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Favourites on Twitter: Six Pro Tips for the Most Misunderstood Feature on Twitter

Thu 12th Mar 2015
By Todd
Social Media, Twitter

Twitter has many cool features. If you’re not already using things like lists and saved advanced searches then I suggest you start. Ask me if you need help with them.

But today I’m talking about the humble Favourite button; a button that has many uses and is often misunderstood. Favourites on Twitter have long been an issue for me: mainly because they don’t help me as a marketer. Favourites don’t help my content or tweets to reach more people, so I used to get annoyed at them as they weren’t retweets, which actually help.

But I’ve come to realise that I was wrong to condemn them so abruptly and I also found a way that they can help me to find people as I mentioned on my YouTube channel.



So yes I do now like favourites, and I do see a lot of value in them. One thing I like about them is that their uses are so diverse (as is most of Twitter really). How each person uses social media differs from the next and I like that personalised approach because it makes life interesting.


Favourites on Twitter: Six Pro Tips for the Most Misunderstood Feature on Twitter

Favourites on Twitter: Six Pro Tips for the Most Misunderstood Feature on Twitter

#1. Saving or bookmarking content for later 

This, for me, is the main function for favourites. When you see some great content or someone sends you a link to look at you can save it.

When you ‘favourite’ a tweet it appears in your ‘favourites’ on your profile. This makes it really easy to go back to your Twitter account later and grab that URL, blog, website or tweet to remind you to do whatever it is you didn’t have time for earlier.

Obviously your favourites are public (unless your account is protected) so don’t favourite anything that you wouldn’t want to be associated with.


#2. Liking

This is why I fell out of love with favourites (it’s OK, I forgave them). Because Twitter doesn’t have a ‘like’ button as Facebook or LinkedIn does, the favourite button is often used as a like.

When you see some content that you ‘like’ you can favourite it. Why do I not like this? Well I don’t mind it, but it doesn’t help me reach more people like a retweet does or a like on Facebook or LinkedIn does. On Facebook and LinkedIn for example, a like on a post can sometimes show that content to a wider audience.

On Twitter it remains a private head nod. But hey, I’m mature enough to let that go… even if I really want retweets not favourites!


#3. Signing off

I do this for the brands that I tweet for. When I’ve finished a conversation or had a nice tweet that then needs no more conversation or interaction, the favourite button is deployed.

It’s a nice way to tell the other person that you saw their tweet. It’s a simple but polite hang-up if you like. Often when you tweet a big brand something nice they will favourite it to tell you that they saw it instead of replying.

Personally, on my own account, I would always reply to a nice comment and engage the author of that tweet in conversation, but some people or brands don’t have time.

A simple but polite goodbye is a nice way to use favourites and many brands do this.


#4. A tactical notification for attracting followers

Now this might not be something you like or ever want to do but… it’s increasing in use! Favouriting strategically is becoming a non-invasive way to nudge people on Twitter without following them.

This is better suited for accounts who are purely building a large following. You can’t follow more than 2,000 accounts when you start (until your own following numbers go past that) and you’ll struggle to reach a large audience at first. So strategic liking of relevant content from people who you would like to follow you can work well.

The account that you favourite will get a notification and they may check you out. This often leads to a follow – hence the tactical side of it. There are tools that automate this tactic for you but I really do hate being ‘auto-liked’ so I won’t share those with you!

It obviously works well for many accounts though, as the ones who auto-favourite do have a large following… it’s just not for me right now.


#5. Favourite just to say thanks

If you share a blog on Twitter and someone retweets it or says something nice about it then it’s a good way to acknowledge it.

Again, I would prefer to say hi and start a conversation, but if it’s merely a share of your blog and you’re busy then a favourite will say thanks or simply “I saw what you did, and thanks”. It’s just good manners, I guess.


#6. Testimonials

When you favourite a tweet it gets saved to your profile. If you only favourite cool stuff said about you and your content, then this could act as a great testimonials page for your Twitter account.

Think about it: each great tweet sent about you could be pinned to your profile in your favourites and at anytime someone could check you out on Twitter and view your favourites. They would see great stuff people said about you. Social proof.


Favourites – more than just a like!

So there you go. Six ways that you can use favourites. And there you were, just you pressing the favourites button.

If you reverse that process then you could look at the tip I share in the video above and check out people who favourite you, and get even more from them.

Whatever you think about favourites they are an interaction on Twitter. You will never know how far that interaction will go. Maybe nowhere – but you’ll never know until you try.

Make the most of favourites from both ends of the feature and see what you get from it.


Now it’s your turn

Favourites are really what you make of them so I’d be really interested to hear how you use the humble favourite and what you get from it.

Hit me up with your ideas by commenting below.

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5 comments on this article

  • Geraldine at 13:04pm on March 13th 2015

    I decided to go down the bookmarking route, so am fairly selective with my favourites. But it does mean that I end up commenting/replying in circumstances where a quick ‘nod’ would suffice. The problem is you can’t really mix the tactics as that would just be confusing!

    1. Todd at 21:10pm on March 15th 2015

      Hey Geraldine. I agree as I use it as the bookmarking option. It can be time consuming but sometimes conversations lead to places that you never dreamt possible. Keep commenting, I say. You just never know…

  • Jo Hanson at 11:17am on March 15th 2015

    Hi Todd,

    Another briliant evaluation!

    I guess with more users, time has evolved, and although Twitter was more designed to encourage social conversation, there had been times when you just wanted to do a simple ‘like’ to something – So I totally understand why people use the feature in this way.

    As Favourites now also appear in the timeline, the benefits to reach is still just as good, you may get a Favourite to a Tweet, but someone with a very different interest may view and choose to Retweet… It’s no longer a dead end!
    The Testimonial Favourites is a good one – not something I thought of before 🙂

    1. Todd at 21:08pm on March 15th 2015

      Hey Jo.

      Yes, favourites are appearing in timelines but because I don’t use the official apps I neglected to include that use in my blog (thanks for pointing it out).

      For standard Twitter for iOS and and Android users and of course surfers the favourites of people you follow ‘can’ appear in your feed. S0 that could be #7 on the list of ways to use favourites.

      Thanks for adding it 🙂

      1. Jo Hanson at 7:41am on March 16th 2015

        Thanks Todd,

        No problem, glad I could help!


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