What if I told you that there are three distinct types of Twitter Retweets and they can all be used differently to get specific results? Would you be surprised? The fact is that most people are only aware of or consistently using one of the three types and missing opportunities to be effective.

The first retweet was done on April 17, 2007You might be surprised to learn that Twitter didn’t even invent the RT. Retweets were actually started by Twitter users, not the social network itself. Back on April 17, 2007, Eric Rice (also from Portland, Oregon) got it all started with this: “ReTweet: jmalthus @spin Yes! Web2.0 is about social media, and guess what people like to be social about? Themselves. Social Narcissism” And how appropriate was it that the first Retweet was about social media itself?

It took Twitter two more years before finally developing an “in-network” solution for what people began manually doing on a regular basis. On November 19, 2009 Twitter launched the standard RT with all of its shortcomings to Twitter users, making it the second type of Retweet we will cover in this post.

Retweets are useful for many reasons, but you should have a few specific motivations for doing them if you want them to get real results in your marketing efforts. Your main goals for retweeting in marketing should include the following;

1) Provide value to your audience.

2) Spark engagement/conversation with the person you retweeted and/or your audience.

3) Build or further a relationship with the person you retweeted.

Three Types Of Twitter Retweets:

The RT or old-school type of RTOld School / RT – If you are using a third party social media dashboard, like TweetDeck or Hootsuite, you are familiar with the RT type of Retweet. This is the old school Retweet started and made standard by Twitter users as discussed above. This kind of RT tends to get the most amount of response and engagement from the person you are RT’ing.

Advantages:

  • You can easily edit the text of the RT’d post to add commentary
  • Mentioned users receive a notification when you RT this way
  • Users you RT show a mention on both native Twitter apps AND third party apps
  • Users you RT can reply to this type of Retweet mention easily
  • Images contained in the original post are carried through to the RT

Disadvantages:

  • This kind of Retweet is often NOT included in Twitter and/or third party app stats
  • Can’t easily use this kind of RT on native Twitter apps
  • Can be difficult to keep the retweeted post under the 140 characters

The Quote Retweet expample Twitter Quote Retweet – Twitter’s answer to the old school Retweet is the Quote Retweet. This kind of RT is a native Twitter RT type that allows you to link to the original tweet you are sharing, yet still add commentary to the Retweet with additional text and/urls. If you are using native Twitter.com or the Twitter phone app, this kind of RT gets far more engagement and response from those who you are RT’ing over the standard Twitter RT.

Advantages:

  • You can easily add commentary as additional text, separate from the post you are sharing.
  • The text of a Quote RT can be up to 140 characters itself, separate from the post you are sharing.
  • Users you RT get a notification of the mention on native Twitter apps.
  • Users you RT can reply to this type of Retweet mention easily
  • Images contained in the original post are carried through to the RT

Disadvantages:

  • Most third party dashboard apps/tools do not show this type of RT as a standard mention.
  • For non-professional Twitter users, it can be confusing on how to do this kind of RT.
  • This kind of Retweet is not included in Twitter and/or third party app stats

How to do a Twitter Quote RT:

On Twitter.com – Click the RT icon associated with the post you want to RT, then add a comment in the text box BEFORE clicking to send it out.

On Twitter Phone App – When you click the RT icon on the Twitter phone app it will give you the option to select either standard or quote RT the post. Click to quote RT it and it will open a text field for you to add your commentary to the Retweet.

The standard Twitter.com retweet exampleTwitter Retweet – For my money, the least effective type of Retweet is the standard Twitter RT. There are few advantages to using this kind of RT, yet many disadvantages to doing so.

Advantages:

  • Users that tweet using native Twitter applications see you Retweeted their post, whereas most third party applications don’t even show people that you Twitter RT’d their post.
  • This kind of Retweet IS included in Twitter and/or third party app stats

Disadvantages:

  • Most third party dashboard apps/tools do not show this type of RT as a standard mention or notification.
  • When you RT this way, the person you RT’d can’t Favorite it.
  • The person you RT’d can’t easily reply to converse or thank you, killing potential reciprocated conversation and engagement.
  • You can’t comment or edit the post before sending it out.
  • People can’t reply to YOU about what you shared, replies only mention the person that originally tweeted the post.
  • And there are many other disadvantages, too numerous to cover.

Which Kind Of Retweet Is Better?

If your goals for retweeting content is to achieve something, choosing a primary type of Retweet is crucial. Based on the standard goals for marketing using RT’s above, I highly recommend that you drop the use of standard Twitter RT’s in favor of either the old school RT or the new Twitter Quote RT. These two types of retweets give you the best opportunity for return engagement, conversation and relationship building, which are foundational to your marketing success in social media.

Stats For Improving Your  Retweets:

(data via trackmaven Retweet Report – From 1.7 Million tweets from over 1.4K accounts)

  • Retweet Study: Key findingsthe average retweets by day of week are higher on weekends. Tweets on Sunday receive on average 0.168
    retweets.
  • Tweets gain the most retweets after work hours. Tweets sent out from 10-11pm receive 0.194
    retweets on average.
  • Using more hashtags increases the likelihood of retweets. 5 hashtags in a tweet on average gets 0.301 retweets vs. using zero hashtags results in an average of 0.116 retweets.
  • Positioning a link 90% of the way through your tweet has a higher average of 0.2 retweets.
  • A tweet without a picture receives 0.133 retweets, but a tweet with a picture receives
    on average 0.404 retweets.
  • Spelling out the entire word Retweet in your tweets receives a higher on average of 1.88 retweets.
  • Using 6 exclamation marks in a tweet doesn’t just yield high emotion, but also produces an average of 0.299 retweets. And then using up to 9 exclamation marks produces 0.484 average retweets!!!!!!!!!
  • For tweets in all caps, they receive 0.8 retweets on average vs. tweets with a 0.1 ratio receive on average only 0.147 retweets.
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