Links increase followers, make messages go viral
Want to expand your reach and influence on Twitter? Share links.
Research shows that:
1. Links increase followers.
The more links you share, the more followers you’ll get, according to research by viral marketing scientist Dan Zarrella.
For his study, Zarrella analyzed a random selection of more than 130,000 Twitter users. He found that the more links tweeters share the more followers they get.
Twitter accounts with more than 1,000 followers tend to tweet many more links than those with fewer than 1,000 followers.
Starbucks is a master of this approach. The coffee merchant’s tweeters tweet links to recipes, photos and all things coffee. Sample tweets:
“Mmmm, coffee cupcakes! http://pinterest.com/pin/25403185368902324/ …”
“What’s the secret ingredient in our Chocolate Cinnamon Bread? A pinch of #nomnom http://sbux.co/JdSOp9”
“Cheers! Coffee Ice Cream Martinis #starbucksicecreamhttp://pinterest.com/pin/25403185369080777/ …”
“Tiramisu Ice Cream Parfaits anyone? http://pinterest.com/pin/25403185369028619/ …”
Sharing valuable resources via links helped land Starbucks on Time magazine’s list of best corporate Twitter feeds.
People want to know what you know. Link to your research and resources.
2. Links go viral.
The more links you share, the more retweets you’ll get, according to Zarrella’s research. For this study, Zarrella looked at nearly 10 million random tweets and 10 million retweets.
He found that nearly 60% of retweets include links; fewer than 20% of non-retweeted tweets do.
In another study, this one by SalesForce, tweets with links generated 86% more retweets than those without.
See how it’s done on JetBlue’s Twitter feed. The discount airline’s tweeters tweet links to travel tips and cheap seats. Sample tweets:
“Thunderstorms in the Northeast are causing delays and possible cancellations. Fee waivers in effect, check details at http://bit.ly/jbalert”
“To celebrate our newest destination Grand Cayman, we’re offering fares from JFK at $139 & Boston at $159 terms apply. http://cot.ag/OfgTBa”
“Getaways Cheeps! $299 pp/dbl occ limited avail 2nt pkgs to Nassau, Bahamas w/air from JFK or HPN. Terms apply. http://cot.ag/J8yBkB”
JetBlue also made Time magazine’s list of top corporate tweeters.
Want people to spread the word? Provide links to resources, tips and tools.
Best practices for linking
OK, so you’re in for more links. To make the most of your links, use these linking best practices:
1. Link 60% to 80% of the time.
Share links in 60 to 80% of your tweets, Zarrella counsels.
One great model of this approach is Southwest Airline’s Twitter feed. The discount airline’s tweeters tweet links to travel tips and cheap seats. Sample tweets:
“Hey DENVER! @byallmeansband will provide the summer sounds @downtowndenver tonight w/ a free concert! Details here: http://cot.ag/OM6drM”
“Does your travel to-do list include attending a concert at the famed @RedRocksCO? We’re here to help. https://southwest.fm/redrockssweeps/”
“We’ve lowered fares for fall travel with prices starting at $69 one-way to select destinations! (restrictions apply) http://cot.ag/MXOcd1”
Southwest also made Time magazine’s list of best corporate tweeters.
2. Where to place links.
Turns out there’s a place for everything on Twitter, too.
Followers are more likely to click on links placed 25% into your tweet than at the beginning or end, according to Zarrella’s research.
For his study, he used bit.ly API to analyze 200,000 random Tweets containing bit.ly links. Then he correlated the relationship of the link’s position in the tweet with its click-through rate. Those located 25% of the way in got the most click-throughs.
Want to increase click-throughs? It may be a matter of nudging your link a little to the left.
Want your social media status updates to move further and faster? Share more links.