Twitter Etiquette for Your Business: Retweeting and Responding

Last year, I introduced you to using Twitter for your business, and this year Twitter has gained even more popularity. If you’re not tweeting, you are missing out on a valuable opportunity to connect with your customers. (I said “customers” because whether you are just blogging for love, or making stuff to sell, or whatever your objective for being online is, someone has to be buying what you’re selling, even if what you’re selling is free!)

Okay, so you have a Twitter account and you know how to use it. As an intermediate Twitter user, there are things you should know about interacting with your tweeps (that’s Twitter slang for your friends on Twitter). These suggestions apply to your personal tweets as well as tweets for your business.


Thanks for the RT: When someone retweets you, it’s nice to thank them if you get a chance. This isn’t required, but it builds goodwill and encourages others to RT you.

DM your thanks: It’s okay to thank one or two people in a row, but if you are going to post 45 “thanks for the RT” tweets in a row, you should Direct Message (DM) the ones you can. (You can only DM people who you subscribe to who also subscribe to you.) Your other readers don’t want to wade through a huge stream of repetitive tweets from you.

Comment with your RT: If you have room, include a short comment on why you are retweeting. Something like

great tutorial! RT @dollarcraft How to Make a Beaded Chandelier

is fine, but a more specific comment is even better. How about

so Anthropologie! RT @dollarcraft How to Make a Beaded Chandelier

RT whenever you want: Retweeting good links, info, or amusing content is fine. If you’re a good curator, your readers will value your retweets.

But don’t only RT: People follow your Twitter account because they want to get to know you. Don’t just regurgitate other people’s content. It’s okay to share good tweets from others, but be sure to create your own good tweets, too.

It’s okay to ask people to RT: Adding “Please RT” is a proven way to get people to retweet, but only ask people to RT if you want the info to be spread for a good reason.

Good reasons: time-sensitive info (like a contest at your blog), public service announcement (this weekend’s food drive), promoting someone else (“read Laura’s story about meeting her birth mother!”).

Saying you just posted something new at Etsy and asking people to RT is tacky. Posting a link about a Meals on Wheels statistic and asking for RTs is fine.

Make it easy to RT — keep it short: You only have 140 characters available in your tweet, and your username takes up some of those characters if people want to retweet you. Leave them enough room by keeping your tweets even shorter. If you are sharing a URL, be sure to use a URL shortening service like


This is probably my biggest personal pet issue on Twitter:

Give a clue: When you respond to someone’s tweet, include some kind of identifying information about what you’re responding to. Do you know what this tweet means?

@dollarcraft I love it!

Neither does your friend when you send a reply like that (especially if hours pass between when you send it and she reads it). Improve your response tweet by restating something from the original tweet (the thing that prompted you to reply in the first place is the best option).

@dollarcraft Thanks for sharing your chandelier. I love it!

It’s even better to include a link to the original tweet, or the link within the original tweet. In the last example, I could have added the URL that pointed toward the chandelier so people reading my tweets could follow along.

@dollarcraft Thanks for sharing your chandelier. I love it!

The ability to respond to someone else’s tweet is one of the great things about Twitter — it gives you a way to connect with people. When you combine a response with a retweet (by including the original URL), you add even more value to your tweet. This allows that focused tweet to reach more people.


About Croq

CROQ Zine is a print zine devoted to hip crafting and indie business. Our first issue went to print in Summer 2005.
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