Ah, retweeting content on Twitter. Such a good idea. I mean, retweeting seems like it carries so much more weight than that little thumbs up on Facebook or that little +1 on Google Plus, doesn’t it? It has so much potential!
Sadly, a lot of people retweet in just the same way that they “like” or “+1.” It’s all a matter of clicking a button. However, in the world of Twitter, you are missing out on a world of opportunity if you just hit “retweet.” If you add a brief comment before or after your retweet, you are showing the person you’re retweeting that you really know and appreciate what they said (or maybe you really didn’t appreciate it, but at least they know you’re not responding without much care). You’re also passing along another person’s content to your followers in such a way that they are getting that content plus your take on it. That’s pretty darned efficient for 120 characters, I think!
So how can we make the most out of that little RT? Here are some ideas that I use.
1. Retweet a person’s post with your commentary attached: Especially with the increasing number of ways people can tweet out content in an automated fashion, I feel like adding your own comment about a post is becoming increasingly valuable. Sure, a retweet is indicating that you feel your followers should check that post out, but if you add a teaser, you’re hinting to your followers at why you feel the post is good and you’re also helping the person promote their post. That’s pretty nice of you!
2. Retweet a person’s question and add your own addition to it: We all know that it can be really discouraging to ask a question on Twitter and get nothing but crickets in response. If you see someone asking for help, try to retweet it, but don’t just hit that retweet button. I like to add something to it like, “Can anyone help this person out?” That personalizes the tweet and shows your followers that this is important to you. It also tells the person you’re retweeting that you’re really trying to help them out.
3. Retweet a smart thing someone says in a chat, but add your own spin: One of the things that can kind of muddy up a Twitter chat is all of the retweeting. I know there are lots of brilliant folks in chats, and I agree that passing on some of the great things they say is really important. However, the conversation can get even more interesting if you retweet a smart comment with an addition of your own. I like to do things like add, “SMART!” if I dont’ have a lot of room, or I might even disagree with someone – that way they know what they said and they know what I’m disagreeing with (always helpful in a busy chat). Just retweeting something doesn’t always accomplish a whole lot, at least in my opinion.
4. Do not retweet things about yourself: I know that this may be a point of disagreement, but I feel (and this is just me here) that it’s poor form to retweet things about yourself. I see a lot of people who will tweet out every mention of themselves, in fact, which can get pretty messy on “follow Friday.” While retweeting good content or smart stuff is helpful to your followers, retweeting nice things about yourself just seems to be an over-abundance of self-promotion. I’m very happy that someone said you were the smartest person in the world. If you say thank you, or if you respond to someone in kind, I’ll still get the picture. Just hitting the retweet button on these types of occasions looks even worse to me. It’s almost like people are saying, “Ho-hum, another compliment.”
Is that just me?
What’s your take on retweets? How do you use them? Do you use them?
Let’s talk about it!
Image by Hermo Sakk. http://www.sxc.hu/profile/Herzz