Many individuals, companies, and bloggers use Twitter as a promotion vehicle for their websites and products. There are tons of articles on this and, as such, I thought I’d focus on a tactic within Twitter that I think is underutilized by most: promoting other Twitter user’s content by “retweeting” it. When a Twitter user updates their Twitter account, this is called a “Tweet”. If you are reading another user’s “Tweets” and you see something of interest, you can promote the exact same “Tweet” to your followers by employing a “retweet”.

The concept of “retweeting” can best be distilled down to this concept: Take a Twitter message someone else has posted and rebroadcast that same message to your followers. Proper “netiquette” dictates that when rebroadcasting this message, you give credit to the original poster. While retweeting sounds great for the original tweeter (since there is usually a link involved), retweeting can actually benefit you just as much, if not more- and that’s what I’d like to touch on.

How to Properly Retweet

Retweeting is very simple. Here’s a quick how-to for you to understand how to properly retweet:

The common syntax starts off with the use of the label: “Retweet”. People also sometimes label their Twitter message starting with “Retweeting”. Either works. The next piece of  your Twitter message is the credit. You can credit the original poster by simply using the @reply syntax, for example: “@originalTweeter”.

Lastly, you should add the link or post message from the original Tweet along with a brief commentary about the link and why it is relevant. Here is a full example of retweeting:

Retweet: @originalTweeter I just found the best blog in the world!!

It’s that simple. Soooo…. why exactly should you care about retweeting? Read on…

The Benefits of the Retweet

  1. Retweeting provides quality content to your followers on Twitter. If you have a profile on Twitter that is more individually focused, people will follow you on Twitter to keep tabs on what you’re up to and what you find interesting online. Because your followers will generally know you in real life, they get along with you and share your tastes and interests. Therefore, the items you Tweet about will appeal to them. Retweets will most likely be in line with what you find interesting and therefore, they’ll appreciate the increased breadth of items tweeted and retweeted. People also follow entities on Twitter that represent businesses or more commercially focused individuals. They follow these “people” on Twitter to gain some sort of value. As a business entity, you can retweet items that are complimentary to what your followers are expecting from you to provide them more value and keep them engaged with a higher frequency of communication.
  2. Retweeting will most likely build your “social media” persona brand and increase loyalty to your social media persona.  If you point a follower to an external source that is highly relevant to them, the amount of trust that individual has in your persona will increase. This snowballs as you retweet more links that continue to be relevant to your followers and in line with the reasons they began following you to begin with. The next time you post a link, whether it be a retweet externally or to one of your Internet properties or articles the higher the likelihood your followers will click the links. Do not abuse this trust and you will become an authority and wield the ability to drive traffic to high value content by mere mention.
  3. Retweeting provides value to your followers, additionally it catches the attention of the original tweeter or content producer being linked to. Directing traffic to these sources is an act of kindness and active content producers, bloggers, and micro-bloggers tend to return such acts. The more energy you put into driving relevant valuable content to people who are interested in, the more you’ll get back yourself (Google model anyone?)

Happy re-tweeting everyone!!


Update: Just surfing on Linked-In and came across Mitch Joel’s post about Retweeting in the context of branding success. Check out his stuff too. 

Also check out Retweetist for a whole site dedicated “retweet” measurement and tracking. You can also see who the top Twitter users are who have their tweets retweeted the most.

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