Over-tweeting. Like over-eating or over-drinking, over-tweeting will leave you feeling depleted, guilt-ridden, squash productivity and interrupt your REM sleep as bad as any addictive binge. Are you an over-tweeter? Do you know an over-tweeter? Perhaps you, like me, have scrutinized your tweet-time, concerned you may be over-tweeting, but it hasn’t yet reached the point where your in-real-life (IRL) friends and family have scheduled an intervention. At this point, you reason, (as I’ve done), you’re not an addict, you’re merely a “Social Tweeter.”
Those of us who reason we have a professional duty… a purpose on Twitter besides, broadcasting personal opinions muchado about nothing in particular, are constantly in-search of this perfect balance between optimal social media expenditure and real life. A cost-benefit analysis of sorts. How much of my 24hr day time-equity shall I spend on 140 character tweets?
There are always costs involved in any relationship, and Twitter isn’t exempt. Most of us involved in the movement: “put the social back into social media marketing,” are also juggling companies, families, and everything else that comes with IRL. I speak A LOT about the grand juggling act of balancing our big pie chart called life and plucking out the inconsistencies of what we say we want versus where we spend our time. I have a heart… a soul… for the crazy, busy, entrepreneur trying to be as efficient as possible on social media so they don’t feel a total schmuck for missing out on IRL pursuits and coveted family-time.
So what’s the magic ticket? Even though our grandparents wouldn’t have a clue what a tweet is, their answers to our modern day balancing act still ring true… moderation. More is not necessarily better. I’m a numbers cruncher. I’m all about hard data, analytics, and engaging in teenaged eye-rolls when I read qualitative assumptions. I’ve been crunching and the data is clear, more tweets do not equal a higher conversion, an increased following, a necessarily higher Klout score, or a jump in engagement numbers. Sometimes less is more. Just like IRL, quality always trumps quantity. Spare yourself time and energy and spare your following…pace yourself.
Over-tweeting? You’re not alone. I’ve run the metrics* and it’s glaringly obvious many who have huge followings of 100,000 plus people are suffering from the over tweeting bug. Why do a large number of the supposedly knowledgeable social media “guru’s” do it? You see “Big Following” and you assume “Big Engagement” right? Wrong. What these folks could learn is that mass tweet campaigns actually are a detriment to getting their message out. They might have a huge number of followers, but their following isn’t listening, and if no one is listening, they’re not engaging… and well, you get the picture.
I challenge anyone (geeky enough like me who gets goose bumps when I can compare real apples to apples using hard data) to this fact of social engagement: there’s ZERO association between more tweets and increased engagement. In fact, what I see from running the analytics of many of the largest Super Tweeters, is their engagement numbers are incredibly poor. (Qualification here. Celebrities are completely exempt from this entire conversation. And I mean REAL celebrities and Stars. You know, famous people, people with an impressive IMDB profile, not people who think they’re famous. Real celebrities are exempt, and can behave differently, just as they enjoy the same elite privileges IRL. A celebrity can tweet they just took a piss, and have 43K RTs and 88.9K faves. You and I could write a piece worthy of the Pulitzer Prize and have 20RTs and 33 Faves. When I write about conversions, numbers, and engagement I’m talking about us “regular” folks… the Celebs live in a different world. They are and have always been, outliers.)
So if you’re a regular, non-celebrity, like me, we are seeking increased engagement in exchange for our time and energy spent on Twitter. Over-tweeting not only is a time and energy expenditure we don’t need to make, but the data suggests that it leads to people either: A. Tuning us and our message out, or B. UNFOLLOWING us. The opposite of what we hope to achieve for our tweeting effort.
Ouija Boards and Social Media
So what’s the magic number of tweets? I won’t purport to be a social media sage and have all the answers. What I can offer you is a vehicle to point you in your own right direction. Listen to your audience. In my industry as a speaker, it’s called, reading the room. Who is your audience? What are they interested in? Pay attention to what people are responding to and when. What are you getting right? What is being retweeted most, fave’d and commented on?
It’s the same process we have with social situations IRL, we observe and follow social cues. Online, we must pay attention and follow social media cues. Otherwise we aren’t truly engaging with our audience or taking their needs and wants into consideration. Give your followers what they are looking for and they will respond positively. Serve their needs and you’ll have the engagement and the numbers you are looking to build.
Play around with your own metrics. If you tweet more, and you’re getting the same or less response to your tweets, then it’s pretty clear you are over-tweeting, and robbing yourself of a precious fixed commodity called, time.
I’ve pored over of a variety of formulas to ascertain the “sweet spot” for number of tweets and honestly for me, these magic formulas simply don’t work. How can they? No one knows my audience like I do and no one knows your audience like you do. What works in my world is a tweet roughly every hour.** Sometimes it’s more, maybe even much more in a burst once or twice a week, but generally an hourly tweet is my magic ticket. The numbers may be different for you, in fact, it should be as unique to you as your own audience demands. By paying attention and using trial and error you will eventually find a ratio that works well for your particular network of followers. What I hope you avoid is spending more time than necessary on Twitter when I’m sure you too are trying to juggle multiple responsibilities and be the best version of yourself you can be at-home and in the office.
As a relationship and business performance specialist my sole focus is helping companies and entrepreneurs increase efficiency and profitability through leveraging relationships. To be in compliance with my own code of ethics, I must practice in my own life and business what I preach, so I keep tabs on the numbers. I do run the metrics… daily. I invite you to do the same if you’re serious about monitoring your time expenditure and the cost-benefit ratio of your engagement on Twitter.
The proof is in the pudding so-to-speak, and don’t rely on a pretty pictured graphs promulgated by tweets arbitrarily proclaiming the “Top 50 Tweeters on Twitter,” or any other “Top <fill in the blank>.” Just because someone blogged about it to get the attention and retweets of people with large followings, doesn’t mean it is true. Ask where the data came from, where is this information derived from, what is the measure? I recently read a tweet that included a list ranking the Top people on Twitter to be retweeted and the rankings were ridiculous and could not be substantiated by any sort of metrics. Unless they were using creative math. Some people who made this particular list were ranked far lower than they actually should have been (they are far more retweeted than other names on the list), and by the same token, some people made the list who have VERY low rankings for retweets.
Remember not to check your scientific method at the door just because it’s social media and not academia. We need to call a spade a spade and current metrics allow us easy access to data so that we can finally compare apples to apples. Know the diamond from the cubic zirconia. Don’t be fooled by size alone, make sure it’s authentic. And remember, celebrities are exempt!
* Metrics run using the analytics platform at EngagementLabs.
** One tweet per hour does not reflect all the personalized responses to followers who have engaged with a comment or question and also does not reflect hashtag communication meant to engage an active Twitter hashtag conversation. One tweet per hour is meant only to convey the average tweet to be seen by ALL following.
If you would like to catch up with me on twitter, you can find me here: @tamaramccleary.