The Art of the Retweet

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As businesses have come back into the office this morning after the bank holiday weekend, I’ve been reminded of one of the things that frustrates me the most on social media. The badly done retweet. To help you avoid this, here is a short list of tips:

Beware the bulk retweet

This is what prompted me to write this post today. When a business bulk retweets a load of stuff in the morning of the first day back in the office after a weekend, it tells me that they have nobody monitoring social media out of office hours. Your timeline suddenly gets flooded with random tweets from 2d or 17h ago. I notice quite a few food brands do this and it means they are retweeting pictures of people’s dinner at breakfast time. It just doesn’t make sense!

Brands either have to accept that they have missed the boat on those RTs or they could favourite them and seed them out over a few days and at the right time.

Use ‘Quote tweet’ to be smarter

Social media is about engagement and two-way communication with your followers and customers. So it’s far better to quote their tweet and comment back to them e.g. if someone has posted a picture wearing your mascara saying how great they think it is, then quote their tweet and say ‘Thanks @NAME we are so glad you like it, it looks fabulous on you’. Something relevant to the picture or tweet is much more likely to build a stronger relationship.

Too much positivity can be a bad thing

If you are only selecting the tweets where people are saying lovely things about you or your brand, people will start to think you are either a show-off or you are hiding the bad stuff. If you are going to retweet positive comments then it would do no harm from time to time to quote tweet a negative post, either answering the person’s question or offering to try to make things better.

Timing is everything

I often see brands, especially smaller ones, retweeting things at really random times of day. I imagine that the business owner also runs Twitter and so when they get some time they just go on and do all their retweets and replies. This is really not ideal – especially if you are retweeting great tweets at midnight for example. It is far better to set some time aside at the peak usage times for Twitter and post your tweets then. This peak time may differ depending on your audience but you can be certain that there will be lots of potential prospects on the platform in the mornings on their way into work and in the evenings from 7pm onwards. You can be even more accurate by tying in with key television viewing habits of your audience for example.

Be relevant

Look at what the trending topics are on the platform – will your retweets tie in with that or will they get lost? For example last night, 14 of the 20 UK trending topics were football related due to Leicester City winning the Premier League. If you were a football coaching company and were retweeting lots of praise for your grass roots academy then it would be a good time to test performance. But if you were talking about something completely different then better to let the excitement die down and find another time when people are more likely to listen.

Think of it like a real life community

As I said in a previous post about personalisation, it is often useful to think of a digital platform like the real world. Twitter is a large community of people chatting to each other about a whole range of topics. Think about how you fit into that. You don’t want to just walk into the room and start telling everyone how fabulous you are. Imagine how annoying that would be ‘oh yes people really like what I do, they think I’m brilliant, Mrs Jones said that my pizza was the best she had ever eaten blah blah’.

Gauge the mood and then engage the audience.

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