A blog post about how to retweet might seem like Twitter 101 (and here’s my blogpost on Twitter 101 for Baby Boomers). But before you pull out that “been there, done that, bought the t-shirt” line, give me a minute to explain. Because lately I’ve seen a lot of bad retweets.
Don’t Hit That Retweet Button!
My good friend, Bridget Willard, of You Too Can Be A Guru says it best:
Using the Retweet Button in real life would be like being in a conversation and your reply is playing a recording of what they said.
— Bridget Willard (@YouTooCanBeGuru) January 20, 2014
There are lots of reasons not to use the retweet button. For one, people often don’t see your retweet. For another, when you use the classic retweet, you use your own branding, instead of having a bunch of other people’s logos all over your Twitter account. For a third, you can add a comment more easily. The fourth reason is that using the retweet button can be a conversation killer. Do you need more reasons? I did a Google search and my bud Bridget Willard’s post on why she doesn’t use the retweet button was right there on page one. Seriously.
Use the Classic Retweet
To use the “Classic” retweet, hit reply, then cut and paste the tweet. Check that the tweet will fit. Put a “.” or RT or MT (for “Modified Tweet) in front of the tweet. Note: If you start a tweet with an @ sign, it’s a reply and only you plus the person in the @ sign will see it. More details about using the @ sign, plus other newbie hints here.
Check the Link
If you’re retweeting with a link, check the link. Even if you don’t read the entire article at the link, at least scan it. Make sure the link is still alive, and that the article isn’t spammy. Yes, sometimes you may tweet out a dead link (and please tell your friends if they do!).
Ask Yourself if Your Followers Will Like the Tweet
Try to retweet articles of interest to your followers. Who are your followers? What would interest them? For instance, if you tweet for a bank, your tweets could be about rising interest rates, banking history, events in your bank’s home town, etc. If your followers love the outdoors, tweet about hiking and mountaineering. And so on.
Don’t Retweet a Bunch of @ Names
Here comes the analogy. Ready? I’m sitting at one end of a long bench. John is sitting at the other end. I say hello to John and we start talking. But our conversation has nothing to do with anyone else on the bench. That’s how it is when you retweet those long chains of names. It adds to the noise. It’s also like a “reply all” in email. Remove all the @ signs if you’re talking to just one person. Everyone else will thank you for the peace and quiet.
Add an Image
If you really want extra credit, add an image. Since about Halloween of 2013 and its IPO, Twitter has allowed the addition of multimedia, as outlined by the New York Times. You may need a little time to find something appropriate (Creative Commons is good for this purpose), or you can use one of your own pictures to steer clear of copyright infringement. One of my friends, @TheSoulfulEmu on Twitter, sometimes adds an image to my tweets. How cool is that?
Ask for a Retweet
If the tweet is very important to you, add the words “Please retweet” at the end. Just make sure that you’re also retweeting other people’s tweets, too, not just asking for favors all the time. Yes, there’s that whole thing about being social again. Strange, I know.
What Else Do You Love in a Retweet?
Please leave me a comment! I appreciate it.