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Optimizing Twitter Engagement - Tweet Content That Works

In this article we look at how the type of Tweet – Image or Text - and the text content of the Tweet, affect Retweet levels for Brands on the Twitter platform.

For those who prefer Facebook as a social platform, see our Optimizing Facebook Engagement white paper here.


For more details of the methodology of this study please see here.

For Twitter Engagement, Photos outperform Text by 91%.

Twitter has put a lot of effort into promoting the use of images through its platform in recent times, so perhaps it comes as no surprise that Photo Tweets do so much better than regular Tweets. It is maybe more interesting that Photo Tweets only compose 2.3% of all Tweets in this study.

It should be noted that certain corporate use cases on Twitter, such as customer service, don't lend themselves to the use of images, and indeed that the platform itself was founded on the use of text. However, it still seems that there is significant opportunity for brands to increase their engagement levels through use of images.

Aside from the type of Tweet, obviously the content of the Tweet itself should be important to how it is responded to.

Every brand, product and target audience is different, so perfecting the type of content is a unique process for each brand. However Track Social has studied the message content of posts of 100 of the most engaged large brands on Twitter, looking for patterns that might be broadly applicable.

Asking for a Retweet produces a 555% lift over the average Tweet.

We observed a similar phenomenon on Facebook with asking for a Like. However, on Twitter there are less creative options available, as things like asking questions or captioning activities are not seen to produce results.

Hash tags, which are words prefixed with a '#', produce a 35% lift. It is not clear whether this is as a result of their increased searchability, or a boost given by using the 'local vernacular'.

Interestingly, Tweets that openly referenced offers or coupons actually performed somewhat worse than average.

As always, we need to reinforce that these are aggregate results. We observe a lot of variation between brands, and it is critically important to consider each specific situation and analyze each brand on its own merits.

Here are some general rules of thumb to help create your perfect messaging mix:

  1. View Twitter content as an integrated program, incorporating variety
  2. Images work well in Tweets in general, almost doubling retweet rates
  3. If you want an action, such as a retweet, asking for it directly is often the best way to get it
  4. Hash tags are a good thing on Twitter

Track Social offers enterprise clients an advanced program of Social Content Optimization. For more information, and to apply for a free assessment of your brand's social performance, go here.

Track Social will have a Twitter Engagement white paper coming up soon, with forthcoming articles featuring more insights in coming weeks. To get notice when the articles and white paper are released, go here.


Join The Conversation

  • Marcellini's picture
    Oct 12 Posted 4 years ago Marcellini

    I'm a very visual person so I'm more drawn to posts on both Twitter and Facebook that are photos, infographics, etc. The only thing that bothers me about Twitter is that a photo just comes up as a link. Thankfully, I found a social media aggregator (Postano) that unpacks the images behind the links, making social media monitoring a much more interesting and engaging task. ( )

  • James Meyer's picture
    Oct 10 Posted 4 years ago James Meyer

    Good article Morgan.  Good information and presented nicely.

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