Are your tweets ready to take on a life of their own?

Twitter retweets have been a part of Twitter for as long as most of us can remember. Retweeting offers us a simple way to share someone else’s content with our audience and provides a good resource for networking and measuring our own success. They can also serve as great way to build our audience, if we choose to use them strategically.

 

The problem that many of us face as we begin to use Twitter is understanding the underlying strategy behind the things that we do. Why should we retweet? How will it help us and our followers? Here are five simple strategies that any Twitter user can use to get the most from their retweets.

Tip #1 – Choose Your Retweet Style Wisely

Twitter offers two ways to execute a retweet. The first (the old way) is the original method developed by the first Twitter users. The second is Twitter’s own formally adopted method created to supplement the idea. Both methods are outlined in the Twitter user documentation, and both can be used for different strategies.

The Old Way – The orignal method for retweeting a post includes adding an “rt” or “RT” to beginning of the post while assigning the original author credit. For many, this is still the preferred method. There are several reasons why.

The old method for a Twitter Retweet.

The old method for a Twitter Retweet.

Pros/Cons:

  • Getting more tweet “credit” and audience recognition.
  • Add your own comments and #hashtags.
  • More conversational, replies come back to you.
  • Better for tracking/monitoring purposes and measuring customer sentiment.
  • Not (well) supported by some apps, including Twitter’s own branded apps.
  • May require you to edit the tweet to fit the 140 character limit.

The New Way – Twitters own method of the retweeting works a bit differently. This method actually reposts the original authors tweet in your stream. The tweet is credited with an official ”rt” icon in the top right, but  doesn’t offer as much personal credit, nor does it provide the opportunity to add personal comments.

Which retweet method should I use?

Twitter’s official retweet option.

Pros/Cons:

  • Not considered an original tweet. Doesn’t have its own landing page.
  • Provides little value to the person doing the retweet.
  • Gives more visual credit to the original author.
  • Doesn’t allow for monitoring or user sentiment tracking.
  • Provides a good display of virility (notice icons at the the bottom of the RT).
  • Doesn’t strain the 140 character limit of Twitter.

These two methods work very differently, and depending on the use-case,  they both have their strengths and weaknesses. For many users, the old method may require a bit more work, but offer much greater benefits in the long run. While the new method is faster, it may not provide a lot of strategic advantages. It is important for you to understand these methods, and choose the one that fits your needs and audience best.

Tip #2 – Leave Room For More

As a Twitter user, not only do you want to be retweeting great posts to your audience, but you also want to be retweeted yourself. The key to this is to make your posts very retweetable. A simple way to do this is keep your tweets a bit short. The average username and “RT” text takes up about 20 characters. This means that your own tweets should never be more than 120 character long.

This can be tough, especially when you only get 140 characters to begin with, but the benefits outweigh the cost. If you tweet is too long, it will take longer for someone to retweet your post which means that it may never actually happen. The easier you can make retweeting your post, the better.

Tip #3 – Retweet At The Right Time

A well-timed retweet can go viral if you play your cards right. Take Barak Obama’s victory tweet as an example. When he announced his second term victory on Twitter, the post garnered more than 600,000 retweets. If you happened to retweet his post at the right time, you would have been included in the fun. This can be great for your Klout score, and your follow count.

The point is that when you tweet matters. How can your tweet timing improve your chances of  getting retweeted?

  • Coincide with current events. During key national or wold events, RT’s run rampent. Participate in the fun, and you might catch a wave.
  • Keep it light. Funny and creative tweets get lots of attention, especially when they coincide with something that everyone is already talking about.
  • Great content is always appreciated on social networks. Blog, tweet, and share what you do and know best, but keep the timing right. If your audience is more active in the evening, maybe you should be, too.

Tip #4 - Retweet Your Influencers

For all us, there are key people that we are looking to make a great impression on. These could be people in your industry, or a popular personality that we would like to know more about. A retweet is a great way to “suck up” to these influencers and let them know that you exist. More than likely, they will notice if you give them  retweet. Do it a few times (without being annoying) and they will be more likely to remember you when the right time comes.

This rule could also be applied to local businesses and brands that you are looking to work with. People are interested in people that are interested in them. A simple retweet is a an easy way to build rapport and familiarity.

Tip #5 - Become The Curator

There are many reasons to follow someone on Twitter. It could be someone that we already know, someone that we want to know, or someone that shares great content. We all have a few people that we follow who always seem to find and share the best content. We call this content curations, and it is a great reason to use the retweet feature on Twitter. For every post or messages about yourself, you should be sharing a few links by others.

The trick is to be constantly finding the best and most useful content. You will need to do this on a daily basis to stay relevant, but once you master your techinique, you can better automate the task using some basic software solutions.

Conclusion

It’s been around forever, but the Twitter retweet isn’t dead quite yet! It is still a powerful tool that we — and our users — can appreciate. The retweet, however, doesn’t have to be something that we only use as needed. It can become part of a larger strategy that will help us build an audience and gain influence.

What do you do to increase retweets of your content?