The Art of the RT

“Social media is all about exchanging resources, be it knowledge or tangible goods. And notice how I didn’t say “big egos” — if you’re going to be a social media rockstar, you may very well have a big ego! I’ve a fave saying: If I’m good, it’s because I’ve made you better. “ Torley Wong

What does that mean exactly and how does it apply to the Art of the RT? This post isn’t just about the “RT” or re-tweeting for you non-tweeters. Actually, it lies deep within the underlying purpose of the RT and what should be your focus in social networking, helping each other. The first question a good networker asks, whether offline or on, is “how can I help this person?”

When retweeting a post on Twitter you are doing it for one (or two) of three reasons.

  1. You liked the content and you think your followers would benefit from the content
  2. You want to support the person who tweeted the information
  3. You’ve got nothing original to say and need help filling up your Twitter quota for the day

First two reasons to RT, very acceptable and recommended. Number 3, not so good. My number one reason for unfollowing someone is if all they do is RT other people’s stuff. See my prior post on 7 Sure Fire Ways to Lose Followers on Twitter.

The motivation to retweet should be to Help and be helpful. You are helping your followers by sharing information you think they will like and you are helping someone you follow by sharing their information with the rest of your followers. It’s a sure fire way to make friends. And as Jeffrey Gitomer author of Little Black Book of Connections says, “All things being equal, people want to do business with their friends. All things being not quite so equal, people STILL want to do business with their friends.”

Here is a business that in my opinion has got this Twitter friendship thing down. John Knoeppel of the new Best Buy opening in Eatontown. @EatontownBB. This location won’t be open until October 24th (notice how I know this already) however, John is already well on his way to networking with people in the area and he’s doing it the right way. He’s connecting, he’s helping and he’s getting others to help him in return. When you look at his timeline you’ll notice many conversations with other Twitter users and many RT’s. John is passing on information, prayer requests, etc. In exchange John gets many of his Tweets, RT’d in return. He is currently using Twitter to not only build up buzz and brand loyalty but to fill 140 open positions before October 24th. I personally feel connected to a retail store that hasn’t even opened yet. How strange is that? As we know, it’s the person we are connecting with and there in lies the power of social media. If a business does it right.

So, here are my 5 Tips on how to Keep the Ego in Check and You out of Trouble on Twitter

1. Ditch the auto reply to new followers. The “Thank you for Following check out my website, blog, whatever” is blatant spam and instantly annoys your new follower.

2. If you are going to send a genuine “thank you for following” reply, do not make it about you. Check out your new follower’s blog or website or profile and make a positive comment or suggest another follower that might be beneficial to them. Sometimes, if they are very new to Twitter I’ll give them a tip on how to finish their profile.

3. Do not, and we all should know this by now, use Twitter as a one way street for “It’s all about me” posts. Engage with your followers, ask questions, offer answers, say Thank You for RT’s and offer up your followers on Follow Friday.

4. Lighten up. Humor is very engaging. (No off color jokes obviously) Showing your sense of humor will connect you with your followers on a much deeper level. It makes you human and not just another information machine.

5. Take special care of your “advocates.” Once you’ve developed that online network of helpful friends, be sure to keep up with them. Use a contact management system to sort your advocates into their own special group so you won’t miss the opportunity to help them out with an RT or answer to their question.

Those are my 5 tips on keeping it real in the Twitterverse. Wouldn’t it be lovely if everyone made helping their first priority? Geez, all of a sudden, I want to by everyone a coke.