How often should you Tweet? That was not always a serious business question, but it definitely matters nowadays.
Managing your social media presence is critical for most online and offline businesses. Social media has become a staple in the marketing mix. The industry has developed performance indicators to measure social ROI, such as growth and engagement.
Naturally, it makes sense to ask how often should you tweet. We all fear that tweeting too much will annoy your followers. More importantly, creating a huge Twitter following that proves unresponsive isn’t very useful for social media ROI. Before exploring this concept further, let’s preface the data with some Twitter mechanics to make sure we are all on the same page.
- Twitter timeline isn’t chronological. Up until February of this year, Twitter’s timeline was chronological. Its rollout of a more algorithmic timeline causes tweets you are likely to care about most to show up first in your timeline. These are chosen based on accounts you interact with most, Tweets you engage with, and additional factors. Therefore, it’s important to note that what you tweet is not likely to be seen by most of your followers. (click here to see how to disable this algorithmic timeline)
- The length of a tweet is 140 characters. The character limit is what makes Twitter, Twitter! Short, concise creative expression featuring photos, videos, hashtags, Vines, and more all under 140 characters. Therefore, the amount of times you post on Twitter will vary from other social networks such as Facebook or LinkedIn.
- The life of tweets are short. The life of a tweet is only 18 minutes, according to Moz. Once it’s posted, it’s guaranteed to be buried under other tweets in a matter of minutes. Here’s hoping more people help you kick the can down the road on Twitter.
- The use of the hashtags. For search capabilities, hashtags allow for users to essentially group their updates. Hashtags that are the most popular get placed on the homepage in the trending category.
- The time spent on Twitter. The typical Twitter user is likely browsing their feed from a mobile phone and drawn to whatever catches the user’s eye and then moves on. Power users view Twitter as an opportunity to engage with friends, brands, and strangers on various topics.
Keep all of these points in mind when developing your Twitter strategy and frequency.
Tweet Frequency Experiment by Mike Allton
If you tweet a few times a day, your will likely not reach your entire audience. On the flip side, is posting every 45 minutes a day, too excessive? To answer this, I’ll use the promotional efforts made by Mike Allton of The Social Media Hat (and a fellow Triberr user). He performed an experiment to see if it’s possible to tweet too much: Mike tweeted a whopping 32 times a day – once every 45 minutes – in order to reach his international audience.
- Predictably, he lost six of his 10,976 followers within the first 24 hours of the experiment. Tears!
- Within the next few days, his follower count started rising – at least four a day. This effectively offset the people who had initially unfollowed his account.
- Understandably, his retweets, mentions, and likes (formerly, “favorites”) have gone up. This one is predictable, considering that when you increase the volume of tweets, the number of engagements will definitely rise.
- His Twitter traffic has also gone up by 20%, which is always a welcomed addition. This means that more users are clicking through and checking out his account.
- Lastly, his old, evergreen content (blog posts, etc.) is regularly getting exposure and increasing his traffic.
Note: if you have an international business, tweeting multiple times a day will increase your chances of reaching people in different time zones.
While there’s no definitive answer on how often one should tweet, there are some industry standards we can look to for guidance.
Simply Measured – How Often Should You Tweet?
Jade Furubayashi of Simply Measured tweeted in 15-minute intervals and found that website traffic increased by 31% and engagement by 89%. She discovered that frequency was more effective than tweeting every 30 minutes. Her fear of being rapidly un-followed, was unfounded. In her case, she found that it worked but noted that other audiences may react differently so the strategy may not be appropriate for everyone.
Tweeting Frequency by Buffer
Buffer is an excellent resource for all things digital marketing. The popular website shared how much and when they tweet, summarized below:
- Tweet 14 tweets a day
- Never more than once per hour
- From midnight to 10pm central time
- Also tweeting 7 times on the weekend from 3:00 AM to 9:00 PM.
While the results of their process have not been published, it’s safe to say based on Buffer’s reputation that it must be working.
In addition, Buffer has conducted an interesting study titled Buffer’s Twitter Timing Data Study which included 4.8 million Tweets between the period of October 2010 to March 2015. In this study, they were able to determine optimal Tweeting times based on variables such as:
- desired acton (likes or site clicks)
- segmented by global time zones
- segmented by regional time zones
- segmented by consumer relationship account types (B2B / B2c)
All of these are factors to consider when devising a Tweet frequency strategy for your brand.
Twitter Frequency Study by Social Bakers
In 2013, the folks over at Social Bakers performed a study wherein they analyzed a sample of 11,000 tweets from global brands. They discovered their engagement decreased dramatically after the third tweet. However, an important consideration as indicated in SocialBakers study below is that although the average Tweet engagement rate decreases after the 3rd daily Tweet, the engagement rate remains relatively stable beyond the 3rd Tweet. Based on this data, we can infer that while 3+ tweets may decrease engagement per tweet, the activity still generates value overall.
It’s worth noting that these strategies were all implemented by brands that already had a relatively large following. Therefore, it’s important to experiment to find your brand’s sweet spot.
Triberr’s 30 Day Tweeting Frequency Results
Over the last 30 days, we’ve been running an experiment (greater detail will follow in another post). You can see a summary chart below.
On the Twitter front, our follower count and engagement rates have increased based on these activities. We focused on several factors such as:
- Tweeting frequency – currently between 2 – 4 times per day
- Quality of the content
- Consistency in tone and subject
- Engaging with our community
One consideration to take into account is how your audience perceives changes in frequency and consistency. For example, if your brand routinely churns out 14 Tweets per day, a decrease in Tweet frequency might make the Twitter account less valuable and visible in follower timelines. Or an increase in frequency might make you the too noisy in their timelines. It’s a balancing act. Regardless of how frequently you tweet, it should be consistently quality content.
To fill your Twitter queue, focus on varying the type of quality content using the 3 E’s principle:
- Entertaining – 140 characters is a small amount of real estate but enough to entertain your audience. Let your guard down and share something fun.
- Educational – We’re all experts at something, so find your voice or someone else’s, and share high quality information.
- Engaging – Create relationships, give kudos, and be social!
Based on the case studies above, as well as our own experiment, tweeting high quality content at a higher frequency has positive impact on both growth and engagement. Twitter has enormous potential to drive traffic and brand awareness, so get tweeting and find the optimal frequency.
If you’re willing to share, let us know how often you post to Twitter in the comments below.