To work in social media marketing is to be in a constant state of learning, growing, evolving, and adapting. The moment we get complacent is the moment the competition passes us by. And no social platform buries your content more quickly than Twitter.
One of the best ways to learn is from your own successes — and your mistakes. I love nerding out over stats (as illustrated in my last blog about social media analytics), and using the data to improve Forge and Smith’s social game. Thanks to Twitter’s built-in analytics, our Twitter activity is always neatly laid out and ready to dissect.
I got out the red pen and graded our top tweets of 2015. Some were good, some were meh, and some were just plain blurry.
— Forge and Smith (@forgeandsmith) January 5, 2015
Most social media marketers have been advised at some point to avoid overly broad hashtags, and in some cases that’s totally legit. Specific hashtags help you find your ideal target audience, while broad hashtags potentially place your content in front of people millions of miles away that couldn’t ever be potential clients. I support the use of #success in this case for two reasons.
- People searching the term #success are likely looking for content relating to business advice. This is something Forge’s Master Smith, Shawn Johnston, excels at, so why wouldn’t we want to join in that conversation?
- The Forge and Smith team crafts websites for partners all over the world. We conduct collaborative conversations over Basecamp. Our work isn’t restricted to local clients, so there’s no need to localize our hashtags.
That said, there’s a typo. This tweet didn’t check its work.
— Forge and Smith (@forgeandsmith) February 24, 2015
We love other New Westminster businesses. We visit them on lunch breaks to eat and shop, and there’s definitely a strong sense of community among local social media profiles. This is an important part of building a healthy social community for your business. We shared our Best of New Westminster blog using the #NewWest hashtag to find locals, and finished it off with a mention of one of the businesses in the piece. The overall effect is friendly rather than promotional, although it reads a little awkwardly. This tweet could benefit from a class in punctuation and grammar.
— Forge and Smith (@forgeandsmith) March 29, 2015
Despite the incredibly blurry photo, this tweet found traction because of two immensely popular hashtags. One was specific to a heavily hyped product, and the other was the hashtag for the 2015 Canadian Internet Marketing Conference. However, there are almost no good reasons to use poor visuals on a business profile! That’s just bad social media marketing. The hashtags are the only thing keeping this tweet from being sent to summer school.
— Forge and Smith (@forgeandsmith) April 1, 2015
This tweet shares our recap of the aforementioned Canadian Internet Marketing Conference, and utilizes mentions of some of the speakers as well as the event hashtag. The combination of hashtags and mentions found this one decent traction and plenty of link clicks. The minor flaw in this tweet is that it doesn’t entice other social and digital marketers who weren’t at the CIMC or don’t know what it is to read. Slightly different wording could have made it appealing to a broader audience, ex. hinting at tips and tricks learned. This tweet comes across as a little clique-ish, but that’s not its fault.
— Forge and Smith (@forgeandsmith) May 1, 2015
Holy hashtags! This tweet tried to cash in on joining both the #blog and #WordPress developer conversations. While it used enticing language and found traction, I just can’t condone using five hashtags in a tweet. It comes across as desperate. This one could have benefited from dropping two tags, #optimize in particular for its vagueness. This tweet needs to spend more time studying, and less time worrying about being popular.
— Forge and Smith (@forgeandsmith) June 25, 2015
Now this is a powerful visual and a great tweet on every level. It incorporated a funny, vibrant behind-the-scenes human photo, a couple of specific hashtags, and mentions of both an influential profile and engaged team members. If there was a comma somewhere in that sentence, it probably would have been a perfect tweet. This tweet is a solid candidate for “most likely to succeed”.
— Forge and Smith (@forgeandsmith) July 22, 2015
This tweet is succinct, and it utilized a trending hashtag to join a huge conversation and share our relevant content with other participants. It also employed a specific call-to-action by directing viewers to click. The result of all of these elements was the most link clicks of any prior tweet this year. Gold star social media marketing! This tweet is doing everything right and is definitely getting into a good university.
— Forge and Smith (@forgeandsmith) August 6, 2015
Although it only got two retweets, this tweet got a ton of link clicks. Your best tweets are usually the ones that have the most value for your audience, in most cases a result of providing them with quality content that solves their problems. In this case it offered both potential monetary value and solving the problem of not being part of the awesome Forge team. I’d throw a local hashtag in there to help it find digital marketers in Vancouver or New Westminster, though. This tweet is resting on its laurels.
— Forge and Smith (@forgeandsmith) September 29, 2015
This was my first tweet for Forge and Smith, but that doesn’t mean I’ll go easy on it. It starts out strong, with a popular hashtag and a mention of a team member. Businesses need help creating a voice and tone guide, so the content solves a problem. The tweet missed an opportunity to help that content find its audience. I would swap out #webdev (one of our services but not the right one for this content) for #smallbiz or #biztips. This tweet needs to study harder and apply itself.
— Forge and Smith (@forgeandsmith) October 16, 2015
GIFs are a great way to catch the reader’s eye and draw them into your content. This cheeky GIF communicated our feelings about Forge UI designer Damian, shared his own blog rather than promoting something he wrote for Forge, and had an all-around good vibe. I’d swap #designer out for another hashtag that helps the content find its audience, such as #UIdesign or #visualdesign. This tweet is the class clown, but it’s still got a great GPA.
— Forge and Smith (@forgeandsmith) November 23, 2015
The moral of the story behind this tweet’s success is simple: Get retweeted by a celebrity. Bif Naked retweeted us, and the rest was history. This tweet got picked to appear on Canadian Idol and immediately dropped out to pursue a music career.
— Forge and Smith (@forgeandsmith) December 21, 2015
The frontrunner all month was a tweet featuring a GIF of Joseph Gordon-Levitt in an elf hat. This tweet beat that one out by nearly 1000 impressions and double the engagements. It has a strong visual, two specific hashtags, a mention, and it calls viewers to check out our case studies. This tweet is definitely the valedictorian.
What did we learn from analyzing our top tweets? Successful social media marketing comes from practicing and perfecting combinations of strategy (hashtags, posting times), enticing language, and eye-catching visuals. An influencer mention that gets retweeted is the cherry on top. That said, there’s still no way to guarantee any tweet will ace the test.
Want to get hardcore about your social media marketing homework? Give your audience what they want with our Heavy Metal Social Media Marketing Tips.