Tia Peterson

Tia Peterson writes about blogs, social media and sometimes random ridiculousness at http://www.bizchickblogs.com.

Not all ReTweets are Created Equal

If you’re new to Twitter, you probably have no real concept of retweeting (commonly seen as RT) and what that can mean for your success and fun on Twitter. I’ve seen it go two ways with my clients who are new to Twitter: (1) some get on Twitter and don’t retweet – ever – because they either don’t know how to do it or don’t want to, and (2) some get on Twitter and retweet like the devil, but they either retweet junk, or they don’t know how to use it to their advantage.

Why ReTweet?

Well, it totally fits the purpose of Twitter, which is to share thoughts, news, insight, rants, advice and other things that are worth sharing to people who follow you. When you retweet, you are re-sharing something that is already on Twitter to your followers, who may not have seen it.

Retweeting is meant to enhance and improve social engagement on Twitter; but it can be abused, so just use some common sense. Here are some ways to become better at it.

Note: if you have no idea whatsoever about retweeting, check this out. There are new ways to retweet and strategies, etc., but that guide is a good place to figure out what we’re all talking about.

Don’t ReTweet Junk – Check out the links first

First of all, if you retweet external links (and I know this is not going to fly with everyone) you shouldn’t be retweeting stuff you haven’t actually looked at. I made this mistake once (in the spirit of being transparent) and when I opened the link after I retweeted it, it was a post written really badly with lots of cheesy ads and it was just something I would never have passed on. You must look at the link – it could be a link to a page filled with malicious software and/or viruses – you never know. Why ruin your follower’s day by passing on B.S.?

Add something to the ReTweet

I don’t always do this either, but I try to when I can. If you retweet directly from the Twitter website, you won’t be able to add your personal message or any hashtags. But if you use a service, like HootSuite, you can add something, as well as schedule that retweet for later.

ReTweet from the Source

Many blogs, news websites and magazines have a re-tweet option built right into the site. If this is the case, retweet from the source, because it gives the original Tweep some visibility, and sometimes their re-tweet function includes their desired hashtags.

ReTweet People Who You Want to Follow You Back

If there are people who aren’t following you, but you want them to notice you and follow you back, try retweeting some of their tweets. Retweeting is a huge sign of respect. So, if you respect what they say, retweet them and see if they don’t take notice of you and become a follower.

Don’t Let ReTweeting Take Over Your Twitter Account

The last thing I’ll add for beginner Tweeps is to not get caught up in retweeting. Add your own thoughts to the mix. There are retweeting bots and other spam accounts that just retweet other people’s stuff, and while that seems okay, it’s not and you don’t want to be “that” guy. I typically detest silly etiquette rules and lots of structure in something that’s supposed to be personal and social, but on Twitter you need to try and fit in. Your experience will be a lot more fun if you can.


  • May 13, 2010

    Great input! Couldn’t agree more, particularly about “adding something to the Tweet.”

  • May 13, 2010

    Great article n advice. I am a RTer and at first I RTed only things that I found moving, inspiring, etc. I admit that recently Ive lazy w the RTs, ie not cking them out before sending them. However, since I expanded what I choose to share w the Twitterverse, Ive found that Im actually included in Follow Fridays. That wasnt my goal when I started RTing, but I do want to be regarded as a Tweep who does have something to share because Ive found something of substance-either political or religion or fun stuff, like Hollywood gossip or gaming on the web. I hope my followers and tweeps I follow appreciate it. I certainly appreciate them! My apologies for getting lazy in the Twitterverse ;-) .

  • May 13, 2010

    Thanks, Ashley! I know! That’s why I was super excited about HootSuite and TweetDeck when I first found out about them. It really improved the experience. Cheers!

  • May 13, 2010

    Hey Kimberly – Well, once you’ve retweeted a person and they start to become familiar, I can see where it’s OK to just continue to RT them. I do this w/a few fellow bloggers. I know they won’t tweet crap and I trust them.

    Getting your first few #FFs are pretty cool. Then, it gets hard to keep up! Good luck with everything.

  • May 14, 2010

    I agree with Ashley , the best tip is the one to “Add something to the ReTweet”. When I see other people’s note on an RT I feel they really paid attention to it. More value

  • May 14, 2010

    Kathy – Definitely. I don’t always do it but when I feel like there’s something to add, I do.

    Also of note: if the original tweet’s length is too long, it makes it difficult to add or RT w/o messing up the link, so sometimes I will edit their original tweet to make room for the RT (since sometimes that won’t even fit!).

  • May 18, 2010

    I completely agree with the idea of “Don’t ReTweet junk.”, I think we have all made this mistake before!

    Now I am going to ReTweet this article ;)

  • May 19, 2010

    Excellent tips, Tia! I also learned not to retweet anything that took me more than one click to get to the whole story. Certain sites will have a short description that then links to another site with the whole story. If I find the story interesting enough, instead of retweeting the ‘double or triple click-to-read, I just tweet the original article. No need to give two extra search engine spammers traffic when the person that posted the real thing can get the click!

  • May 19, 2010

    Absolutely true! I couldn’t agree more.

  • May 24, 2010

    I noticed too that retweeting other tweeple is a great way to gain more followers. Since you help them to spread the message, I guess reciprocity kicks in or something. Awesome post!

  • May 24, 2010

    Thanks for your comments everyone!

  • May 29, 2010
    Abdur Rab

    I like the idea of adding some text to retweets. Thanks for the tip.

  • June 14, 2010

    I agree with Ashley , it is best practice to add something to the ReTweet. In this way, ReTweet is personalized.

  • July 5, 2010

    I’m new to Twitter. I realy dont know how to drive many vistor to my site from twitter. It might be helpful tips to me. But plz help me more clearly….

  • July 27, 2010

    great article Tia…I couldn’t have said it better myself…:)

  • August 13, 2010

    Many blogs, news sites and magazines have the option to re-tweet directly integrated into the site. If this is the case, Retweet the source, because it gives the origin tweeps a bit of visibility and sometimes re-tweet your hashtags include your desired role. I do not know how many driving visitors to my site via Twitter.

  • August 14, 2010

    Thank you so much. This was very helpful:)

  • September 15, 2010

    Very helpful post! Great work!

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