The short answer is: never. But, as with anything social media-related, this rule can be bent and broken with a little know-how. Thanking someone for their retweet is a sticky issue on Twitter, but we’ve got some advice if you want to acknowledge those loyal followers who consistently share your stuff.
You have probably seen them before: 140-characters stuffed with @mentions and a brief “Thx 4 RT” at the beginning. These shout-outs are meant to acknowledge the users who have shared, mentioned, or retweeted your posts, and the sentiment is nice – but the practical implications for your followers might not be so nice.
Why thanking for a retweet might put off your followers
Thanking someone for retweeting is usually a pointless exercise. By retweeting, people are sharing your content with their followers, which implies that they find some value in what you tweeted. If you thank them for it, you’re basically thanking someone for finding you interesting – which, I think, makes you slightly less interesting.
Thanking someone for a retweet also leads to your Twitter stream quickly filling up with thanks, which slowly push down the original, insightful and unique content that got you those retweets in the first place. If you thank everyone who retweets you, you’ll alienate those who are following your account closely and you’ll start to see fewer retweets… which means fewer thanks, and, ultimately fewer followers. Not usually a good Twitter goal.
And lastly, you run the risk of forgetting someone in your retweets, which could turn them off. If you’re thanking only a handful of followers, those who you don’t thank might think you didn’t appreciate their retweet. Conversely, if you thank everyone, people might get frustrated with seeing spammy-looking thanks instead of content.
How to thanks for a retweet
Despite all of this, it is sometimes a good idea to thank your followers for a retweet. There are several reasons why you might decide to do this: they added something essential to your original tweet; they are a regular retweeter who gets you lots of retweets from their followers; they helped you raise money or awareness for a charity; or any number of reasons you think that someone truly does deserve to be singled out for their retweeting you.
If you do want to thank someone for a retweet, remember the guiding rule of the Twitterverse: people love tweets that add something of value. So instead of simply saying “thanks for the retweet @so-and-so”, try responding to their retweet.
For instance, you could say whether you agree or disagree with their comment, you could add a new link or insight of your own, or you could say something along the lines of “Thanks for adding to the conversation!” This, at least, is more valuable than a simple “thx”.
But really, the best way you can thank someone for retweeting some of your tweets is by retweeting some of theirs. Remember to add your own insight if you can, and they’ll get the message.