What Happens When You Double Your Tweeting Frequency?

sashattuck
Steven Shattuck VP of Marketing, Bloomerang

Posted on January 28th 2013

What Happens When You Double Your Tweeting Frequency?

Much has been written about how to maximize follower growth, interaction and click-through rates on Twitter; what days of the week to tweet and what time of day, as well as the structure and content of tweets themselves. However, few studies exists on the optimum volume and frequency of tweets. Assuming that best practices and etiquette are being followed, what impact can suddenly doubling the volume of tweets have on a business/organization account?

The Data

In September 2012, we increased the amount of scheduled tweets from 6 per day (seven days a week) to 12.

Using data gathered from Crowdbooster and Google Analytics, here is a comparison between a four-month period at 6 scheduled tweets per day and a four-month period at 12 scheduled tweets per day (data does not include replies and retweets).

Original Cadence (May-Aug):

  • 7am (Industry article)
  • 9am (Slingshot SEO blog post)
  • 11am (Industry article)
  • 1pm (Slingshot SEO landing page/offer)
  • 3pm (Industry article)
  • 5pm (Industry article)

Content: 33% Slingshot SEO, 66% industry

Twitter May-Aug

via Crowdbooster

New Cadence (Sept-Dec):

  • 7am (Industry article)
  • 8am (Industry article)
  • 9am (Slingshot SEO blog post)
  • 10am (Industry article)
  • 11am (Slingshot SEO landing page/offer)
  • 12pm (Industry article)
  • 1pm (Slingshot SEO blog post)
  • 2pm (Industry article)
  • 3pm (Slingshot SEO landing page/offer)
  • 4pm (Industry article)
  • 5pm (Industry article)
  • 6pm (Slingshot SEO blog post)
  • 7pm (Industry article)

Content: 42% Slingshot SEO, 58% industry

Twitter Sept-Dec

via Crowdbooster

The Impact

Doubling the frequency of scheduled tweets produced some interesting results, the least surprising of which was that overall impressions more than doubled from about 6 million to 14 million. It should be noted that an increase in overall impressions can be in part attributed to the increased amount of followers enjoyed during the latter half of the study.

Speaking of followers, the Slingshot SEO twitter account only gained a couple hundred more followers during the increased tweeting period. Tweeting twice as often seemed to have only a small effect on follower growth. Could the increased volume of tweets have led to more unfollows, thereby counteracting the potential gains in follower growth?

In terms of interaction, tweeting twice as often produced about 38% more retweets, about 14% less mentions and about 70% more favorites. 

Referral traffic was impacted significantly:

Twitter Referral May-Aug vs Sep-Dec

via Google Analytics

Tweeting twice as often produced a 124.60% increase in referral traffic, no doubt as a result of the increased volume of tweets containing links to Slingshot SEO blog posts and landing pages.

As a baseline, here is a look at overall website traffic during the two date ranges being compared:

All Traffic May-Aug vs Sep-Dec

via Google Analytics

You can see that the increase in referral traffic from Twitter represents a significant percentage (nearly one-third) of the increase in overall traffic to the website from September to December.

Takeaways

For B2C companies focused on conversions to leads, an increased volume of tweets may be appropriate – especially for those who rely on shared thought leadership to build brand equity. But be warned: an increased volume of bad content won’t get you anywhere, and may actually prove harmful.

If you do decide to tweet as often as the Slingshot SEO account, be sure to employ the following best practices.

  • Avoid more than one link per hour. Dan Zarrella has reported that as the speed of link tweeting increased, the CTR decreased.
  • Follow the “rule of quarters” – 25% your content, 25% interaction, 50% others’ content
  • Share only what your community will find useful
  • Attribute content to their authors (example: “article title” + “link” + “via @author”)
  • Don’t sleep on nights and weekends
  • Bulk schedule tweets in advance to save time
  • Analyze and adjust

Conclusion

Tweeting twice as often had little effect on follower growth and slightly increased interaction while more than doubling referral traffic. Tweet as often only if you maintain a high standard of content quality and usefulness.

 

sashattuck

Steven Shattuck

VP of Marketing, Bloomerang

Steven Shattuck is VP of Marketing at Bloomerang, which helps nonprofit organizations to reach, engage and retain the advocates they depend on to achieve their vision for a better world.

See Full Profile >

Comments

Touch Point Digital
Posted on January 28th 2013 at 11:49AM

Very interesting stats, Steven.  It's fascinating that doubling the frequency of tweets did increase traffic greatly but not followers.  There's a fine line between staying in front of your target market via social media and annoying them.  So finding that balance is the key.  Thanks, great article.  --David @ Touch Point Digital

sashattuck
Posted on January 28th 2013 at 1:10PM

Thanks, David! I was particularly surprised that @replies actually decreased as well.

netiquette
Posted on January 28th 2013 at 9:06PM

Thank you for the helpful information. I have actually decreased the amount of tweets I publish per day and was wondering why I was losing followers. Now I know. NetworkEtiquette.net

sashattuck
Posted on January 29th 2013 at 9:18PM

Hey David, maybe it's not the quantity of your tweets, but the quality?

Lisapatb
Posted on January 29th 2013 at 4:53AM

I found the same thing when I increased my tweets. I also found that the more followers you have the more you could tweet. I manage about 5 accounts on Twitter and one that is new I only tweet about 2-3 times per day because it only has 100 followers. But my other account with over 5,000 followers I can tweet around 50 per day and be okay as long it's not all bunched up together. If and when I look at a Twitter stream and see someone tweeting like 10 or more in a row I tend to unfollow if they are not relevant to me. I love using the Buffer to space them out throughout the day. Hootsuite is a great tool too for that.

sashattuck
Posted on January 29th 2013 at 9:20PM

Hey Lisa, Dan Zarrella's data suggests that tweeting links once per hour is best. I also use Buffer!

Phil Yarrow
Posted on January 29th 2013 at 7:11AM

Good article Steven.

I'd like to speculate that increasing visibility can essentialy make the account less 'approachable' due to looking like a larger brand. Whereas initially new followers where encouraged to share and communicate with a smaller brand, increasing tweets could distance your initial followers.

Something else to consider is Twitter is still relativly new, therefore the birth/demise of users and their respective accounts their interact with would need to be considered over that given period.

The article is interesting and leads to more questions. Thanks.

sashattuck
Posted on January 29th 2013 at 9:23PM

Thanks, Phil! That's interesting and I hadn't thought of it that way. The idea of "social proof" suggests that accounts with more followers/shares are more 'approachable' but I know that some people are turned off by accounts with huge followings but who only follow back a few.

Ross_Quintana
Posted on January 30th 2013 at 5:24PM

Nice post, I think there are some other variables to consider. It is too bad you didn't keep the ratio of your tweets the same, because a change in that can impact the outcomes. I curate a lot of content and dind that if volume increases your diversity needs to increase a bit. Monoculture tweeting cannot maintain higher volumes. 

I think quality and relevance also play a role. The followers determine capacity also. High engagers vs. low engagers will change the volume capacity. Good post.

sashattuck
Posted on January 30th 2013 at 5:30PM

Thanks, Ross. I agree that there are other variables at work here.