How to Increase the Reach of a Tweet

How I Increased the Reach of a Tweet by 23,810%

How to Increase the Reach of a Tweet

A major goal for the marketers using Twitter is driving as much traffic as possible to their websites.

An elementary pre-condition for getting clicks on your links is having your tweets seen by other people. The more people see your tweets, the more potential clicks.

Today’s case study shows you how to increase the reach of a tweet

– without increasing your number of followers,

– without paying for Twitter ads,

– and even without the help (retweets) of your friends or fans.

1. My Twitter Test Conditions

– in order not to get results influenced by retweets, I repeated the test for different tweet pairs (basic tweet / improved tweet) until one pair got no retweets.

– the two tweets were sent one time each, on the same day of the week (Wednesday, October 1 and respectively October 8), at the same time, from the same account.

– the results were measured after a period of one week for each tweet: from October 1 till October 8 for the first tweet, and respectively from October 8 till October 15 for the second tweet.

– the measurements are provided by the same third-party reliable source: Twitter itself (Twitter Analytics)

2. The Minor Improvement Many Tweeps Don’t Bother With

The basic tweet (no improvement):

Hard work doesn’t guarantee success, but improves its chances. – B. J. Gupta via @tquoteseday

The improved tweet:

As you can see there was a simple improvement: I’ve added a hashtag that shows the topic of the tweet. Now let’s see the results…

3. The Hashtag Increased the Reach of the Tweet by 23,810%

Test results for tweet with hashtag vs tweet without hashtag

While the basic tweet got 127 impressions, the improved tweet got 30,366. (Impressions: number of times users saw the tweet on Twitter)

Two legit questions could be asked now:

– why did such a minor change produce such a difference?

– how come a tweet sent to around 2,800 followers was seen by over 30,000 persons without being retweeted or promoted?

There’s a simple explanation:

For various reasons, many Twitter users searched for success quotes. Twitter’s search algorithm didn’t detect the fact that the basic tweet included a success quote. Why is that? Because the word quote wasn’t included in the tweet. Makes sense, doesn’t it?

4. What You Should Learn From This Small Twitter Test?

Your tweets are seen by a small fraction of your followers. That’s why resharing the same tweet multiple times isn’t a mistake, but a must.

[A word of caution: Sharing the same tweet multiple times doesn’t have to be understood as sharing the same thing, again and again, every half an hour or so. THAT is a mistake.]

The Potential Reach metric shown by some social media tools isn’t real. It actually shows your number of followers. The real Potential Reach is way much bigger due to retweets and Twitter’s search feature, and it cannot be predicted by these tools.

If you use the hashtags wisely, the reach of your tweets can be dramatically improved.

5. What You Should NOT Learn From This Twitter Test?

Hijacking hashtags, i.e. adding trending hashtags not related to your tweet.

Example of Hashtag Hijacking on Twitter

This practice will increase your reach, but the potential traffic – if any – will most probably bounce. So it’s useless. On the other hand, you could annoy your followers and also the people who searched on Twitter for the hashtag that you misused. You could even be reported for spam.

Adding the hashtag sign in front of random words from your tweet.

Example of Irrelevant Hashtags on Twitter

Don’t do it! A common mistake made by many tweeps is adding the hashtag sign in front of adjectives (example: #free), verbs or very generic words not related to a specific topic (example: #IDidIt).

Figure what your tweet is about and what related keywords are missing from the headline but could be added as hashtags. THIS could get you a healthy improved reach.

Using a hashtag that no one else uses.

This practice is unlikely to improve your reach. Be sure that the hashtag you plan to use for improving the reach is actually used by other people.

(Note: Using for branding purposes a hashtag no one else uses is OK. But that’s another story, different from the topic of this article.)

If hashtags improve the reach, then… the more hashtags the better?

Many people, including me, consider that hashtag abuse is annoying and it’s a noob mistake. However, how many hashtags are too many?

Some social media power influencers (according to Forbes, not according to me!) don’t seem to care about this topic…

Example of Hashtag Abuse on Twitter by Social Media Power Influencer Jeff Bullas

… while some articles posted on their own blog recommend the same thing like Twitter: “Best practices recommend using no more than 2 hashtags per Tweet.

According to Buddy Media’s study quoted by Buffer, “When you use more than two hashtags, your engagement actually drops by an average of 17 percent.

So… how many hashtags are too many? You decide for yourself!

To Your Twitter Marketing Success!
Adrian Jock

P.S. Your turn. Do you use hashtags on Twitter? Do you monitorize your metrics? Did you notice an increase of the reach for the tweets that included hashtags?

P.P.S. Follow me on Twitter for more interesting internet marketing tips & news.

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28 thoughts on “How I Increased the Reach of a Tweet by 23,810%

  1. Hi Adrian,

    your case study shows exactly why it is important to use the right hashtags and not just any word within the tweet.

    When the hashtag is closely related to your content and not an orphaned word that nobody uses, it can drastically improve the reach of your tweet.

    One good place to research is Besides popularity and trends, it also shows related hashtags and can give some ideas for improvement.

    Have a great day,

  2. Hi Torsten,

    Thank you for your comment. I checked another tool that was recommended by some bloggers I know. I had a good laugh when I’ve noticed that the hashtags suggested right on their homepage were also adjectives. I won’t tell the name of the tool :)

    That’s why I stopped searching for such tools. Never heard of the tool you mentioned, but I’ll check it anyway. Thx!

  3. Adrian,

    These tips are so simple and yet so brilliant! I really appreciate all the time and effort you put into sharing this and I definitely took away some things I hope to start doing a bit better on Twitter.

    Many of the corrections I’ve made have been thanks to your helpful feedback.

    You’re the best! Sharing this.

  4. Hi Brittany. Thank you for your comment & share. Since I’ve noticed that you use useless hashtags like #sorrynotsorry, I hope the article helped you learn more about using hashtags on Twitter.

  5. Hi Adrian,

    It’s been too long and I came back to a good one.

    I am actually not great at using hash tags after all this time . I have done a few tests and have not noticed any real increase in Retweets etc but honestly I haven’t put as much effort into it as I should.

    With that kind of increase I really need to put more focus on them for sure.

    Have a good rest of the week.

  6. Thank you for your comment, Steven. I’ve just checked once again your timeline and I’ve noticed that you don’t really use hashtags ;)

    On the other hand, hashtags may increase your reach indeed, but not any hashtag will do it. In addition, an increase of the reach doesn’t automatically increase your number of retweets. See for example some of the red bullets from the last section of the article ;)

  7. Hey Adrian,

    Very nice article! Have been stressing out my ass here trying to improve my twitter reach and i just found your article.

    At a time i was about to give up on Hashtags and the using of services like JustRetweet due to the fact that over 50 people retweet my blog posts and never once has it brought in up to 1000 visitors from twitter. So Annoying!

    Will keep trying anyways! Great reach! Thanks for sharing.

  8. Hi Babshaybell,

    Thank you for your comment. I noticed that you don’t use hashtags at all ;)

    As for JustRetweet…

    1) Use wisely the field “Minimum number of Twitter followers to promote”. Not all retweets are equal. You cannot expect too much when someone having 200 followers tweets your content.

    2) Some JRT users don’t really use Twitter. They followed quickly 1k-2k random people, were followed back by 30-40% and then they do nothing but use JRT. Such accounts aren’t real Twitter accounts and you shouldn’t expect anything from their retweets.

  9. I’m glad you brought up hashtag hijacking Adrian. I wrote about that a while back and several people got the wrong idea because my “meaning” or definition was based on a book I had just finished. (I think it was Gary Vee but I don’t remember). Anyway, I should have been calling it “Real-time marketing” or something because, like you said, hashtag hijacking is inappropriately using hashtags not related to our tweets for the exposure. Real Time marketing is joining the trending conversation.

    It’s funny, we’ve all known about hashtags for a long time but it wasn’t until Twitter started giving the analytics that we understood just how powerful they could be.

    I’ve noticed huge increases in reach when using hashtags as well. The next step is converting that added reach into action which is something I need a lot of work on.

  10. Hi, Jock, I wasn’t aware of that particular tag, I must remember to explore before tweeting.

    Just to clarify, do you agree that a tagged term has more force when it occurs naturally within the tweet, as opposed to added in a list at the end?

  11. Hi Donald,

    First of all, let me clarify something… Adrian is my first name, isn’t it obvious? So next time you have two options: “Hi Adrian” or “Hi Mr. Jock”. “Hi Jock” isn’t a valid option here.

    Regarding your question, I completely disagree with your theory.

    1) When it comes to the Search function, the location of the tagged term is irrelevant.

    2) When it comes to a reader, the tagged term “within the tweet” has no value. Sometimes it even makes the text hard to read because the hashtag transforms the keyword into a link.

    3) From the perspective of the person who tweeted the tweet, adding the hashtag “within the tweet” isn’t an advantage. Some people click THAT hashtag link instead of the link to the article.

    Usually I recommend this formula:

    Headline + Link + 1-2 tagged keywords

    (the keywords shouldn’t repeat words from the headline, but they should add more relevant information – such as the topic, the niche)

  12. Adrian, I am so sorry for writing the wrong name! Of course I know your name is Adrian, I was half asleep when I wrote that…

  13. I’ve just found this – good stuff, clear & useful.

    I’ve got 2 comments:
    1. Do you use any tool to identify # that should be used? We started recently with RiteTag and that looks promising. Of course I sometimes have a look on Trending Topics & on hashtags used by influencers too, as well as check what is the impact of hashtags I’m using.

    2. I could discuss with this:
    “As to Using a hashtag that no one else uses…” – nowadays there are sometimes hashtags invented for the purposes of a single campaign, and sometimes they succeed. Sure, it’s mostly big advertisers to do that.

  14. Hi Jan,

    1. I didn’t find any good tool, so I rely on my own tests.

    Maybe RiteTag looks promising to you. Not to me. I never used it. I only scanned their home page and I had a good laugh. Suggesting adjectives (“#good”) or very generic nouns (#guide) as hashtags is plain wrong.

    2. Out of the context of this article, you’re 100% right. In the context of this article, you’re 100% wrong.

    What I mean by the statement above is:

    a) this article is about increasing the reach of a tweet by using hashtags. If you invent now a hashtag no one used it before and you add it to your tweet, you will NOT increase the reach of your tweet (the topic of this article).

    That’s why my tip was, “Using a hashtag that no one else uses. – This practice is unlikely to improve your reach. Be sure that the hashtag you plan to use for improving the reach is actually used by other people.”

    b) there is nothing wrong in using hashtags no one ever used. But they have another purpose, not the increase of the reach of the actual tweet. That’s another topic, not related to this article ;)

  15. Great stuff, Adrian, and let me extend a ward welcome to connect with me in gmail so we can video call; what you have here could be extended by about 20% and get you published on a top-tier site. I’d like to help out with that.

    Another thought, Adrian:

    In your impressions-winning tweet, you did well with #SuccessQuote. What I would do to get estimations on what to expect is, with the RiteTag extension installed in your browser, simply click in #SuccessQuote – for analytics and a color-grading that gives you a starting indication of the recent activity with that hashtag.
    1. Try adding an ‘s’ – and watch the analytics change. Some hashtags are better in their plural form, some better in the singular.
    2. Try breaking it into two: #success #quote only adds two characters, and what’s more, you can schedule once one way / schedule for a couple days later, and see what you get.

    I’d love to get your thoughts on the as-you-type analytics – also show you how I get things done with RiteTag as I can with nothing else (and even give you a sneak-preview of what’s coming in February…)

    Thanks for your thoughts, and an excellent how-to article.

  16. Hi Saul,

    Thank you for your comment and also for sharing the article on Twitter.

    1) I do NOT appreciate the fact that you added “with RiteTag” to my headline (on Twitter) suggesting that my test was made with the help of RiteTag. That’s not true.

    On top of that, I wonder whether you’ve read my previous comment or not. If you read it, then you know that adding “with RiteTag” to my headline is definitely not appropriate.

    2) I agree that #SuccessQuotes and the other version could be tested. I don’t know whether the result would be better or not, but that result won’t change the point of this article in any way.

    The point of the article isn’t the figure of 23,810%. Isn’t relevant whether the figure is 23,810% or 30k%. The point of the article is the huge difference between a “no hashtag tweet” and a tweet with an appropriate hashtag.

    That is the message I wanted to transmit to many marketers who don’t use hashtags or use weird or not appropriate hashtags.

  17. Adrian,

    As for the tweet, I get a notification from Google Alerts with all the blogs that discuss RiteTag. In my haste, I did not read all the comments. I assumed that you tested the hashtag you used with our extension – and thus, to trigger a Google Alerts notification, somewhere, there was a mention of RiteTag in the article. I do, thus, owe you an apology for how I gave RiteTag an undue pat on the back.

    I acknowledge that you find our service to be laughable.

    We continue to refine the RiteTag suite of social media optimization tools, plenty still being built and refined, so perhaps we will earn your interest in the future.

    I want to finish by noting that in your suggestions on what to do (and what not to) in selecting hashtags, such as
    “Using a hashtag that no one else uses. This practice is unlikely to improve your reach. Be sure that the hashtag you plan to use for improving the reach is actually used by other people.” – this is 100% aligned with our value proposition.
    Those using their brand / company as a hashtag in hopes it will trend, and being spammy, hashtagging the wrong words – none of this gets people anything. Where we go further is to provide analytics, as you type – because without them, people actually are guessing. We use Twitter streaming data and make reach expectations transparent.

  18. Saul,

    I didn’t find your service laughable, I never tried it.

    The reason I never tried it was that the example shown right on the home page is laughable (hashtaging adjectives: #good #great). Not a good incentive to try your service.

    If your tool RiteTag actually doesn’t suggest adjectives for hashtags, then my tip is to stop shooting yourself in the foot right on the home page: remove the hashtag signs placed in front of the adjectives from the legend. They misled me and made me laugh ;-)

  19. Ah – I see what you mean, the legend for our color-grading. See, now I’m thinking that you can’t be the only person to see it that way – that we give the hashtag #great a “great” rating.

    Thanks for clarifying. I’m going to speak with our CTO on this, decide together if we should change.

  20. That’s exactly my point, Saul.

    Maybe the hashtags from the legend were added for design purposes to show people that RiteTag is about hashtags. But they can be misinterpreted ;-)

  21. I think it also work well on Facebook. Hashtags are like tags and keywords of our posts. It’s really brilliant post. I think everyone knows it, but does not care about it. They did not know what they are missing.
    PS : I also forgot to use some time.

  22. Hi Adrian

    Very interesting experiment and what an insight from it.

    I do believe that stuffing too many hashtags annoys me as well but as you have shared, you need to add tags that are related to your tweet.

    Thanks for sharing. Take Care

  23. Resharing tweets and use of hastags are important for your tweets to reach maximum potential. Your post is like a revision for me about “getting ur tweets viral”. Thanks for sharing it. Love the way you framed all things together. Ashish

  24. Hi Adrian,

    Folks dig hashtags on Twitter and search for them more than any network it seems. I HT tweets here and there but will bump up my hashtag game to target and drive my reach numbers. Awesome tip, awesome reminder.


  25. I use hashtags all the time and my reach is not that far, however as you mentioned I wasn’t using popular hashtags. I don’t use more than two hashtags for the very same reason – it annoys people. You have some really good insights here though that I will put to the test myself and see how it goes.

  26. Hi Adrian,

    This is a complete unique article. I’ve been trying to increase my Twitter reach and stumbled upon your post today. Makes sense! Shared your article to Pinterest, Twitter, Mix and Flipboard ;)

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