I think we can all agree, science has given us a lot of great things. Air travel, motion pictures (where would we be without Julia Roberts and George Clooney on the silver screen?), the iPhone. And now, 9 tricks, backed by actual research, to step up our Twitter game. So you can spend your time A/B testing in 140-characters or less, or you can leave it to the experts and use the extra time to catch a matinee. Which would you rather? I think we can all agree. Science rules!
Read on for 9 actionable tips that will make you feel like you’ve taken first place in the science fair.
Tip #1: Tweet on the weekends.
It might seem counterintuitive, but Twitter engagement rates are 17% higher on Saturdays and Sundays, compared to weekdays, even for brands. Despite that, most brands are wasting time and energy posting midweek, when engagement levels bottom out. Scheduling content when it’s most likely to make an impact is key to a successful social media marketing strategy. Use something like TweetDeck or Hootsuite to schedule tweets even when business is closed, and use Twitter Counter to know exactly when your audience is most likely to engage.
Tip #2: Tweet during the “busy” times of the day.
Studies show that when brands tweet during “busy hours” (8am – 7pm), they receive 30% higher engagement than tweets that fall between 8pm and 7am. This includes the weekend tweeting we mentioned above. The bump in engagement is likely because Twitter is a real-time source for information and news, so users are constantly scanning to be first in the know. (Also probably because they’re bored at work, but hey, we’re not here to judge. 😉
Tip #3: Include an image and rack up likes and RTs.
One of the best ways to make your content stand apart from the crowd is by adding an image (users engage at a rate 5x higher than text-only tweets). It can be a picture, an infographic, an inspirational quote. Whatever is relevant to your post and your brand. And if a picture is worth a thousand words, then it’s a pretty easy way to get around a 140-character cap.
Tip #4: Go a step further and add a GIF.
A few years ago the only people who knew about memes and GIFs were the coders stuck in the basement and the “computer club” at the local high school, but today you can’t a stick without stumbling across a sheep donning a fedora. Wait, what? The point is, memes and GIFs are funny and memorable and super shareable. Plus Twitter has basically endorsed the GIF as a must-have by sticking that little GIF tool directly in the tweet box. Just search, giggle, post! (p.s. Here’s a look at how some of the top companies use GIFs to boost their brand.)
Tip #5: KISS your tweets.
Remember the classic acronym for great content, pretty much anywhere? No? Well let us offer a refresh.
K-I-S-S. Keep. It. Simple. Stupid.
(That last part is part of the acronym, not a personal attack. We would never call you stupid, we love you too much 🙂 )
The point is, you want to state your message in the simplest way, using the fewest number of possible words (or in this case, characters) to get your point across. Studies show that tweets with 100 characters or less get 17% more engagement. And if you’re including a link, keep that sweet spot around 120-130.
Tip #6: Use hashtags. But not too many.
Tweets with #hashtags receive double the engagement than those that don’t use the familiar mark. But even though hashtags increase engagement, be careful not to overuse them. One or two per tweet and you’re golden (tweets with one or two hashtags have 21% higher engagement than those with three or more). Get a little #hashtaghappy and engagement has actually been shown to drop.
Tip #7: Keep your posts relevant and on brand.
It feels silly to even have to say this, but a surprising number of Twitter users fail to stick to their brand, resulting in a mishmash of posts that feel disconnected and largely irrelevant. 15% of Twitter users will unfollow a brand within 3 weeks if they feel the brand hasn’t made an effort to engage them with relevant, timely, and consistent content. Don’t be those guys.
Tip #8: Emoji make everyone happy 🙂
This is my favourite tip in the bunch because I am personally an emoji addict. I can barely scrape together a text message without inserting one of my faves. But apparently I’ve been doing something right because studies show that using emoticons can help increase “favourites” on your tweets by as much as 57%! If that doesn’t deserve a hand-clapping, salsa-dancing emoji, I don’t know what does.
Tip #9: Spell it out.
Sometimes the easiest way to get something is just to ask for it. Include the word “retweet” in your post and your tweet is 23x more likely to get an RT (ironically, put in the initials and that percentage drops, but is still better than not including any call to action at all). Like Wayne Gretzy said, you’ll miss 100% of the retweets you don’t ask for (actually, I’m pretty sure what he said was more relevant to hockey, but you get the idea).
So go forth brave tweeters! Take your new knowledge and aim for the top! Happy tweeting!