Optimizing Twitter Engagement


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Optimizing Twitter Engagement

  1. 1. 10 keys to gives the 10 keys on Facebook brand activity this whitepaper optimizing Based on the largest known study conducted for optimizing twitter Engagement Facebook engagement. Based on an extended study of Twitter activity by major brands TWEET TWEET TWEET TWEET TWEET TWEET TWEET TWEET TWEET TWEET EET TWEET TWEET TWEET©2012 Track Social tracksocial.com/whitepapers
  2. 2. Table of Contents 1. Introduction 3 2. Tweet Content 4 3. How Frequently to Tweet 7 4. Tweet Length 9 5. Timing of Tweets 11 6. The 10 keys to Optimizing Twitter Engagement 14 7. Methodology 15 8. About Track Social 16OPTIMIZING TWITTER ENGAGEMENT | Table of Contents 2©2012 Track Social
  3. 3. 01 Type of Content: IntroductionIntroductionBased on an extended study conducted on major brand activity on Twitter, thiswhitepaper identifies the primary factors influencing engagement on Twitter,and summarizes the findings as 10 Keys for Optimizing Twitter Engagement. Total Number of Brands Studied: 100 Total Number of Tweets Studied: 50,321 Time Period: August 24, 2012 - September 28, 2012OPTIMIZING TWITTER ENGAGEMENT | Introduction 3©2012 Track Social
  4. 4. 02 Tweet ContentIn this section we look at how the type of Tweet – Image or Text – and the text content of the Tweet,affect Retweet levels.For those who prefer Facebook as a social platform, see our Optimizing Facebook Engagementwhite paper at tracksocial.com/whitepapers.For Twitter Engagement, Photos outperform Text by 91%.Twitter has put a lot of effort into promoting the use of images in recent times, so perhaps it comesas no surprise that Photo Tweets do so much better than regular Tweets. It is maybe more interest-ing that Photo Tweets only compose 2.3% of all Tweets in this study.OPTIMIZING TWITTER ENGAGEMENT | Tweet Content 4©2012 Track Social
  5. 5. It should be noted that certain corporate use cases on Twitter, such as customer service, don’t lendthemselves to the use of images, and indeed that the platform itself was founded on the use of text.However, it still seems that there is significant opportunity for brands to increase their engagementlevels through use of images.Aside from the type of Tweet, obviously the content of the Tweet should be important to its response levels.Every brand, product and target audience is different. Perfecting the content mix is a unique processfor each brand. However, Track Social has studied the message content of posts of 100 of the mostengaged large brands on Twitter looking for broadly applicable patterns.Asking for a Retweet produces a 555% lift over theaverage Tweet.In our prior whitepaper, we observed that Likes can be driven up simply by asking. We observed asimilar phenomenon for Retweets. Also in line with Facebook, we see requests for captions underperforming.OPTIMIZING TWITTER ENGAGEMENT | Tweet Content 5©2012 Track Social
  6. 6. Hash tags, which are words prefixed with a ‘#’, produce a 35% lift. It is not clear whether this is as aresult of their increased searchability, or a boost given by using the ‘local vernacular’.Interestingly, Tweets that openly referenced offers or coupons actually performed somewhat worse thanaverage.As always, we need to reinforce that these are aggregate results. We observe a lot of variation betweenbrands, and it is critically important to consider each specific situation and analyze each brand on itsown merits.Here are some general rules of thumb to help create your perfect messaging mix: 1. Hash tags increase exposure and response rate. 2. If you want an action, such as a Retweet, asking for it directly is often the best way to get it 3. View Twitter content as an integrated program, incorporating variety 4. Say it with pictures. Images work well in Tweets in general, almost doubling retweet ratesOPTIMIZING TWITTER ENGAGEMENT | Tweet Content 6©2012 Track Social
  7. 7. 03 How Frequently to TweetHow often should a brand Tweet?We followed the activity of major brands on Twitter to determine the effect of increasing Tweet frequencyon response levels via Retweets. We start by looking at Retweets per Tweet, as increasing numbers ofTweets are made per day. For each Tweet Frequency we looked at the percentage of the Retweets perTweet compared to when a brand only Tweets once in a day.Tweet strong or move along!Low Tweet Frequency may be ineffective. When a brand Tweets 2-5 times per day they get moreRetweets per Tweet, by up to 300%, compared to when they Tweet only once a day. Twitter is a highvolume channel, and unless you Tweet enough to get noticed you may be wasting your effort.OPTIMIZING TWITTER ENGAGEMENT | How Frequently to Tweet 7©2012 Track Social
  8. 8. Response Per Tweet drops off after 5 Tweets aremade.After 5 Tweets per day we saw a drop-off in the response per Tweet, suggesting possible diminishingreturns beyond this. Response per Tweet is important to consider because it impacts engagement levels,the visibility of tweets, and brand perception. However it is not the whole story.It is the Response per Day, rather than per Tweet, that represents the total amount of interaction abrand is having with its consumers, and is representative of the total amount of touch-points they haveto get across their marketing message.Despite the Retweets per Tweet falling, as brands tweet more the total number of Retweets only continuesto increase.To assess the overall performance of different Tweet levels, Track Social uses the Response Score whichis a combination of Tweets per Day and Tweets per Post.Our overall advice to brands is: 1. Commit to an ongoing Twitter program with a minimum Tweet frequency or your efforts may be wasted. 2. Be aware that Retweets per Tweet does decrease with Tweet frequency. This can impact Tweet visibility and have branding implications. 3. Increase Tweet frequency and monitor the results. As we have shown, it is possible to increase Tweet frequency without negative consequences. 4. Regardless of how often you Tweet, your content has to be relevant and interesting to your audience.OPTIMIZING TWITTER ENGAGEMENT | How Frequently to Tweet 8©2012 Track Social
  9. 9. 04 Tweet LengthWhat is the optimal Tweet length for companies looking to increase engagement on Twitter?We recently found that for Brands on Facebook, the shorter the post, the higher the engagement. Bycomparison, all messages on Twitter are short… so we wondered what the effect of Tweet Length wason response levels via Retweet.On Twitter, smaller is not better.On Facebook, engagement generally decreases as post length increased. On Twitter, the opposite happenswith engagement increasing as Tweet length increases.Clearly, with Twitter applying a 140 character upper limit on all messages, tiny messages do not standout as much. Additionally, use of images to speak 1,000 words (or at least 1,000 characters) is far lesscommon on Twitter than Facebook, despite their strong effect.However it is interesting that engagement levels on Twitter actually increase with length, are relatively flatbetween 70 and 110 characters, and then roll off as the 140 character limit approaches. We believe that70-110 characters is enough space to say something of substance, while giving room for a Retweeterto add their own commentary and references.OPTIMIZING TWITTER ENGAGEMENT | Tweet Length 9©2012 Track Social
  10. 10. The perfect Tweet length appears to be around 100characters.We point out that writing a mid-size (70-110 character) Tweet is no guarantee of success. Nor is a shortor long Tweet destined to fail. The response to any specific Tweets depends on many factors.As an aside, with response roll-off beginning just somewhat before the 140 character size limit, andthe need for URLs, Hashs and other references in Tweets, we can say that Twitter got it just about per-fect with its 140 character limit.Our overall advice to brands regarding Tweet Length is: 1. Keep Tweets to 110 characters on Twitter, unlike Facebook. 2. Consider using images to effectively increase the Tweet length. 3. Leave room for the Retweet, avoid crushing up against the 140 character limit unnecessarily.OPTIMIZING TWITTER ENGAGEMENT | Tweet Length 10©2012 Track Social
  11. 11. 05 Timing of TweetsWhat is the best time for a company to Tweet?Catching the attention of individuals on Twitter is challenging at the best of times, however could it be thatsome times are better than others?First we look at activity by day of week:Tweets on the weekend perform about 50% betteron average.In particular we observe an increase in the number of comments received when a post is made on the week-end, presumably because people have more time.Next we look at the response by time of day. Note that the while the majority of posting activity in this study wastargeted at US based audiences, there is still a challenge in interpreting the data due to time zone differences.Hence we have split the day into 3 broad sections, specified in Central Standard Time.OPTIMIZING TWITTER ENGAGEMENT | Timing of Tweets 11©2012 Track Social
  12. 12. The early Tweet catches the userTweeting in the evening results in around 60% more Retweets than during the day. This correspondsto a similar result we observed for Facebook Posts. Interestingly, and unlike Facebook, overnight andearly morning Tweeting performed even better still, outperforming daytime Tweets by over 100%.Aside from the availability of users, another reason that out-of-hours Tweets may perform better islack of competition. As the charts below show, despite the poorer response the bulk of Tweeting happensduring regular business hours.Businesses are consistently tweeting at the wrong timeFinally, we observe that despite out-of-hours Tweets outperforming regular-hours Tweets by somemargin, businesses are still concentrating the bulk of their efforts on Twitter during business hours.In general we believe this means theyare hitting a smaller audience at amore competitive time. The result: lessthan half the response levels.As always, we need to reinforce thatthese are aggregate results. Weobserve a lot of variation betweenbrands, and it is critically important toconsider each specific situation andanalyze each brand on its own merits.OPTIMIZING TWITTER ENGAGEMENT | Timing of Tweets 12©2012 Track Social
  13. 13. For example, if you are targeting a business user, clearly tweeting out of hours would not generallyproduce the best results.However there are some general rules of thumb we can give to brands targeting a non-businessaudience: 1. Tweeting is for night owls and early birds. For many products morning and evening Tweets are clearly superior. 2. Tweeting consistently across the day. Unless your product demands it, do not Tweet only in business hours. 3. Remember that your audience may be in multiple timezones. 4. Consider Tweeting at least equally across the days of the week. 5. Take into account holidays and other cultural events.OPTIMIZING TWITTER ENGAGEMENT | Timing of Tweets 13©2012 Track Social
  14. 14. 06 The 10 keys to Optimizing Twitter Engagement 1. If you want an action, such as a Retweet, asking for it directly is often the best way to get it. 2. Hash tags increase exposure and response rate. 3. Say it with pictures. Images work well in Tweets in general, almost doubling Retweet rates. 4. Increase Tweet frequency and monitor the results. As we have shown, it is possible to increase Tweet frequency without negative consequences. 5. Try to keep Tweets to 110 characters. The ideal range for Tweets is 70-100 characters. 6. Connect with the audience by speaking in their language and connecting with the events of the day (trending topics, news events, memes, etc.). 7. Tweet consistently across the day. Unless your product demands it, do not Tweet only in business hours. After hours Tweets get a better response on average. 8. Remember that your audience may be in multiple timezones. 9. Consider Tweeting at least equally across the days of the week. 10. View Twitter content as part of an integrated, ongoing program.OPTIMIZING TWITTER ENGAGEMENT | The 10 Keys to Optimizing Twitter Engagement 14©2012 Track Social
  15. 15. 07 MethodologySummaryOptimizing Twitter Engagement is a series of articles that uses the Track Social analytics platform, track-ing more than 10,000 brands on social media, to analyze what works and what doesn’t when it comesto Twitter Engagement.BrandsTo conduct this study we monitored the Twitter streams of 100 well-known brands that areactive on Twitter:A Googler, AT&T, Amazon, American Express, Applebee’s, Audi, BBC Breaking News, BMW USA, BrgerKing, Bath & Body Works, Bed Bath & Beyond, Bulgari, Burberry, CBS News, Chanel, CNN, Chevrolet,Chili’s Grill & Bar, Coach, Inc., Coca-Cola, Converse, DISH, Dell Outlet, Deloitte, Disney, Domino’sPizza, Dunkin’ Donuts, eBay, ESPN, Facebook, Ferrari Magazine, Firefox, FoodNetwork, Foot Locker,Ford Motor Company, Fox News, G4TV, General Motors, Harley Davidson, HP Heineken, Hot Topic, In- ,tel, JC Penney, Joyce Meyer, Lamborghini, LinkedIn, Los Angeles Times, Louis Vuitton US, MTV, Macy’s,Mashable SocialMedia, McDonald’s, Mercedes-Benz USA, Monster Energy, Mountain Dew, NFL, NetflixUS, Nike.com, Nokia, Norwegian Cruise, Oracle, Oreo Cookie, People magazine, PetSmart, Petco,PlayStation, Publix Supermarkets, QVC, Red Bull, Redbox, Research In Motion, Royal Caribbean Jobs,Rugby Ralph Lauren, Subway Restaurants, Samsung USA, Skittles, Sony, Southwest Airlines, StarbucksCoffee, Suzuki Accessories, Taco Bell, Target, The New York Times, Time Warner Cable, Toyota USA,Twitter, UFC, US Navy, United, Verizon Wireless USA, Walgreens, Walmart, Warner Bros Pictures, WellsFargo, Wendy’s, Whole Foods Market, Xbox, ZARA, Zappos.comTweetsTotal number of Tweets in study: 50,321Time PeriodTime period: Aug 24, 2012 - Sep 28 , 2012.EngagementThe definition of engagement we are using in this study is strictly limited to the response of an audienceby retweeting.For calculation Response By Post Frequency we use a weighting between Per Day and Per Tweet metricsas follows: Per Day: 1 Per Post: 5OPTIMIZING TWITTER ENGAGEMENT | Methodology 15©2012 Track Social
  16. 16. 08 About Track SocialTrack Social was developed by Sprokkit, a full service marketing agency, and launched in 2011. Sprokkitand Track Social were founded by Morgan J. Arnold, a marketing entrepreneur with a PhD in Engineering.Sprokkit is an award winning, full-service integrated marketing agency specializing in mid-size andlarge brands. Clients include Carl’s Jr., Hardee’s, Denny’s and Del Taco. To download a digital version of the white paper or to get our Optimizing Facebook Engagement whitepaper, go to tracksocial.com/whitepapers. tracksocial.com 333 S Grand Ave Suite 1600, Los Angeles CA 90071. Phone: 213 626 2076 facebook.com/tracksocial @tracksocial linkedin.com/company/track-social For more information and a free assessment of your brand, contact: Haley Jones VP Client Services Track Social , haley@tracksocial.comOPTIMIZING TWITTER ENGAGEMENT | About Track Social 16©2012 Track Social