The Secret Behind Whispers, Retweets & Yells


I read two interesting marketing perspectives this morning.

I think you need to read the second to really understand the first.

Should you ask for ReTweets? It depends. Do you want people to share your message and your content? If you do, then ask. You should ask for it in your content and its okay to follow that up and ask on Twitter or in other social outlets. If the content is worthy, the asking will sound like a whisper. It’s like a secret between friends, something they’ll want to pass on. Not everyone will think to share content on their own. Sometimes, as marketers and business owners, we need to whisper it in their ear to remind and encourage them.

Actually, it’s our job to whisper.

They key here is that your content needs to be worthy of the share. Because if it’s not, then asking people to ReTweet your content doesn’t sound like a whisper. It comes off like a yell.

That person is yelling at me. And that turns people off – the yelling. That’s what we all want to avoid.

Coincidentally, I tweeted this morning that the louder someone has to yell it – the less true it is. And I believe that whether you’re a brand trying to convince your audience of your product’s super benefits or whether you’re talking to someone you once dated trying to show them HOW. HAPPY. YOU. ARE! If you’re telling them the truth, it comes off as a whisper. It’s when you’re not being real that you have to yell.

Yelling is bad marketing.

Whispers assist people in finding content they should be aware of. Because, as much as we’d like to pretend otherwise, the Internet isn’t a level playing field where the quality stuff naturally rises or gets seen. If it was, the good folks wouldn’t have to work so hard and Google would have a much easier go at things. Until that day, we need to be comfortable sending out whispers and self-promoting.

The saving grace in all this is as long as you’re putting out quality, helpful and authoritative material, you shouldn’t feel slimy about whispering in someone’s ear and asking them to take a desired action.

Whispers help people find stuff. Whispers are good.

[Now that you’ve read this once for ReTweets, switch out [ReTweets] with [Online Reviews] and read again. We can end that debate, too.]

Your Comments

  • Ryan Hanley

    I read a lot of content on Sales being that job is sales… If there is one resounding theme through almost every piece of sales literature I read it’s this:

    Nothing happens if you don’t ask.

    It’s really that simple. People don’t have to listen or do what you ask for but if you want something you have to ask for it. If you want a RT, ask…

    Thanks for the good thoughts!

    Ryan H.

  • Tea Silvestre

    I read both of these this morning, too (plus the comments) and it gave me pause. Especially because I had just sent out an email to some of my closest compadres to help me get the word out about a guest post I just did over at Remarkablogger (yeah, this is me: I don’t usually ask for RTs. So to me, even though I might be speaking up a bit louder than a whisper, I’m still not yelling. (I hope). I do think the post offers some great tips, but I’m probably biased. ;-)

    • Lisa Barone

      don’t usually ask for RTs.

      Again, that’s a big point. You don’t normally ask for RTs. You ask for them when you’ve written something that you think is particularly important or worthy of someone’s time. That’s a whisper and that’s the habit I wish more people got themselves into.

      If you’re asking for RTs with everything you do, you’re going to come off as yelling and unwanted. But if you’re choosy about it, and then you do it when it makes sense, I really think your audience appreciates that. Or maybe I’m just living in my field with unicorns. ;)

  • Jerry McCarthy

    Hi Lisa,
    Speak softly and carry a big stick, right? People are only interested in how you can help them, not the other way around so if nothing else, relate to THEIR needs and yours will be met in the process. And most importantly, be GENUINE. Your Tweet reach only goes as far as how genuine you come across. Is there any doubt OSM or other up and comers could even exist without it? Let’s hope not. As always, thanks Lisa!

    • Lisa Barone

      Thanks, Jerry. I think being genuine plays into only asking when it’s worth it, as well, and not begging for promotion on EVERYTHING you publish. You have to pick and choose. Because, you’re right. It’s all about your audience and how you’re helping THEM.

  • Shawn Collins

    You’re asking people to RT with the widget at the top of the post. I think if they feel compelled to RT it, they will.

    If they have to be asked, they didn’t really want to do it. To me, it’s no different than asking for a compliment… wasn’t my post so fantastic today? I mean, you didn’t seem to think so, but how about if I guilt you into pretending you thought so?

    • Lisa Barone

      For posts that you’re specifically trying to push, I’m still a fan of the ask – if not in the post, then when you go to tweet it. Yeah, that button is sitting at the top of the post but how many people now tune that button out because they see it so often? Or don’t want to scroll all the way back up? Or read your post in their feed reader?

      I was speaking more toward putting that CTA to ReTweet in your tweet. If you want people to do something, asking is a good way to get them to do it. Some people may even RT the post without reading it simply because you’re asking them to RT you and they trust you. Not the ideal world (you don’t want to encourage blind RTs), but if it helps a good idea spread?

      • Shawn Collins

        It’s worth a scroll to RT to me if I think it’s worth sharing.

        Also, I’ve found that often my most popular posts (presumably those people find most useful or interesting) are rarely those that I think are the big genius think pieces.

        And if the other posts aren’t worth being pointed out, why write them?

        • Lisa Barone

          If you’re writing content every day, I think it’s unfair to think that EVERY post is going to be amazing and stellar and you’re best work in the whole world. It doesn’t mean they’re not helpful or useful, but we all have levels of awesome. Some days you hit it harder than others. And posts are written with different intents. Not every post is written for the purpose of being super share-worthy.

          And I’ll agree with you that usually the posts that hit the hardests are the ones we didn’t anticipate or that we just threw up in 5 minutes. They usually resonate better because they’re more raw and people relate to that, IMO. But we don’t always see it coming.

  • Bret Juliano

    I really like this post today. I think the real key is understanding how to create good content and whisper it to enough people that it spreads without it coming off as yelling.

  • Michael C. Craven

    Dear Lisa-
    Thanks for sharing your post. I agree with Bret …create good content and whisper so the word gets out with out yelling!!! Yelling is bad marketing.
    Michael C. Craven
    Chicago Divorce lawyer