In 2008, Twitter was just a stream of text. Today it is a multi-media torrent with six second Vine clips, images, Slideshare embeds, Gifs and videos. But even back then in the primordial soup that was social media marketing, there were signs of it’s imminent promise. The indicators included:
- Global reach: Social networks provided a platform that could reach a global audience in real time
- Free earned attention: You could also “earn” attention online by gaining followers and fans without paying for it
- Increase in traffic: Traffic could be driven to your website and blog by embedding links
So hard work, persistence and experimenting could produce world wide content distribution and attention that offered real marketing value. Earned media. It is still possible, but it is getting harder as the Facebook and the social media industry matures and aim to monetise their platforms.
What worked when social started?
Making social media work for your brand as a marketing tool in 2008 was a mixture of tactics that were discovered, tested and retested in the embryonic mist of social media birth. At that time of social media evolution, hashtags and URL shorteners were barely imagined.
On Facebook the most valued tactic was growing Facebook “likes”. This gave your brand reach and organic traffic.
On Twitter it was about building followers and learning the art of writing enticing headlines in 140 characters with a shortened URL to get that “click”
That was then. Much of this still applies but a lot has changed.
How do you make it work today?
Today as Facebook reduces its free reach to almost zero you have to get smarter and paying for advertising is becoming the main option. With Twitter also making noises of adjusting its algorithm as well, the race is on to increase natural virality, engagement and sharing before Twitter maybe cranks back organic reach. Some savvy content marketers and online publishers such as Buzzfeed and Upworthy are mixing art with click and sharing science.
One of the best ways to optimize content for sharing is to make it visual. Here is an infographic from Ethos3 that displays why.
The rise of visual content is seeing interesting tactics being used. And Twitter is one place where some great results are being seen.
So what is one content marketing tip that is worth gold?..It’s placing images and even mini infographics into the Twitter stream so they are visible without clicking.
You won’t believe the metrics!
We have all seen the research that shows that images receive more retweets. So I have included visual tweets on a much more regular basis in the last 12 months. But for the last month I have decided to increase my “visual tweeting”. I also decided to take a real close look the analytics.
My sample was 15 tweets without images but included a headline, link and hashtags that were tweeted over the last 7 days. The normal practice for tweeting.
I also took 15 tweets with images and compared the results. This is the “new” tweeting.
The tool I used to measure the results was Twitter’s own “Twitter Analytics“.
On looking at my recent analytics I found the following over the last 28 days.
- 11.2 million impressions over the last 28 days
- This shows an average of 358,700 impressions per day
- Average engagement rate is 1.0%
- 32,500 retweets or 1,200 retweets per day on average
- 27,400 favourites
Here are the numbers and comparisons.
Metric 1: Increase in “impressions”
Impressions is defined as, “Number of times users see the Tweet on Twitter”
- Average impressions for tweets without images: 2,183
- Average impressions for tweets with images: 6,473
The percentage increase of a tweet with image over a tweet without is a substantial 197%.
Metric 2: Increase in “engagement”
Engagement is defined as, “The total number of times a user has interacted with a tweet. This includes any clicks anywhere on the tweet. These include hashtags, links, username and Tweet expansion. Retweets, replies, follows and favorites”.
- Average engagement for tweets without images: 31
- Average engagement for tweets with images: 211
Increased percentage for “engagement” of a tweet with image over a tweet without is a staggering 581%
Metric 3: Increase in “engagement rate”
Engagement rate is defined as, “The number of engagements (clicks, retweets, replies, follows and favorites) divided by the total number of impressions”
- Average engagement rate for tweets without images: 1.47%
- Average engagement rate for tweets with images: 3.1%
Increased percentage of a tweet with image over a tweet without is a significant 111%.
Now, no matter how you look at it, the increases are remarkable. If I could increase my financial investments by that amount by one small change I would be ecstatic!
Bring on visual tweets.
Let’s look at some of the samples of the visual tweets and also as a comparison Facebook posts with the same image.
Tweet 1: Mini infographic
Mini infographics that display well in a tweet can be very effective.
Result: 46 retweets and 43 favorites.
Tweet 2: Mini infographic
The mini infographic worked so well I thought I would repeat it!
Result: 43 retweets and 59 favorites
Tweet 3: Image
It is an image but is in essence an infographic that I have cut up into a bite size easy to view image.
Result: 41 retweets and 64 favorites
Tweet 4: Quote turned into an image
This is an oldie but a goodie and still works well
Result: 32 retweets and 53 favorites
Tweet 5: Image
Picked this unusual image to match the blog post headline and experimented on Twitter to see retweets and shares over a normal text tweets.
Result: 23 retweets and 25 favourites
So they were the results for Twitter. What happens on Facebook with the same images? Here are the results.
Facebook post 1: Mini infographic
Results: 110 likes and 46 shares
Facebook post 2: Mini infographic
Results: 21 likes and 11 shares
Facebook post 3: Cut up infographic
Results: 109 likes and 14 shares
Facebook post 4: Quote as an image
Results: 95 likes and 19 shares
Facebook post 5: Post image
Results: 15 likes and 0 shares
What about you?
Are you using enough visual content in your tweets. Have you checked your Twitter analytics recently? What do they reveal?
What visual tweets and posts work for you?
Look forward to hearing your insights in the comments below.
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