“A retweet is a retweet, no matter its form, and it promotes someone else. So I shouldn’t bother too much and waste my time.”
This is one possible perspective. And it’s not always a bad one, especially when you retweet quotes or other content without links.
However, you should be aware that the professional marketers aren’t interested in the number of times you retweet their content or in your impressive (or not) number of followers.
These figures are relevant only to newbies or average marketers. A pro looks at how many clicks you’ve generated to their content.
If your retweets aren’t effective, you might get a thank you for your retweet. Or a fav. But that’s all. You won’t be able to create long lasting relationships with the tweeps that matter and can really help your own social media marketing.
Now let’s see how effective (actually ineffective) Twitter’s native retweet is…
1. Twitter’s Retweets Emphasize Irrelevant Pieces of Information
What’s the common behavior of the followers who read your tweets? They open a home feed or a list feed and they scan it. No one reads all the tweets unless they follow a few people and aren’t very busy. Most of the followers scan the feeds.
When someone scans a long piece of text (a salesletter for example, or a social network news feed), attention grabbing things are very important. A nice and big image, the picture of someone they know and like, some bolded text, etc.
Well… If you retweet using Twitter’s button…
… the retweet doesn’t include your profile picture (someone your followers may know), but the picture of the original tweep (someone your followers may NOT know). The name of the original tweep is bolded – emphasized, while your name is the least visible piece of text.
Unless the original tweep is a very known name or brand, most of your followers get in front of their eyes irrelevant pieces of information. For example, I have no clue who that “Abundance Marketing” is, and that profile picture is like a blank piece of paper to me.
So… when I scan a tweet like the one shown above, I see nothing. The bolded text and the picture didn’t grab my attention. What will I do? I’ll keep scanning the next tweets. Nothing got my attention.
2. Twitter’s Native Retweets Cannot Be Modified
If there’s a typo, you cannot edit it. If there’s no hashtag, you cannot add one. If there are too many hashtags, you cannot remove some of them. If you want to add a comment or a recommendation, you cannot do it.
Not being able to edit the original tweet is a big minus.
Update – April 7, 2015: Twitter has just updated its Retweet button and now the users can add their comments to the retweets. While several disadvantages mentioned above disappeared, the new Retweet with Comment reduces drastically the potential viral power of a tweet. So it’s even worse than the regular native retweet.
3. No Separate Tracking for the Links from the Native Retweets
If you retweet using Twitter’s button, you can’t track the result of your retweet (the no. of clicks). That’s not a tragedy, is it? However, what is even worse is that the original poster cannot track your results either.
In its Analytics section, Twitter says, “Connect with influencers. Find out which accounts are already impacting traffic to your website and start a conversation with them.”
That’s a good piece of advice. But the truth is that no matter how many impressions and clicks your native retweet generated, Twitter will not mention you in the original poster’s Influencers section from Twitter Analytics for Twitter Cards.
Why is that? Because when you retweet using Twitter’s button you don’t generate another tweet with another t.co trackable link. Your results are added to and considered the original poster’s results.
What is even more frustrating is retweeting a manual retweet. In that case, your results are assigned to the person who manually retweeted.
You don’t like it, do you?
4. Your Followers Can Turn off Your Native Retweets
I don’t know whether you knew it or not, but the fact is that your followers can turn off your retweets. Twitter’s native retweets, not the manual retweets.
You’re not notified. You don’t know how many followers already turned off your retweets.
“Turn off Retweets” is an effective weapon against chronic retweeters and makes their retweets pretty useless.
Even if you’re not such a chronic retweeter (trying to rock social media in 30 minutes a day without automation tools), don’t think that you’re safe. Some people don’t like their feed cluttered by content actually posted by tweeps they never followed. And they may use “Turn off Retweets”.
5. Twitter Hides Some Native Retweets (Unofficial Piece of Info)
I didn’t find this piece of information anywhere on Twitter’s website, but somehow it makes sense:
If you follow John and Peter and they both retweet the same tweet posted by Mary, then Mary’s tweet won’t be displayed twice in your home feed. Therefore the potential reach of Mary’s tweet is diminished by this algorithm.
Since this isn’t official, take it with a grain of salt ;-)
Whether you like it or not, there’s only one possible conclusion …
The native retweet is the quickest way to share someone else’s content, but it’s the least effective type of retweet.
So if you really want to build valuable connections on Twitter in order to improve your own marketing results, don’t use that retweet button so frequently. The manual retweets are way more effective.
To Your Twitter Marketing Success!
P.S. Your turn. What’s your usual way to retweet? Why do you use it? Did you ever consider the cons shown above?
P.P.S. Follow me on Twitter for more interesting internet marketing tips & news.