Twitter’s New ReTweet Feature: Opportunity & Challenge

As a social media enthusiast and a professional, I wear two hats. My social media enthusiast hat looks like a Kentucky Derby hat, wide-brimmed and decked out in feathers and glitter. I wear this hat when I get excited about a new feature, a new redesign, a new algorithm change, etc. My social media professional hat is very different. It looks more like an Agent Carter hat. Sleek, red and proper. I wear this hat as a marketer, when I look at how to capitalize on that new feature, redesign or algorithm change to get my company’s/client’s message out.

Twitter’s new ReTweet functionality is a wonderful thing when I wear my fancy enthusiast hat, but a little frustrating when I’m sporting my professional hat.

“What is this new functionality?” you ask.

Before, if you wanted to ReTweet (RT) someone else’s post while adding your own thoughts, you had to scrunch it into the few characters that were left from the original Tweet. Let’s say the original Tweet was 100 characters. When you RT, you would allot room for the @Handle and the letters RT, which would probably leave you with 5-10 characters to insert your brilliance. If you were lucky. Or, you’d have to make a Modified Tweet (MT) where you would re-write the original Tweet, leaving out some of the juicy goodness to give you a few more precious characters.

Now, Twitter allows you to add 116 characters of your genius opinion, embedding the original Tweet. This way, Tweeple can see the full original post and the fullness of your opinion at the same time.

To get this functionality to appear, click the ReTweet symbol under a Tweet and choose “Quote Tweet.” or add your comment in the “Add a comment” field. (You can still opt to to a straight RT, but this option now won’t allow you to add any commentary.)

It looks something like this:



“What is bad about that?” you might say. “I think it’s brilliant!”

When I’m all decked out in my enthusiast hat, I see the opportunity. I love the ability to add more thought leadership when ReTweeting content. Eventually, though, in order to earn a paycheck, I must don my marketer hat.

In my marketer hat, first I notice that a perfectly Twitter-sized, landscape-oriented graphic, (1024×512) has now become a square, cutting off the edges. So glad I spent all that time on finding/creating the perfect visual. Sigh.

Next, I notice that the links in the original Tweet aren’t clickable from the RT. Now, I CAN click on the embedded image of the original Tweet and be taken back to the original Tweet, where the link is clickable. However, that breaks every marketing rule ever about cutting out the number of clicks until you get to the meaty content. If you loose about 50% of your audience with each click, as a marketer, now I worry that fewer people will get to my content.

My biggest pain point, however, is that my analytics are totally screwed. An auto RT, or one that doens’t have any commentary is the only thing that shows up as a RT. So when I look at the very smart and engaging Tweets I post, suddenly, they seem less smart and engaging, because the number next to that RT button are down significantly. However, my notifications are increasing, because RTs that include commentary show as a notification.

As of right now, I can’t find a way in my metrics, whether it be through Sprinklr, Simply Measured or directly in Twitter analytics to see how the engagement on my posts is affected. From a glance, looking at the numbers under each Tweet (my old “quick” way) it seems like engagement is down. But if I manually check notifications against those under-Tweet numbers, engagement seems steady or up. My challenge is that it’s MANUAL.


So this is where I turn the tables, and ask my fellow social media managers:

How are you adapting your metrics to accommodate this change?

School me in comments, please. Meanwhile, back to looking at hats.

Article originally posted to LinkedIn by Carmen Collins (CLAS ’94)


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