NOTE: This is part 3 of Business.com's case study about using Twitter to share interesting, valuable insights about B2B online marketing through our account (http://twitter.com/B2BOnlineMktg) and, in the process, build awareness of Business.com as a key online resource for solutions to business challenges. Also read part 1 ( @B2BOnlineMktg at 30 days) and part 2 (@B2BOnlineMarketing at 60 days) for more background.
I hesitate to say this, but I think we're starting to get the hang of Twitter for business - why it makes sense as a business communication channel, how it fits into our marketing plan, the most relevant metrics to track, how to build a strong follower base (without simply following everyone else on Twitter and hoping for a reciprocal follow), what makes a compelling business "tweet" and much more. I can't cover all these topics in this post, but I'll hit the highlights below and we'll provide more details in future posts (which we'll tweet via http://twitter.com/B2BOnlineMktg, of course!).
First, an update on Twitter metrics from our first Twitter post on March 2, 2009 through June 2.
Key Stats for @B2BOnlineMktg at 90 Days
Tracked clicks on tweets: 6,257
Top 10 @B2BOnlineMktg tweets by number of clicks over the last 30 days:
- 5 situations where B2B marketers should AVOID social media - great summary http://ow.ly/4N6D (via @btobmarketing) (134 clicks)
- Improving conversion rates in a world where "99% of business buying is covering your butt." http://ow.ly/59nU #b2b #marketing (84 clicks)
- US companies to more than double investments in web analytics over next 5 years - new Forrester report. http://ow.ly/ao2R #wa (69 clicks)
- Case study - Customer reviews drive 196% increase in paid search revenue for Office Depot (via @whatworks) http://ow.ly/59P6 (61 clicks)
- Good laugh for B2B marketers - 7 Infectious Diseases of B2B Marketing (via @michelelinn @RossGraber ): http://ow.ly/6vPi (60 clicks)
- 3,600 LinkedIn users speak - Twitter most important platform for brands to master. http://ow.ly/anO1 (via @SocialMedia411) (59 clicks)
- Integrating online and offline B2B marketing strategies - register now for May 11th webinar http://ow.ly/5hGO (42 clicks)
- Love this one - reminder to dig a little deeper into marketing research stats before quoting. http://ow.ly/5hAv (41 clicks)
- Get the latest update on 2009 B2B Marketing Trends in this MarketingProfs webinar - May 6, 11 AM PDT/ 2 PM EDT http://ow.ly/4Dp2 (37 clicks)
- The 6 Dangerous Fallacies of Social Media - http://ow.ly/9h3M #socialmedia (36 clicks)
Drive More Clicks From Business Twitter Users
Over the last 30 days we focused on identifying underlying patterns in how business people use Twitter. To do so, we spread our tweets across days of the week and different times during the day. We also varied the time between tweets and tweet length in characters. Looking across 182 tweets from both our business user-focused Twitter accounts (@B2BOnlineMktg for B2B marketers and @whatworks for business people in general) from May 4th through June 3rd, 2009, we found some interesting patterns...
Average Lifespan of a Business Tweet = 4 days
If you measure the lifespan of a tweet by the number of days on which it receives at least one click from a Twitter user, then business tweets don't live very long. On average, our tweets with a clickable link received at least one click on four separate days with a range of one day (not a very popular tweet) to 23 days (home run!).
Best Day to Maximize Business Tweet Clicks = Monday
I noticed this phenomena pretty quickly after starting our @B2BOnlineMktg Twitter account in early March and our study bears it out - if you want to capture the attention of business people with your tweets, make sure you're tweeting on Monday (and Monday morning, in particular) or Tuesday. Tweets we sent on Monday garnered nearly 10 clicks for every day with a click (e.g., if a Monday tweet received at least one click on four different days, we'd expect about 40 total clicks on that tweet). The middle of the week is, well, weak, as is Sunday.
Best Time of Day for Business Tweets = 3 Distinct Windows
Its tempting to think of the social media guru who tweets throughout the day to stay connected to their followers and up on the latest news. That's the exception, rather than the rule, for the vast majority of business twitter users who may check Twitter and/or post a few tweets at opportune times during the day - the same times they might stop to catch up on email, read a few posts on favorite blogs, etc.
Our tweets with the highest click activity were posted in one of three periods:
- After 5pm PDT / 8pm EDT - when people on the East Coast may start getting back to work after an early dinner or putting the kids to bed
- 11am-noon PDT / 2-3pm EDT - when attention wanders in the mid-afternoon on the East Coast and before lunch in the West
- 5-7am PDT / 8-10am EDT - when people first start sitting down to work and catching up on email/blogs/Twitter before meeting start for the day
Optimal Time Between Business Tweets = 31-60 minutes
In our 60 day update one of the pieces of advice we gave was to tweet frequently but leave room for your tweets to breathe. Again looking the average clicks per day with a click, the optimal space between business tweets to attract the most clicks is either 31-60 minutes or 2-3 hours. Tightly packed tweets just don't appear to attract as much attention as tweets with more space between them. I'm not certain what causes the dip in click activity for tweets between 61 and 120 minutes but I suspect it has to do with missing prime Twitter activity time on the East and West coasts (we may look into this in a later post).
Optimal Business Tweet Length = 91-100 characters
I found this very interesting, and I'm not sure I have a great theory as to why tweets between 91 and 100 characters should draw the most clicks from business twitter users. This length is about a line and a half for people actually visiting Twitter to check their tweet stream, and I'm sure it varies for different Twitter monitoring applications. This length also allows plenty of room for others to retweet without modifying the tweet itself, something that's a lot more difficult when you get in the 120+ character range. While it makes sense that tweets under 70 characters long don't attract much activity - if its hard saying something interesting in 140 characters, try it in less than 70 characters some time - the fact that the 131+ character tweets attract the second highest click activity isn't clear. It may have to do with the benefit of retweeting or mentioning others in your tweets, something I'll cover in a later post.