The Perfect Retweet: Seven Ways

The Perfect Retweet: Seven Ways

The Perfect Retweet: Seven Ways

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:

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

For extra credit, add an image

For extra credit, 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.


  1. Hey thanks for linking to my article and featuring my tweet.

    I love the bench analogy. That nails it perfectly.

    Again, these are compelling reasons to old school RT.

  2. I always learn so much for your posts!

  3. I am especially not a fan of the list of name, but what do you suggest I do when I am included in those tweet-o-names (particilarly on #FF <– I know; this is so 2010)? Do I reply to the initiator only or do I ignore or is there another option?

    • Hello Tess,

      I sometimes ask to be removed from the replies. People often don’t even realize what they’re doing. It’s like hitting “reply all” when you’re talking to just one person. And thank you for the comment.

    • Tess, as you said “Particularly on #FF”, you got the choice to EITHER enjoy those weekly “Follow Friday” Shoutouts & say thanks to the tweeter for being KIND enough to mention you, OR just let’em know you don’t like being mentioned in THAT way, if they are REALLY being spammy in your timeline. Once you let’em know, they wont annoy you anymore. This “#FF aka #FollowFriday” is the day when timelines gets flooded with infinity kindness of your followers dropping down “Random Acts Of Kindness”. Just read’em & smile, true moto of those shoutouts will be well paid off that way.

      • Hi Emu!
        Thanks for dropping in and commenting. It’s possible to “favorite” a #FF shoutout in a list, too, without retweeting the entire list of @thisperson, @thatperson into your own stream. That’s an “in between” reaction to the often-overwhelming strings of tweets that occur on Fridays, and which scare some people off Twitter altogether on Fridays. Thank you for taking the time to comment. I really appreciate that!


  4. Mohd Imran (@TheSoulfulEMU) says

    Like my mate Carol named the post as “The Perfect Retweet”, no doubt the post is a perfect piece too, summing up all the possible vital points to remember while curating a tweet for your followers. After all they must get what’s best for’em & its our job to satisfy their tweet-curiosity.

    1. Curating a “Classic Retweet” is an old school Twitter Etiquette. I do that all the time, & even most of my Twitter-community does that, keeping the content flowing smoothly around the bird-house, giving credit to the source, adding apt comments along. Cool thing is that we got just 140 Char’ to squeeze-in our Tweet-Fusion & how well we come up to it. I barely use the “Retweet” button, only when its necessary. There comes a very important point, “The Art of Curating A Perfect Tweet~> Leaving enough characters in your tweet to let others curate a ‘Classic Retweet'”. See, i left 20 Char’ in that quick Twitter Tip. That makes it worth RT’ing further.

    2. Dead Links often flows around the Bird-House, & that’s truly annoying. You pointed out well on that one, Carol. Some tweeters tweet w/o even reading the post or checking the links, like tweeting while they are in hurry. BIG Mistake! What if the link is dead? What if the link leads you to some unusual web page? Infinity worst case scenarios. That’s why, links must be checked well before passing’em further. Here is one BIG example to clear my point~>

    3. Tweet content that not only attracts your followers but also audience outside your network. Keep your audience in your mind while curating a tweet.
    Tweeted a while ago~

    4. Tweeting with “@” all over within a 140 Char’ tweet often ends up flagged as SPAM! Keeping only those tweeple who are supposed to be indulged in the convo’ will save one’s tweet from leaving someone annoyed.

    5. Adding pictures in your tweets has several benefits in Engagement/CTR/Exposure etc. Here one perfect post about the same~>
    Since i started optimizing my tweets with pictures, i saw a BIG change myself. No. Of RT’s, Fav’s, CTR on links. And most of all, as of psychological perspective, our brain registers images faster then text. Picture tweets are more like eye-candy for our followers.

    6. Last but not the least, we can always ask our followers to “Retweet” to spread our tweet like wild-fire. A “Retweet” is itself a token of KINDNESS. Tweeple can always help each other, like i always chant in my tweets, “Tweeple for Tweeple” ;)

    Honored to be mentioned in your post, Carol! *Tips Hat*

    BEST Regards,
    Mohd. Imran

    • Dear Emu,

      Wow, thank you for your long and thoughtful reply. Wonderful suggestions, all of them. Your comment number 3 is really a great idea (and it’s why I mentioned you to begin with in this blog post). Very considerate of you to add pictures to tweets–people love pictures, and as you say, our minds register images faster than words.

      Asking for retweets is also one of the best ways to spread tweets–as long as we don’t ask all the time, but also help others to retweet their content, too. It’s a two-way street on Twitter. Helping others is a good way to ensure our own tweets get retweeted.

      Thank you for your incredible reply, Emu.

      I do appreciate your kind friendship. :D


  5. Great information in the post and shared in comments. I’ve always been a “classic” retweet fan. Now we need remind people to leave room (less characters) for us to comment.

  6. The classic retweet is really worthwhile than the traditional RT. It helps to keep in mind the short and precise comment of a RT while keep your tweet original. Thanks for sharing this insight Carol.

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