5 Ways to Maximize Your Impact on Twitter [Research]

On Twitter, like on other forms of communication, how you express yourself has a major impact on your results. As Twitter continues its steady growth, it becomes more important to think about the contents of your tweets in order to maximize your communication effectiveness.

In May 2011, Twitter.com had 27 million US visitors, a 13% increase over the previous year. Even though most Twitter usage doesn’t happen on Twitter.com, approximately 85-90% of Twitter users visit the website each month based on comScore research. According to Pew Internet, about half of Twitter users do so via their cellphone. 

To take advantage of Twitter’s growth, here are five ways to enhance your tweets to maximize their impact.

  1. Watch your words. While this may sound funny since Tweets often include strangely spelled words and abbreviation that look like text messages. Incorporate these seven words and symbols into your tweets to increase click-throughs. (For actual charts, see Dan Zaraella’s post 10 Words to Increase Your Twitter CTR.)
    1. Include the @ sign to reference someone on Twitter. This yields about four times higher click-throughs. (5.41% versus 1.23%) This makes sense since these tend to be direct responses. It can also be attributed to referencing a blogger or other high profile person that causes people to want to be in the know.
    2. Re-tweet someone with the use of RT. This almost triples the number of click-throughs (from 1.47% to 4.19%). This adds to the credibility by association as well as showing good Twitter manners.
    3. Use of “via” increases click-throughs over threefold (from 1.9% to 6.37%). This makes sense because it increases credibility by revealing the content’s source.
    4. Manners help click-throughs. Use of the word “please” increases click-throughs from 2.1% to 3.57%.
    5. Add “Check” to tell your followers what-to-do. This increases click-throughs (from 2. 07% to 2.57%). Intuitively, this makes sense since it’s a contextually relevant, short call-to-action.
    6. Don’t say “marketing”. It suppresses click-throughs! This may be attributable to the fact that consumers are wary of promotional content on social media platforms and may not apply to marketers who are interacting with other marketers.
    7. Use hashtags (#) to expand tweet reach. But understand it has no impact on click-throughs.

    Bottom line: Edit your tweets to leverage your use of those words and symbols that increase re-tweets.

  2. Include links. Share information in your tweets via shortened links. To maximize the impact, offer useful and targeted information in line with your profile. Further, these links shouldn’t be promotional push marketing. Hubspot’s Dan Zarella found it’s best to put the link about 25% into the tweet.  Bottom Line: Location, location, location. Take time to rearrange your tweets to position your shortened links.
  3. Ask to be re-tweeted. Tweets, like any other form of marketing, require a contextually relevant call-to-action. Don’t abbreviate re-tweet to RT to increase re-tweetability. “Please re-tweet” yielded three times more re-tweets than “Please RT”. Interestingly, the abbreviated “Pls RT”, containing nine less characters that can be critical to your message and leaving room for re-tweetability wasn’t measured. Bottom line. Be polite and clear in your communications. Users prefer to see full words not abbreviations. Eliminate other characters such as extra spaces and quote marks that don’t have an impact on understanding.
  4. Provide news. Be the go-to person and curate useful information, especially news. Twitter is the go-to source for the latest news. More and more, it’s where news breaks such as the Egyptian unrest and the Japanese Tsunami.
    Bottom line. Monitor Twitter for the latest happenings and use it to get out time sensitive information your customers need, such as flight delays. Don’t pull a Kenneth Cole who tried to take advantage of the Egyptian unrest to promote his spring line.
  5. Don’t talk about yourself. Twitter, like other forms of social media, isn’t about you. It’s about the community and paying-it-forward. Research showed referencing yourself reduced re-tweets by about half. Face it – no one wants to hear you talk about yourself.
    Bottom line. Listen to what your customers want. Don’t use Twitter as a push promotional channel. Instead provide useful information related to your products and link to your offering in that content.

Twitter is a social media platform that allows for a variety of different forms of communications, one-to-many, one-to-one and many-to-many. To leverage the power of Twitter to its fullest, you need to consider your words carefully, especially since you only have 140 characters to convey them.

Is there anything else that you’d add to this list? If so, what would you recommend?

Happy marketing,
Heidi Cohen

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