How Many Tweets Is Too Many Tweets?

How Many Tweets Is Too Many Tweets? Jade Furubayashi Blogger Extraordinaire Simply Measured

As Community Managers, we’re constantly trying new things. Whether it’s a new network or a new CTA, experimentation is in the job description. Unfortunately, we, as Community Managers, are also really busy. Trying new things can be daunting, especially when you have a strict plan to hit your numbers. But, that shouldn’t deter you; The risk is often worth the reward. How do you know what works, what doesn’t, or what could be better? Test.

The Question: How Many Tweets Is Too Many?

A woman pondering her tweeting frequencyI’m not sure where I heard it, maybe it was a conference or a blog post, but at some point it was put in my head that Tweeting a lot can really peeve your community. Now, I wasn’t sure what “a lot” really was. Does that mean I should only tweet once a day? Or once an hour? I kept Tweeting and my numbers continued to improve. The community didn’t seem to mind, there was no negative feedback or slump in engagement. In fact, my key metrics got better. Much better. So, I decided to formally test if my frequency of tweeting affected my engagement, engagement per tweet, and site traffic.

The Experiment: Testing Tweet Frequency

To test the effects of Tweet frequency, I Tweeted for one week in 15-minute increments, and another week in 30-minute increments. I ran this test in December, and again in January. I pulled all the data from each week using the Simply Measured Account Report and Google Analytics, put it all into Excel, and compared the weeks side by side. Sounds good, right?

The Experiment… Again: Back to the Drawing Board

I presented my findings to my team, confident about the results. But our Conversion Manager, former analyst, Nate, poked some serious holes in my logic. See, after 5pm on a business day, my Tweet frequency would change. I only Tweeted in 15 or 30 minute intervals between 6am and 5pm, but my reports pulled for the full 24 hours. My sample set wasn’t specific enough. So, I went back to the drawing board. I adjusted my samples, pulling data only from within business hours, and what I found was really telling.

The Findings: Tweet Your Heart Out!

Website Visits
screenshot showing the difference of website visits between 15 minute and 30 minute tweeting intervals
After compiling the data from both weeks, I found that Tweeting in 15-minute increments increased traffic by 31% and engagement by 89%.
Engagement Per Post
screenshot showing the difference of engagement per post between 15 minute and 30 minute tweeting intervals
The most interesting finding was the changes, or lack there of, in engagement per post. This was shocking because the natural inclination would be to assume that the more you post, the more spread out engagement will be and, thus, the lower your engagement per post will be. But, engagement per post barely changed between the two. In fact, 15-minute increments even averaged a tiny bit higher (1.4%).
Total Engagement
screenshot showing the difference of total engagement between 15 minute and 30 minute tweeting intervals
Total engagement was the least surprising disparity to me. It stands to reason that when I Tweeted twice as much, total engagement followed suit. My one fear was that there’d be a diminishing return as followers got sick of constant updates, but that didn’t prove to be the case.

What We Learned
Aside from the obvious findings about Tweet frequency, this test led me to tons of other findings. For example, when I segmented our engagement and traffic for exclusively between 6am – 5pm, I saw how much was occurring after business hours. Stacking more tweets, more powerful CTAs and richer content in the evenings could potentially drive our numbers up even further. Our audience is not only receptive during the day, but they’re actually tuned in all the time. Perhaps it’s because of the space we work in; social media geeks seldom turn it off. In the future, this is something I will definitely be able to capitalize on.
Conclusion
One thing that you probably shouldn’t do after reading this blog post is automatically start tweeting more. Just because it worked for me, doesn’t necessarily mean it will work for you. Every audience is different; some will respond better to seeing your handle pop up in their feed multiple times a day, while others won’t. But what I strongly recommend you absolutely do after reading this post is run this test for yourself! The best way to find your sweet spot, is to test, test, test!

Want to test this out for yourself but have questions? Leave them in the comments or Tweet me!

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Jade Furubayashi

Jade Furubayashi

My name's Jade and I'm a social media addict from Seattle, WA. I'm the Community Manager at Simply Measured, so my job is basically to talk to you fine people everyday- which is awesome. Aside from that, my favorite things are dogs, tacos and Beyoncé.

  • Jen

    Curious to know if you received more unfollows or follows in the time period where you were tweeting more frequently.

    • Kate Hutchinson

      An excellent question.

      • Jade

        Hey Jen & Kate,

        This is definitely something I would want to put in my next phase of analysis. I’ve taken a quick look at the data and couldn’t identify any major peaks in follows or unfollows, but it is definitely something that requires a deeper dive. Stay tuned!

    • http://GrowMap.com Gail Gardner

      I can answer this. I feed over 100 blogs into my @GrowMap account. Whenever they publish, their content automatically goes into my stream using Twitterfeed. (How on my site.) Not every site publishes daily or even weekly and I don’t auto-share any site that publishes more than once a day. I do auto-share top individual authors on larger sites.

      I also have a Twitter list I call “visual” and I continually push additional content from that stream into mine. I have only once had a complaint in years of doing this and it was from a fellow marketer. I landed on the D&B Top 50 Small Business Twitter Influencers list recently and most of the bloggers specifically mentioned years ago as Twitter influencers by a joint study by Cornell University and Yahoo! Research were collaborators of mine doing the same thing I do.

      Look at my “visual” Twitter list and you’ll see that GrowthHackers, Marsha Collier, Madalyn Sklar and many other influencers are doing the same thing. The key is big bright images. I did a video showing why that is important. (Available on YouTube and in a post on Social Media Today titled Up Your Social Media Image Game.) I can provide links if anyone wants them.

      Note that my audience is serious freelancers, writers, and social media marketers who love the firestream. If you sell products, you might not want to be as aggressive, but you could still benefit IF what you share is compelling. The only reason I sometimes wish influencers or my favorite brands wouldn’t share so much is because I want to go click and need to focus on working.

      • http://www.marshacollier.com Marsha Collier

        Thanks Gail! A good practice is also to H/T (hat tip) to the person who originally tweeted what one shares

  • http://www.rishona.net/blog/ Rishona Campbell

    Great write up Jade. I like how your emphasis is to encourage others to do the research for themselves and take the approach that works for them. Each audience is different….the best person to gauge what content they appreciate and what they respond to is you :-)

    • Jade

      Thanks Rishona! You’re exactly right. Since everyone’s audience is different, there’s no one size fits all strategy.

  • LeBlancly

    This is interesting, but I can’t help but feel that some element of it is going to go back to what the content was. Did you have any sort of plan to post similar types of content for your experiment to standardize the results in some way? For example, posts with links vs not, posts that ask a question vs not, etc.
    Either way, completely agree that the only way to know is to test, test, test!

    • Jade

      Hey LeBlancly,

      I definitely hear that. Variations of content certainly have an impact and that would be a great thing to look at in my follow-up analysis!

  • D. Kruegel

    A 15 Minute interval is probably still long enough for a tweet falling down the stream unnoticed for many followers until the next tweet comes in. I have read somewhere else that a 20-minute interval is ideal, as the longevity of a tweet is barely 20 minutes in average. But that surely depends on the average amount of accounts a follower is following and the size and resolution on the screen (in other words: how many tweets fit into the screen of the follower’s device). The lower the amount of followed accounts and the larger the screen, the longer the life of a tweet on their screen.

    • gmart

      It just amazes me that 1) people have that much to tweet; and 2) people tweeting that much can get any other work done. More power to ya!

      • Alan Martin

        That’s where BufferApp comes in;-)

      • http://GrowMap.com Gail Gardner

        We curate what others tweet and share a lot of top content written by other top writers we know.

  • heyitskarri

    Hi Jade,

    Great experiment! We found similar results when we dove into how B2B marketers engage on Twitter a couple months ago… the people who get mentioned and retweeted most generally tweet a heck of a lot more than the average person! We also found some other “best practices” that might make interesting experiments in future.

    Slides from that webinar are available here: http://www.slideshare.net/dnnsoftware/how-to-engage-b2b-marketers-using-social-media

    Looking forward to your next post!

  • Juan

    However, if you’re ever at a Twitter office, their slide deck will say the ‘Tweetspot’ is tweeting 4 (yes, four) times a DAY. The reality is that it always depends on your audience and your niche. Measure and figure out what’s best for your audience. It’s good to see a community manager that can create bar graphs though :)

    • http://GrowMap.com Gail Gardner

      That is tweeting your own content 3-4 times a day. That doesn’t mean you can’t share OTHER great content in between.

  • sabbadoo32

    I believe the people who tell you “don’t tweet too much” should instead say “don’t tweet too much of the stuff that we write.” Generally we tweet a lot, as there are a lot of unique things going on. If it’s well-written and interesting, are one thing, putting it out so people can see it is another. Timing-wise we space them around 20 minutes apart, not at set intervals (sometimes 18 minutes, sometimes 21 minutes, etc). We look at our day in terms of morning (10 am to 1 pm), afternoon (1 pm to 4 pm), and evening (8 pm to 10 pm). Weekends 8 am noon, and evenings 9 pm to 11 pm. We’ve grown from 2100 to close to 7000 followers in a little over 2 years.

    • gmart

      I am always curious about people specifying time periods. Are the people you tweet to only in your time zone?

      • sabbadoo32

        Yes, we are the third largest county government in the US.

  • http://inspiretothrive.com/ Lisa Buben

    Great stats, I believe too it matters how many followers you have – I find when I get new followers if they only are following a few hundred of less they may stop following me because of how often I tweet. I also agree with others that the niche and type of tweets make a difference too :) Love to see your follow up on that as well Jade.

  • http://www.ThoughtfulRealEstate.com sunshineseattle

    You at SimplyMeasured write some good articles – I could cope with one every 15 minutes. But when people are telling me that they need coffee or they had great sex last night – those are the ones that go to my “loudmouth” (private) list. I need the loudmouths but I don’t need to hear them. I no longer read my tweets directly I segment them into lists and read the list (or not).

    • flies88

      hi sunshineseattle, how do you make these lists? is ther a tool you use? thanks!

      • http://GrowMap.com Gail Gardner

        Using lists is the best way to manage what you see on Twitter. It is done right in Twitter. To create a list, start on the profile of someone you want to put on it. Click the gear icon (next to where you follow that probably says following now). Choose “Add or remove from lists”. Choose a list if you already have one OR click “Create a List”.

  • Robert H. Woodman

    Pardon me, please, if this is a dumb question, but when you say “Tweeted” in 15/30 minute intervals, I take that to mean that you originated 1 tweet every 15 minutes or 1 tweet every 30 minutes. My question is, did all of these tweets contain novel content, or were some of the tweets reworded tweets of things already tweeted earlier? Followup question: if you tweeted both novel content and reworded material, how did engagement vary? How does time spacing of reworded tweets affect engagement?

    I also would be interested in your follow-up analysis relative to LeBlancly’s question about content.

    • Robert H. Woodman

      Thanks, Jade. Very interesting information.

  • http://blog.socialmediahq.com/ Nick Robinson

    This is a really interesting experiment, and I’ve seen similar results on some tests. What type of business recommendation would you make based upon these results? Staff up on your social creation team (which requires budget)? Staff up on your tweet scheduling team as well (also requires budget)?

    Basically, my point is, all of this activity isn’t free and would require someone to schedule tweets all day long without doing anything else. Are you assuming that you will be doing all of this activity into the future, or will you require help from another community manager? How much money will this cost? How will this affect your cost/engagement?

    • Jade

      Hey Nick,

      We actually wrote a post addressing this problem. The concept is getting a greater ROI on your Tweets and time by finding the most effective times to post: http://simplymeasured.com/blog/2014/02/27/are-you-tweeting-at-the-wrong-time-for-site-traffic/

      I would recommend running both of these tests on your own brand, find out what works best for you, and budget within your constraints!

      • http://blog.socialmediahq.com/ Nick Robinson

        Thanks Jade! Answered my question :)

  • http://2013fashionnnews.blogspot.com/ Fashiontechno Top
  • http://www.twitter.com/netsjetsfan njfan

    I would like to retweet this article but if I did would that mean I risk tweeting too much?

  • http://jeffbullas.com Jeff Bullas

    That is some insightful data Jade.
    I have been tweeting every 15 minutes for the last 3-4 years (I have a tool that does it for me) and had been accused of tweeting too much (especially when I started)
    But I have always treated Titter as a stream and not an inbox and if you don’t keep tweeting you are forgotten.
    On the type of content and the the quantity challenges.
    You need to create evergreen content so you can keep tweeting and you do need to have a lot of good content.

    • Jade

      Hey Jeff, thanks for taking the time to read this post! I definitely agree with you about Twitter being a stream, rather than an inbox. One thing I pointed out in the post that I think is also particularly relevant is how your audience defines “too much Tweeting.” For example, an audience of a B2B social media company or a social media influencer might be less irked by frequent Tweets (if they’re relevant) since they’re interested and invested in social media marketing.

      • http://GrowMap.com Gail Gardner

        New people who don’t follow many people and expect to see every tweet get stressed, but they are a minority using Twitter as though it was a private chat with their friends.

  • Bizitalk

    Hi Jade
    I agree with you. I have heard social experts talking a lot of nonsense about the frequency of tweeting. One advised his audience to tweet twice on a Monday, 3 times on a Tuesday, twice on a Wednesday etc etc – total balderdash. Selling is a numbers game and the vast majority of businesses on twitter want to sell. That’s why they’re there. Of course it’s good to interact and chat to as many as you can and build relationships – don’t just churn out the same sell message 24/7 – but a tweet we are told lasts for 18 minutes so that should be 3 an hour for a start. @Bizitalk and it’s other accounts has sent out over 600,000 tweets in 2 years supporting and promoting its members and we now have 250,000 followers rising by 10,000 a month. Yes, we lose some followers who don’t want to see their time line full of #bizitalk @bizitalk tweets – we see that every day but they are the ones with few followers usually and don’t get involved in the daily hurly burly of retweeting and promoting each other. I think there is one simple answer – don’t bore people, have a laugh and a joke, be polite and thank people and genuinely try and help other smallbiz. We send out 500/600 tweets/retweets a day and have 10,000 scheduled at any one time on Sprout Social and 500 testimonials would indicate that it works for our members and for us. This is not a sales pitch for Bizitalk I can assure you – I just get very fed up with ‘experts’ telling smallbiz what to do on Social media when their own followers number a few hundred or a couple of thousand at the most.
    A lot of smallbiz are being led up the garden path by many social media consultants and they wonder why they’re not getting many followers or, more importantly, hits to their website, leads and sales.
    There, that’s my rant over – now, where’s that schedule again?

  • Silvia Baratella

    Is there a proportion to calculate the right frequence considering the number of following of the followers? A tool with a formula?

    • http://GrowMap.com Gail Gardner

      There couldn’t be, Silvia, because all of your followers follow a different number of people. You can’t alter what you share to make all of them happy, so they must be happy with whatever you do or leave. Although a fancy tool could be created to do that, I don’t see that ever happening.

  • http://stefaniecash.com Cash

    I enjoyed this article but from a personal opinion standpoint if I see a brand or person tweeting every 15 or 30 minutes, I’d be annoyed. You’re flooding my feed and it is overwhelming when you also follow so many other accounts.

    • http://GrowMap.com Gail Gardner

      Hi Cash. Would you mind sharing roughly how many people you follow? Thanks.

      • http://stefaniecash.com Cash

        Hi Gail, I currently follow 70 accounts. All which retweet from other accounts making the influx of tweets overwhelming at times.

        • http://GrowMap.com Gail Gardner

          Try thinking of Twitter as a water cooler instead of an inbox. Whatever happens when you’re not looking at it you don’t see and you don’t worry about that. Just look at however many retweets you feel like seeing and forget the rest.

          • http://stefaniecash.com Cash

            Your analogy doesn’t make much sense. If you are referring to the water cooler as a place where people gather and gossip – then yes Twitter is that but in a typical ‘water cooler’ scenario most tend to gather and leave around the same time, being as people do so on lunch breaks and such. Yes, I could look at however many retweets I want but there is no way to filter when I want to make sure I did not miss anything important as account I follow, I do so for explicit reasons.

            Regardless of your article the average consumer does not like to be overwhelmed with unnecessary advertising from brands. There have been numerous studies done proving that. How much useful information can a brand tweet every 15-30 minutes? In a 8 hours work day how many people are they really reaching? True engagements not mindless click farms. Brand accounts do not have the same interaction as non-branded accounts.

            I hold firm to what I originally said, tweeting too much is overwhelming and tweets will and do get lost in the mess. Same as if a brand were to post constantly on Facebook. The only true solace there is Facebook’s new algorithm.

            Never the less no one is truly right or wrong as there is no formula to how many times you should be tweeting or how often. Building up a brand’s Twitter account organically one should be able to determine all that information based on feedback and engagements from their target demo. Nothing in marketing/social media is set in stone. Everything is a social experiment and no one should take one’s word over the other. You have to test everything and come to all those conclusions yourself.

          • http://GrowMap.com Gail Gardner

            To filter tweets use Twitter lists. I provided how-to instructions in another comment on this post. Just because at some companies everyone takes lunch and breaks at the same time doesn’t mean that it is always that way. Think of it as a company where people don’t all break at the same time and someone is always at the water cooler – but different people each time.

            Regarding brands tweeting every 15-30 minutes, only 1 to 3 out of every 10 tweets are about them. The rest should be interesting retweets or information that is NOT about them. No one wants anyone to only talk about themselves all the time.

            It is impossible to make all your followers happy. Some would want 1 tweet a month while others 1 a day and others many times a day. All you can do is be interesting and not worry if what you are doing doesn’t fit everyone as long as it fits some of your target demographic.

  • http://www.katiepatton.com/ Katie Patton

    Guess I need to get scheduling!

    • http://GrowMap.com Gail Gardner

      Check out MavSocial for that. It is the easiest to learn and you can get free images right inside the dashboard so what you share gets more reach. I wrote about it in http://growmap.com/amazing-visuals/