How Often Should You Tweet?

Written by Tom FronczakApril 7, 2011

460,000 new accounts are made each day on Twitter, with 140 million total Tweets sent in just as much time. It’s certainly a daunting task to be heard in such a crowded online location, yet many are often more concerned about Tweeting too much. There are many issues to consider when setting a quantity limit or goal, and all of the factors and tricks are worth knowing.

Casual Users Without Business Motives

Are you asking from a personal stand point or a business perspective? Personal? Great, then I can answer in under 140 characters! “As much as you want!” If you – like most people – only use Twitter casually, then asking how often you should Tweet is just as silly as asking how often you should talk. Relax! Everyone’s different, and except for a few rare outliers, not much in quantity versus quality will help your followers grow or diminish much at all. If you’re not the typical Twitter user, and instead add hundreds or even thousands of people in hopes that a high percent of them will follow back, then the same answer still applies. At that point you can just add more users to get more followers, so you can even abuse the quantity guidelines, but there’s not much to be proud of if your quality and reader trust declines.

If you’re like most people and you’ll admit that you care if others like you or not, and you simply want to follow some intangible etiquette rules, then I would suggest asking yourself what frequency you’re personally comfortable with and then being a tad more aggressive than that. Much like in real life, you can’t get too far by being shy. You’ll never know what you can accomplish unless you try, and you never know what opportunities you can achieve unless you ask people questions and take chances. Besides, being ignored or rejected through something as trivial as Twitter shouldn’t be a blow to your ego in the least.

Still unsure of how much is too much? If you just want to follow the crowd, then the general consensus is 4-8 Tweets a day, but with the number 5 being the sweet spot you don’t want to stray too far from. However, if it’s etiquette you’re after, there’s a far more important unspoken rule that you should remember: Don’t post more than twice an hour. Preferably no more than once every 2 hours, though people love to break this rule to assert themselves as important enough to break the rule, which can be seen in real life every day when someone talks over someone else, or is just naturally loquacious and eventually finds people who are natural listeners. It’s life. If you’re not a business, just be true to yourself and enjoy keeping in touch with friends.

Twitter Business Theories

If you setup a Twitter account for your business, then a considerably different standard is often expected. If you own or run a blog, the most popular method currently is to just have Twitter act as your RSS feed and auto post each headline from your site on Twitter, followed by a shortened URL to the full story. Because it’s automated that means the most popular blogs on the net can often Tweet headlines several times an hour, but as long as the site’s news coverage still focuses on quality it’s common for large sites to receive tens of thousands of followers.

However, knowing that an editor’s work will hit Twitter the second it hits the homepage brings up a new dilemma. Peak traffic hours on Twitter are often around noon, Eastern Standard Time, give or take an hour. This is because it’s the perfect storm of west coast Americans waking up or arriving to work early, east coast Americans taking their lunch break, and European countries enjoying the Internet at home after a day of work. Knowing how valuable a Tweet and Retweet can be, it’s often worth letting time zones dictate when hot posts (original content, not breaking news) are released on the front page.

If your business isn’t a blog, and instead a service that sells objects to customers, then the peak Twitter hours are even more important. It’s also usually best to not automate your Tweets in this case, since it’s crucial to create personal connections with people in hopes of gaining repeat customers. What that doesn’t mean is partaking in short Tweets that do nothing more than agree or applaud others; use Twitter direct messages for that. Thanking followers is important, but there are better ways to create a relationship than with boring Tweets. Likewise, go easy on the #FF (Follow Friday) posts. This practice has been on the endangered list for a while, so use it extremely sparingly. Lastly, mix it up. Don’t always post links or follow one pattern without ever straying. Surprise your followers from time to time with a sale, limited offer, or first-come-first-serve giveaway so that they’re always eager to keep in touch.

No matter what type of business you run, it’s almost always more damaging to under Tweet than to over Tweet. If you’re posting too much you’ll know either from the replies you get, or by seeing a drop in your followers. This is something that can be fixed much more easily than not branding your business enough and instead seeing profits fall.

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