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How to Improve Tweet Activity – A Study of One Billion+ Tweets

  • 4
  • December 21, 2016

How to Improve Tweet Activity – A Study of One Billion+ Tweets

tweet activity

It’s hard to argue with numbers – especially the number “one billion.”

Social Quant has analyzed over a billion tweets in this study to show you what their data says about Twitter marketing.

Are you sick of hearing what you should do from so-called “experts” – many of whom provide contradictory advice?! “Do this. Don’t do that. Why? Because I said so.”

Well, forget that. Let’s see what big data has to say about how to handle your tweet activity to get the most from Twitter.

Social Quant has connected over 15,000,000 people and businesses on Twitter. This has given them access to a ton of actionable data, including the effects of tweeting frequency and hashtag use.

In this post, I’ll delve into some of the key insights from this data study and how you can use this info to maximize the success of your Twitter marketing.

The Big Takeaway from One Billion+ Tweets

tweet activity one billion tweets

The most glaring insight from the tweet activity data is that the more you tweet, the more successful you’ll be with your Twitter marketing.

For most small-medium businesses, the ultimate goal of Twitter is to drive traffic back to your blog post, email opt-in, product pages – whatever content will increase leads and sales. In other words, a win on Twitter is when your followers click on a link and land on your site.

In examining the data, link clicks were studied in great detail and a fascinating statistic was discovered. Less than 1% of the accounts in the study were responsible for more than 20% of all link clicks!

tweet activity using twitter to drive traffic

I’ll refer to these power traffic-driving accounts as the A-Team and the rest of the accounts as the B-Team for the remainder of the post.

What the big data showed is members of the A-Team tweeted approximately 80 times per day versus the B-Team, who tweeted an average of less than 14 times per day.

Here’s a chart that will help you get a better idea of what that difference in engagement per tweet looked like:

tweet actvity - engagement per tweet graph

Now I know what you’re thinking: “Well, duh! If you want more engagement you need to post more tweets!”

And yes, I agree, it stands to reason that if you increase your tweet activity, you will get more clicks and engagement.

For instance, if you are tweeting 10 times and get 20 likes, you would expect to get 40 likes by tweeting 20 times, right?

That’s how it would work if the growth was linear.

But the data says that’s the growth isn’t linear. The numbers show that the growth is EXPONENTIAL.

So instead of engagement doubling when you double the number of tweets, it actually triples or more.

Real Data Example of Tweet Activity

The B-Team tweeted an average of 13.68 times a day per account and got 9.23 URL clicks – an average of 0.67 clicks per tweet.

If the number of clicks increased in a linear fashion based on the raw number of tweets, the A-Team should have gotten 53 clicks per day from their 80 tweets.

But that’s not what the data shows.

If the relationship were linear, these two graphs below would be identical. As you can see, they are far from it:

tweet activity per day vs clicks per day chart

The A-Team actually got an average of 291 clicks per day, with an average of almost four clicks per tweet. That’s over 30 times as many clicks per day and over five times the number of clicks per tweet as the B-Team!

Tweet Activity Quality vs. Quantity

There’s one thing that the data cannot take into consideration: quality.

Most of the B-Team probably wouldn’t get the same levels of engagement as the A-Team simply by tweeting more. The A-Team is largely comprised of marketing experts who understand:

How can I possibly tweet 80 times per day?

Now, I know what you’re thinking, “how can I possibly tweet 80 times per day?! I don’t have enough content for that!”

I can completely understand that reaction but I am willing to bet that you probably do – or at least have enough content to Tweet much more than you currently are.

Unless you’re getting started, you probably have at least 10 blog posts on your website, hopefully more. Look at each blog post and create five to eight unique tweets for each post. One tweet could be the name of the post. One could be an interesting quote pulled out from the post. Another could be a statistic or just teaser text enticing people to click to find out more.

While it sounds like a lot of tweet activity for each post, I promise you that it’s easier than it seems.

How to Tweet More Often

To take a tip from the A-Team, go ahead and create a few graphics to go along with at least a few of those tweets as you’re creating them. Or if you hate creating graphics you could also just create the text for the images and then outsource the graphic design.

While the process may take a while, when you’re finished, you should have at least 50-80 different quotes.

Next, sit down and create a tip series with 50-100 tips. If the idea of creating that many at one sitting is overwhelming, try doing 10-15 per day. When you’re finished, follow the same process you established with your blog, turning some of them into images.

Finally, compile a list of your favorite quotes – I would aim for 100 – and turn some of those into images as well. If you’re having trouble finding quotes you can actually find them easily on Twitter using the #Quote (or just do a Google search). Chances are you already have a number of these created for Facebook or Instagram.

Doing this should produce 250-300 unique tweets.

How to Space Your Tweet Activity

Now, to tweet 80 times per day, you need to tweet three to four times per hour if you’re tweeting 24 hours a day. If you know your ideal client is only in the U.S., modify the hours so you’re only tweeting when most of your audience would be awake. And then tweet more frequently.

Now, obviously you don’t want to manually schedule that many tweets on a daily basis.

I would suggest using a site like SocialOomph or Edgar and set up your content to run in a loop continuously. This will also make it easy to add to your content with each new blog post or tip you create.

Studies have been done by multiple social media experts who have come to the conclusion that an average tweet posted by a Twitter account with approximately 1000 followers will have a lifespan of 18-20 minutes.

According to eMarketer.com, Twitter users spend an average of 17.1 minutes on the platform each day. That means most people are going to miss the majority of your 80 tweets. It also means it’s highly unlikely that they would notice that your content is in a loop.

However, because you’re tweeting so frequently and would most likely tweet during the window of time they were on Twitter, they’re far more likely to see your content than if you were tweeting less than once per hour.

What is the Optimal Number of Hashtags per Tweet?

Now, getting back to our deep dive into data, something I failed to mention that the A-Team is also nailing is the effective use of hashtags.

I’ve always been cautioned not to use too many hashtags on Twitter. Hashtag-stuffed tweets will definitely make an account look spammy. For my own marketing, I typically just use one or two, and occasionally as many as three hashtags.

But is that optimal? Well, let’s take a look at what the big data tells us.

For this deep dive into hashtags, 4,076,439 tweets were analyzed. Those tweets had a total of:

  • 2,246,848,255 impressions

  • 29,078,474 engagements

  • 7,196,931 likes

  • 5,651,463 retweets

  • 2,501,718 link clicks

This is a massive sample size and the results of the analysis were actually quite surprising.

More Hashtags Doesn’t Equal More Impressions

On Instagram, I always encourage my clients to use all 30 hashtags because it’s one of the primary ways people uncover content and it’s a generally accepted practice on the platform. More hashtags equals further reach (i.e. more impressions). I’ve inadvertently proven this every time I’ve accidentally forgotten to put hashtags on my IG images. My engagement plummets.

This is NOT the case on Twitter.

The impressions actually start to go down after two hashtags, with the exception of one outlier.

It’s no surprise that tweets with zero hashtags got fewer impressions. These tweets missed out on additional traffic from keyword searches. If you’re optimizing your tweets for impressions, two hashtags appears to be the magic number.

tweet activity number of hashtags to use

tweet activity click to tweet hashtag graph

What was more surprising than the impression data, however, was the engagement data.

The highest engagement was on tweets that had between four and ten hashtags and the highest number of likes occurred on hashtags with nine or ten hashtags!

But remember that the ultimate goal is driving traffic. Those tweets with 9 or 10 hashtags got significantly less link clicks than tweets containing fewer hashtags.

The tweets with the most link clicks had between zero and six hashtags.

My takeaway from examining the data, and applying common sense, is that it’s best to tweet with one to three hashtags.  This will keep you in the highest ranges for impressions and engagement – with an emphasis on link clicks – and keep your tweets looking clean and spam-free.

tweet activity how many hashtags on twitter

It comes as no surprise that as the number of hashtags increased, the clicks went down quickly. Lots of hashtags are associated with spammy Twitter accounts and users are more wary of clicking those links.

Choose Your Hashtags Wisely

Because you’re limited to just a few hashtags in your tweets, select them wisely. Remember, the keywords you select as hashtags have a big impact on whether your content is found in a Twitter search.

Start by compiling a list of all hashtags that are relevant to your niche. Hashtagify.me is a great resource since it makes it easy to find hashtags related to the ones you know you want to target. You can then use those hashtags along with the original to increase your reach – although remember to avoid using more than three, total.

Hashtagify.me also has great data on the popularity of hashtags. Hashtags that are rarely used aren’t searched for. Remove those from your list.

For even more ideas, take a look at the hashtags that your competitors or industry experts are sharing with their tweets. This will help you get an even better idea of which hashtags are most relevant for your audience.

You could also jump onto trending hashtags. There is a list of tending hashtags on the left side of the screen inside Twitter. You can substantially increase the reach of a good piece of content by including a relevant trending hashtag.

Final Thoughts

Remember, great Twitter marketing is a skill that takes time to master. It’s not going to happen overnight.

Focus on creating great content, both text and visual, that your audience will find valuable. This data is a great jumping off point to help you adjust your tweet activity to get that content in front of more people and make you Twitter marketing more successful.

I’d love to hear what you think about what the data says in the comments section below!

tweet activity pinterest

Author Sheena White

Sheena White is a copywriter and social media strategist who helps clients rock their sales copy in order to increase conversions. She also has a copywriting course where she teaches entrepreneurs the strategies they need to write great sales copy.

More posts by Sheena White
  • Excellent article, Sheena! Actionable, fact based, proven methods. You’re a rockstar!

    • Thanks for reading and commenting, Mark! Sheena really hit a home run with this one 🙂

    • Sheena

      Thanks Mark! Glad you enjoyed it!

  • Sharon F. Danzger

    Really valuable info for those of us just getting a handle on twitter. Thanks!

    • Awesome! Glad you found value in the post, Sharon! What’s your favorite/most exciting takeaway from the study? – David

      • Sharon F. Danzger

        The first takeaway is the 1-3 hashtags per post. But I bookmarked it to come back when I have more time to consider having the tweets ready to launch by going through blog posts, tips, and quotes. Right now I post twice a day…based on this post, it looks like I should do a bit more (even if it’s not 80.)

        • Awesome! Yes, I would definitely take the strategies outlined here to increase your tweets. 80 might be a stretch for you now but you could definitely Tweet more than twice a day 🙂

  • I’ve often heard that tweets should have 3 or less hashtags, interesting to see the statistics behind the reasoning. As Sharon stated, “Right now I post twice a day…based on this post, it looks like I should do a bit more (even if it’s not 80.)”

    • Hey Bruce, glad you found the post interesting! How often are you generally tweeting now? How much (if any) do you think you’ll increase after reading?
      Cheers!

      • Tweets, RT, Likes and replies have been sent out manually and on a non-regular basis, usually 5 – 10 a day. We will look into automating our posts, but will still manually reply to our followers that engage with us.

        • Absolutely! Great that your taking the time to personally tweet to followers engaging with you. That’s how conversations/relationships get started on Twitter and that’s what leads to business and/or collaboration. I would recommend setting up scheduled tweets to your evergreen content/blog posts but keep on engaging manually. 🙂

  • Melissa Cooper

    Hi great post! I have a question. When creating images for tweets, you say we should “create the text for the images” – what do you mean? Let’s say I have 50 tips on “how to be healthy”. #1 is “take the stairs” for example. The text in my tweet would be “How to be healthy tip #1: Take the stairs” and I would have an image of someone on the stairs. Got it. But what do you mean by ‘text for the image’ ? Are you saying we should put the text (in this case, the tip) in the image also?? Please clarify! Thank you.

    • Hi Melissa,

      Thanks for the kind words! When we’re talking about text for the image, yes, we’re talking about a text overlay to put words on the image itself. You can do this with a number of free tools and apps. Canva is a great free tool for the web and I really like the Typorama mobile app – makes really cool text overlays easy 🙂

      I would advise experimenting with putting text overlays on your pictures. For the example you were giving, you might put the actual tip on the image or maybe a branded hashtag like #MelissasHealthyTips or something like that. Remember people scroll through Twitter very quickly and if you have text that pops on your image, it might be the difference between them stopping to look at your tweet and moving on. But again, experiment and see what gets the best engagement then do more of that 🙂

  • Rob Knapp

    http://hashtagify.me/ looks like a winner. Thanks for the link 🙂

    • Sure thing! It’s a very helpful site for hashtag research 🙂

  • Greg Schraff

    Very informative and useful article. You explain how SocialOomph or Edgar allows you to set up your content to run in a loop continuously, but do these tools (or other tools that you know of) allow you to include graphics with your automated tweets?

  • Brian Mack

    Hi Sheena, Great stuff, thanks! I’m solidly in the “B-Team” category, but am motivated by your suggestions for expanding our tweet inventory. I do have a question however. I have always subscribed to the guideline of a ratio of 75% repurposed content from others to 25% pushing our own promotional info. Are you familiar with this “best practice”, and do you have an opinion? How does that factor into your daily volume recommendation?

    Thanks,
    Brian Mack
    @BFMack

    • Hi Brian,

      For my two cents on this, I do think that’s a good practice for Facebook and perhaps some other social media networks, but not so much for Twitter. I would concentrate on continually providing value to your followers but if you have enough content to make more of that percentage yours, I would do that.

      You will want variety and curating content is a great way to do that. Also sharing great content from others is an excellent way to form relationships. That could mean as little as them sharing your content in return or as much as them becoming a new customer/client or someone you could collaborate with.

      That said, I wouldn’t worry to much about the percentage of what’s your content and what’s curated. Again, just make sure each tweet is providing value to your followers in some way or another. Always ask yourself, “would I care about this?” before posting anything.

      Hope that helps 🙂 – David

      • Brian Mack

        Great feedback, Thanks!

        Brian

    • Sheena

      Brian, I’ve been out of town for the holidays so sorry it’s taken me a bit to get back to you. So I think you’re talking about 2 separate tactics here: one being the practice of sharing curated content and the other being promotional vs. nonpromotional. I think Twitter is great for curating content, but I typically would do that on a day-to-day basis using a tool like Hootsuite (you can create lists for great content producers in Hootsuite and then schedule your re-tweets). I wouldn’t recommend automating other people’s content in a queue. They may decide to delete the post, they could shut down their website, information could change, etc. Bottom line, I wouldn’t recommend putting content in a queue that you don’t have control over, if only because your primary goal should be to drive traffic to your own site. I wouldn’t really suggest 75% repurposed content for that reason, since that would mean you’re sending 75% of your Twitter traffic elsewhere. You also mentioned promotional vs. nonpromotional. I don’t honestly do a lot of promoting on Twitter. I think that the 80/20 rule is appropriate for non-promotional vs. promotional content. Just avoid doing what I see a lot of people doing (just putting links to their products). I would try to always be value first and position your products and services in a way that it has the end user in mind. In other words, answer the question, “why should I care” or “what’s in it for me?” Hopefully that helps!

  • Ann-Marie

    Happy new Month, Sheena. Thanks for this incredible piece of article. It is interesting how it seems as if there is always more to learning something new in the business circle. Twitter is one of my favorite social media sites. however, I just used it in the basic features but will continue to implement tips.

  • Really enjoyed the read. Especially backed up by a billion data 😀

    I have something to add by the way, my assumption – there are a bunch of automated “likers” and “retweeters” that get triggered by the use of a specific hashtag. And couple that with people who like or retweet just to grab attention, or retweet the content because it fits in their content strategy -> those aren’t the ones who will click.

    Makes sense that posts with more hashtags will have more of these as well – seen people that use up to 10 hashtags and get 60 engagements per post with a smaller audience -> most of the profiles that engaged look bad and spammy.

    • Great points, Ratko! Another reason to concentrate on link clicks rather than the retweets and likes metrics. While retweets are important to help spread the word, we have also noticed that a lot of tweets that get a ton of retweets don’t get many clicks at all and vice versa. Thanks for your insights 🙂

  • Nice post to improve your tweets re-tweet & likes.

  • Deb Coman

    Such an excellent article, Sheena. So glad Mike mentioned it in the group today. Sharing this with clients who are both new to Twitter as well as those who have been around and are looking to increase their presence and relevance on the platform. Always such great info from Social Quant.

  • Harshita Agrawal

    Great article!

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“Since we started using Social Quant on our Twitter profile, our follower count has skyrocketed 40% in 40 days!! And most importantly, engagement on our tweets has risen by the same amount — which means Social Quant is finding exactly the right followers for our brand.”
— Andrew Warner, Mixergy
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“Since we started using Social Quant on our Twitter profile, our follower count has skyrocketed 40% in 40 days!! And most importantly, engagement on our tweets has risen by the same amount — which means Social Quant is finding exactly the right followers for our brand.”
— Andrew Warner, Mixergy