One of the key characteristics I (and many other Twitter users) use when determining whether I should follow someone back on Twitter is the level of interaction in their tweet stream. Do they ask questions? Answer them? And most importantly, do they ever retweet others’ content?
Now virtually every blogger and business user on Twitter tweets their own content, and there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that—it’s one of the strengths of the platform. But Twitter is a social tool, not a broadcasting medium. Tweeting only their own stuff makes a person look like one of those cocktail party boors who only want to talk about themselves. More often than not, they end up talking only to themselves.
Retweeting is a key part of the social interaction on Twitter. Here are five great reasons to share content posted by others.
1. It helps those you retweet. Retweeting provides others with both social (“nice work!”) benefits as well as the practical benefit of driving more traffic to their content. It’s a nice thing to do, and (usually) appreciated.
2. It helps your followers. Tweeting and retweeting interesting and valuable content from social media influencers helps those who follow you. When you help your follows discover new knowledge and information, you become a valued information source and build trust.
3. It generates more retweets for you. Others are more likely to retweet your content when they view you as someone trying to share helpful content with the community rather than just broadcasting your own material.
4. It makes others more likely to follow you. People want to be retweeted. Having retweets and other interaction in your tweetstream makes you a much more attractive person/entity to follow than someone whose tweets are one-way and obviously done on auto pilot.
5. It gets you more #FollowFriday recommendations. For all of the reasons above, retweeting makes others more likely to recommend you to their followers, which in turn grows your following.
It all comes down to the “social” in social media; people value tools like Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook for the interaction with like-minded individuals they provide. Those who focus on “broadcasting” only their own content through these media tend to be shunned or ignored. Conversely, those who interact and add value grow their networks, influence and trust over time. Sometimes the best way to advance in social media is to retweet.