Using Twitter for Fun and Profit

Well crap, they told me I was doing it wrong again. Twitter. I just read a new study that shattered what I’d been told about how to use the social media tool.

I can’t say I’m surprised. Businesses and people are still on a journey to figure out this whole social media whirlwind. But it’s like this with everything. Remember when smartphones were first coming on the market? No one knew how to use them or thought they needed them. They seemed like they were only for celebrities who went to ten meetings a day all over town and needed a pocket organizer/phone combo. Fast forward to ten years later and we all have one.

Anyone who has one now refuses to go back to a non-smartphone. We’ve learned they are more than just a calendar keeper. We use them to set reminders, wake us up in the morning, play games, take pictures, find out what the weather is going to be like today, text and connect to the internet. But it took us years to get to that “I can’t live without one” point.

Same is true for Twitter. Initially it was used just to broadcast to the world our likes, dislikes, and thoughts on life. Celebrities would post about what they ate for lunch, their views on being stuck in traffic and what brand of water they preferred.  Thankfully the use of Twitter has evolved and posts about the mundane details of everyday life are no longer enough. Now people want to be engaged. They follow only those that share their passions and views. In short they want meaningful conversations with people and brands that they connect with.

How does a business connect with people over Twitter? Well like I mentioned the rules have changed. I just read a new report by Buddy Media that details new Strategies for Effective Tweeting. Here’s what I found out…

Tweet Days. Previously we had been told that the best day of the week to send out messages on Twitter was on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays. In reality those are the worst days to send Tweets. If you want your Tweet to get read than you better look forward to the weekend. Engagement rates were 17 percent higher on Saturday and Sunday according to the study.  Most companies are totally clueless to this fact though. Only 19 percent of all companies Tweets are published on the weekends. To reach more of your target audience, send out your best content on the weekends when it’s most likely to be read and acted upon.

It’s Tweeting Time. I’d always been told that Tweeting mid-day was the best way to engage my readers. Well that notions been corrected too, but in a good way. Instead of only having a window of four hours to send out Tweets, research shows you’ve actually got a window of 11 hours to engage your followers effectively. Twitter’s “busy hours” are from 8 am to 7 pm. Tweets sent out during that time period receive 30 percent higher engagement than those sent out between 8 pm and 7 am. This is really ironic news because it’s the opposite of the other social media behemoth, Facebook, “busy hours.” Facebook posts during 8 pm to 7 am receive 17 percent higher engagement than those posted during the day, so says the study. The researchers concluded this was because Facebook posts remain prominently placed in a user’s newsfeed for a long time. With Twitter, Tweets are pushed out of sight by new content at a much faster rate, making them harder to find. So to get the greatest benefits out of social media send out Tweets by day and Facebook posts by night.

Find Your Tweet Spot. It is possible to over Tweet. In fact the more you Tweet, the less engaging your Tweets become. The engagement rate falls off after four Tweets a day. So don’t Tweet more than that. According to the report though, one Tweet a day is good enough to achieve high engagement scores. So send out your Tweets less to get more benefits.

The Short and Long of It. The maximum length of any Tweet is only 140 characters. That’s the length of these last three sentences. Not much. But the report proved that Tweets even shorter than 140 characters perform well. In fact, Tweets that contain less than 100 characters receive 17 percent higher engagement than longer Tweets. So keep your messages short, sweet and to the point!

To Link or Not to Link. If your Tweets are mostly all text, you might want to try sending out Tweets containing links. Tweets that contain links received an 86 percent higher ReTweet rate than tweets without links. Now if you aren’t tweeting links, don’t worry this doesn’t affect your engagement rates, you’re still getting love. But Re-tweets are powerful stuff. They’re a great way to expand the reach of your message and brand awareness without you having to lift a finger. In other words, you want your followers to Re-tweet your message to their friends and family. One of Twitter’s greatest strengths is its ability to drive traffic on the web. Use this to your advantage.

Ask and You Shall Receive. If Re-tweets are so great, how do you get them? This report says all you have to do is ask! It’s that simple. Asking your followers to Re-Tweet your message results in 12 times higher Re-Tweet rates than those that do not use this call to action. Just be sure to do it the right way. Spell out the word Re-Tweet instead of using the shortened version, RT. This will get you a Re-Tweet rate that is 23 times higher than average, compared to only 10 times higher if you ask followers to RT.

That’s Not Even the Hash of It. Hashtags are fun ways to mark keywords or topics in a Tweet. They were created organically by Twitter users as a way to categorize messages. Still, only 24 percent of Tweets contain hashtags. That’s too bad because tweets with hashtags receive two times more engagement than those without one. Don’t over use them though. One or two max per Tweet. Data compiled by researchers shows that Tweets with only one or two hashtags have a 21 percent higher engagement level than those with three or more. In fact, those that use more than two show a 17 percent drop off rate.

Twitter is a powerful social media tool. It has 140 million active users and it produces 340 million Tweets a day. So even if your business isn’t on Twitter, your target audience is. Using Twitter isn’t hard, but doing it correctly can be. Follow the rules above though and your brand awareness and customer satisfaction levels will rise.


Mark Patrick

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