This post is based upon my own experience and circumstances on Twitter. Everyone’s experience and circumstances are different when it comes to twitter so this post is designed to help anyone who uses it for the sake of marketing. As an author myself, I very much appreciate the struggle of social media as a marketing tool and to sell books regularly takes a lot of presence and work.
While increasing my presence on Twitter over the past year or so I have began to form a conclusion in my own mind that the platform has a complex underbelly that favours those who use it more often, those who post often and of course those who use it for conversation. Twitter wants you to stay on Twitter and so when you try to divert others away from it through links, that complex underbelly kicks in – the word algorithm get’s used often when it comes to Twitter and now I firmly believe that under the right circumstances, if you share an external link on twitter and specifically via one of your own tweets, it will get less visibility – sometimes dramatically less visibility.
This post will do two things:
1. Lay out my own Twitter circumstances (my following count /tweets per day, etc).
2. Show you what I did to prove that Twitter reduces visibility on Tweets that share links and how to get around this in 2021 – no doubt this post will become outdated but you can still share links on Twitter and get good results. Everything is variable and subjective and this is just my experience.
So who am I when it comes to Twitter?
My circumstances are important to lay out because it will give you an indication of my engagement and activity on Twitter.
Top Tip: The more time you spend on Twitter, the more it will reward you eventually and this goes for tweeting more, commenting more and just being on there more. What to tweet about you ask? Anything…
My name is Lee Hall and I am an independently published author who probably spends way too much time on Twitter. Although I will say I enjoy being on Twitter and eventually I must have started doing something right because back in December 2020 I had Five Thousand Followers and now I have Twelve Thousand. My Tweets regularly get 20 to 40 likes or even more and normally a few comments – this depends on what I Tweet about and the time of day but generally I have quite a decent engaged following. Here are the numbers in clearer format:
Followers (July 2021): 12k – Mainly UK/US/Canada Time zones
Tweets Per Day on Average: 7 to 10
Hours Spent Per Day: I’d rather not say… but it’s a lot.
These three factors are important to note because firstly my following is a mix of time zones which means when I wake up only UK followers are around mainly so later in my day tends to bring better engagement levels as the US and Canada see sunrise.
Tweets per day is another big factor because the more you tweet, the more your profile will be pushed to followers. And well, hours spent, if you’ve got the time then do it…
Because I have spent so much time on Twitter over the last year I have started to realise that sharing links doesn’t always work out well and so I decided to run a test for a few months to see if this was the case.
‘Write a book and then share it with your social media following. Instant sales and success’‘Marketing Expert‘
While the quote above might have been the case once, right now in 2021 it is so far from the truth and kind of makes me mad that there are people out there sharing this kind of ‘expertise’. Being a social media author who started at zero takes a lot of work, time, patience, effort and drive to reach any level of happiness with your results. The mountain is so high sometimes and the inner workings of social media are designed not to help you.
There are so many authors who will tweet daily about feeling invisible only for me to check out their feed and see it is full of links or they just sporadically tweet every other day. In this day and age that’s the equivalent of standing up in parliament and then taping your mouth shut before trying to give a speech. If there is just one thing I want you to take away from this post it is this:
Talk first, share links later.
And that is what my test is based upon.
The Actual Test
What have I been doing to avoid my links being silenced by the ‘algorithms’? Quite simply I’ve been following a two step approach.
1. Tweet something enticing about a link.
2. Put the link in a reply below that tweet.
Now I am going to prove to you that this approach works.
On July the 9th I set out to share a link in two different ways and at two different times of the day. The link I shared was for my ever popular blog post ’10 Ways to Sell a Book Without Dropping The Link on Social Media’. Yes I am aware of the sarcastic irony which I have a PHD in. Also to make this test fair, I used the same link, hashtag and set specific timings to simply prove how effective this two step approach is.
At 10:09AM UK time I put out this tweet with the link in the reply. Now my only major audience online at this time is the UK so there is generally less people around to see this tweet. I did this deliberately – you’ll understand why below.
At 07:00PM UK time I put out Tweet 2 with just the link – by this time the majority of UK, US and Canada Time zones were in daytime hours. So you’d think this tweet would get way more attention and this is after several tweets went out during the day.
I deliberately gave Tweet 2 the advantage of a much bigger audience being online and so you’d think this would work in favour of that tweet. Now I left both of these tweets until today (13th July) to harvest the statistics and so here they are.
As you can see this time with the numbers its looking quite good. And now with the statistics of this tweet….
The ‘Detail Expands’ tells me followers were enticed by this tweet and moved on to the reply where the link was contained….
The ‘Link Clicks’ is the important number there which is also quite high for me. Now let’s take a look at Tweet 2
As you can see, very little activity for a Tweet that I put out during ‘prime time’. And so here are the stats…
And the numbers are dramatically less than Tweet 1. These numbers were taken on the day this post was published.
The Supplementary Test
Okay, so I have tried my best to do my own ‘fair’ or at least decent enough test but here’s some a supplementary extra. because there will always be someone trying to refute me it seems.
Yes this is Mark Zuckerberg’s Facebook and yes he put the link in the comments below the status. Now I know this is taken from Facebook but if the man who basically founded social media in part is doing this, well it says it all really…
I’ve had my eyes set on putting a blog post like this together for a while and from the numbers shared above I can pretty much confirm that link dropping on Twitter most of the time will have an adverse effect on a users numbers. Let me stress that this is entirely dependent on your circumstances which I cannot speak for. Most of my guides are based upon what I have done and learned.
There is hope when it comes to link sharing because right now there is a simple way around it. Tweet 1’s two step method of an enticing tweet followed by a call to action and then sharing the link in the reply is an effective way to get traffic clicking on that link. There are also a plethora of methods to sell something without sharing a link all the time. Hopefully this post has at least stirred some thoughts about how to better get something from social media when it comes to link sharing.
Thanks for reading and you’ll find some further reading below.
Further Reading (Because I kind of have a family to feed…)
If you enjoyed this post then you’ll probably enjoy and get something out of my self help guide book for authors and bloggers. Consistent Creative Content is written with you in mind and will hopefully guide you to results that you are happy with. Here are some recent reviews and click on the billboard for the US link. Everyone else, just search Consistent Creative Content Lee Hall on Amazon – this will boost my key word relevancy
Of course the link mentioned in this post is also a guide and so here is ‘10 Ways to Sell a Book Without Dropping The Link on Social Media’ .
And those looking for better results on Twitter here is another detailed guide.