Twitter's New Retweet Feature Makes Quality, Unique Content Even More Important for Marketers

by Pamela Vaughan

Date

November 19, 2009 at 1:59 PM

Twitter sure has been busy lately.  First, Twitter lists .  Now they've recently rolled out their new Retweet function to a beta group of users, making it easier to regurgitate others' tweets.  The feature was rolled out to me today, but after testing it out I've started questioning, Does the new feature enhance or diminish the quality of the retweet?

Explanation of Retweet Features:

The following is Twitter's example of a retweet.  Retweets appear in a user's timeline as the original tweet with a note below indicating the user (the person you're following) who retweeted it:

Twitter Retweet Introduction

Here's an example of a retweet that appeared in my timeline.  Note that I am not following @Charwebmktg , but the tweet appeared because @SESConf , who I am following, retweeted it. See also Twitter's explanation bubble:

Twitter Retweet Example

On your Twitter sidebar, you'll notice a new option under your Favorites called "Retweets." Clicking this will show you three different tabbed options: Retweets by others, Retweets by you and Your tweets, retweeted.

Twitter Retweet Tab

You'll also notice that when you're on the page of a user you're following, you have the option of turning on/off the ability to see that user's retweets.  The feature is on when the arrowed icon appears highlighted in green. To turn it off, click the icon so it isn't highlighted:

Twitter Retweet Following

Reactions from the Twitterati:

One of my personal gripes about the new Retweet feature is the inability to add a personal touch to the tweet I'm re-posting.  When a user presses the Retweet button, the tweet is re-posted verbatim, with no opportunity to disagree or add any personal flavor.  After voicing my opinion on Twitter, I noticed that I'm not the only one who feels this way .

Among other issues, users are also concerned about the seeming invasion of their Twitter stream from users they aren't following, since retweets appear with the avatar of the user who originally posted it, not the user you're following who retweeted it.

So What Does This Mean for Marketing?

Perhaps the biggest implication of the new Retweet function from a marketing perspective is the increased importance of creating quality, unique tweets that others will want to retweet.  Because retweets are associated with the original user, that user who originated the tweet will have more widespread reach and visibility via the Twitter timelines of others who may not be following them.  

What is your opinion of the new feature?  Will it change the way people tweet?  Because most of the credit is given to the tweet's originator, does it take away from the power of the recommendation?

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