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Twitter study shows what resonates on social channels

Senior Director, Social Media

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A new white paper from Twitter discusses what types of posts generate the most engagement. While the white paper focuses on small business, we are seeing a “consumerization” of healthcare in the US and I’m a big believer in the idea that people carry their habits from one area of their life to others. Health topics are handled more carefully than, say buying a coffee maker (depending on how much you like coffee), but there are things we can learn from other industries that can help us with our own social initiatives.

This study talks about promoted tweets, for the rest of this blog post I’m just going to refer to “tweets” because I think the insights work for organic usage as well. The purists will want to remember that they are all related to “promoted tweets.”

The Impact of Twitter

For small business Twitter handles, the channel is very engaging. The white paper shows some results of a study. Twitter users said:

That’s pretty impressive impact for a channel devoted to short text messages.

Rich Media Rules the Roost

We’ve known that rich media improves social media engagement for a while, and the Twitter study reaffirms this theory.

When the researchers looked at different types of media they found some differences:

Shorter is Better

It might be surprising on a channel like Twitter, but even here people show their limited attention spans. Shorter tweets, those less than 100 characters, get 18% more engagement than longer ones.

Twitter “Cards” Increase Engagement

While tweets are short, the visual representation of referenced content can be quite large. Linking to channels such as YouTube or SlideShare will automatically generate a preview “card” and the channel owner can also use Twitter Cards to present information in a much more visual way. The different types of cards are (from the Twitter page):

The increases in engagement that the study found were:

Engagement Begets Engagement

When looking at engagement rates, the study found that accounts that use the Twitter reply at least once a week increased the engagement on their own tweets by 18%. This effect is lower than the visual differences found earlier in the study, but shows that engaging with your audience makes them more likely to engage with you.

Healthcare marketers in highly regulated markets, however, will find some solace that engagement was a much smaller lift in the study than the visual differences described above.

So, for healthcare marketers on Twitter, check your stream and make sure your content is set up for success by incorporating more simple visuals and Twitter Cards.

More About the Author

Brad Einarsen

Brad is Klick's Senior Director leading the social practice. His group ensures that clients get the best bang for their buck on the social platforms.

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