If you're an active Twitter user, you've likely seen a "Thanks for the RT!" post at some point. You've possibly even posted them yourself. So is a "retweet thank you" polite Twitter etiquette, or is it an over indulgence of bragging that folks like your content? The argument can potentially go either way for both personal and business accounts.
Here are some tips to help you decide if, when, and how to display retweet gratitude.
1. Follow the User
Don't assume you already follow them. If they took the time to share your content, review their profile to see if they're a good follow and then follow them accordingly.
2. List the User
Add the user to one of your relevant lists. For example, if they primarily post quality "email marketing" content and you have a list for that, and them to your list.
View the user's Twitter profile and scan their timeline for good content to retweet. (The "Retweet" button makes this quick and easy. You can go back later and manually retweet with your personal shortened URL link if necessary.)
4. Retweet a Retweet
Yes, in essence retweet yourself. Since Twitter no longer allows posting the exact tweet more than once, a RT of a RT is a way to recognize the user and also put quality content back into your stream.
5. Conversational Mention
Reply to a RT with a conversational response about the post to ignite discussion. By using "reply" you enable other users to easily follow the conversation thread.
6. Group Mention
List the users that retweeted the content and include a comment or thank you.
7. Conversational Direct Message (DM)
Send a private response with a personal value-added note for discussion. (This can be handy if you don't want to cloud your public stream with @mentions of thanks.)
Retweet "Thank You" Exceptions
There are certainly scenarios where recognizing users for sharing your content is unnecessary or impractical.
- Ignore Twitter "bot" retweets since there's no human relationship to build.
- Beware of retweets by "get rich quick" and MLM tweeps. Their primary objective is growing followers. Show thanks at your own peril. (Note: Initiating conversation with these folks will likely result in a flood of their MLM friends also following your account which makes it difficult to follow back your legit followers.)
- If someone retweets you several times in one day, be selective in how you thank them. It's not necessary to match tweet-for-tweet in your thank you process.
- If you post quality content, it's possible that numerous users retweet it. (Wahoo!) In those cases, thanking each and every user may be time consuming. If it's a business account, my advice is to minimally ensure that you're following those users on Twitter accordingly. (Note: For the "Retweet", Twitter only displays up to 14 most recent retweeters.)
5 Tactics to Avoid with Retweet "Thanks"
1. Do NOT post numerous thank you tweets back-to-back.
It makes your profile timeline non-value-added for new prospective followers viewing your profile. Twitter features the three most recent tweets in the user profile preview pane, so consider two your maximum number for consecutive RT thank you's.
2. Avoid posting RT thank you's during peak content retweet hours.
(Retweeting a RT is the exception.) Instead, target off-peak Twitter times (likely 6pm and later) so as not to bore your following.
3. Don't publicly post a generic "Thanks!" or "Thanks for the RT!"
It provides no value to your following. Aim to include the original tweet or link if possible. You can also include a hashtag (i.e. "Thank you for the #CRO retweets!") so your followers or other users can identify other relevant folks they may want to follow.
4. Do NOT send a DM that merely says "Thanks for the RT!"
This has no conversational value and equates to spam. Especially in the DM world, it's likely to appear automated, which mutes the objective of building a relationship. Personalize the message so it adds value or ignites conversation.
5. Don't periodically post public RT thank you's specific to select individuals.
You'll risk the chance of offending the majority of folks that you didn't thank for retweeting your content. (Occasionally missing a user here and there is expected, and much less likely to be noticed in the chaos of the busy Twitter stream.) Be consistent in your public thanks. Leverage direct messages for occasional individual thanks as needed. Try setting aside routine time (daily, weekly, or monthly based on your retweet volume) to engage and "thank" your retweeters and followers.
TIP: Leverage social automation tools to schedule retweet thank you's. (SocialOomph is great for this.) Scheduling empowers you to space out tweets and easily post during non-peak times as needed. It also helps you to schedule and manage your time so you're not consumed with Twitter management all day long.
Benefits of Retweet "Thank You's"
There are two core benefits of retweet thank you's that help you build relationships:
- It brings a conversational aspect to your tweets.
- It builds loyalty and a relationship with your followers.
Ask yourself this: If a user that you highly respect took the time to mention or "thank" you for a RT, how likely would you be to RT them again? (...More likely than if they hadn't!)
These guidelines should help you build a more engaged following on Twitter by recognizing your followers and their value. Always ensure that your responses are value-added to both the user and your following, and it will have a noticeable positive impact on growing and nurturing your social media relationships.
Do you recognize folks that retweet your content? If yes, how do you "thank" them? If not, why not? ...and might you choose to do so after reading this post? We'd love to hear your thoughts in the comments below.