8 Tips to Get the Most Out of Twitter

140 million active users generating an average of 340m tweets a day - Twitter is not a channel that most premium and luxury brand marketers chose to ignore.But are brands that use Twitter getting the most out of the channel?  Are they maximising the potential for amplification of their brand's messages through interaction and engagement with their followers?That's the question that's been tackled head on in a new study by social software company Buddy Media, which between 11 December 2011 and 23 February 2012 analysed user engagement with the 320 Twitter handles of the world's biggest brands.  Their aim was to discover the tweeting techniques which maximised interaction between brands and their followers.  These are their findings:1. Tweet on the WeekendDespite the fact that Twitter engagement rates (retweets and replies) were 17% higher on weekends when compared to weekdays, only 19% of all brand tweets were published on weekends.Clearly there's an opportunity here, and the opportunity is even more marked for fashion brands with the weekend seeing 30% higher engagement rates. Despite this, only 12% of industry tweets occurred on these days.Perhaps a lesser volume of tweets on the weekend leads to higher interaction or perhaps followers are more likely to engage when the category is relevant to them - for followers of fashion, the weekend is when they're most likely to be out shopping.2. Tweet When People are Using TwitterPeople are actively searching and using Twitter in the 'busy' hours between 8am and 7pm. Tweets in these hours receive 30% higher engagement than those between 7pm and 8am.3. Don't OvertweetEngagement levels fall per tweet as a rule, and the optimum number of tweets seems to be 4, after which 'incremental engagement' falls markedly. Certainly don't tweet more than 6 times in a day as 7 or more tweets was found to have an inverse impact on engagement levels i.e. 6 tweets will generate more engagement than 7+.The_Optimum_Tweets_per_Day_is_44. The Shorter, The Better It's human nature to want to fill the 140 characters that Twitter puts at a marketer's disposal, but Buddy Media found the optimum tweet to be under 100 characters. Tweets of this length were found to generate 17% more engagement than those over 100 characters.5. Tweet with LinksLinks included with tweets were found to increase retweet rates by 86%.  Social media managers should ensure they avoid the most common mistake when tweeting links though - making sure there's space between the link and the previous word.6. Use Hashtags, But Not Too ManyHashtags are a great way to flag content so that relevant audiences will find it, and 1-2 hashtags per tweet were found to double engagement rates. But engagement fell by 17% if more than 2 were used.7. Use ImagesThis may seem like an odd strategy for a medium were image attachments are not immediately obvious, but Buddy Media's study found that the use of images with tweets doubled engagement rates.8. Ask Followers to Retweet (not RT)Only 1% of tweets asked followers for a retweet but those that did were rewarded with a 12-fold increase in retweet rates. This increase was even higher (23 times!) if the word 'retweet' was used in the post, rather than an abbreviated form like 'RT'.In fact, we'd add a 9th tip to those suggested by Buddy Media - and that's 'Promote for Growth'.Our own testing has found that by selectively promoting tweets that are delivering high levels of engagement organically, not only can that engagement be further amplified but the promoted tweet can act as a catalyst for accelerated follower growth. And, of course, the targeted growth of followers leads to more potential for engagement and greater scope for spreading the brand's key messages via word of mouth.To talk to us about how we can help you optimise your Twitter strategy specifically, and social media strategy in general, get in touch with me at neil@creamuk.com.