Does Twitter work anymore? Should you have retweet buttons on your blog?
For quite awhile, I was pretty much ignoring Twitter. In terms of a traffic generator or doing anything meaningful with it, I just wrote it off.
But, recently, I decided to dip my toes back in again. Just to take a look around. See if it might be worth my time. After all, Twitter seems to be more culturally relevant in the age of Trump, right? 😉
But, something interesting happened. It was an unplanned little mini-test of whether Twitter has much impact in terms of click-through traffic to your blog.
I had one of my blog posts shared by the SEMRush Twitter account. SEMRush, if you’re not aware, is a popular keyword research and SEO tracking tool. Their Twitter account has over 113,000 followers (as of this writing).
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So, that’s a lot of people, right? And they shared my post on blog headlines (this one) out to their 113K followers. And I thought, “Well, that’s cool. Let’s see what happens.”
Well, I’ll tell you what happened…
5 people. There were literally 5 people who came over that day to that blog post from Twitter. Out of 113,000 people – and there were a lot of retweets, too – only 5 people visited the post. SEMRush even went to the trouble of creating their own little infographic post to couple with my blog post. Even THEN… barely anybody clicked through.
And it looks like they’ve had this blog post in a rotation. Looking back at their history, it looks like they tweet out this same post around the same time every month.
Now, here’s the thing…
SEMRush clearly does what all the “social media gurus” like to teach. They want to look active on Twitter, so what did they do? Automate it. It looks like they use Sprout Social to manage their accounts and clearly they have a library of tweets queued up and it just gets shared over and over again. And they tweet numerous times per day, all in an effort to keep their account active. And, judging by vanity metrics alone, it seems to be a successful channel, right? I mean, 113,000 followers!
Clearly, barely anybody is paying attention, though. 5 people is literally a 0.004% click-through rate. Even lower when you consider the retweets. It is absolutely pathetic.
So, why waste time with Twitter? It is a firehose and nobody pays that much attention. Twitter works for celebrities and public figures. And it can work if you use it primarily for direct engagement and conversation. But, link dropping? Useless. Totally useless.
Which brings us to a question relevant to all blog owners….
Is having a retweet button on your blog posts worth the space?
What social media buttons should you have on your site?
A lot of bloggers put plugins onto their blogs in order to put share buttons on all blog posts. And common logic is… more the better. If you present a bunch of icons for all the networks, then you’re likely to hit the one your reader might like and therefore it is more likely to be shared, right?
This is a classic paradox of choice. This is a case of why more is less.
When you turn on a big bunch of icons for every social network under the sun to appear on your blog posts, it will NOT make your post more likely to be shared. It is actually the opposite. Because the more choices you give people, the less likely they are to make any choice at all.
If you go to the Blog Marketing Academy blog right now, you will notice that I have ONE share button: Facebook. I turned off the rest of them. Why?
For MY audience, Facebook is the one that matters. Not only that, if one is going for the social proof of social shares, then Facebook still reports that data.
Twitter does not report share counts any longer. But, on top of that, the above case study shows that Twitter is pretty much useless as a traffic source for regular organic shares. So, why litter up my site with retweet buttons?
Same with LinkedIn. Most of my market doesn’t do much with LinkedIn.
So, the motto here is…
THINK before you blindly put social media share buttons across your site. Be strategic about it. Think about the networks that YOUR market is likely to use.
I mean, there are many markets where Pinterest is a really big deal. So, hell yeah, in that case, you should have a PIN button on your blog content and create images optimized to work well with Pinterest.
But, you want to focus attention on the social networks likely to move the needle in YOUR case.
Just because your social media plugin supports a bunch of different share options doesn’t mean you should use them.
10 Best Practices To Actually Make Twitter Work To Boost Your Site Traffic