The Twitter Algorithm works in mysterious ways.
Sometimes tweets just take off, and it is hard to really know why. But there are a few tricks for maximizing the chance of your tweets – or in this case, Twitter threads – going viral.
How does the Twitter algorithm work?
Just like all social platforms, the Twitter algorithm change constantly. What it does, is trying to show you what you like the most – depending on what you’ve liked and consumed before. If you are following thousands of accounts, it would be impossible to scroll through everything, so the algorithm tries to show you what it thinks you would enjoy.
It does this by looking at a few different metrics.
Recency – how long it was since the Tweet was posted.
Engagement – how many likes, comments and retweets it has received.
Activity – how active the user has been, and how long since they were logged in. Also how many followers and how often they use Twitter.
Focusing on the first two, this means that if your thread gets a lot of likes and retweets at the beginning of its lifecycle – the chances of it going viral increases.
Having a large following on Twitter will naturally mean that you get more retweets. But you can also make use of your mailing list to boost the initial amount of retweets.
Using your newsletter to make a twitter thread viral
This will only work if your newsletter is a No-Click Newsletter – i.e. you are not just telling people to “check out your new Youtube video” but actually give value in the email itself.
The trick is quite simple, but it takes a bit of coordination to get it working:
- Create a Twitter thread with the same content as in your newsletter
- Post it on Twitter before sending the email
- Add the link to your email
- Ask your newsletter subscribers to share the thread on Twitter if they enjoyed the email.
Harry at Marketing Examples was the first I encountered doing this. At the very end of his extremely well-written emails, he wrote this:
It is impossible to say how much this specific act impacted the virality of the tweet itself, but shortly after it had hundreds of retweets and have continued to grow since. Here’s the same content in blog post form.
This won’t work all the time. As always, it all starts with great content. The story resonates with people which made it share-worthy – and actually asking them to retweet it made them do it.
Harry has been asking the same in most of his emails, sometimes it took of and sometimes not. Doing it consistently is key.
1. Write great content
Yeah, it probably sounds obvious. But there’s just no short-cut here. Nothing will go viral, unless it gives real value.
2. Format it for email and Twitter
You need to be able to publish almost exactly the same piece on Twitter as you do in your email. This might be a bit of a hassle, because of the 280 character limit on Twitter. This can also be an advantage – it forces you to write shorter sentences and more to the point.
I use Hypefury to build and schedule my Tweets beforehand, you can as well create a draft in your Twitter account.
Use images, gifs, and other visual elements in the tweets of your thread.
Save or schedule your email.
3. Post on Twitter
The thread needs to be public first, for the simple reason that you need a link for that thread.
Publish your thread, and copy the direct URL to the first tweet of the thread.
4. Add the link to your email
Paste that link to your email. After the entire content is the best.
The ones reading the entire thing are the ones most likely to spend the few valuable seconds it takes, to retweet your thread.
When you put time into researching and writing great content for others, people want to give back. Keep that in mind when writing your inquiry.
Describe why it will help you (to grow your audience) and exactly what they should do (retweet the thread).
This is not a magic pill. This technique is a way to improve the chances of a tweet going viral, thus growing your reach.
It all boils down to two things:
- Creating content that adds value to your audience
- Asking them to help you spread it
Create a process for trying it out, and be consistent.