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From the blog

You Retweet Too Much

For those of you that don’t know it (or haven’t figured it out by now), one of my hobbies is social media.  I find it to be an excellent way to communicate with people around the world and an innovative tool that churches and ministries should utilize.  With social media, there are certain “dos” and “don’ts” that people should follow.  Those who don’t follow these best practices often find themselves loosing followers, receiving less views, or having a slowdown in engagement.

One of the things I’ve noticed recently is the amount of things people retweet.  You may call this passive-aggressive “calling out” of those people/organizations, but something needs to be said regarding this: you retweet too much!  You know who these people are.  When you open your Twitter feed and see 10-20 retweeted posts by the same person, but because it shows the picture of the person they retweeted, you think that it’s something from one of your followers.  The worst is when that person retweets multiple times about the same exact thing such as a news article, video, or event.

I’m not against retweeting, but like a lot of things, it must be done in moderation.  When I see a bunch of clumped retweets, I know that person or organization just logged on to Twitter and started retweeting everything they thought was good.  It shows that they are not using any sort of social media organization platform such as Hootsuite or Sprout Social to organize their tweets and posts (or not using it effectively).  For a larger impact, you should spread out your retweets so as not to overwhelm your readers.  If you find something you really want to retweet, you can favorite it so that you can go back, find it, and retweet it.  Some social media organization platforms allow you to schedule out retweets as well so that you can have it go out later in the day or week.  Instead of having one big clump of retweets (which most people get tired of reading and just scroll past), spread things out for a more broad impact.

You should also be very selective about what you retweet.  Don’t feel that you need to or have an obligation to retweet everything that you think is good.  As part of a social media plan, you may want to limit yourself to 3-5 retweets a day (depending on your social media use and impact).  That’s what’s great about social media: it’s okay to be selective and picky.  If you find something later in the day that you really want to retweet, but you have exceeded your self-allotted retweets, save it for tomorrow.  You have the freedom and flexibility to do that.

Like every good thing, there are exceptions.  When live events are taking place (such as a conference), it is more acceptable to be retweeting more at one set period of time.  I did this with Moody’s Missions Conference this past October.  The important thing is that you don’t retweet the same quote or a similar post – pick one person and retweet them.  Also, remain mindful of what those not in attendance might think of all your retweeting.

Retweeting should not replace one-on-one engagement with your followers.  Many people think that if they like a tweet they should retweet it.  Instead, you can always favorite a tweet or reply to it and give them good feedback.  This shows that you are reading their content and genuinely care about it.  Retweeting is more about sharing their content than it is about agreeing with or (to use the Facebook term) “liking” their tweet.

While this does apply to individuals, corporations need to pay specific attention to this.  There is no excuse for big corporations to be retweeting so much – it usually points to unorganization in social media practices from the corporation.  Social media on a large scale is not just a “click and go” sort of thing.  It takes planning and strategy to make your social media effective.  Even in ministry, your social media presence needs to be planned out to best reach those you need to reach and to communicate well.

About the author
Blake Fewell
Blake Fewell is a Salvation Army Lieutenant serving as the Corps Officer in Marion, IN. He grew up in Rockford, IL attending The Salvation Army all his life. Blake is passionate about Salvation Army theology and ministry. Other passions include running, brass band music, social media, reading, writing, and preaching. He holds a Bachelor's degree in systematic theology from the Moody Bible Institute in Chicago, IL and is working towards his Master's degree at Olivet Nazarene University in Bourbonnais, IL.