A new report from TrackMaven analyzing 1,423 Twitter accounts and well over a million tweets was released today, showing exactly what makes a successful tweet—that is, a tweet that is re-posted by a lot followers. Here's what the data say:
Time of day matters: Although peak Twitter hours coincide with the workday, retweets are actually higher during our off hours. On average, we retweet more on Sundays than we do on any other day of the week, and Twitter sees more retweet activity from 10-11 p.m. than it does for the rest of the day.
Hashtags and at-replies help: The use of hashtags and at-replies was also found to have a positive effect on the amount of times a tweet would be retweeted. Part of that is common sense—part of what makes both of them such useful tools is that they give your tweets a much higher visibility—but the study also found that there are diminishing returns on tweets with more than six @ mentions.
Don't neglect the period: However, when you do incorporate @ mentions, don’t forget how valuable the period can be. Beginning your tweet with @ makes it visible only to those who follow both you and the user you mention. Beginning your tweet with a period when it's necessary to start with another user’s handle makes sure that it will go out to all of your followers.
Also, the report reinforces the importance of using images to take advantage of Twitter’s recent redesign. Now that Twitter feeds display in-line image previews, tweets with images are almost 25% more likely to get retweeted—an increase from .404 retweets/1K followers to .496 retweets.
Good news for the slew of Hulk-inspired parody accounts too: tweeting in all caps will net you .8 retweets on average per 1,000 followers, as opposed to tweets with only one-tenth of their text in caps, which averages out to .147 retweets per 1,000 followers.
So don’t bother using your inside voices. Add some text...