Twitter can be a powerful tool for distributing information and building engagement. Yet, many Twitter users, perhaps even most, don’t know how to use this social network most effectively.
Every industry has best practices – the things we consistently guide our clients to do (and not do). In the past, our best practices were based on our experience, anecdotes, and plain gut instinct. So we decided to take a deep dive into the data and see if what we were doing and recommending was actually working.
We’ve anonymized the data to respect our client’s privacy.
Background on methodology
Our client is an organization operating in the financial services space, but there is little if anything about this analysis that is specific to this sector.
Our initial analysis was conducted several months ago, based on around 2,500 tweets. We then re-analyzed the data more recently, based on about 4,000 tweets. Since then, our baseline impressions per tweet went down, but our engagement rate (number of engagements per impression) went up.
We have experienced some issues with Twitter’s built in reporting analysis not always matching the raw data that is available on the analytics site. Since we wanted to get our hands dirty in the data, we downloaded all the individual tweets from ‘Tweets’ tab within the analytics site and have based our analysis on this data.
Finally, with about two years worth of data, we can’t completely control for any seasonal factors.
Here are the observations we can make based on this data.
1. Tweeting frequency increases engagement.
People often ask us how often they should be tweeting. There is a right answer, but it will be specific to you and your business. The trick is to find that optimal sweet spot by experimenting – increasing the frequency of tweets incrementally over a period of a few months, until the engagement rate starts to drop off. In our case, we varied the frequency of tweets to see the impact on impressions and engagement, from tweeting just over once per day to nearly a dozen times per day. In general, as the frequency of tweets increased, so did the impressions and engagement.
2. Mentioning others in tweets increases impressions and engagement.
Not surprisingly, what we tweet about and how we frame those tweets has an impact on the number of people that see them.
Most striking about our data analysis was the clear relationship between mentioning other people’s Twitter handles and an increase in both impressions and engagement. The more handles we included in tweets, the greater the lift in both impressions and engagement.
A word of caution here: stuffing your tweets full of gratuitous mentions is generally ill-advised. You should certainly mention people when you have some specific value to add to everyone who is mentioned.
3. Self-promotion in tweets generally lowers impressions and engagements (with a few exceptions).
We also analyzed a variety of language within these tweets and observed that impressions and engagement fell when we used terms such as “we”, “us”, and “our” (more than 12% reduction in impressions for “we” and “our”). Interestingly, use of “you” and “your” in tweets also decreased impressions and engagement.
Tweets mentioning our client’s name received slightly higher impressions, but decreased engagement rates. And hashtags specific to the client’s business or organization (ones they invented, if you will) generally performed worse than hashtags widely in use within industry discussions, such as #fintech, #blockchain and #insurtech.
- Find your tweeting frequency sweet spot – Tweet as much as possible, ensuring you are sharing quality content and watch your data for the sweet spot.
- Mention people – Share other people’s content, especially influencers and others with large audiences and engagement.
- Talk about others rather than yourself – Be sparing in your self-promotion on Twitter. Be generous about paying attention to others and some of that attention will come back to you.
- Use established hashtags – If you want to grow your impressions and engagement, use hashtags that others are using widely. Don’t try to force your own unless you’re planning to back it up with some paid media for exposure.