2016’s Top Tweets (and What We Can Learn from Them for 2017)

2016’s Top Tweets (and What We Can Learn from Them for 2017)

Meg Hari Prasad
19 January 2017

As January hits its stride, many of us are breathing a sigh of relief. But before we get comfy with 2017, it’s worth taking a look back at last year’s highest engaging tweets to help inform this year’s social media strategy. There has to be something we can learn from 2016, right?

It’s been said that the lowest hanging fruit is juiciest, so without further delay, we give you… the top 3 tweets of 2016 (plus a bonus from us at the end)!

Top Tweets of 2016:

#1: @Rubiu5

Yes, Limonada is the Spanish word for lemonade. No, this is not a Spanish tribute to Queen Bey. It is, however, the tweet with more retweets than any other in 2016.

The Spanish gamer, Rubén Doblas Gundersen, better known by his alias—El Rubius or elrubiusOMG—mobilized his +8M followers with prizes for retweeting. Prizes promised included game download codes, game consoles, gamer headsets, and peripherals and even a telescope, making this example of retweeting a testament to the value of incentives and the power of influencers in vlogging and gaming. Further supporting the power of sports and competition on Twitter, two of the top tweeted topics of 2016 were the Rio Olympics and Pokemon Go. When it comes to the power of sports and gaming influencers, Twitter is twinkling with engagement gold.

TL;DR: Incentivize your audience to engage. Influencers in the e-sports and gaming industries are trending up.

#2: @Harry_Styles

The rules of engagement apply even if you’re a superstar or a millennial or both. Do it with a simple and celebratory shout-out.

What? Yes, a tweet as shout-out is made more powerful on a channel like Twitter, where a “throwaway” 140 characters can net you 15 words of fame (and nth more times engagement via retweets and likes).

Where the One Direction vocalist and actor really masters the art of 140 characters in this 2nd most retweeted tweet is not only by humble bragging “it’s my birthday” to his fans, but by getting some cross-pollinated love from quoting the lyrics of ex-girlfriend, Taylor Swift.

#FTW, his tweet is authentic, consistent, celebratory, and a satisfying clip of clever that leaves you wanting more. What does 22 feel like these days?

TL;DR: Influencers can tap into “inside” jokes with their audience. Cultural relevance is key to making a shout-out an engagement tool.

#3: @HillaryClinton

We couldn’t make this an entirely election-free list.

While we might expect somebody else notorious for his tweets might’ve made the most retweeted list, he didn’t. The fact that Hillary got more retweets and likes for this tweet than Trump has for any of his, shows us that being positive and celebratory on social media is what engages.

When you bring an audience together—especially with a genuine and heartfelt message—you win. The popularity of this tweet is also a testament to the value of feminism, girl power, and inclusive audiences.

TL;DR:  Feel good content rules. Understanding the pulse of your audience and their cultural touchpoints is key. The future is female.

Bonus: @Meltwater

Game of Thrones is icy hot and so is data-driven storytelling.

Our most retweeted and liked tweet of 2016 features two of last year’s hottest topics. Data-based social media interactions can uncover sentiment, share of voice, or engagement, via media intelligence. So, at the height of the 2016 TV season, we pulled fan sentiment info and benchmarked the Stark siblings on social channels. Turns out, other Game of Thrones fans wondered where their favorite (living) Stark sibling was in the line-up. Sibling rivalry is a real thing that most people can relate to.

TL;DR: Know your strengths. Know your audience. Give your audience the best content they know you’re capable of producing.

More Bests Lists

If you enjoyed this list, then check out the best web trends, best infographics of 2016, best data visualization software, top most anticipated movies of 2017, our favorite PR blog posts, and the best ways to utilize Instagram hashtags for activism. As you might guess, our team consistently reassesses best practices, so if your 2017 marcomm resolution is to get data fluent for reporting campaigns and upping the ante with your contentwe can help.

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