What’s the frequency, Twitter?

Tweet-birds-muralI guess by now we’re all aware that with Twitter, the more frequently we post, the greater the opportunity that our posts will be seen and acted upon.

But how much is too much?

This is something I’ve thought about since Guy Kawasaki brought it to my attention back in 2009. (See my post, To drive traffic, tweet and repeat, about Kawasaki’s test of tweet frequency.)

I’ve also worried about this idea of frequent and repeat tweeting. Like every other blogger with a PR or marketing background, I want to drive traffic to this blog. One way I do this is by sharing links to my blog posts on Twitter. I usually repeat the post a couple or three times, and generally I tweak the wording a bit in an effort to appear somewhat less lazy than a guy who automates tweets to churn them out at regular intervals. I don’t think I tweet too much. But I can’t help but wonder whether others see my approach to repeat tweets as obnoxious or spammy. I wonder whether followers ever notice those repeat tweets, and whether they think I’m posting too much about my own content.

When Kawasaki ran his experiment in 2009, he put eight hours of time between each repeat tweet. (He scheduled four identical tweets over 24 hours, then reported his results.) But a new experiment by Jade Furubayashi of SimplyMeasured makes Kawasaki’s test appear to be a model of restraint.

Furubayashi tweeted for one week in 15-minute increments, and another week in 30-minute increments. Her results showed that the more frequent the tweets, the greater the traffic from Twitter to her website.

So, frequent tweeting seems to drive web traffic.

But one item not addressed in Furubayashi’s experiment (and an issue raised in the comments to her post) has to do with the content of the tweet. Which also has to do with the headline or description used. (More about that in a previous post.)

What do you think? What’s the sweet spot for tweet frequency?

Image: Twittering Tweets Mural by cobalt123 on Flickr.


Author: andrewcareaga

Higher ed PR and marketing guy. Communications director for Missouri University of Science and Technology (Missouri S&T) in Rolla, Missouri, USA. Slow runner, mediocre guitarist, lover of music and puns, and an avid St. Louis Cardinals fan. I blog and Tweet about #highered, #music, #gocards and #random stuff.

4 thoughts on “What’s the frequency, Twitter?”

  1. When I go on Twitter, I scroll down till I see posts that I’ve seen before. But perhaps most people just see the widget on their phone and don’t check thoroughly. If that is the case, then it make sense that the more you tweet, the more it gets seen.

    Tweet how you want!

  2. Great question-how often to tweet. When in doubt, ask the scientist-Dan Zarrella at Hubspot. His book, The Science of Marketing is loaded with that kind of stuff. Have you read it? Pretty good data there. For me personally, I experiment a lot and see what gets most engagement. I’ve found, more often than not, that engagement is a content pattern, not a frequency pattern. Having said that, I tweet 8-15 times a day (unless there’s a webinar or live event), depending on the day–but I’m a curator and people are following me for that info. When it comes to promoting blog posts, I do 4-5 on the day it is released about 3-4 hours apart. Then, I look at my CTR over the weekend and see which pieces did the best that week and retweet some the following week. Looking at Google Analytics, my website traffic is highest on blog days, as should be expected. After it’s all said and done, I don’t know if there are any hard and fast rules. Jet Blue tweets over 100 times a day some days. But they have a lot of real-time product info–I do not.

  3. Mark, Chris – Thank you both for weighing in. I haven’t read The Science of Marketing but have read some of Zarrella’s other stuff (The Hierarchy of Contagiousness is the most recent). I think your point about content vs. frequency, and finding the balance, is a key. Optimizing frequency of sharing that great content is the key. Still, sometimes part of me feels like a flim-flam man if I am “over-sharing” on social media.

    Mark – Thanks for the advice to “Tweet how you want.” I’ll try to do that, while keeping it classy and tasteful.

  4. Hi,

    I’m just reading a great book called Jab Jab Hook, by the awesome Gary Vayner Chuck,
    he says Twitter rewards listeners which is a different angle from, Kawasaki and Furubayashi but either way their tests were a while ago.

    He also says Facebook is friendship, and Twitter is news and information, and being the dj of the information is the name of the game.

    How do you think this would apply to higher education?

    He also says brands can jump in and start to shape the conversation, so if a student was angry at Harvard and mooted their grievance on Twitter, in theory Harvard could jump straight in and shape the conversation.

    I guess that would be one application, do you agree?


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