Adam Meyers

How The New Retweet Feature Changes Marketing On Twitter

The ability to retweet on Twitter was already available and has been mostly of use to those in business situations who could take advantage of their followers retweeting their promotions. This has been drastically changed with the retweet feature now being in a simple to use button under any of your feeds tweets.

You may ask yourself why you would bother retweeting more often just because of a button, and you are right to do so. After all you are just making the ones you follow more exposed to the tweeters who follow you. However this works both ways.

Your tweets can also be retweeted by your followers. The new feature doesn’t just place a simple RT in front of the retweeted tweet on your profile. By being retweeted your profile picture and username appears next to your own tweet, on someone else’s page!

For example today I retweeted @johncmayer and his photo and link appeared on my profile. For him this means that now all of my followers (who otherwise may not have seen his tweet) have been exposed to his content and may choose to follow him and/or retweet it again creating a ripple effect and sending his message to an entirely new audience.

By being promoted by other twitter users one could potentially gain thousands of new followers. Which we all know translates to twinfluence. For social users who hover around 100-200 followers this provides an avenue for increased twitter success. It should be noted however that without interesting tweets you are unlikely to be retweeted in this new fashion so although the features are useful, tweet-quality is still king in what determines your networking success.

The new feature also gives even more power to those with staggering amounts of followers already. For example @aplusk who is almost at 4 million followers could choose to retweet a message and give that person’s content access to the gargantuan amount of followers he has. For tweeters who promote their own blog or product this could be the best free advertising campaign that they ever get. Even television commercials won’t receive upwards of 3.5 million views in a matter of seconds.

The sidebar on twitter now includes a section appropriately titled ‘retweets’. Within this selection there are 3 mini-sections. The 1st of which is ‘Retweets by others’ which shows what the people you follow have been retweeting. This again will give added exposure to those lucky enough to be retweeted by someone like @biz. The 2nd section is ‘Retweets by you’ which is as simple as it sounds; it lists all the tweets that you have retweeted and gives you the option to untweet those messages.

The 3rd and most important section for you is the ‘Your tweets retweeted’ section. This section allows you to follow which of your tweets have been retweeted and by whom. This allows you to track your tweets and observe the spread of your content and username which is ultimately the thing that will make this feature useful to you.

All of these sections also show who else has retweeted what you have. For them it means they are being exposed to others who have similar interests and for you it means that you are also being exposed to others with similar interests, others who could potentially become your newest followers.

As you can see the retweet feature will change how we network and how we make connections with others on twitter. The button doesn’t guarantee twitter success but it does make it easier for those with interesting things to say.

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  • November 24, 2009

    I think beside the fact that your picture will be shown to peoples list that RT you, twitter has deff over complicated the RT.

    The other thing is now if 3 people in a row RT your tweet people will only see my pic and info. the ppl that RT’d don’t get any credit now. Before you would see all 4 names that RT the tweet.

    As far as tracking, you could track who and when your tweets get RT’d with tweetmeme and if you use tools like hootsuite, so that feature isn’t exciting at all.

    So a lil good n bad with the new RT feature.

  • November 24, 2009

    This has definitely helped out my site Caltweet even more because event/online promo thrives off of retweets on twitter…

  • November 24, 2009

    This won’t really change the way I tweet or retweet. I think it’s a cool upgrade, we’ll see how it goes.

  • November 24, 2009

    While I agree that the new retweet feature often gives additional exposure to other’s networks, I’m not a fan of it. Why? @JohnAguiar posted his very valid comments above – he has great points that you’ll lose the multiple-RT path and the tracking. Plus, when I RT, I often have something to add (whether I agree with the post, or if I have comments/questions/suggestions/etc.) and I am no longer able to do that with the new RT functionality. That value-add is why people will pay attention to my Tweets and I lose that ability with the new retweet feature.

    I hope that the extra exposure outweighs the loss of tracking and value-adds, but I’ll continue to RT in the original manner until I see it working in a manner that I can quantify.

  • November 24, 2009

    It seems to me that if I sent a Tweet link and @problogger retweets me, even though more people will see it, they won’t know that it has @problogger’s stamp of approval – saying this is a valuable link. So although I might get extra traffic, I’m not sure how valuable the traffic will be. Personally I will not click on links unless I know the person that sent the tweet.

    I use HootSuite, so I’m still retweeting the “old fashioned” way. Funny how something that just got started about 18 months ago now seems old fashioned.

    I’m sure a lot of people are confused by these changes, so it will be interesting to see often this is used by those with influence.

    Thanks for sharing some points that I didn’t know about (like the retweet counts)

  • November 24, 2009

    I actually like the upgrade. Seems to make things much easier. Twitter shouldn’t be about marketing anyways. However, I know a lot of people are making good money off of it. I’d rather just get to know other people.

  • November 24, 2009

    I see this as another option. I think it’s great in some instances – RTing from a laptop, for example, it’s easier. It is likely true that if a celebrity RTs your tweet in that way, it could bring more followers from the exposure. I have not seen this done and am not holding my breath.

    It seems Twitter is competing with the apps built for it such as HootSuite, TweetVisor and TweetDeck, all having a one-click RT for over a year. The problem I see is that Twitter may be getting too complicated. We are here because we are busy and Twitter is comparatively low maintenance. Now with lists and following the new RT section, I hope there are not more newbies who don’t “get it”. Thanks for the post! Great job!
    -Anita @ModelSupplies

  • November 24, 2009

    This is an LT function (Like this), not an RT – unless you want to change the definition of RT, which many are happy to do apparently. It ignores the human nature aspect that, if I want to promote someone else’s tweet, than I expect to get credit for that if someone else down the line wants to promote that tweet I introduced them to. This is cutting out the middle-man and, thus, reducing the motivation to retweet.

    This will last until plug-ins are updated to allow people to edit retweets the old-fashioned way. They are calling the old way SMA-RT.

    Twitter should name this Like This (LT) and then create a button for the real RT that we all know well and which all apps created (something that can be edited).

    There are 100s of reasons for needing to edit a retweet, including changing spelling mistakes and extraneous stuff like “Wow” and “Check this out”.

    What happened here is Twitter wanted to save memory resources. The new LTs are really metadata – they are the original tweet, including URL.

  • November 24, 2009

    The fact that the new retweet removes the “stamp of approval” and also that the person being retweeting doesn’t see it (at least I don’t on tweetdeck right now) is pretty huge. Having my stuff show up seemingly at random in someone’s timeline isn’t really as useful as it was when it had someone’s implicit approval.

  • November 24, 2009

    Thanks for providing this concise explanation of what this new feature means. I know many people that will be helped by this – far more helpful contextually than what Twitter is providing about their own upgrade.

  • November 24, 2009

    Adam. I think I know where you were really going with your John Mayer example, but the way it is written describes the same level of exposure on the 1st level as what happens now when you RT someone “the old fashioned way” — except for the picture — I want everyone to hear what you were really driving at — so here’s the text and then I hope you won’t mind expand further on the ultimate benefit of a RT. :)

    “For example today I retweeted @johncmayer and his photo and link appeared on my profile. For him this means that now all of my followers (who otherwise may not have seen his tweet) have been exposed to his content and may choose to follow him and/or retweet it again creating a ripple effect and sending his message to an entirely new audience.”

    Thx. Looking forward to your expanded details. :)

  • November 24, 2009

    Iuse Hootsuite to, and I still RT that way,, lil more work copy n pasting, but I can continue to add my 2 cents to the RT.

    Yes if you get Rt’d by someone with a million followers is great, but how practical is it that I will get RT’d by the “big timers” on twitter? lol seems like a long shot.

    So power twitter and hootsuite it is for me

  • November 24, 2009

    Twitter is becoming a powerful marketing machine indeed.. Thanks for the info!

  • November 24, 2009

    Hi Darren.. yeah I have been sniffing around the new Twitter features but have kinda had something like this before with Powertwitter, the Firefox add on… any new stuff to improve the experience is great though..

  • November 24, 2009

    @zaneology. First of all thanks for the questions im more than happy to help. What i was really trying to explain with my John Mayer example is that the addition of the picture may make users more inclined to retweet again and cause the ripple effect i spoke of. I think the picture, especially when its of John Mayer an create a new level of exposure because of his already overwhelming popularity. It says to my followers that not only do i endorse and think what he tweeted was good but also that im prepared to place his picture for free on my page.

    I hope that clarifies what you needed it to. Comment again with more questions if your still unsure of what i mean.

  • November 24, 2009

    Do tweeple even use the web to tweet anymore? With apps like Tweetdeck, Seesmic, Twhirl, Destroy Twitter, and countless others I only sign in to my twitter accts to check and balance following/followers. So really the RT feature is useless to me.

  • November 25, 2009

    PowerTwitter is stll disabled by the new “no-edit retweet” feature in Firefox. I just checked for updates. It seems that the workaround for this new “Like This” function is to copy the original tweet and then hit the Reply button and paste and then edit and then click Update.

    I wish Twitter would just rename this LT (Like This) because all the 3rd party apps and most users grew accustomed to RT meaning something that middle-men get credit for (if I learn about the original tweet through you, then you deserve for me to credit you – the new function doesn’t allow this making it less likely you will bother to retweet).

    I noticed today that Tweetdeck is not showing the avatar of the original tweeter but of the Retweeter. Tweetdeck shows the characters RT @originaltweeter and then shaves off that amount of characters from the end of the tweet. This creates a messy result. Again, I hope Twitter adopts the concept of LT (Like This) so we can avoid confusing the old RTs with new RTs.

  • November 25, 2009

    When I retweet the old fashioned way, the tweeting ‘window’ counts the characters and warns me if the tweet exceeds 140 characters and will not send it (until I edit it to 140 or less).

    With the new RT feature, one can RT any length (without warning) and the excess characters at the end simply get cut off.

    A folloer used the new RT to retweet one of my tweets that had a link at the end, and due to excess length of the RT, part of the link was cut off and not clickable, so the RT was of no value to me.

  • November 25, 2009

    Precisely Judy. I am surprised this hasn’t become as big a deal as the @Replies controversy last spring (when Twitter tried to say that replies would no longer show in anyone’s timeline but the two people involved).

    RTs have always required editing to make room for credit to be given to the original poster + those in between. Even if 3rd party apps learn to feed the new metadata (copy from the original tweet URL) with the original poster’s avatar into strangers’ streams, how are they going to give credit to the retweeter?

    People don’t RT entirely altruistically. They want credit.

  • November 27, 2009

    I hadn’t even noticed the Retweet on the sidebar until I read your blog, that’s really helpful for marketing!

  • November 28, 2009

    I’ve found the retweet button to be very annoying. The other day I was scrolling through my friends list of tweets and the same message popped up quite a few times, although it was from random users who were retweeting something a celebrity that I had on my list had posted. If I have the celebrity on my list, I’ve already seen the tweet. I don’t need to see other people who liked that tweet reposting it. They’re not even friends on my list (or people I am following), yet because they reposted the tweet they are now showing up on my list. It is very annoying to have to scroll through strangers’ retweets of celebrity’s tweets when I already read them.

  • December 3, 2009

    Not really sure this is an improvement.

    It makes you look in two places for RT’s (under mentions and under Retweets). And I don’t see any way to easily thank someone who RT’d one of your tweets using Twitter’s new Retweet feature.

    If you use a client like Hootsuite or Tweetdeck (as most people seem to now), you likely won’t even know someone RT’d your Tweet using the new Retweet feature. It won’t show up under the mentions column.

  • December 4, 2009

    Actually, Tweetdeck does show them but with your avatar, not the original poster’s. This is a good thing. As I said above, we don’t RT for our health or out of some sense of altruism – we want people to see our avatar and think “cool, another great tweet from so-and-so” and then RRT our username with their avatar etc etc.

    The problem is…Tweetdeck has to chop off the end of the tweet (possibly breaking a link) because they reinsert the original posters username and the letters RT at the beginning.

    Twitter originally created a brilliant mode of communication and then the young founders apparently showed they didn’t quite grasp what they had created. This new function is an LT = Like This, not anything close to an RT = Retweet.

    Yes, I have to specially remember once per week to click the Retweets button to see who might have RT’d something I wrote over the past week. Their RTs don’t show up in Mentions…which may as well mean they never existed.

    Which reminds me – I should go check the Retweets page on Twitter to see what might have been happening this past week.

  • December 4, 2009

    Allen, where do they show in Tweetdeck, under the All Friends column? Because I don’t see them under the Mentions column.

    But maybe they show up in the All Friends column. I follow so many that All Friends tweets scroll off pretty fast. So that pretty much means having to check the Retweets page on Twitter regularly if they don’t show in the Mentions column.

    And there is no reply function for these on the Retweets page. Even when you go to the other person’s Twitter page, there is still no reply function to Retweets of your tweets, only other people’s.

    All in all, I agree with you that this is not what people are expecting for an RT function. LT is as good an acronym as any, especially if you equate that to Less Than an RT.

    It’s too bad that Twitter didn’t implement the new feature in a similar way to how third party apps had already done it, so as to meet users’ expectations. Oh well…

  • December 12, 2009

    Twitter offers an array of opportunities with the continuous upgrades 2 make Twitter a more effective Social Media Tool, as a minority entreprenuer I have experienced first hand the benefits of Twitter as a resource tool as well as networking site with unlimited opportunities 2 meeting new potential clients. I love Twitter ,I promote Twitter on my web site and I make it a priority 2 use new tool offered by Twitter at least twice in a month.—cacjohnson

  • December 12, 2009

    I created and prepared a specfic direct message 4 all new followers,I also used the retweet button4 an entire month.—cacjohnson

  • December 12, 2009

    Twitter brings me the greatest joy with it’s Tweet Cloud because I’m able 2monitor what I”m saying on Twitter it keepsme on track with my tweets plus it’s great service 2making t-shirts.—xxoololcacjohnson

  • December 28, 2009

    I prefer the new retweet feature. The old one can be used maliciously with no way to defend yourself. Seen it done too many times where people retweeting the old way manipulate the retweet with ill words of their own.

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