This guest post is by Ryan Barton of The Smart Marketing Blog.
Until I began receiving notifications of Twitter followers “favoriting” my tweets, I admittedly hadn’t thought much of the Favorites feature.
Some use it as a reminder to follow-up on a tweet’s topic. Others favorite a tweet they find funny. And some users go as far as importing favorite tweets on their Facebook page, email signatures, or even packaging them as an ebook.
There’s no wrong way to favorite a tweet (unless you’re favoriting every single update you read), but it’s worth considering a few other applications.
1. Completing your profile
I’d make a case that your favorite tweets tell a follower as much about you as your bio does.
Your Twitter bio tells followers what you want them to know about you, while your favorite tweets are a visual representation of what’s actually important. And more often than not, what’s important to you (humor, follow-ups, etc.) is more telling than any marketing copy.
Especially as Twitter continues to explode with spam bots, follow-backs aren’t obligations: they’re earned. And that earn process now includes more than a bio, a few tweets and a URL. Even bots have those.
But filling your stream with @ interactions and marking some of your favorite tweets, visually-demonstrate that you’re more than a casual stalker observer.
2. Word-of-mouth recommendations
It’s no secret—social media is the digital form of testimonials and word-of-mouth marketing. And that means platforms like Twitter are hugely-effective methods of growing your brand.
I’ll trust my followers’ opinions about a product exponentially more than I would an integrated marketing campaign for the same.
So using Favorites as a way to establish my authority through others’ tweets is my primary use of the feature.
I didn’t solicit their tweets, but now that they’re out there, I’m capturing them—curating them—in an online presentation of some of my favorite things.
It’s significant when those tweets are coming from some of the Internet’s most influential players. And if it means a lot to me, chances are it’ll mean a lot to a user who’s considering following me.
Seth wrote a post a while back about a prospect’s first impression of your digital self. In his case, it was watching reading his blog. It was tempting to run over and tell them to ignore this one or that one, but look at that one because he really put a lot of thought into that one.
It’s similar with Twitter. “Noooo, I didn’t want you to see those tweets, look at these … over here, instead, these tweets are more representative of who I am.”
Using Favorites like your digital refrigerator— showing off your A+ work—ensures that no matter where you are or what you’re doing and saying, your best side will always be showing.
3. Encouraging others
I’ve had followers favorite some of my most random tweets. But I’ve also had followers favorite some marketing advice they thought was valuable, or a link to one of my latest blog posts they wanted to reread at a later time.
Often, seeing the way users favorite my tweets tells me what’s resonating with my community. It’s a valuable real-time feedback mechanism. It’s also a new form of encouragement.
I think of encouragement like a fuel tank. I fuel my late nights and long hours from the tank; eventually it’ll run low. But through one form of encouragement or another—in this case, as simple as favoring a tweet—my encouragement tank is refueled a bit.
Think of favoriting as a new form of Twitter interaction that’s perhaps more meaningful than any @ reply. It’s more than “nice article,” it’s validation that your writing struck a chord; you’re on to something.
What’s more, you’re encouraging the user to continue producing quality content—and that makes the Internet a more intelligent place.
Do you use Favorites differently? Are the rules different for a business account? Leave a comment and share your thoughts below.
Ryan Barton is the author of the “Smart Marketing” eBook and he writes at The Smart Marketing Blog for Small Business Success; you can follow him on Twitter, where he shares entirely too much information. He wrote “Smart Marketing” with the intent that small businesses would glean insightful information and tangible marketing strategies so they too, could compete competitively with industry giants.