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Some things are so simple they end up getting ignored. Sometimes, though, these simple strategies that end up getting ignored are so powerful that the fact that they’re getting ignored warrants a blog post. This is that blog post.

In the past two weeks, I gave the same Twitter recommendation to three of our clients. A recommendation that, as someone frequently using Twitter, I thought was obvious.

Then I started looking into more blogs online, and I realized that something I thought was obvious was being done at an alarmingly low clip – thereby creating the realization that something that seems obvious might not be.

This realization is the usage of the Tweet button syntax on blogs.

Analyzing Tweet Structure

When you go to share a post from the Tweet button (such as this one), you’ll get a popup on Twitter with a default tweet structure that is defined by the business.

For example, this post will look like this by default:

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To me, this is by far the most optimal solution. The reasons for this are as follows:

  • It has a descriptive title that, as a marketer, I thought deeply about and want used based on the belief that it will have a better click-through rate than random other selections people may use
  • It has a clean and good looking title, which will not require editing due to ugly syntax, therefore lowering tweet friction
  • It includes our Twitter account, which improves the probability that the person tweeting the article will follow our account
  • It includes our Twitter account, which improves the probability that people seeing the tweet will follow our account
  • It includes our Twitter account (and URL as a bonus), which leverages our brand – which, if we have a positive brand perception, may lead to more clicks

This tweet structure is incredibly powerful because it’s an important setup for a marketing flywheel. A marketing flywheel is the impact of gaining one more follower than yesterday – in short, starting the next day with two readers instead of one. Done right, it’s one of the most powerful drivers of site traffic you can create.

This impact creates an amplification impact that becomes a must for any business over time – the businesses that don’t use it end up promoting a new piece to a unique audience every time, rather than an established one – an extremely risky strategy that likely will end up in a losing game for most businesses.

Evaluating Misused Structures

When you browse around the web, you will get all of these tweet syntax structures at various points. Let’s break down why they might not be the best for you to use (if you’re currently using them). 

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This tweet contains no Twitter account call to action which lowers the amount of followers you will receive from this tweet. It’s also possible your post would have received more clicks if you included your Twitter account and your brand had a positive reputation in your vertical. Thus, it’s not the worst choice ever, but in my opinion, still far from optimal.

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These tweets use the title tag rather than the actual post title as the URL structure. Having the title tag as the syntax is simply not necessary for tweets and will often cause many Twitter users to rewrite the tweet, which can either make them A) use a suboptimal title or B) experience friction which may cause them to not tweet the article.

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Not using the post title means that the tweet will be completely non-descriptive to the reading audience, likely giving them very little reason to click the link unless they have an extremely high regard for the person tweeting, which they probably don’t if they tweet out links like this.

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Using Twitter accounts like WordPress or mentioning people and/or businesses that add very little context to the post? Not a great idea.

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Yes, I saw this in my research – the double URL usage really has no point, but compounds the reality that some businesses just aren’t getting their social media strategy down pat.

Analyzing the Current Business Blog Environment

To verify the hypothesis that many people are using tweet structure incorrectly, we analyzed 500 blogs and their use of tweet syntax. We tried to stick to blogs that had commercial intent and seemed to care about content marketing and getting more eyeballs on their work (that is, were frequently updated).

We skipped blogs that didn’t include a tweet button, under the belief that we couldn’t pass judgement on those companies who deliberately decided not to include them. We also avoided marketing blogs under the belief they weren’t a representative sample of the larger blogging population, although some still ended up in the analysis.

At the end of the analysis, we found that business blogs aren’t using the Tweet button correctly more than 73% of the time.

optimal-tweeting-graph

If you’re interested, we’ve included the data below for your analysis and consumption. You’ll find many recognizable companies.

Screen Shot 2014-03-10 at 2.43.15 PM

Not every company, of course, is rigorously picking apart their Twitter sharing structure, so many of these will differ in just how important it is that they get it right. However, I don’t think there’s an argument that it wouldn’t help somewhat, and for something that’s so easy to change, it should be a no-brainer.

Looking for Problems That Aren’t Easy to See

The 73% number was larger than I originally thought it would be – but it should be no shocker that many companies can miss the small details that make a big difference in their business. I believe this gets missed a lot because it’s a “beneath the surface” site element – one that many will miss if they’re not looking close enough.

We found a few crazy examples in our research, showing that while many companies are just slightly off, others are completely missing the boat. The success of a website sometimes comes down to more than what you see on the surface – as the cliché goes, it’s often what’s on the inside that counts, and it frequently comes to bear with the Twitter setup on these blogs.

Editors Note: After getting several questions in the comments and elsewhere about how exactly to go about setting this up, we created a simple how-to guide which you can see here.

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