How to Drive Traffic with Repeat Tweets

One of the dogmas of Twitter is that you should not repeat your tweets.  This is bull shiitake, and I’ll show you how I know. But first, a l
August 18, 2009  

One of the dogmas of Twitter is that you should not repeat your tweets.  This is bull shiitake, and I’ll show you how I know. But first, a little history.

Three years ago Twitter was a nice little pond that people shared with their close friends (“close” as close can be when you’ve never met most of them face-to-face, anyway). The whole point back then was establishing warm-and-fuzzy relationships with people you cared about by answering the question, “What are you doing?” ??

Thus, tweeting “my cat rolled over” or “the line at Starbucks is long” was the norm. Obviously, unless your cat rolled over a lot, or you were at Starbucks very often, repeating such tweets got either inaccurate or pedantic. (Although if you were Lance Armstrong and you tweeted, “In France, just passed another biker,” you could tweet that a bunch of times and get away with it.) Logically, Twitter etiquette decreed by so-called social media gurus ridiculed and condemned repeat tweets.

Fast forward to today. While there is still kumbaya going on via Twitter, many people are now using Twitter as a twool. They’re not trying to have a one-to-one conversation. At best, they want a one-to-many conversation if not out-and-out broadcasting in the advertising and marketing sense.? ??

In the past week, I tried two experiments. I repeated this tweet four times, approximately eight hours apart, to help my buddies at SmartBrief:

Power tip for anyone interested in social media: sign up for this. I use it every day to find stories to tweet.

You would think that the skies would open up, and I’d get struck by lightning by the Twitter gods. Think again. In the case of repeating a tweet four times in thirty-two hours, there was a big spike for the first tweet, but the next three still yielded very good results. In total, the four posts resulted in 5,059 clickthroughs in tranches of 1,481, 1,415, 1,208, and 955; note, however, I looked at the server log and approximately 20% of these clickthroughs are bots. 700 people signed up for this service, by the way, because of my four tweets.

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I also repeated this tweet once a day for nine days:

How to build a MyAlltop page: I’m going to tweet this until all my followers build one. :-)

In this case, the results were similar; the total clickthroughs amounted to 4,590. 

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Let’s assume that I had listened to the dogma and tweet either of these just once. (This would be based on the delusion that every follower of mine read every tweet every day, so repetition is unnecessary if not impolite.) This assumption would have cost me 3,000 to 4,000 fewer clickthroughs.

Incidentally, this is what the signups for MyAlltop looked like during the period of once per day tweets. I don’t believe these tweets were the only factors at work, but I’m in the business of selling advertising not conducting scientifically-valid experiments. ??

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Did I enrage or even lose followers because of this blatant, mind-numbing, repeated promotions? Truthfully, it’s tough to tell because several hundred people/bots unfollow me every day. Each day I did get two to three complaints from people who threatened to unfollow me for doing this. I offered them the choice of paying to read my tweets if I didn’t repeat or promote anything, but I’ve had no takers so far.

Some people who are new to Twitter or self-proclaimed gurus and experts in SEO, social media, or marketing make negative comments—this is called “ freedom of tweech.” My rule of thumb is that if the total of a person’s followers, followees, and tweets is less than 200, you can ignore their negative comments. It’s worth losing some followers to get 3,000-4,000 clickthroughs, and I look at complaints this way: What would happen if you told Jack Bauer (“24”) that you’re going to stop watching the show because of all the Cadillac commercials?

Based on these experiences, I encourage you to break all the “rules” that you’ve heard about social media and make your own. Like my friends from Alaska tell me, unless you’re the lead dogma, the view never changes. ????

My thanks to the people at Objective Marketer (whom I advise) and Adjix who provided me with the tools to track clickthroughs for my tweets for this experiment as well as furthering my goal of WWDR (worldwide domination of RSS).