This is what Twitter traffic looks like

First off, for those wondering how I wrestled my Tableau viz into WordPress (a function that seems to have been disrupted with the latest round of updates), the solution is a bit tedious: Copy and paste the following code into WordPress and replace the elements in bold with the lines of code corresponding to your particular graph. The viz ID# and title can all be found in your embed code and shareable link.

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In January I decided to venture inside my Twitter data during a relatively quiet month to see what types of insights I could gather. Twitter enables you to export the information fairly easily, and it can then be visualized using various methods — but Tableau has always been my weapon of choice thanks to its versatility and mobile friendly output.

The average daily number of impressions I received in December was 357. The numbers peaked on December 21 when a tweet appeared on 7,961 feeds thanks to a few high profile retweets. Engagement rate is a reflection of how many times people interacted with a tweet relative to the size of its audience. It is often a more useful metric to consider because it reflects the impact and effectiveness of content.

In the above graph, engagement is indicated by the colour intensity of the blue line whereas the impression count is reflected in its height. The two metrics often don’t correlate. An influential user who “signal boosts” (i.e., retweets) your content can quickly inflate the number of impressions, but if the post only resonates with him or her, engagement will remain low. The converse is true as well.

I also observed people seem to care about where you were tweeting from, as this was a possible indicator of the relevancy of your content. During the month of December I was transitioning between jobs and moved from Toronto to Vancouver. In that time I was unfollowed by several accounts in Ontario while in subsequent weeks their absence was filled by new users from Vancouver.

For a fee, various online services will bulk follow users for you in the hopes they’ll reciprocate. When and if they don’t, the program automatically unfollows them after a few days. This option is quite popular with small businesses looking to win a social media audience relatively quickly and explains why you may sometimes find yourself followed by brands you have no affiliation with.

Best Practices

It’s widely agreed that tweeting during commute times (around 8:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m.) is effective because people taking public transit are a captive audience often passing time on their smartphones. Another good point in the day is just after 12:00 p.m. when the office lunch crowd can surf on their devices with impunity.

These times, however, present a bit of a problem: If everyone is aggressively pushing out content at the same time, it can congest the social media ecosystem and bury your message among thousands of others. There’s an alternate school of thought that adopting a more measured approach and sharing at non-peak times is more effective because it gives you a less distracted audience and increases the likelihood your content will hit its mark.

So far, I’ve had more success with the former approach. One constant, however, is that posts with visual appeal (i.e., photos) gain the most traction. You can leverage this by enabling the Twitter card function, which will hyperlink images to your website; otherwise, visitors who are drawn to an image will click it, then simply click “back” to resume scrolling down their social feeds.

GIFs, I find, are the best way to snare someone’s attention. If there was a process to fold those into Twitter cards, you would have a perfect tool to capture people’s interest and then capitalize on it.

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