As many of you do, I use Twitter as a tool to build awareness for my blog, and to increase traffic. In fact the site is the top referring site for this blog, and has been since Day One.
Usually, I spent anywhere from 30 mins to a couple of hours on Twitter a day. My activities include sharing links (here and to other sites), and interacting with others. Recently, I’ve been spending less time on Twitter, and am averaging about 600-700 tweets a month for the past few months. But when you consider that about 300-400 of those tweets come from #blogchat, that means that I’m not spending a lot of time during the week on Twitter.
So I wanted to conduct a little experiment yesterday with my Twitter usage. I decided to amp up my usage, spending several hours, sharing dozens of links, and interacting with others all day. I wanted to see how big of an impact it would make on this blog, and my Twitter network, versus the time required. To measure the effectiveness of this strategy, I set four goals for Monday:
100 new Twitter followers (Avg is 20-50 per day)
75 retweets on Monday’s post (Avg is around 30 per post)
5 new email subscribers (Avg is 5 new subscribers in a MONTH)
300 visitors to this blog on Monday (Avg is around 150)
I wanted to first walk you through exactly what I did during the day.
First, over the weekend I set up HootSuite to tweet a link to a new post/article every 5 mins, starting at 7am, and ending at 9am. At 8am, I linked to yesterday’s post for the first time. I linked to yesterday’s post a total of 5 times yesterday, starting at 8am, then every 3 hours, ending at 8pm.
So as far as sharing links, on Monday I shared a total of 36 links, 6 were my own, 30 were other sites. So that’s a 5:1 ratio of other people’s links to my own.
I left a total of 182 tweets on Monday, and for reference, I left 711 tweets in all of April.
Now let’s look at the actual results:
For new followers, the goal was 100, and I actually got 75. That’s not bad and well above my avg, but still missed the mark. I think the discussions that I was engaged in throughout the day probably played a role in helping get me followers, although the links at the beginning of the day helped as well.
The second goal was to get 75 retweets of Monday’s post. I actually got 85 RTs. I decided to link to Monday’s post 5 times during the day in order to drive more RTs. I think this was effective in the morning and afternoon, but seemed to be less effective at 5pm and 8pm. Tomorrow I am only going to link to Tuesday’s post 4 times, at 8am, 12pm, 4pm and 8pm. I’m thinking that 2-4 times per day is probably the right range for linking to your new posts.
The third goal was 5 new email subscribers, and I actually got 5 new subscribers. I did two things to try to encourage new email subscribers. The first is I moved the email subscription form to the top of the blog on the first sidebar. The second thing I did was ask readers that found the post to please subscribe, either by email or reader, and linked to the Feedburner reader subscription form.
The final goal was 300 visitors to the site on Monday, and there were actually 716 visitors, which was well over double the goal. I was a bit surprised by how high the traffic was. However, I wanted to show you the hourly traffic to point out two things:
Second, notice that each spike is followed by a sharp drop-off in traffic immediately after. But also notice that the drop-offs are much more pronounced after the 3rd, 4th and 5th times I link to the post.
Also notice that the traffic jumps from 6am to 7am. At 7am is when I started sending links to Twitter via HootSuite, and did so every 5 mins till it stopped at 9am. So the fact that traffic jumped a bit BEFORE I started linking to the ‘How I got 20K followers’ posts at 8am suggests that simply linking to OTHER people’s posts was actually driving traffic back to MY blog.
And from around 11am-3pm I was interacting with other people on Twitter. This corresponds with the above graph and the sudden traffic drop-off that you see from 4pm through the end of the day when I wasn’t interacting very much. Minus the two spikes at 5pm and 8pm from my tweeting links to the ‘How I got 20K followers’ post.
So ALL of this suggests that three actions drove traffic back to this blog yesterday:
1 – Linking to the ‘How I got 20K followers’ post five times.
2 – Linking to other people’s posts a total of 30 times.
3 – Participating in conversations on Twitter.
The first is obvious, but I think the second two are very interesting because by directly promoting others and interacting with others, it seems I was also giving people the incentive to check out my site.
But I think the biggest lesson here is to track and test your social media efforts constantly. Even with this experiment, I will need to test further to get a better idea of exactly what happened. And it remains to be seen how much of a cumulative affect spending this much time on Twitter EVERY day, could have. I got great results from yesterday’s experiment, but I probably invested 5-6 hours into it. That’s a big chunk of time to invest even every weekday, and the results would need to be pretty significant to justify the time investment, I think.
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