The DO’S and DON’TS for retweets

Posted March 10, 2016 in by

When using a Twitter account that serves a purpose other than personal whims, trying to decide how to approach retweeting can be challenging. Before we get into do’s and don’ts, let’s talk about some of the benefits.

First, what can retweeting do for you?

Retweeting is a great way to gain visibility by thought leaders and can make you or your business seem like you’re plugged into the latest and greatest from your industry. Many people thank people for retweets (I’ll go into this deeper later), so this could put you on their radar and get you some new followers. It’s important to note that a retweet will probably not get you as much attention as a mention (@). Accounts with large followings tend to check their mentions more than their retweets.

Do you find yourself occasionally short on content ideas? Another reason retweeting could be good for your Twitter strategy is that a retweet lets you put something out there without having to write a blog post yourself.

Second, what does getting retweeted do for you? Getting retweeted is great for exposure. In fact, how often you’re retweeted can signify how influential you are on Twitter. It will expose you to the person’s or people’s followers that may never have heard of you before. (Cross your fingers they have followers—and a lot of them.) It can also establish you as a thought leader. Constantly getting retweets for original content may mean that many people find what you have to say valuable.

So, now that you know the benefits of retweets, let’s talk about how to execute retweeting correctly. Before we get started, know that I am of the mindset that there are no hard and fast rules for social media. So, most of these are guidelines rather than rules.



  1. Add comments: People are probably following you because they want hear what you have to say. So, adding your thoughts would be valuable from the standpoint of answering the question, “Why does he/she want me to read/know this?”
  2. Thank with purpose: Thanking someone for a retweet and adding to the conversation can be a way to start a conversation with someone, which could get you a larger following and more engagement. (Example: @ErvinandSmith, thanks for the retweet! What did you like about the article?)
  3. Track or measure: Tracking your retweets is a good idea, because it ties into influence. Knowing how many impressions your tweets got can tell you a lot about the content that your audience is interested in, what they don’t care about and how much influence you have on a particular topic.
  4. Add hashtags: If you’re going to retweet someone and add a comment, in my opinion, the same rules apply as they would to an actual tweet. Use a relevant hashtag or two. This can help amplify your, and the original tweeter’s, message or accounts.
  5. Ask for retweets: Do this, but do it sparingly. Always asking your followers for something can turn them off. However, according to Social Media Examiner, Salesforce reports that asking for a retweet resulted in 12 times more retweets.
  6. Retweet reputable sources: While content from nonreputable sources might seem fun to post or falls in line with your personal or professional beliefs, the fact of the matter is, this content isn’t trustworthy. If what is included in the tweet isn’t true, you could lose credibility, and it probably isn’t worth posting.


  1. Thank just to thank: Thanking someone for a retweet just to say thank you may seem polite but could actually be seen as an annoyance to your followers and can gunk up your profile timeline with unnecessary clutter. (Example: @ErvinandSmith Thanks for the retweet!)
  2. Retweet too much: This is just annoying. Only retweet something that will provide value to your followers. What is too much? HooteSuite recommends no more than 20 percent of your posts should be retweets. If you’re losing followers and don’t know why, maybe you’re tweeting too much. One thing is sure: Your original tweets should outweigh your retweets.
  3. Retweet without reading the article: In the event that your retweet contains a link, do not retweet it without reading the article. I know it seems kind of like a no-brainer, but it can lead to some embarrassment. Maybe the title of the article is misleading, and you end up promoting something you didn’t realize you are promoting, or maybe it’s inappropriate or spam. Simply take the time to read the entire article if you’re going to promote it.

Is there anything that bothers you when you see retweets? Things you always do when retweeting? If so, share it with us below!

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