Is Your Business Using Twitter Right?

According to a new study, some of the most common assumptions about when and how to use Twitter are wrong. Read the surprising results here.

What?!?  You say we’ve had it all wrong all along?  I’ve always been told that Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday were the best days to do social media promotion.  And between 10am and 2pm were the best times on those three days.  Now, a new study blows all that information out of the water.  If you’re bored with social media, your business needs no promotion or new clients, or you simply are too technically challenged to care….then sign off here. 

Otherwise, here are the critical details from Strategies For Effective Tweeting, a study performed by Buddy Media – social media marketing firm recently acquired by Salesforce.  Buddy Media looked at 320 Twitter handles from the world’s biggest brands from Dec. 11, 2011 to Feb. 23, 2012 and here are a just few critical things they found…

What days to tweet.  The best days to tweet are not Tuesday through Thursday as I had previously read.  Not even close – it’s Saturday and Sunday.  Twitter engagement rates for brands are 17% higher on weekends than weekdays, while only 19% of the brands in the study were actively tweeting on the weekend.  Obviously, they were completely missing the boat.

What time to tweet.  Is the best time between 10am and 2pm?  And where would that be (what time zone)?  Well, I guess I was clueless…or at least what I had previously read came from a clueless source and I was crazy enough to believe it.  The study showed that the range is bigger – 8am to 7pm – the so-called ‘busy hours’.  And it’s the mirror image of Facebook – which thrives in the ‘unbusy hours’.  So using Facebook to push your brand during the unbusy hours and Twitter during the busy hours is your best recipe for success.

How to get retweets.  You get retweets by posting great content on Twitter, right?  Wrong!  You get it by asking for a retweet.  If you ask followers to RT, you get a 12 times higher retweet rate than if you don’t.  And if you ask them to ‘retweet’ (meaning, spell it out), the retweet rate goes up to 23 times higher.  Who knew?  Just ask!  And spell r-e-t-w-e-e-t.

How long tweets should be.  Another one I was wrong about.  I was always told to keep them to 120 characters making them easier to retweet without modification.  In fact, look anywhere online and you’ll see that’s the golden retweet rule of thumb.  However, this study showed that 100 character tweets were best.  Tweets of that length got a 17% higher engagement rate than longer, windier tweets. 

To link or not to link.  Tweets with links had a whopping 86% higher engagement rate than tweets without links.  But make sure the links work.  Often they don’t and in 92% of those cases it’s because the tweeter forgot to include a space at the beginning of the link…making it basically a non-link.  And, predictably, tweets with relevant hashtags had double the engagement rate as tweets without them.  But don’t over-hashtag your tweets. 

Conclusion

You’ll find a lot more helpful information  in Strategies For Effective Tweeting (including how the best day to tweet varies by industry), so be sure to download it.  But one important fact stands out: social media – and in this case Twitter – can be very important to your business. At least in terms of generating a buzz.  It’s hard to measure a return on investment (ROI) and it may always be that way.  But do it…whether you like it or not. However, if you don’t use it right – according to the stats above, then you may just be trying to swim upstream….expending a lot of energy and resources and not getting very far very fast.

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