Social media marketers who have been trying to get their arms around Twitter as a channel for brand-building have been abuzz over a new Twitter feature still in the testing phase.
Forbes.com contributing writer Jayson DeMers blogged on July 21 that the “retweet with comment” function now in the Twitter kitchen will allow for full messages in response to original Tweets. He noted that while the feature would be a novel addition for Twitter’s loyal user base, it could be a boon for businesses that learning how to adapt the new feature to connect with customers.
As it stands, Twitters users can only re-tweet a message, and as DeMers observed, adding a comment is a clumsy cut-and-paste exercise hardly worth the effort for the casual user. Twitter’s 140-character limit also restricts retweet comments to a word or two if the original Tweet was a long one.
However, according to DeMers, Twitter’s new toy would display the original message in a retweet as a Twitter Card below the retweeter’s message. This functionality would allow the retweeter to utilize the full 140 characters in the message space above the Twitter Card.
DeMers writes that Twitter’s hard core followers have balked at the notion of using more words in retweets, as if the potential for banter-and-repartee in a Twitter thread would defeat Twitter’s minimalist mission. Conversely, the new function could be a vast improvement.
“Twitter is at its best when it serves as a forum for conversation,” Demers wrote. “Freeing up users to post more words with retweets would open up levels of communication not previously available on Twitter … tweeting with comments can broaden the potential for creating a larger, more engaged community.”
With ingenuity and discretion, marketers could move into those conversations and new levels of communications to strengthen their brands, according to Demers. “Engaging in thoughtful conversations on Twitter is the best way to build relationships through the site, which is why the new functionality would improve branding and strategic relationship-building potential for businesses.”
If the new feature becomes official, marketers could easily spot relevant threads in real time and join in a less disruptive manner, opening another effective channel for developing authority and brand awareness.
DeMers, Jayson. How Twitter’s New Potential ‘Retweet With Comment’ Feature Could Help Businesses; Forbes. July 21. 2014.