With over 340 million messages being posted per average day on Twitter, you might be forgiven for thinking that any attempt to use the short-form social network as a marketing platform would be doomed to failure as your particular signal gets lost in a sea of noise. But not so, according to Buddy Media, a social enterprise software company. In fact, not only is successful Twitter marketing a science, they say, it’s a science that can be boiled down into an easy How-To guide.
The company has published Strategies for Effective Tweeting: A Statistical Review, a twenty-one page report created as the result of three months of analysis of the ebbs and flows of Twitter. “With our data, we’ll tell you the when to Tweet, how often to Tweet and how to maximize engagement,” the company explains on the report’s download page, adding that the report will teach you “the best times of day and week to Tweet, how to earn more Retweets [and] how hashtags can help and harm Tweets.”
The report’s findings may be surprising for some who thought that Twitter could be best understood as a conversation starter. “Our research reveals that Twitter is particularly powerful at driving ‘amplification’ for brand messages,” it states, adding that “78% of user engagement with a brand’s Tweets is in the form of Retweets, while replies, which form the basis for ‘conversation,’ make up only 22% of engagement. Twitter drives a lot of traffic elsewhere on the web, too, as users can also take action on Tweets by clicking links.”
Different industries benefit from different times for tweeting, it argues, with entertainment industry Tweets being particularly successful on Sundays and Mondays (“Compared to the rest of the week, Tweets published by entertainment brands on Sunday and Monday receive 23% more engagement than average, while Thursday receives the lowest engagement,” the report states) while publishing is surprisingly popular on Saturdays (“Engagement on Saturday is 29% higher than average, which indicates followers are using their Saturdays to catch up on news and
current events,” according to the report. “Yet, only 7% of brand Tweets occur on this day”). Overall, daytime tweets are the most popular in terms of engagement, with a 30 percent higher rate of engagement between the hours of 8am to 7pm, even including weekends; this, oddly enough, is in direct opposition to the trend on Facebook, which sees 17 percent higher engagement for posts in “non-busy hours.”
Overall, according to the report, the most successful brand Tweets are short (Tweets under 100 characters receive 17 percent higher engagement than longer ones) and link-based instead of original content (Tweets that contain links received an amazing 86 percent higher engagement than non-link Tweets). Perhaps surprisingly, requests to Retweet prove to work, increasing their engagement by 12 times or more, especially if the full word (“Retweet”) is used instead of an abbreviation (“RT”).
Whether these tricks will add up to some magical cheat code for Twitter remains to be seen, but if nothing else, just trying out all the various pieces of advice will ensure that you’re likely to be tweeting more for the time being, anyway.