The power of Twitter has grown exponentially to 200 million monthly active users that tweet 400 million tweets per day. Considering that 50% of Americans see, read or hear about a tweet each day it’s critical for nonprofits to get their message out through this platform effectively by reaching their target audience. Recent research by Dan Zarrella and similar research by LinchpinSEO can shed some light on how to effectively compose tweets that get seen, read and shared. The following are 4 key insights that should be considered:
Length – Keeping tweets short and to the point helps increase engagement. Zarrella’s analysis of 200,000 links containing tweets reveals that the highest click through rates were tweets that had between 120 to 130 characters. Meanwhile, LinchpinSEO’s analysis of 320 world’s biggest brands identified that tweets containing less than 100% received 17% higher engagement. Another benefit to keeping tweets this length is that it makes it easier for your followers to retweet.
Positioning – Including links increases engagement as 92% of tweets that resulted in engagement contained links according to LinchpinSEO. Interestingly to learn was the importance of positioning of links in tweets. Typically we have become accustomed to place links at the end of a tweet, but the Zarella research showed that there was higher click through rates when the link was positioned in the first 25% of the tweet. This may prove effective as instinctively followers may react to what they see first.
Pace – Tweeting too frequently may not garner the desired levels of engagement. Through Zarrella’s research of 20 highly followed Twitter accounts he discovered that those tweeting links once per hour had higher click through rates, dropping to a third with those tweeting two links per hour and then to little or no engagement for those tweeting three or more links per hour. Further to do this the LinchpinSEO research shows that 1 to 6 tweets a day perform best, with 1 to 2 tweets being optimum.
Timing – The debate continues as to when is the optimal time to send out tweets. Zarrella’s research shows that there is a higher level of engagement later on in the week from Thursday to Sunday and later in the day from around 1pm on. There is also a peak in the morning between 8am to 9am. LinchpinSEO also lists weekends, particularly Saturdays and Sundays as receiving 17% higher engagement rates. These timings are logical as followers may have more disposable time to keep up with tweets late in the week and on weekends and are also checking their accounts first thing in the morning and after lunch.
Although the results of this research are valid it’s important to note that there are many other factors specific to each nonprofit that needs to be considered such as your followers demographic, geographical location and time zone. Ultimately, it’s important to test and see what works and gets your desired results. Reviewing analytic reports from a third-party platform such as HootSuite or Tweetdeck can help identify which tweets are getting the most traction and determine what worked in that tweet. As you get more familiar with your audience and their preferences, you will be better equipped to provide them with more engaging content.