Improving Twitter Engagement in 7 Easy Steps

Caitlin Kaluza

Posted on October 17, 2012

Posted in Social Media, Twitter | 1 Comment »

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All marketers are looking for ways to improve their engagement online.

A recent social media study from Buddy Media examined several branded Twitter accounts to look for patterns in which tweets perform better. The results were that seemingly small tweaks to your content can increase engagement for brands. These are all “good habits” you may heard before – but it’s nice to be able to put real numbers to each of these.

Below is a list of 7 easy tweaks you can start applying to your Twitter communication right now to increase engagement for your brand.

First: The Big Picture

None of these tactics are going to work without strategy. Be sure to keep in mind the big picture as the foundation of all of your social media efforts. After you have these covered, the tweaks below will make an even bigger impact.

Aerial Photo by Ed Schipul

1. Start with Strategy

You should have a primary goal for your social media efforts. It may be to drive traffic, increase leads, foster positive brand impression, aid customer service, get product feedback, recruit new employees, etc. Whatever your goal, that should be top of mind as you craft your messages and filter through what content you are creating and sharing online.

2. Real time > Perfect

The advantage of Twitter is that everything is happening in real time. It’s often better to just get your tweet out there into the wild instead of spend too much time worrying about the specifics.

This is the same reason you may find yourself sitting at an event like a friend’s wedding, and see someone set down their fancy DSLR camera down to pick up an iPhone to get a real time shot to share with the world. Real time information is valuable, so don’t let the semantics scare you away from getting content out there quickly.

3. You Can’t Manage What you Don’t Measure

To take full advantage of any social media platform or tool, you need to be sure you are measuring your efforts. Keep track of the cost (including time) and return of these tools. Are you getting traffic back to your site? Is that traffic converting into leads? Are you building postitive PR? What types of posts are the most engaging? These are all important questions to keep in mind as a foundation for all of your work online.

7 Easy Ways You Can Improve Engagement on Twitter Right Now

Once you have the big three concepts above covered, these easy tweaks can help you improve engagement on Twitter.

1. Tweet on the Weekend

Twitter engagement is highest on the weekend, but most brands post during the week. Engagement rates for brands are 17% higher on Saturday and Sunday.

Do this now: If you’re using a tool like Hootsuite or SproutSocial, schedule interesting tweets you would normally post during the week to post over the weekend and measure the results.

Graph Source: Mashable

2. Tweet During “Busy Hours” – Facebook during off hours

The study shows that Twitter engagement is higher during the “busy hours” of 8 AM – 7 PM. This may be because Twitter is so real time – people want to be online while the action is happening, and run the risk of missing out otherwise (FOMO).

Facebook posts, however, have a longer lifespan in the timeline (about 22 hours according to this study in late 2011 & more recently reported as 18 hours in this study in June 2012) than Twitter, so it makes sense that Facebook engagement is higher during the off hours of 8 PM – 7 AM. Facebook timeline uses an algorithm to determine which posts are most relevant to a user – so the lower competition at these times increases your see-ability.

3. Tweet 4 Times Per Day

The old adage was “tweet when you eat” as a rule of thumb on when and how often to post. The BuddyMedia study found that the sweet spot for brands is 4 tweets per day. After that, the law of diminishing returns kicks in and you don’t get as much value for that 5th, 6th, and additional tweet.

Do this now: Save those extra tweets for another day – maybe the weekend! Think strategically about what you will post each day to make sure each post gets time to be noticed and shared.

4. Keep Tweets Under 100 Characters

Tweets under 100 characters have a 17% higher engagement rate than those taking the full 140.

In general, short posts tend to get more attention online because short copy is easier to scan and digest. In PPC advertising, short ad headlines tend to get clicked more because they are designed to grab people’s attention faster.

The other advantage of shorter tweets means you allow extra space for people to be able to retweet you without having to make changes to your original message. You do the editing for them the way you like.

5. Include Links

Tweets with links have 86% higher engagement.

For most marketers, a primary goal of your social media efforts is to drive people back to your website. Including links back to the site is an obvious way to do this. Think of a hub and spoke – where your website is the hub and you are reaching out to engage and share information via the spokes.

6. Use Hashtags (but only 1 or 2)

Tweets with hashtags gets twice the engagement of those without. This gives users context for your posts and allows them to quickly see related tweets.

Be sure to keep your hashtags to 1 or 2 – at 3 or more hashtags, you see 17% drop in engagement.

7. Include Images

Posts with images have double the engagement as those without.

People love visuals, especially in social media – so take advantage of this and include photos when you can!

Shameless Plug

If you aren’t already, follow us on Twitter @Schipul and @Tendenci for more on web marketing resources and the latest updates from our company, clients, and community!

Happy Tweeting!

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