A study by researchers at Cornell University, supported by the National Science Foundation and Google, has found that style can trump content when it comes to popularity on Twitter. This study has found that including an engaging call to action at the beginning of your tweet (for example, “please retweet, RT”) can increase people’s engagement on Twitter. Now, what does this mean for social professionals?
We recently conducted an experiment on Twitter to see what content was most attractive to our followers. We found that things like knowing our audience better, using images, and taking risks really help increase engagement rates on Twitter. This helped us increase our engagement rate by 180% in two months.
The Cornell researchers compiled their findings and created a tool that uses an algorithm to automatically learn what types of words perform best in tweets. However, this tool may not work for everyone as it still doesn’t take into account the humor or personality of the tweet, something we found to be a key factor in increasing our own Twitter engagement rate.
This tool is a great start to learning what type of content you should use in your tweets. But since our own experiment yielded some new discoveries that had not been covered by university researchers, we decided to make a contribution to this research. We’ve prepared a post to help you create a tweet that people want to interact with.
Write content atractive
The first part of your tweet should be about 90-100 characters. This text should be attractive, highlight your brand’s personality and include a call to action. Yes, Twitter’s character limit is 140; However, if you are going to ask people to retweet make sure you leave enough space for your followers to add ‘RT’ to the body of the tweet.
Include a URL (or a shortened URL)
Most businesses use Twitter to direct their followers to their website or a landing page. If this is your goal, be sure to include a URL in your tweet. Or better yet, include a shortened URL using a URL shortener like ow.ly, so you can track click-through rate and reduce total characters.
Include a hashtag
Increase the reach of your tweet by including a relevant hashtag. Hashtags will increase the visibility of your tweet on the internet and will help you join the great discussion generated around the topic. For example: if your tweet is about social networks, include the hashtag #socialnetworks.
Include an image, GIF, or video
Still images, GIFs, and videos can dramatically increase the engagement rate of your tweets. Make sure the images accompanying your tweet are relevant and high quality. We recently ran a test with one of our CEO’s tweets. The tweet with an image achieved a 79% higher interaction rate than the one without an image.
Creating tweets doesn’t have to be as daunting a task as it seems. Just remember to always keep your audience in mind and you will see how your interaction rate on Twitter increases. The best way to know how to write a tweet that fits your audience is through practice, monitoring, and continuous improvement based on your engagement metrics. Enjoy tweeting!