10 Surprising Twitter Statistics To Help You Reach More Followers

"Retweet" or "RT"? To #hashtag or not? How do you get the most engagement from your Twitter followers? Let's dive right in.

Since social media is changing so often, it can be really hard to keep up with stats and trends that affect how you use it. I quite often forget the facts that I’ve read, or I use Twitter based on stats that are outdated now.

In fact, when I recently looked at some of the latest social media statistics, it hit me that the fastest growing demographic on Twitter is is the 55–64 year age bracket. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg in terms of what’s changed.

In case you’re in the same boat with me, I gathered up some really interesting Twitter stats that can help you improve the way you reach your followers. Especially when trying to gear up for the new social media for business, being in the know of the latest stats is more valuable than ever.

1. Twitter engagement for brands is 17% higher on weekends

I guess not many people know about this one, because only 19% of brands tweet on the weekends. If you’re trying to encourage your followers to engage with you on Twitter but you don’t want to work over the weekend, you could use Buffer to schedule tweets to be sent while you’re having a sleep-in.

Social media scientist Dan Zarrella also found in one of his Twitter experiments that click-through rates were higher on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays.

2. Tweets with image links get 2x the engagement rate of those without

Just like on Facebook, photos are more engaging for Twitter users.

Did you know you can Buffer images right from the web? Our chrome extension lets you right-click on an image and put it straight into your Buffer account as an image post:

3. Tweets with less than 100 characters get 17% more engagement

This is another stat that was similar for Facebook. Shorter posts tend to garner more engagement on both platforms.

If you’re posting tweets with links, Dan Zarrella’s research shows that 120–130 characters will be your sweet spot.

4. Twitter’s fastest growing demographic is 55–64 year-olds

If you’re looking at growing your audience, you might want to look at new Twitter users, which are most likely in the older age brackets. As Twitter’s user base grows, you’ll have a wider variety of users to target, supposing they’re all part of your market.

This largely overlaps with the general Social Media statistics, Social Media definitely working its way up the age demographic.

5. Tweets with hashtags get 2x more engagement

Having said that, keep the hashtags to a minimum. 1 or 2 will get you 21% more engagement than if you add 3 or more. This could be because hashtags often connect a tweet to a particular topic or Twitter chat that others are following or interested in. Keep appropriate hashtags in mind when posting, especially if engagement is something you’re looking to improve.

It’s especially interesting to look at the history of the Twitter hashtag. The rise of the power of the hashtag is no surprise as a result.

6. 66% of user-generated tweets that mention brands come from mobile users

There are a few things to keep in mind when targeting mobile users. Ensuring that you link to mobile-friendly sites is a good start. Linking to Twitter usernames of people you mention and adding hashtags can also be helpful for mobile users, who might want to find out more without opening new browser windows or searching in their Twitter client.

So being equipped with a great social media publishing tool for mobile is now more important than ever. It’ll be interesting how the shift to mobile will become even more obvious in the coming months and years.

7. Twitter users who mostly use a mobile device are 181% more likely to be on Twitter during their commute

When you’re tweeting, think about where your audience is, and what they might be doing. If it’s early in the morning, they might be commuting to the office--this is actually a great time to get them, as they’re probably bored and looking for something interesting to occupy them during this time.

These users are also 119% more likely to use Twitter during work or school hours, so don’t write off these times as being no good for tweeting--at least until you try them. Dinner time, on the other hand, is probably not the best time to catch your followers, as you can see in the image below.

Here are also more insights on how to make the most of Twitter on your mobile phone.

8. Amplifiers are 122% more likely to send direct messages

A study by Twitter itself found that amplifiers--that is, users who are more likely to retweet than others, thus amplifying content--are more likely to send direct messages as well. Plus, 90% of them tweet about TV shows. This points to the important fact that these users see Twitter as a way to communicate with close friends or family--hence the use of the private option of direct messages--and to talk about their habits and daily activities, such as watching TV.

Especially with the recent changes being made to Direct Messages, there seems to be a lot more to come for marketers.

9. Your tweets have a 12x higher chance of being retweeted if you ask for it, and 23x higher if you actually spell out the word “retweet”

This is a really interesting one. I’d heard before that asking for a retweet is the best way to get one, but in fact, spelling out the word “retweet” as opposed to using the abbreviation “RT” gives a much higher chance of being retweeted--23x higher than average! That’s not a hard one to implement, either.

10. Tweets that include links are 86% more likely to be retweeted

Like photos, links appeal to Twitter users. Links, however, are more likely to increase your number of retweets than engagement rate. This is helpful to keep in mind, as you might want to broaden your reach (get more retweets) rather than engage your current followers (increase engagement with photos).

What are your best tips for kicking things into a higher gear on Twitter? We’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments.

--Belle Beth Cooper is a Content Crafter at Buffer and Co-founder of Hello Code. Follow her on Twitter at @BelleBethCooper.

This post originally appeared on Buffer, and is reprinted with permission.

Add New Comment

17 Comments

  • Sarah Bauer

    The weekend tweet stats are so surprising! I swear I was looking at stats less than six months ago that discredited the value of tweeting on the weekends altogether. This stuff gets outdated so fast.

    Cheers,
    Sarah Bauer
    Navigator Multimedia

  • Mhoto

    I like the comment about tweeting links and photos. Especially since mhoto can turn tweeted photo into music. We can definitely take more advantage of this stat. Thanks.

  • Eric White

    Some interesting things in there... I've always felt kinda weird asking for the RT but if the numbers say yes...!

  • Henry Biggs

    So does Buffer have some sort of Content Marketing deal with Fast Company? This is about the fourth or fifth time I have read these same stats in slightly different articles.

  • Elizabeth Hall

    Fantastic article on Twitter statistics. I agree with #9 based on my own experience. I have gotten more retweets when I ask. Great information. Thanks for sharing

  • Elizabeth Hall

    Everybody has an opinion and I think it is fantastic. Sorry to upset you. It's not that serious.

  • 9kdesigns

    You didn't upset me :) It's just about this article. If you have the time to check Neil Patel's stats about twitter and when to tweet, you'll find more helpful than this.

  • 9kdesigns

    They dont allow me to post links...competition. Just go to quicksprout and you'll find the article

  • Elizabeth Hall

    Actually I would love to check it out. I think the link did not come over. I will search for it. Thanks!

  • mikesty

    I enjoy your articles purely for the stats, but two questions:
    1) Does the data filter out spam accounts? The 55-64 age group thing is really surprising to me. Maybe spam accounts now just put older ages. I have no idea.

    2) I have a beef with #9 ... what about the effect of decreasing marginal returns? I have the sense that if you're constantly asking your users to retweet, this will get obnoxious over time.
    Less characters is always better - if you can say the same message with less, do it. Also, the frequency vs. time of day is really interesting and unsurprising. It's because people with 9 to 5's get bored after lunch. It would be interesting to see that same series except conditioned on age group for every age group.