Every social media guru will tell you why getting retweeted is a good thing.
RTs mean your message is being amplified.
Getting your message amplified means more people are exposed to your message and content.
And that surely is a good thing, yes?
However, I haven’t come across any stats on what constitutes a good, bad or indifferent level of retweeting.
How many RTs should you be aiming for? 5, 10, 100, 1000?
Clearly, who is doing the Retweeting has to be factored in.
Getting a single RT from someone like @stephenfry is going to gain you a lot more exposure than 1000 RTs from people who only have 1 follower each (assuming of course Stephen Fry’s follower base is a relevant audience for you).
Still – I thought it would be interesting to see what the average RT levels were for certain high profile Twitter accounts. And where possible, see if there is an impact on clickthrough rate.
I used as one of my test examples the New York Times (@nytimes) – not least of which because they still use the bit.ly URL shortener. So we have publicly available data on clickthrough rates.
Using FavStar, I could see that the all time highest RT’d @nytimes Tweet was this one, with 3776 RTs. FavStar also provides a measure of the amplification effect. It has a limit of 1000 RTs – by this measure, this particular Tweet reached at least an addiitional 317,000 Twitter users via RTing.
Bear in mind that New York Times has 6.1 million followers (without getting into the fake/inactive follower debate again here). So the ratio of RTs to followers for the NYTimes best ever RT’d Tweet is 0.06pc. (Over the last month, the average RT rate for all NYTimes Tweets is 70 – many thanks to the rather nifty Nixon McInnes ReTweet tool that allowed me to work this out very quickly).
Clearly there are some big caveats here. Factors such as the timing and content of the Tweet surely have some bearing on whether it gets Retweeted – and thus increases the likelihood of a link being clicked.
I appreciate this is hardly a scientific study – based as it is on one example. But at the very least, it should put some broad parameters on people’s expectations. If even the most followed media properties on Twitter don’t see the RTs for their Tweets reach into three figures, then the likelihood that run of the mill of accounts (ie most Twitter users) will see RTs reaching double figures is low. Then again, by focussing on those quality users whose reach and relevance has the most meaningful impact for your audience, low RT rates don’t have to be such a disappointment.