Ten Ways to Be Retweetable

If You Want to be Retweeted, Be Retweet-able

It never ceases to amaze me how technology cripples our ability to communicate.

(Wait. What?)

Yes, you would think it should be the opposite.

This post lists ways to remind you that you are still a human being even when you have a computer in your pocket.

1. Stop Tweeting from Facebook

Yes. Automation. Specifically, “Tweeting from Facebook” is very easy and popular. But is it the best way to get your message out on Twitter? I say no.

(Save your outcry for politicians or the comment section.)

Listen, I’ve been tweeting since 2007. I’ve seen a lot of new people take up Twitter lately, thinking it will give them instant results like the promise of Sea Monkeys on the back of cereal boxes.

You don’t build relationships by pushing buttons.

I always tell people, just because you “can” doesn’t mean you “should.”

I see a lot of tweets from Facebook. They often lack context, relevance, or even text (yes, when you post a photo on Facebook it “tweets” a link – just a link).

However, if your tweet is a fragment of a long, run-on sentence which, out of context, makes no sense, then people will ignore it in their feed.

Not only that, but when on my mobile device, why should I have to go to Facebook to see your photo? Or go through Facebook just to go to the original link?

The biggest argument I encounter to this advice is “I don’t have time.”

It takes all of forty seconds to copy the text and paste it into Twitter. It might take a minute to upload a photo to Twitter. You’ll have to edit the tweet, too. But you do have time.

You don’t book U2 for a coffee house; consider the fact that certain venues are appropriate for different styles of communication.

Also, it looks like you don’t know what you’re doing. (Yes, I said it.)

Even Carol Stephen, the nicest lady on the internet, said,

“One post across all platforms seems lazy.”

I realize your feelings are hurt, but is this what you want people to think about you and your personal or business brand? The best-case scenario is that people just think you are lazy. I’d say the advice is more important than your feelings.

Yes, it is possible to manage your Twitter account with a minimum of five minutes a day. If you don’t have a lot of followers (10,000), this is achievable.

2. Tweet more than once a day.

Do you really think people are going to actually go to your Twitter profile every day? I hate to disappoint you, but they will not. Do you?

They might go check out your profile when they decide to follow you. Otherwise, they will, most likely, never see it again. Make sure it’s compelling enough that people will follow you.

(See: Baby Steps to the Tweet)

3. Use Hashtags.

Politicians can use their office as a hashtag, businesses can use their industries, people can use their hobbies, etc. This is a great way to find like-minded people.

Don’t go hog-wild. Three hashtags per tweet (max) is a good rule of thumb. Otherwise, you not only look like spam, but your tweet is difficult to read.

Set up a search for that hashtag and use a column-format platform to take advantage of this like Hootsuite or Tweetdeck. (This is also good for the lists you make, but that’s another blog post.)

(See: What is a Hashtag?)

4. Thank the people that retweet you.

What a concept. Sure, it takes work to do this. Don’t retweet their retweet. Just reply to them and say “Thank you.”

Expressions of gratitude are how people will become endeared to you. Don’t you like to be thanked?

5. Retweet other people.

Yes, it’s social media and reciprocation is part of the unspoken rules of anything social whether it’s online or in person. Think about it for a moment.

If you’re a pastor, retweet other pastors.

If you’re a business, (follow and) retweet similar industries, even competitors.

If you’re a politician, (follow and) retweet other politicians that are tweeting. (Specific advice – click here.)

The retweet can include a reply like this:

Bottom line:

Regardless of your industry, brand, or organization: show some support to your peers. My friend Amy Donohue always says: “It is called social media for a reason, people.”

6. Make the tweet 120 characters or less.

Yes, some of us still “old school retweet.” It’s a good way to reply with context. Admittedly, this is highly debated. (@UnMarketing, for example, prefers replies.)

I like to mix up replies and retweets. However, there are stats out there that the shorter the tweet, the more likely people will engage.

Do some of your own experimenting.

(See: Marketing Week “Keep tweets short to boost engagement“)

7. Content is king.

Content matters. You have it, you probably just don’t realize it yet.

(See: “Content, Just Elbow Your Way In“)

8. Grammar Matters

Whether it’s the text of the tweet or the blog you’re posting grammar matters. If you want to be seen as a professional, you have to be professional.

If you can’t remember the difference between homophones, for example, either put a sticky note by your computer or avoid the expression. For example, instead of typing, “You’re welcome,” you can say “sure thing” or “no problem” or “anytime.”

(See” Copyblogger’s 15 Grammatical Errors That Make You Look Silly and 10 Grammar Mistakes that Can Keep Your Content from Spreading)

If, however, I feel that the tweet is too good to pass up, I will correct the grammar before retweeting. This is another reason why I prefer old-school RT’s over the “retweet button.”

9. End the Mindless Repetition

Okay, you understand that no one on the face of this planet has bookmarked your Twitter page and so you want to get your message out. That’s good. But it can’t be the only thing you tweet. Think about it for a moment.

Go sign into Twitter, not a third-party app, Twitter.com. Look at your profile. Would you honestly follow yourself? That’s a good indicator of how you should modify your Tweeting behavior.

10. Shorten Your Links

Bitly.com shortens links as does Hootsuite.com.

With this, I add the advice to check your links (to make sure they work) before tweeting. This is especially important when recycling tweets.


As with most of my advice, it comes from the perspective of a user and enthusiast. You can check out my “street cred” and decide for yourself.

I double-dog dare you to change your tweeting habits for one or two weeks. I believe the proof of the pudding is the eating.

(My favorite tool to see popular retweets is Crowdbooster.)

24 responses to “Ten Ways to Be Retweetable”

  1. Hi Bridget,

    As a twitter geek, I really enjoyed reading this post. In fact, the best part was this:

    “I realize your feelings are hurt but is this what you want people to think about you and your personal or business brand? The best case scenario is that people just think you are lazy. I’d say the advice is more important than your feelings.”

    I couldn’t have said it better. Just recently, I was trying to give a friend twitter advice and to my surprise, she got hurt. I’ve been meaning to write a blog post myself on “Everything I’ve learnt about twitter” or “How to make twitter work for you” because I’m tired of seeing people and organizations I care about using the tool all wrong. I do some social media consulting, but I think a blog post [via http://zerobyzawadi.com] would help get my “unsolicited advice” to a much larger audience. I find great tips here and there, but I haven’t found 1 comprehensive list, which I imagine would be quite long. Have you?


    @Zawadin (my personal tweets)
    @ZeroByZawadi (my biz tweets – An African Yoga-Inspired Social Enterprise)

  2. I am new to Twitter and had a prominent person as my first follow, then a few others, then I made a comment that generated some racial hate replies and I lost my mind and Tweeted some things that lost some followers and it hurt .. so I was out looking for just this, advice on Twitter etiquette, do and do not and I found it in spades, Thank You so much and I to have your blog bookmarked as I see there is much more to read.
    Thank You so very much,
    Most Sincerely

  3. On tweet lengths, I’ve heard (but I don’t remember the sources) the make-or-break point for potential retweets is 100 characters. So, I aim to stop tweets with 40 characters left. That includes all text, including a link. Lately, trying to be more visual, I’ve made an exception for photos. I still try to keep the text at not more than 100 characters, but the photo link might knock the remaining character count down to 17, give or take. Otherwise, the tweet would be little more than this: See cute puppies | #adorable [story link] [photo link]. Then again, I guess cute puppies will get retweets at any length.