500 million tweets a day make Twitter a gold mine of conversations. But how do brands react when the messages are about them? Should they FAV, RT, or do nothing? That is the question…

The question, “Why do brands Retweet (RT) or favorite a Tweet (FAV)?” is something that bothers a lot of communicators working on social networks. We wanted to know more about Community Managers’ behaviors, so we asked them the question.


But before looking at the results, let’s look at Twitter’s definition of these two types of action.


“What is a favorite?”

”Favorites, represented by a small star icon in a Tweet, are most commonly used when users like a Tweet. Favoriting a Tweet can let the original poster know that you liked their Tweet, or you can save the Tweet for later.” – Twitter Help Center


“What is a Retweet?”

“A Retweet is a re-posting of someone else’s Tweet. Twitter’s Retweet feature helps you and others quickly share that Tweet with all of your followers.

Sometimes people type RT at the beginning of a Tweet to indicate that they are re-posting someone else’s content. This isn’t an official Twitter command or feature, but signifies that they are quoting another user’s Tweet.” – Twitter Help Center

This said, once you know the results of our survey, you will see that the core functions of these two actions have been diverted into quite different uses.

All the answers given here were about responses to positive Tweets.


  • Thanks

88% of the Community Managers surveyed favorite a Tweet to thank its writer.

For CMs, to show that the brand likes and appreciates a tweet is the main use of the famous Twitter star. The brand-client relationship (or rather, the brand account-user account relationship), has become a real need for Twitter users, so it’s quite natural the CMs are going to FAV the user’s Tweet as a way of thanking them for saying something good about the brand.


  • Sharing

16% of those questioned RT to give a message more visibility and make it more prominent. This is the most important function of Retweeting – sharing. The Community Manager may be a creative at heart and up to date with all the news, but there is content out there not written by him which nevertheless merits being seen by his community.


  • Association of ideas

81% RT a Tweet that is favorable to their corporate culture. Twitter is teeming with content so, if someone talks about their brand, Community Managers don’t hesitate to RT, to make the content more easily found for their followers as well as for the Tweet’s writer.


  • Bookmarking

39% use FAV to store the Tweet because, just like the same function on internet navigators, putting something in favorites means it can be looked at later. This is a useful monitoring function, but also useful for reporting because Twitter Analytics only show @mentions.


  • Reacting to an @mention

If a Tweet mentioned them, 16% of community managers would FAV it, and 13% would RT. If someone takes the time to talk about you, then the community manager needs to return the favor by making the Tweet more prominent and showing the brand appreciates the mention.


  • Creating a conversation

2% of those surveyed use RT to start a conversation. This method is often used by bloggers but doesn’t (yet) seem to be so popular with Community Managers. Some Tweets spark off real conversations or debates but assimilating them into the brand impedes RTs and CMs prefer to reply using their own accounts.


  • If there is a message, there will be interaction 

None of the Community Managers surveyed replied that they didn’t use FAV or RT. This highlights how important these two functions are in the brand account-user account conversation on Twitter.


Please note - Here is some advice we recommend you follow before using FAV or RT:

  • Check the profile information
  • Read the Tweet carefully and check the link if there is one
  • Read the link’s content carefully - the date, name of the author and the site, and the information on it



To summarize:

Why do Community Managers use FAV?

  • To show they are interested in a Tweet
  • To say thank you for a Tweet
  • To select the content where they are talked about
  • To monitor content and to chose content to look at again later


Why do Community Managers RT?

  • To make information more visible
  • To highlight messages that are favorable to their brand
  • To say thank you
  • To start a conversation


Are you a Community Manager who has other uses for these functions? Please let us know by adding a comment.

Article published by Maïté in Prof_OG,SocialMedia

the 6 February 2015