Twitter Executive Branding Strategy: The Beauty of a Retweet

by Meg Guiseppi on March 8, 2011

RETWEET @josef (Experiment) Does your executive job search brand communications plan include Twitter? If you’re not on Twitter because you don’t think you’ll have time to come up with enough quality tweets, reconsider.

I’m about to explain how you can leverage the value of Twitter with very little time and effort.

If you are on Twitter, what do your tweets look like? Are they mostly about what you had for lunch or what movie you saw last night or how lousy the weather is in your area?

Sprinkling in some of those kinds of tweets is okay, but for the most part, you should focus on reinforcing your brand and ROI value in tweets that will resonate with your target audience.

If you’re active on Twitter or want to be, and need help creating good tweets, you need a retweet (RT) strategic plan.

Even if you do nothing else on Twitter, posting relevant retweets can be a powerful way to build brand evangelism, a quality Twitter following, and get on the radar of people you want to rub elbows with, such as subject matter experts in your niche and hiring decision makers at companies you’re targeting in job search.

First, gather up a long list of people to retweet. Who are these people? Colleagues, industry thought leaders, and CEOs and other C-level executives at your target companies, to name a few. Search for them on Twitter, follow them and retweet them. More about this in my post, Twitter Turbocharges Executive Job Search and Personal Brand Visibility.

Break up the long list into various categories to help you prioritize and manage your retweet strategy. One category should be your favorite go-to people (those you can always count on for a good tweet)

Use Tweetdeck or another Twitter app to help you organize and manage your lists.

Create several Twitter lists (see the “Lists” tab on your Twitter page), broken into your various categories.

Here’s some advice on how to retweet well and get more retweets, from the people at Twitter, social media strategists and me:

Twitter describes the mechanics of retweeting simply:

  1. Hover over a Tweet
  2. Click the retweet link, highlighted below
  3. The Tweet will then be forwarded to all of your followers

And where to find retweets:

  • Click the “Retweets” tab on your homepage to see what you’ve retweeted, what’s been retweeted by people you follow, and who retweeted your Tweets! The following items appear in a drop-down menu. Click one of them to see results.
  • Retweets by others: read the retweets posted by people you follow under the first tab, ‘Retweets by others.’
  • Retweets by you: read your own retweets- it’s like the sent items in your email account. If others have also retweeted, you’ll see their profile icons listed.
  • Your Tweets, retweeted: find out who retweets your tweets!

Check out Ruhani Rabin’s (@ruhanirabin) excellent post, Secrets of How to ReTweet Effectively Better, for more on the basics.

His post covers the bases so well, Twitter refers to it in their Official Twitter FAQs.

Here are some of my own “give to get” retweet strategies:

Keep your retweets consistent with your brand and ROI value. That doesn’t mean you can’t RT off-topics and humorous tidbits.

Don’t automatically retweet something containing a link without first checking it, to make sure it’s not a bad link and doesn’t lead somewhere you don’t really want to send people.

Structure your original tweets so that they’re short enough to allow for more than one retweet by others, without alteration.

As a thank you to new followers whom you may or may not follow back, find a tweet of theirs to RT.

Take the time to tweet a thank you to people who RT you, even if you’re not the tweet originator.

It’s always nice to include your own brief supportive comment with a re-tweet that’s exceptional. If you’re having a hard time generating conversation on Twitter, retweeting in this way will help.

Boost a Twitter newbie by checking in on them from time to time and retweeting their relevant tweets.

Don’t change the wording of the original tweet, except to abbreviate for space.

However, use abbreviations sparingly. A jumble of single letters and numbers can be confounding and doesn’t give a professional impression.

If a good retweet doesn’t mention the original author, take the time to track them down and give them attribution with an @mention.

If you’re not already following someone you want to retweet, coincide retweeting with following them. Sometimes this gets their attention. But realize that some popular Twitter folks don’t want to follow a lot of people, so they may never follow you back.

Retweeting using the retweet button many websites have installed makes it easy to support the writer. But sometimes they haven’t customized the plug-in to include their @username in the RT, or the generated tweet includes the website name making the RT too long, or a guest writer wrote the post, but the author isn’t given attribution in the generated retweet. Take a few moments to restructure and tweak the RT to fix it.

Use hashtags in your RTs when you can. Read BenParr’s (@BenParr) HOW TO: Get the Most Out of Twitter #Hashtags, at @mashable for all the skinny.

Want to boost your chances of being retweeted yourself? See Dan Zarrella’s 5 Proven Ways to Get Retweeted.

Related posts:

10 Ways I Use Twitter to Build My Personal Brand

Does Your Twitter Bio Pack an Executive Brand Punch?

14 Reasons I Won’t Follow You On Twitter

photo by Josef Dunne

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Meg Guiseppi April 7, 2011 at 4:45 pm

Hey Ed,

Thanks for commenting and retweeting.

Limiting tweets to 120 characters (or maybe a little less) is a great practice. I like to leave plenty of room for one or two further retweets. And some people’s twitter handles take up a lot of those characters!


2 Ed Han April 7, 2011 at 4:14 pm

Meg, superb tips & I especially appreciate your discussion of ideal tweet length. In the HireFriday community, I generally recommend that people use 120 characters as a limit: that seems to work for a lot of folks.

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