Everybody likes me, nobody tweets me, guess I’ll post on LinkedIn

The effectiveness of Twitter as a connective social media channel is declining
In July I wrote about why 2017 is a tipping point for Twitter, noting that the rate at which users follow established accounts has slowed dramatically. As the year draws to a close I’m seeing further evidence that conversations in the twittersphere are drying up too. 

The evidence for my observations comes from my own Twitter account, and my experience may not be representative of other Twitter users. But, as in my tipping point post, there’s a wealth of corroborative evidence from other sources.

The evidence
Here’s what I’m seeing. First, here’s a graph of my cumulative retweets over the last seven years.

Notice the fall off over the last eighteen months?

Second, the same graph for mentions.

Here we see a gradual decline in Twitter mentions for the last three years, one that has become increasingly severe recently.

Unfortunately, what I don’t have is a corresponding graph for the number of Twitter likes over time. If I did, based on my regular observations it would show a significant increase in likes over time. I estimate that the increase in likes is approximately the same as or slightly greater than the decrease in mentions and RTs combined.

To summarize, my tweets are getting just as much or more engagement than before, but much more of the engagement is in likes (“I’m interested in this and approve/agree/will mark it for later study”) at the expense of mentions and RTs (“I want to share your tweet with others/respond to what you said“).

What are the implications for social media marketing and branding?
To me, these findings mean that people are still reading my tweets at the same or higher rates but are less likely to interact with or share them.

The effectiveness of Twitter as a social media channel that fosters connection and conversation is declining.

In addition, I doubt that the recent doubling of maximum tweet length from 140 to 280 characters will make any difference to the trends I’ve noted. In fact, it may exacerbate them. Personally, I find that I am less likely to fully read the longer tweets increasingly showing up on my Twitter feeds.

An alternative channel to consider
Although it is not an especially interactive social media channel, I’ve been finding that sharing my website posts on LinkedIn has led to an increasing number of views and comments recently.

I have three caveats, however:

  • I don’t recommend posting to LinkedIn Groups any more, since their effective reach has been severely limited by policy changes.
  • I also don’t recommend publishing an article on LinkedIn, as your content is now tied to their platform, rather than one you control. This is a mistake.
  • Finally, when you share a post, be aware that LinkedIn counts as a “view” when the post summary is displayed on the viewer’s screen. The “viewer” doesn’t have to click through to read the post in order to be counted! So be aware that the number of post “views” reported by LinkedIn exaggerates the number of people who actually see your entire post.

Are you noticing trends that are affecting social media engagement? Share your observations in the comments below!

Image from J House Vlogs

  • tracibrowne

    I completely agree with you about the changes in the way people interact on Twitter. There is not a lot of conversation going on there in regards to the B2B world. It is now more of a vehicle for simply promoting content. I tend to use it to keep up with industry news, get a feel for trending topics, and to find possible sources for articles I am writing…so not entirely a bad thing for sure. I have to disagree about publishing on LinkedIn, but with a caveat. Publishing on LinkedIn allows you to reach an audience that may not be familiar with you but would benefit from your content through the use of relevant tags. You don’t only have to publish on LinkedIn. Publish on your owned property, and re-publish on LinkedIn. I always add my short bio at the end of the post and include a line that says “originally published on “my website” with a link to the original content. I get a lot more interaction and visibility on LinkedIn than I do my website, and potential clients have reached out to me based on what they’ve read there.

    • Hi Traci, always appreciate your thoughtful comments!

      Yes, Twitter is still useful for the reasons you mention.

      Perhaps my post wasn’t clear — I attempted to explain re LinkedIn that I do exactly what you recommend (i.e. post a link to my original content rather than publish/write an article on LinkedIn itself). And yes, I’ve also found that posting my content there leads to exposure I wouldn’t have otherwise received.

      Can you share more about how you use LinkedIn tagging? I haven’t done that and don’t know what tags I’d use there.

      • tracibrowne

        When you are drafting an article in LinkedIn (and again, I am publishing the same article both on my website blog and on LinkedIn with the line on LinkedIn that says…originally published on…) and hit the publish button a pop-up window appears. It says…”tell your network what your article is about, use tags to help others find it.”

        As for what tags to use, it’s just like adding keywords in your blog post. Just tag relevant search terms (#peerconference #meetingengagement #conferenceplanning). I would say, use discretion. I only use one or two hashtags to avoid Instagram-like hashtag overload. Nothing says I’m spammy like a stack of hashtags. If there is something you want to be known for or a tag line you always use (#conferencesthatwork) I would put that in every post. That way, if it catches on, you’ll come up first in every search. Also add that hashtag to your profile as well.

        I want to be known for manufacturing writing, so I add #manufacturingwriter or #manufacturingcontent to my posts, and one hashtag relevant to the content (#robotictrends or #manufacturingcasestudy), but again…no more than one or two in total.

        You cannot go back and add hashtags retroactively. Once you hit publish you’ve lost your chance. I do hope you give it a try because more people need to discover your work.

        • Ah, now I’m clear. You republish your entire article on LinkedIn, while I only post a summary and link to the original article on my website. I guess your approach could be preferable if it includes “…originally published on…”. I will try using LinkedIn this way in future and see what happens.

          Thanks for the tag explanation too; I continue to appreciate your advice and friendship!