Headline Tip #12: Retweet to Go Forward

by Wes Hanson on May 1, 2012

Social media is not a monologue you broadcast from on high, or even a dialogue. That’s so old media. Social media is conversational, a multi-logue.

As in any social setting, what goes around comes around. Therefore don’t neglect to bring attention to other people’s worthy content on Twitter via retweets.

“Retweet” is not an Elmer Fudd pronunciation of retreat. It’s a way of moving the conversation forward by recommending someone else’s tweets (“retweeting”).

Retweeting helps you build your own Twitter following because people are always looking for guides in the forbidding vastness of the internet. They value info sherpas who can scale forbidding mountains of content and come back with helpful recommendations on the best trails to follow. That can be you (or people working on your behalf). You can train people to value your editorial judgment, and they will reward you with their attention and engagement (which includes retweets).

You can further leverage your reputation as an astute editorial curator by retweeting with your own headline – that is, don’t just pass along someone else’s tweet if it doesn’t sell the content. Many people write terrible, nondescriptive headlines, but the content of the article or blog post itself might be worthwhile. Do the original author and your following a favor by writing a NEW headline in your retweet. The resulting appreciation will gain you adherents who’ll retweet YOU.

Another word of advice: beware over-doing the hashtags in your tweeted, or re-tweeted, headlines. Too many hashtags junk up a headline and make it look confusing, even spammy. If there is room, favor adding a hashtag to the end of your tweet instead of the middle of the headline itself. (A hashtag mark – # — put in front of a word or term in a tweet makes it searchable in Twitter. A search for #occupywallstreet, for example, would turn up every mention in the Twittersphere using that exact hashtag-denoted phrase.)

In all cases, remember that the headline is an advertisement, and an advertisement is a promise. In exchange for your reader’s attention, you’re promising to deliver valuable content. So do that.


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