In his book Ultimate Guide to Twitter for Business, online marketing expert Ted Prodromou offers an easy-to-understand guide to using Twitter that will help small-business owners generate leads and connect with customers. In this edited excerpt, the author describes just how you can write Tweets that Twitter users will forward numerous times.

Everyone has forwarded a funny email or a link to a hilarious YouTube video to their friends. We also forward information we think is important or relevant. When content is forwarded numerous times, it's considered viral content. So what makes content viral, and better yet, how do we create viral content? Wouldn't you love to be able to create content that's forwarded over and over again?

Creating viral content isn't as hard as you think. Here are some ideas to help you create viral content.

Add a call to action.
Every Tweet should be done for a specific reason and should include a call to action. Every time you Tweet, you want your followers to ReTweet it so it spreads throughout the Twitterverse. This enables your message to reach more people than just your followers. When someone ReTweets your Tweet, it's seen by your followers and the followers of the person who ReTweeted it. Every time your message is ReTweeted, it expands into another network of Twitter users, accelerating faster and faster each time.

You know the old saying, "Ask and you shall receive"? Ask people to ReTweet your Tweet, and they will most of the time. When you have a message you really want people to ReTweet, just add, "Please RT" or "Please ReTweet" to your Tweet. This works amazingly well if you don't overuse it.

Related: 14 Steps to Generating Leads on Twitter

Some other words you can use in your Tweet that will encourage ReTweeting are:

  • Check this out . . .
  • You should really follow . . .
  • Please vote
  • What do you think of . . . or Where is the best place to . . .
  • I need some help . . .

Timing.
You need to experiment to see when you'll get the best response from your followers. From my experience, a business-related Tweet receives the most traction on weekdays during working hours, which makes perfect sense. When you get a ReTweet, track it in a spreadsheet and note the day, time, and content of your Tweet. This will let you see patterns and determine the best time to Tweet to your followers.

You can also use SocialBro to determine the best time to Tweet. In the Tools section of SocialBro, choose "Best Time to Tweet," and the program will assess your followers' behavior and tell you what time they're likely to be online and Tweeting.

Links.
According to Dan Zarrella of HubSpot, Tweets with links in them are ReTweeted almost 70 percent of the time.

Social proof.
When you see a great movie, what do you do? I bet you tell your friends about it. Then your friends go see it and tell their friends about it. Word spreads faster and faster as each friend tells their network of friends. The momentum turns into frenzy, and suddenly the movie turns into a blockbuster.

This is called "social proof," also known as "social influence." We tend to think if something is OK for one person, then it's OK for us because we assume they have more knowledge about the subject.

Because of the social proof phenomenon, the likelihood of a Tweet being ReTweeted increases dramatically each time it's ReTweeted. The momentum builds with each ReTweet, and suddenly you have a blockbuster Tweet.

Related: Using Twitter for Sales and Marketing

Add value.
You build your reputation on social media by providing value to your network. The adage "The more you give the more you receive" holds true in social media. Follow some big names on Twitter like @CarrieWilkerson, @ChrisBrogan and @BrianSolis, and see how they add value to their networks. They give way more than they receive. You never see them dominating a conversation on Twitter or speaking negatively about a person. They are constantly providing great resources and product reviews to their followers. Notice how many ReTweets they receive after they Tweet a good resource or their opinion on a topic. Their Tweets are always ReTweeted hundreds of times by others.

Take note of what the successful Twitter users Tweet about that gets ReTweeted. Follow their lead and use the same Twitter style they do. Here are some ideas about what you can Tweet about that will receive a lot of ReTweets:

  • How-to information and instructional content
  • Breaking news
  • Tech warnings such as viruses, Facebook scams, or product updates
  • Contests and discount coupons for products or services you enjoy

It's not hard to create viral Tweets when you think from the perspective of giving instead of receiving. Provide valuable information and support to your followers, and your Tweets will be ReTweeted with regularity.

Related: Using Twitter's Promoted Services