newspaper clippings, get to know their familes, and truly engage with.

The same holds true with online social networking.

Twitter is one of those marvelous tools that holds so much potential, yet is too often used as a way to deliver canned elevator speeches.

Which leads me back to Dan Zarrella and his work as a social networking scientist. The Tweet he sent me was about The Science of Retweats. "Tweets" refer to messages someone sends you on Twitter, which you may or may not "ReTweet" or forward on to others.

ReTweeting is where your message takes on legs and can spread all over the internet via one person on a social networking site passing your message on to others and these others passing them on to even more people, and so on.

This is what viral marketing is all about. Your message spreads from one person to another like a cold or flu. Except, of course, that you are are not spreading a disease, but valuable content.

The untapped potential of social networking tools is nothing short of breath taking.

In his free ebook, Lose Control of Your Marketing, David Meerman Scott writes about 19 year old singer/songwriter Bec Hollcroft who has built a huge following by making her music available for free on her MySpace site:

"Hollcraft went from being a high school freshman in Portland, Oregon to an emerging artist aspiring to a deal from a major label. Her focus on providing tons of free music on MySpace and her own site, plus free editions of her personal manga (Japanese-style comics), generated a World Wide Rave.

Hollcraft and Nachtigal (Hollcroft's manager) figured that if they became big on MySpace, they could use that status as a compelling way to interest the record labels. “Bec’s MySpace page has been our most active page in promoting, getting feedback, and staying in contact with both fans and potential fans,” Nachtigal says.

“MySpace was the best vehicle for Bec because both fans and labels were spending a lot of time there. We decided that our strategy for shopping [ for a record label] or ‘going it alone’ [publishing and selling music themselves, without a label], would be virtually identical, so we began having Bec spend a lot of time and energy working her MySpace pages.

Bec was able to contribute a huge part in furthering her own career and getting an idea of who her supporters are.”

Bec's fame spread from fan to fan virally, just as your content and ideas can spread from Tweet to Retweet or from blog to blog, if you use the tools of social networking properly.

Viral marketing hinges upon your willingness to engage others, give some of your ideas and content away for free, and make real, true friends online (as opposed to the artificial form of "friends" that passes for networking online).

Check out Dan Zarrella, David Meerman Scott and Bec Hollcroft today for some inspiring ideas on how to get your ideas and reputation spreading virally through social networking.

NOT USING NON-SPAM EMAIL MARKETING FOR YOUR BUSINESS YET? Learn why email marketing is the easiest, most effective and most affordable way to get new clients. Download my free ebook and receive tips, ideas and case studies to help you get more new customers at

COPYRIGHT © 2009, Charles Brown
Add to Onlywire
Add to Technorati Favorites