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How To Build A Better Twitter Calendar With 3 Good Tests

The best way to understand your Twitter audience and build better content around your brand is to test appropriately. This will help you move forward, and make decisions that turn day-to-day head-scratching scenarios – When should I post this? Should I be posting right now? When does this post cease to be relevant? – into total no-brainers. Read on to learn about my three favorite tests – and download our new guide: Building A Better Twitter Calendar to learn more.

Your Tweet Frequency 

Screen Shot 2014-06-24 at 10.00.27 AM

Why: Your cadence can have a big impact on your campaign performance. Too few Tweets can make you seem uncommitted and too many can feel like spam. So, how many Tweets is just right?

Whether it’s a new network or a new call to action, experimentation is a major part of a community manager’s job description. Despite the risks, testing new ways to hit your goals is essential, and analysis holds the keys to success.

Try this: Tweet for one week in 15-minute increments and another week in 30-minute increments. After running this test, examine all the data from each week.

You can use the Simply Measured Account Report or Google Analytics to get this data, export it into Excel, and compare the weeks side by side.

Make sure your sample set excludes variables like business hours, holidays, and other times your brand does not tweet. For example, if you only tweet in 15 or 30-minute intervals between 6 a.m. and 5 p.m. PST, but you’re reporting on a full 24 hours, you may find that your data is skewed after the end of the business day

Your Tweet Times

Screen Shot 2014-06-24 at 11.08.52 AMWhy: Getting people from Twitter to your website is likely a key goal for your campaigns, but greater frequency isn’t always best for getting users to take action.

Tweeting in 15-minute intervals, everyday, between the hours of 5 a.m. and 9 p.m. would produce 64 Tweets per day. Producing such a large number of Tweets can require a lot of effort and may or may not work for driving traffic to your website.

That’s why it’s important to prioritize times and days to Tweet rather than trying to cover each hour of the day evenly. The key metric to test for site traffic is click-through data from Twitter to your brand website.

Try this: Identify how many Tweets were sent each hour. This can be done manually or by using a Simply Measured Twitter account report, but the end result you’re aiming for is a bucket of Tweets for each hour of the day.

When gathering your data, make sure your sample size is significant enough that it can capture the full scope of your efforts on Twitter. From there, bucket your website traffic from Twitter based on those hourly segments, and come out the other side completely insightful.

How can YOU do this analysis? Check out our Building A Better Twitter Calendar guide here for a full step-by-step breakdown.

Your Rate Of Decay

Why: The words “engagement rate of decay” may sound frightening, but it’s really fertile testing ground. How many times can a piece of content be sent to the same audience without fatiguing them (and, even worse, making them click the Unfollow button)?

Try this: Patrick Ruffini, the founder of Engage, a digital agency in Washington, DC, conducted an experiment where he tweeted the same call to action 10 weekdays in a row, at the exact same time.

How did this affect engagement? Did engagement die down after the first Tweet, or did engagement increase as exposure increased?

Here’s the Tweet that Ruffini shared, every weekday for 10 days at 3:36 PM:

Screen Shot 2014-06-24 at 11.11.52 AMWhat did he find? He charted signups to the lead gen card here:

Screen Shot 2014-06-24 at 11.48.27 AMRuffini found that submissions dropped off significantly after the first Tweet, but didn’t die out completely.

The first Tweet generated a 72% conversion, meaning the number of people who saw the Tweet and took action.

The average across all 10 Tweets was 58%.

As Ruffini put it, “Even if you  limited the repetition to five Tweets, 65% of the exposure would have come from Tweets 2-5.”

Ruffini’s experiment provides a good example for the types of tests a brand marketer or community manager could use to test Tweet repetition.

You also may consider A/B testing Tweets featuring calls-to-action – posting one Tweet at your typical cadence and then testing how your engagement rate decays when you post another Tweet multiple times. You could even do this on a cross-channel basis, testing a Tweet multiple times and promoting a Facebook post as you normally would.

How Do You Test?

And which metrics do you use to judge the success or failure of your Twitter campaigns? Let me know what I’ve missed in the comments below, and download our How To Build A Better Twitter Content Calendar for more deep-dive goodness.

Lucy Hitz

I’m the Head of Marketing Communications here at Simply Measured, where I'm responsible for our content program, social media marketing, PR, and comarketing ventures. I love yoga, The X-Files, peaty scotch, hiking, and poetry. If I were a social media channel, I’d want to be Instagram, but I think I’m Twitter.

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