Media-Rich Tweets = Engagement?

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So I’ve been doing a bit of an experiment on Twitter recently. People talk readily about how using media-rich tweets improves engagement, there are blog posts and infographics devoted to the topic, and as someone who dwells in social media, I’m all for upping engagement. However, I wouldn’t be a scientist if I didn’t test the theory myself before adopting the practice. After all, if it doesn’t work for me, what would be the point in devoting time to doing it? Therefore, in the middle of April, I decided to up my posting of media-rich tweets and see what, if anything, would happen.

To do this I used Hootsuite and my marine science-based Twitter account. I mentioned a while back that I’d only just realised you could attach images through Hootsuite, and it seemed the appropriate time to make use of the feature. Usually, I would use Buffer for media tweets, but as I’m limited to just 10 posts with the free account, I opted to use Hootsuite. I’m still limited to 10 tweets a day (if I just autoschedule posts), but not in total, so any extra tweets rolled simply over to the next day. That meant I had Buffer free to retweet other people’s media tweets. So, overall, my number of tweets per day didn’t increase much, the tweet types just switched platforms.

As for images, well, I’d usually included an image with a tweet if the article in question had a nice image of a marine mammal, but for my test, any news article I came across that had a nice looking image included, or was one that I could attach a CC00 image to, I made into a media tweet. So queue pictures of fish, coral reefs, and journal diagrams. I didn’t use any icky pictures, such as stranded dead dolphins. Those articles I just scheduled as is, and if a thumbnail popped up in my feed with the image, then so be it. Then I just tweeted away….

Come the end of April, I downloaded the analytics from Twitter, picking the date range so the 12th was in the middle, and had a butchers at the figures. And what did they tell me?

Well, first off, Twitter gives you a load of graphs on its Analytics page, but as someone who’s a bit knew to the whole analytics game, I have no idea if I’m reading them correctly. The first is the big impressions graph….

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Here, like the other graphs, I’ve marked the 12th in red. Now I’m assuming ‘impressions’ just means ‘people who’ve seen the tweet’. So the more something’s been retweeted, the more people who will have seen it. From a glance, it does seem that after the 12th my impression level went up, but this could also be due to the fact that I had a couple of tweets retweeted by people who had big followings themselves, thereby bumping up my figures. But then there’s the question: if they hadn’t been media tweets, would they have still been retweeted? Either way, as they were media tweets, I’ll take it.

Twitter also provides a number of smaller graphs….

For the most part, they don’t really help prove the hypothesis that media-rich equals more engagement, with the possible exception of the ‘Likes’ and ‘Retweets’ graphs, which do seem to show a slight increase in interactions with my posts. ‘Link clicks’ and ‘Replies’ don’t really show an increase in interactions. ‘Engagement rate’ is just all over the shop, and I can’t figure out if it shows an improvement or not.

However, Twitter analytics also allows you to download the data so you can export it into Excel (or your spreadsheet program of choice). The data was a bit tiresome to trawl through, but for the sake of science, I persevered. I did some averaging out, and this is what I got (see table below). Again, I’m making an assumption as to what ‘Impressions’ and ‘Engagements’ mean, and I have no idea how ‘Engagement Rate’ is calculated, but that being said, there does appear to be a noticeable increase across the board after I upped my media tweets. Now, whether that increase is statistically significant is something I can’t be bothered to work out.

Impressions How many people see tweet?
Mean 25th March-11th April 112.230320699708
Mean 12th April-30th April 146.84487534626
Engagements Likes, retweets, link clicks per tweet?
Mean 25th March-11th April 1.57725947521866
Mean 12th April-30th April 2.29362880886427
Engagement Rate ?
Mean 25th March-11th April 0.011296937684149
Mean 12th April-30th April 0.013246888306627
Overall average 0.012296841341414

I even did a graph for daily Engagement Rate….

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 Overall average engagement rate = blue line. Average engagement rate for 25th March – 11th April = purple line. Average engagement rate for 12 April – 30th April = green line

Now, I’m not sure why my engagement rate graph came out different to twitter’s, but it does help show that there was an increase after I upped my media tweets.

So, what can we surmise from all this? My little experiment may have lasted only 18 days, but even so, it does seem the general consensus was correct; more media-rich tweets leads to increased engagement.

Therefore, I shall continue doing what I’m doing. And if you were in two minds as to whether to do the same to improve your own Twitter account, hopefully my results have helped you make a decision.

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Hootsuite Hiccup

When you’ve been using an app regularly, and for a long time, you don’t so much get complacent with using it, rather, you get used to its quirks, finding a way around these quirks to a point that it becomes part of your day-to-day routine. You get so used to doing this that you never question whether these quirks are, in fact, still quirks. This was me and Hootsuite.

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I’ve been using Hootsuite for donkey’s years to schedule social media posts, and overall, it’s a good app to use. Sure, it doesn’t work 100% of the time. Sometimes it doesn’t pick up the text and imagery from a link, meaning I have to add them by hand. Sometimes it tells me it failed to post a scheduled tweet, when in fact it has. But I can deal with these minor irritations.

The problem I had is that when I started using it way back when, it couldn’t do media tweets. You had the option of adding a picture to the tweet, but these images didn’t appear in Twitter’s news feed, rather, another url was added to your tweet, and for someone to see the image, they had to click through to another site. This was not ideal. However, a fellow twitter user suggested I use buffer for media tweets. It turned out that was a good option, and so whenever I needed to add pictures to a tweet, I used buffer instead. It was a bit more time consuming, but not by much, and so I spent the years separating out my post stream through the two apps.

That was until I had an epiphany the other day. I was creating a plain text tweet, then I second guessed myself, and wondered if I should add a picture to it. This meant having to create the tweet again in buffer. Then a dim bulb went off in my head. Do Hootsuite use media tweets in their feed? They certainly seemed the kind of brand that would. I headed over to their stream, and yes, every tweet I looked at had a picture attached to it. It seemed to me rather a daft notion that Hootsuite would be using a third-party app to add pictures to their tweets. Which begged the question: did images added to tweets in Hootsuite show in the twitter feed now? I did a test tweet, and the answer was a resounding yes. Media tweets now work in Hootsuite! How long ago that function was added is beyond me, but it goes to show there’s plenty still to learn when it comes to social media.

However, it’s still lacking a bit in functionality. If you put, say, a news article link in buffer, the different pictures within that article show up, allowing you to pick the image you want to add. Not so with Hootsuite. You have to save the picture to your computer first, then upload it. A bit more of a laborious process. Therefore, I don’t think Hootsuite will surpass buffer as my go to app for media tweets, but it’s good to know if I run out of slots on my free buffer account, I can turn to Hootsuite to create more.

Speaking of ICT, my Open University work is still heading on full steam. I handed in my first TMA assessment, and promptly had a nightmare about failing it. Great, education anxiety-filled dreams again! It’s bad enough I still get nightmares about having not done my end of year coursework for my MSc that I completed, ohhhh, nearly 14 years ago. Still, I had some good OU news this past week. My pencil case that I won has finally arrived. And about frigging time too!

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Malfoy is going to tell his father about this