Last year I wrote ranted about the Twitter habits that annoy me the most and I want to expand on one of those points – the retweet. Not because they are especially annoying, but for the reasons outlined below.
One of the main reasons people and brands (should) retweet is when they come across a tweet that is interesting / humorous / entertaining / relevant – a tweet that matches what the account generally tweets about and will be hopefully of interest to its followers. However, for companies short on time and (dare I say it) expertise, the RT has become the default reaction when someone mentions them on Twitter.
1. They sometimes lack context
How many random retweets do you see in your feed every day from accounts that retweet any use of their Twitter handle? Many of these lack any kind of context, meaning you have no idea what the tweet is about. You are seeing a tweet that was either addressed to someone else or is from a conversation that you have nothing to do with. What’s the point in sharing this with your followers?
2. There’s no real engagement with them
As a brand, when someone has tweeted you directly or included your handle in a tweet, depending on the context, you should engage with this person. Maybe reply to them and create a conversation. But a simple retweet is kind of lazy. It’s acknowledging the sender but not bothering to do anything more than tapping that little two arrow symbol.
If you really want your followers to see the tweet then copy the text, add RT to the start of the original tweet and put in your comment. This will help give the tweet more context and add your brand’s personality.
3. The ‘look at me’ factor
This is the big thing. When using Twitter it often helps to apply real-world logic to the situation. For instance, if a colleague told you “you are great”, would you text all your friends to inform them of this? (If you would you have confidence issues.)
For a brand, if someone was to tweet them saying how much they love your product then by retweeting it it’s saying to your followers “Hi everyone, this guy who you don’t know thinks we are great”. Your followers follow you for a reason – they like your brand/product and they want to see what you tweet about. They don’t need to be told someone thinks you’re great – hopefully they already do.
Rather than retweeting the tweets that mention you, focus on replying to people who address you – anything from a simple “Thank You” to starting a short conversation. The person will be happy you took the time out to tweet them and your followers won’t be seeing narcissistic tweets. #winwin
4. Promoting other brands
I see so many RTs in my feed from brands that also include the Twitter handle of competitors. This isn’t the end of the world, but you are still promoting a different brand to your followers.
For example, if a bar tweets to say they have three new beers on draft, including yours, why would you RT and tell your followers about the other two? Sure, if other brands want to promote you let them fire ahead. It’s already hard enough getting your brand in front of people without giving competing brands exposure on your social channels as well.
It is always a judgement call when it comes to Twitter, and yes, SMEs are short on time and have a hundred more important things going on. But my advice here is simple – think before you retweet.