If you own a blog, I want you to do the following three things for me right now, prior to reading this post.
- Go to one of your blog posts.
- Find the button on your blog post page that allows users to retweet your posts.
- Click on that button.
If any of the following four things happened…
- You couldn’t find your retweet button because you don’t have one.
- The message sent only had a URL link to your post.
- The message sent had the full URL link to your post.
- The message sent did not have your Twitter username in it.
Then you need to continue reading this post and take some action!
If you were able to find your retweet button, click on it, and have a status message that included the title of your post, a shortened URL to it, and either a RT @yourusername or via @yourusername (or some other variation that included @yourusername), then congratulations! All you need to do is retweet this post and share it with bloggers whose posts you have come across where you have run into one or more of the previously mentioned issues.
Why Are Missing or Bad Retweet Buttons a Problem?
It STILL amazes me every time I come across a blog that has no social sharing buttons. At the bare, bare minimum, you need a retweet button on your blog post pages. Why? Because if you don’t have one, you are missing out on a lot of retweets of your posts by your readers to their followers and as a result, a lot of traffic as well.
Another thing that is less shocking, but understandable, are sites where the retweet button lacks the basic functionality to shorten the URL, include the title with the post, and include the blogger’s Twitter handle.
One of the ways to inhibit social sharing is by making it take extra effort on the part of the reader – the faster the process, the more likely your content will be shared. If someone has to take your link, shorten it, type in the title, and go find your Twitter name to add to the tweet, chances are they are going to sprint off your site without sharing.
How do these things affect your Twitter follower count and Klout?
Imagine if an authority in your niche with a huge following comes along and tweets one of your posts, and that tweet includes your username. Chances are, just the fact that they mentioned you will mean that their followers will follow you. Plus, your post may get another swarm of retweets based off of their tweet.
If all of those tweets do not include your username, not only are you losing the potential for new followers, but you are going to miss out on those precious mentions that weight highly in building your Klout, ie. the measurement of your Twitter account’s strength and authority.
What Are the Best Retweet Buttons to Use?
The following are my favorite retweet buttons to use, and how to configure them to get the best results in terms of getting retweets, building followers, and boosting Klout.
The Official Twitter Retweet Button
Twitter’s own retweet button is by far the best when it comes to building followers to your Twitter account. You can configure it easily using the customization options on their main page.
If you are installing this button on a single page, you can simply place the above code on it. If you are installing this button on a self-hosted WordPress single post template, you will need to use the following coding.
The bolded part of the code is what will pull the post’s specific URL and title from WordPress, and the italicized part is where you need to change it to your Twitter username. See my post on adding social sharing buttons to your WordPress theme for more details on styling and how to do this in Thesis.
This button will include your post’s title with a shortened link to your post using the t.co shortener. I’m personally a fan of Bit.ly, but I sacrifice my URL shortener preference for the next awesome feature that the official retweet button gives you.
After someone retweets your post, they will get the following:
I’m sure you can see how powerful this suggestion is in building followers to your Twitter account!
The Tweetmeme Button
The next favorite on the list is the Tweetmeme button. You can install this button either by using the manual coding option or by installing the plugin available for WordPress, Blogger, TypePad, Joomla, and other platforms.
If you use the manual coding option, you should be sure to fill out the tweetmeme_source with your username so the tweet will mention your Twitter handle instead of @Tweetmeme.
tweetmeme_source = 'tweetmeme';
If you are using the WordPress plugin, be sure to go to the settings and enter your Twitter username as the source.
The Tweetmeme WordPress plugin also gives you the option to use the official Twitter retweet button instead of the Tweetmeme button, however I find that sometimes it doesn’t tweet the title – just the post’s shortened URL and your Twitter username, which makes the above manual coding option more reliable.
If you use the manual coding option, be sure to include the nick option which allows you to add your username to the tweets. There is also a WordPress plugin you can install. Similarly to the Tweetmeme button, you will need to go to the Topsy settings and enter your username in the RT @ box to have it add your username to the tweets.
Complete Social Sharing WordPress Plugins
Want a plugin that will add more of the major networks (including Twitter) to your social sharing arsenal? Here are some good ones that include the best Twitter retweet buttons.
Digg Digg is probably one of the most popular social sharing plugins right now, as it allows you to add your social sharing buttons in specific ways to your theme, including as a floating sidebar. This plugin allows you to use the official Twitter retweet, Tweetmeme, or Topsy button and gives you options in the settings to add your username to each.
ShareThis also offers plugins for WordPress and other platforms that will allow you to integrate the Official Twitter retweet button within your posts along with Facebook and more social sharing buttons.
If you use this plugin on WordPress, you have to make one code tweak in the ShareThis settings to show your username when using the official Twitter retweet button.
The highlighted part is where you will want to add RT @yourusername. The only downside of this plugin is it doesn’t incorporate the screen to recommend following your username to the person who shares your post.
Your Favorite Social Buttons and Plugins
What are your favorite Twitter buttons and social plugins for WordPress or other platforms? Please share your tips for using them to increase your retweets, followers, and Klout in the comments!