How to Optimize your Posts to Increase Engagement on Twitter
Remember the good ol’ days back when your Twitter fans had the opportunity to see every message from the accounts they followed?
The only trick was to make sure your tweet was seen before it was taken over by a stream of newer tweets. When Twitter’s “show me the best Tweets first” algorithm launched in early 2016, it changed the game. Here’s how Twitter describes this feature: “The tweets you’re most likely to care about will appear at the top of your timeline – still recent and in reverse chronological order.” Despite the #RIPTwitter backlash comparing Twitter to Facebook (and not in a good way), less than 10% of users have opted out of the “new improved” timeline.1
So what does this mean for brands trying to connect with their followers and some of the other 313 million2 monthly active users? First, the new algorithmic catch-up feed can benefit brands by extending their organic reach. According to Twitter VP Ameet Ranadive, that’s because the best content “whether it’s from a celebrity, another user, or a brand, is always going to be what rises to the top.3" Second, it’s now more critical than ever to publish relevant, engaging content (read our Social Media Pocket Guide for additional insight).
“The best content, whether it's from a celebrity, another user or a brand, is always going to be what rises to the top.”4
Twitter VP-Revenue Product Ameet Ranadive
Here are ways you can adjust your strategy to increase Twitter engagement and benefit from their data-driven approach:5
Tailor your Tweets for your Objectives
This is especially important if you’re using them in an ad campaign. If your goal is website visits or website conversions avoid extra hashtags or usernames. According to Twitter, if you’re trying to drive people directly to your website, account or app, hashtags and usernames can be distracting. If you’re trying to increase Twitter engagement, lose the link. Research has shown that tweets without links are more likely to be shared. Bottom line, creating simpler, more focused tweets based on your objectives can improve your results.
What Should You Tweet if You’re Not Tweeting Links?
If you’re looking for better engagement, consider sharing one of these:
- Quotes: Get a 19% boost in Retweets6
- Stats and Charts: Including a number or a digit receives a 17% bump in Retweets7
- Photos: Earn an average of 35% additional Retweets8 and 313% more engagement9
- Videos: Get a 28% boost10
- Hashtags: Receive a 16% boost11, but don’t overdo it, tweets with more than two hashtags actually have a 17% drop in engagement.12
- @Other Accounts: Users will notice you and be more likely to follow, like, and Retweet you.
- Fewer Characters: Tweets with 110 characters or less get 17% higher engagement13
- Gifs: Get 3-5 times the number of likes14
- Polls: Secure strong engagement rates with simple questions
Find Your Tweet Sweet Spot
“How many times a day should I tweet?” Brands have been struggling to answer this question since Twitter launched a decade ago. Depending on the study, research has found that engagement decreases after either three or five tweets. 15 If you’re looking for optimal engagement per tweet, we recommend you tweet no more than five tweets per day. However, if you’re looking to increase your total engagements, more may indeed be better. Fast Company suggests that “if you want to wring the most value out of your Twitter presence as a whole, tweet up to 30 times per day.”16
And don’t be afraid to repeat your tweets. @GuyKawasaki repeats blog post tweets four times, eight hours apart.17 His 1.49 million followers don’t seem to mind. But repeating tweets doesn’t mean sharing the exact same tweet; you’ll annoy your audience, not to mention it’s against Twitter rules. Instead try rewriting the copy, adding a hashtag, swapping out the picture, or including a helpful statistic.
“If you want to wring the most value out of your Twitter presence as a whole, tweet up to 30 times per day. ” 18
Leverage Real-Time Events and Trending Conversations
Would you walk up to a group of strangers having an in-depth discussion at a party and immediately interrupt them with a story about yourself? Hopefully, your parents have taught you better manners than that. Instead, you walk up, listen for a while, and then contribute to the conversation when you have something to add to it. The same goes for Twitter. If a conversation is trending on Twitter, first, sit back and listen. If the trending topic is relevant to your brand, reply to tweets, ask questions about what’s happening, post your own update, or even engage fans by posting a Twitter Poll.
Every tweet and reply should use the trending hashtag to widen your reach and connect with new users. Plus, live-tweeting events to your followers is a great way to keep your followers up to date on the latest content.
Measure and Analyze
The number one way to optimize your posts to increase Twitter engagement is to determine what’s working and what’s not by calculating your engagement rate per tweet. Twitter Analytics give you an overview of your account’s social engagement performance as well as the engagement rate for each individual tweet which is calculated by:
(total engagements / total impressions) x 100
Don’t get discouraged by the numbers. According to Social Bakers, the average post engagement rate of the top 25 most engagement brand profiles is only .07%. Just focus on your own results, including which of your tweets have the highest engagements. If you take immediate action to repeat what works and ditch what doesn’t, you’ll be well on your way to rising to the top of your followers' Twitter timelines.
For more information on how to make the most of social media, read our Social Media Pocket Guide.