A Better User Experience (BUX) is an online learning resource created by Ben, Newman and myself, to provide a better understanding of user testing and the user experience. Not only is it a learning resource for us, but for business owners, marketers, designers and other UX professionals as well.
Since the purpose of BUX is education, we have not spent a lot of time or energy growing our social media presence because there wasn’t a need. The only strategy we have had consistently is sharing new content on Twitter and Facebook at least 3 times a week with another 1-3 tweets or interactions per day. I’ll say that strategy allowed us to gain 1-2 followers a day on average. That was until…
We realized that we were underutilizing Twitter’s ability to refer traffic to BUX and so there came a desire to learn about the best ways to increase it. On January 9th, I began to research Twitter tools for an article, The Twitter Toolbox: 10 Terrific Tools To Turbo Charge Your Twitter Traffic, and began implementing some of the tools and techniques I learned in my research. You will see quite a bit of change in our Analytics post January 9th.
I will write a follow-up article in a few months on the next phase of our “social strategy” and link to it here.
- We are tracking @BUXofficial from December 2, 2011 through today, January 30, 2013.
- Today, January 30th, we have 1, 612 Tweets and 544 followers.
- Since December 2, 2011, @BUXofficial has gained 1-2 followers a day.
- We share new content (2 articles and 1 podcast) on Twitter at least three times a week.
- January 9th marks the date we began a more aggressive Twitter approach such as switching out our profile image and installing Tweet Old Post.
Here is a snapshot from Google Analytics of referrers to the BUX website from Twitter beginning January 1, 2012. As you can see, Twitter is responsible for 10.9% of our referral traffic, which is the highest source of referral traffic to the site.
Total referrals form Twitter: 6,566 visitors
% of Total: 10.91% of 60,160 visitors
Google, Facebook and a Russian site called habrahabr.ru (they picked up a guest blog Ben wrote) are all secondary to Twitter’s ability to refer traffic.
Using a tool called TwitterCounter, we can see (for free) up to 6 months of our Twitter follower and tweet history. There is a paid option that takes you to the beginning, but it you can get the gist of what happened within a 6 month time frame.
You can see in the chart, that our steady content strategy (dark blue) in turn lead to steady follower growth (light blue) until January 9th where the chart starts to indicate a change from the norm.
So what changed in January?
It’s important to note that on January 9, 2013, we implemented a plug-in called Tweet Old Post. The WordPress plugin keeps our older, yet still valuable content in front of our followers. So instead of scheduling future posts like the tool Buffer, it schedules posts from the past.
The wordpress plug-in has been tweeting an old post once every 2 hours, every day, continuously since January 9th. So now, we cycle through all our content every 20 days.
This has lead to great results.
As of 1/9/13, @BUXofficial grew from 354 to 544 on January 30th. Thats a growth of 192 in 21 days, with 137 followers added in one day. This obviously which blows away the average of 1-2 followers a day.
You can see how by increasing the amount of daily Tweets, increases the number of followers at a more rapid rate.
What else happened January 9th?
We decided to put a real person (me, actually) as our profile image, to test if users are more likely to a Twitter account with an actual person versus a logo. Although we cannot tell if exactly how much growth and the profile picture change caused, if any, but it was part of the changes on January 9th that has lead to more followers and referral traffic.
This idea stemmed from the fack that we increased our click rate recently for ads on the BUX homepage after switching out one of the graphic ads to one with a person’s face.
*We changed the @BUXofficial profile image once more on 1/27/13 to the goofy one you see in all the examples above.
So does more Twitter followers mean more referrals from Twitter to the BUX website?
The graph below shows you an overall upward trend in the amount of referrals we are getting for the BUX website from Twitter since January 9th. It only makes logical sense that by increasing the number of tweets and content, that referrals increase as well.
On a side note, a nice tool to consider when tracking Twitter is the Chrome Plug-in from Campalyst. It shows you within Google Analytics which Twitter profile shared your link, and how many pageviews we received from each referral. Pretty cool stuff.
What’s next for BUX’s Twitter strategy?
The most effective way to grow a natural/organic/relevant Twitter following is to create and share new content often as well and interact with your followers and influencers (especially with thousands of followers) by engaging in conversation.
Moving forward, we will be more active with our followers in engaging in conversation.
Since we are in the field of user testing, we are always up for testing new tools and theories. I’m curios to find out what will happen if we use some of the Twitter apps (AutoFollow, AutoTweeter, Hitfollow, etc) that promise lots of new followers in a short amount of time will refer more traffic to the site or merely serve to “fluff” our follower number.
More relevant content, more often yields more Twitter followers and more referral traffic from Twitter to your website. We saw it happen first hand with @BUXofficial and BUX once we added the Tweet Old Post plug-in in January.
Got any suggestions for growing a Twitter following? Share them in the comments!