Brands are missing out on big opportunities to engage with consumers on Twitter by tweeting at the wrong time or in the wrong way, according to an interesting study from Buddy Media.
The report, Strategies for Effective Tweeting: A Statistical Review, found that many brands aren’t using Twitter effectively and outlines the top strategies for engaging with consumers. Buddy Media looked at user engagement for the top 320 brands on Twitter between December 11, 2011 and February 23, 2012 to see how successful they were at getting @replies and retweets. Their engagement rates were also assessed to quantify the relationship between @replies and retweets based on their number of followers.
Use these best practices and proven tactics to communicate effectively on Twitter:
1. Tweet on weekends
Twitter engagement rates for brands are 17% higher on Saturday and Sunday vs. weekdays, but brands don’t leverage this trend. Only 19% of all brand tweets are published on weekends even though engagement is highest on these days. Tweets on Wednesdays and Thursdays are wasted because that’s when engagement is the lowest.
2. Best days to tweet by industry
Clothing and Fashion: Tweet on weekends
Engagement for clothing and fashion brands is 30% higher on weekends, but only 12% of the industry’s tweets are posted on Saturday and Sunday. Followers typically have more time for shopping on weekends, so this is when to communicate with them. Thursday produces the lowest engagement.
Entertainment: Tweet on Sunday and Monday when people are
looking for events to attend
Tweets published by entertainment brands on Sunday and Monday receive 23% more engagement than average, while Thursday receives the lowest engagement. Followers may be more engaged on these days because they’re looking for movies and other events to attend in the coming week.
Publishing: Tweet on Saturday when people catch up on reading
Publishers, including bloggers, are missing a big opportunity to engage with followers on Saturdays, when they’re catching up on news and current events. Engagement on Saturday is 29% higher than average, yet only 7% of publishing brands tweet on that day.
Sports: Tweet on weekends when big games are on
People are far more likely to engage with sports brands on Twitter during the weekend, which is no big surprise. Engagement rates are 52% higher on Saturday and Sunday than on weekdays, with Monday coming in third. Most major sporting events are held on weekends, and people like to discuss them on Monday. Only 9% of sports brands tweet on Saturday, so they’re missing an opportunity.
3. Tweet when people are busy to create more
Tweets sent during busy hours (8am to 7pm) receive 30% more engagement than tweets posted at other times (8pm to 7am), including Saturday and Sunday. 64% of brands tweet during busy hours and take advantage of this trend.
4. Use different social networks so your conversation
is always on
While Tweets during busy hours receive significantly more engagement, Facebook posts show the inverse results — posts during non-busy hours receive 17% more engagement on Facebook than those posted during busy hours. Facebook posts can remain at the top of a user’s News Feed based on their EdgeRank scores, even if they’re published while the user isn’t on Facebook. Tweets, on the other hand, are quickly pushed out of sight by newer tweets, making them more difficult to find when they’re published outside of busy hours.
5. Figure out how to pace your tweets throughout the day
Plan your tweet schedule according to the days your tweets perform best, and tweet more frequently on those days. But don’t overdo it — there’s an inverse relationship between tweet frequency and engagement, so the more you tweet per day, the less engaging your tweets may become.
6. Keep tweets short for best performance
Tweets that contain fewer than 100 characters receive 17% higher engagement than longer tweets. And leave some room in tweets — if you don’t use all 140 characters, followers can add their own text either before or after your content.
7. Use links in tweets to drive clicks and retweets
Links with short, tempting descriptions entice followers to click. Tweets that include links are retweeted 86% more than tweets with no links. Adding links drives a lot of traffic to desired destinations and magnifies your brand messages.
8. Make sure your links work
Ever see an interesting tweet with a link that you really want to click but can’t? We’re all familiar with that scenario. It’s often the result of a simple formatting error in the tweet — 92% of all linking errors are caused by not inserting a space before the actual link, which forces users to copy and paste the link into a browser. I don’t want to do that, do you?
9. Use hashtags increase engagement but don’t overdo it
Hashtags are a Twitter staple and a popular way to identify themes or topics in a tweet. Tweets with hashtags receive twice the engagement of those without hashtags, but only 24% of tweets contain them. It’s possible to overuse hashtags, though, and many brands do — tweets with one or two hashtags have 21% more engagement than those with three or more, which yield a 17% drop in engagement.
10. Tweet images
Even though followers can’t see an image instantly on Twitter as they can on Facebook, regular publishing of images has a pronounced impact on Twitter performance. Tweets with image links (via yfrog, instagr.am, Twitpic, and other sites) have engagement rates 200% higher than those without.
11. Ask for retweets
Don’t be afraid to ask people to retweet your posts — it can make a huge difference. Tweets that specifically ask followers to “retweet” or “RT” are retweeted 12 times more than those that do not, but fewer than 1% of brands actually implement this call to action. Asking followers to retweet is an easy and effective way to amplify your brand messaging.
Twitter cheat sheet for Brands
Buddy Media created this handy cheat sheet for brands looking to maximize Twitter for branding and engagement:
Download Buddy Media’s report, “Strategies for Effective Tweeting: A Statistical Review”