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The Sad Truth About Twitter Statistics

Twitter is a content producing machine. With over 555 million users releasing 5,700 tweets per second, finding a captive audience for your company’s updates is daunting at best. A new report on Twitter stats has also revealed a depressing reality; active accounts (those that have posted in the last 30 days) have a median average of 61 followers. This begs the question – is anyone reading your tweets?

You can’t answer this question by touting large numbers of so-called followers. Just because a brand has 10k “fans”, it doesn’t mean 10k people read every tweet. Engagement is the name of the game, and the practice of buying followers is a colossal waste of money.

There is a light at the end of the tunnel though. Many of the latest Twitter stats point directly at what creates user interaction and engagement. But although releasing a deluge of self-centric tweets to an uncaring audience is not among the tricks of the trade, it’s by far the most common practice. It’s time to face the facts about Twitter stats, and rise above the clutter.

Why Twitter’s Business Model Conflicts with Your Marketing Efforts

There’s a fundamental conflict in the way Twitter presents itself. On the surface, it wants to be a social network, with the newly minted tagline “Start a conversation.” Yet at its core, Twitter only works if the majority of its 190 million monthly visitors are following conversations, not leading them. As more and more of the globe has decided to tweet up a storm, everyone else’s offerings have become diluted.

The result: Twitter has worked harder to promote “super-users” that have hundreds of thousands of followers – this is the model the network most embraces. How do we know? Check out the very obvious way celebrities and well-known brands are heavily promoted by the site. Chances are your Twitter homepage currently has follow suggestions like Neil Patrick Harris, Kim Kardashian, and Kraft Foods; even though they may reflect absolutely nothing about your interests.

The hard truth is the Twitter stratosphere is heinously cluttered. So, chances are, your brilliant little missives are not finding their intended eyeballs.

Surefire Ways to Increase Engagement

So how exactly do you woo the masses into reading and interacting with your tweets? You do what always works in marketing; give the people what they want.

Need more tangible ideas? Here’s the path to Twitter greatness, supported by recent platform statistics.

  1. When you tweet is vitally important. Since most of us are weekday warriors, we are missing the boat when it comes to ideal Twitter times. Your tweets need to launch when the majority of your audience is online. For most of us, that means the weekend. If you still insist on weekday releases, peak hours are 9 am, 12 pm, 3 pm and 6 pm. (Use the time zone where the majority of your demographic lives as a foundation.)
  2. Tweets with images have a 200 percent increase in engagement. It doesn’t matter how witty your 140 characters sound; pictures, as you know. . .say a heck of a lot more.
  3. Want your audience to retweet your sends? Ask them to do so. Calls to action are priceless, and in this case, 86 percent more effective.
  4. Shorter is better. Tweets 100 characters or less see a 17 percent increase in engagement. And you thought 140 characters felt limiting!
  5. Ask questions. Again, this emphasizes a call to action. Tweets that pose thoughtful and intriguing questions see a 21 percent response rate. That’s engagement, and that’s exactly what you’re going for.

The Biggest Mistakes Brands Make on Twitter

There are a lot of Twitter blunders occurring in mass quantity every day. Here are a few core mistakes that you can start avoiding right now:

  1. Not following others. It’s astounding how many brands expect to build a mammoth user base without the courtesy of following others. For every 100 users you follow, 31 will follow you back. So get out there, read what others are up to, and make some friends.
  2. Tweeting only about your company. Self-serving tweets are the vast majority, and users are getting wary of all the “me me me” missives. Share valuable information about your company, industry, and products. Inspire and intrigue your audience; don’t just talk about how awesome your brand is.
  3. Failing to respond to inquiries. More and more users are utilizing the social network as the customer service outlet for various companies. If a user asks you a question privately or through a tweet, you have a very small window to respond before you’ve alienated your customer. If you’re going to have a presence, commit to being active.

Advice in a Nutshell

Don’t be mesmerized by the sheer numbers Twitter has garnered; make no mistake, gaining a stronghold on this audience is no easy task. You need to be extremely mindful of who you’re trying to reach, and when they are interacting with content.

To be a Twitter superstar, you absolutely have to commit to building and maintaining a loyal audience. Twitter is very much a go big or go home platform – a lack of firm commitment and effort will result in the sound of crickets chirping. If you want your tweets to be among the very few of the 58 million sent per day that are actually read by engaged readers, it’s going to take a mammoth effort to achieve. Worth every moment, by the way, but let’s not pretend this is an easy task.

How has your experience with Twitter engagement been? What are your tricks in building and maintaining a happy Twitter audience?

About the author


Tina Courtney

Conscious online marketer, web executive, and multi-faceted writer Tina Courtney has been creating and fostering online innovations since 1996. Tina has assisted many clients in maximizing online production and marketing efforts, and is a staff writer for SiteProNews, one of the Web’s foremost webmaster and tech news blogs. She’s produced and marketed innovative content for major players like Disney and JDate, as well as boutique startups galore, with fortes including social media, SEO, influencer marketing, community management, lead generation, and project management. Tina is also a certified Reiki practitioner, herbalist, and accomplished life coach.  Learn more on LinkedIn, Facebook and Google+. Visit My Google+ Profile


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  • It turned out some sort of twitter using social media also needs its own tricks and tips in order to run properly and in accordance with the company or any of our online business as well

  • We are using Twitter, but it is not our priority. We prioritize to Facebook, where your fans will see your future posts and you have a better way of completing a successful campaign. Although this article had some really good facts about getting more “eyeballs” for your Tweets!

  • Is it a good idea to look for relevance on Twitter? There’s a feeling that you need a large numbers of followers to be successful. But is it a better use of time and effort to engage and interact with a small number of followers in your area of interest who you’re going to do business with / get involved with?

    • It’s always better to spend time developing a smaller number of followers that will be more closely engaged and pay more attention to what you tweet out than to build a huge following of people of which the vast majority won’t pay attention to your tweets.

      Focus on building a small tight-knit list of followers and just keep nurturing that and watch as it grows larger over time. Then anytime you have something worthwhile to tweet out you’ll find that more of your followers will engage in the discussion with you and you’ll be able to get them to take a conversion action, whether that be to click a link in your tweet, retweet your tweet or whatever else you ask them to do.

  • We have hundreds of clients that actually do buy Twitter followers. It still lends credibility to someone looking at their brand. We add USA followers for USA companies, etc.

    • John, that strategy does work to lend credibility to a brand yes. But when talking about actually acquiring a customer through twitter, that happens through organic relationship building on twitter, i.e. tweeting out great snippets of content, replying to other people’s tweets, following other people, retweeting other people’s tweets and really just engaging in conversation with other people. Of course there are other things you’d want to do on twitter to acquire a customer too but at a basic level yes you can build some credibility by having a large (artificially developed) following.

  • There are some patently false assumptions in here, but this one is the real doozie:

    “Your tweets need to launch when the majority of your audience is online. For most of us, that means the weekend.”

    Ask virtually any site webmaster when their lowest 24-hour traffic period is and it’s Friday night through Saturday night. Everyone’s stats take a giant plunge then. Your users are not online on the weekend. They’re experiencing real life instead. Your Twitter stream dries up then for a reason—most people aren’t on Twitter until Sunday afternoon or evening.

    • Hi Tim, and Brendon 🙂
      While that’s true for many ecommerce sites and related products/services, it’s not true for the social stratosphere. Social networks and tweets normally trend higher in traffic over the weekend, which is why Twitter recommends weekend tweet scheduling for maximum impact 🙂


    • Interesting Tina. I’ll try scheduling tweets over the weekend and over the weekdays. Then I’ll compare after two weeks.

  • The truth is that what most marketers think about social media networks as platforms for businesses to grow and expand are all myths. Many people in these social networks are not looking for what to buy or who is selling what. They are are there for pure social and political interactions. The conversation a lot of people follow are polititcs

  • Thanks for exploring the statistics about twitter with us, Dear Tina.

    Hope to see some more exploring articles about other social media channels as well from you.

  • I have picked up a few small commercial jobs via Twitter. But I think only because I engage in a local group each week ( #northantshour).
    But I mainly Tweet because I follow some interesting and inspirational people.
    Certainly wouldn’t rely on it to feed the family!