Well….effective for whom?
- If you want to put up a link to your latest blog post, it can be pretty good at letting people know there’s something new out;
- If you want to put up a link to a newspaper story that you found interesting, it can be a good way to have others notice that;
- If you want to spout-off on any number of issues, it can be really good for giving you the platform to do that;
- If you want to go on a rant and bitch about something that hardly anyone else cares about, it can be the best option for you;
- If you want to hand one of your political opponents more rope, boy, it works just about every time.
But how about getting yourself elected?
When it comes to that I just don’t think #mtpol's effective.
I think most of the time it’s just like what I said on Attack Sites back in June – “it’s one-sided preaching to the choir that I’m not sure is really effective at anything.”
Much of the time you’ll see the same people on Twitter, pushing the same tired message, over and over again.
And then over again some more.
The paid nonprofits are the worst at this, and some of the worst offenders are Democrats.
Actually, I’d say Democratic posts/spam outweighs the GOP stuff by a 2-to-1 margin, if not more!
The main reason for this is what I said back in July:
So we have a lot of people that are paid to post. Some of the main offenders are as follows:
Usually it’s environmental stuff or Democratic fluff or public lands or labor or attacks on Republicans. You get that over and over and over again.
Very few times will we get economic issues, which I feel drive all the other issues we have.
After all, most changes to the environment come about because of money, whether it’s someone cutting down trees or trying to buy up land.
So you get a lot of that, which is fine – you can do what Ben Lamb did to me, just block the person. That way you never see anything from them ever again, no matter if it might be useful to you or not.
It’s that closing of the mind, closing other people out, that offends me more than anything.
I think it’s because I lived in China, where censorship is such a big thing.
For the life of me, I can’t understand why you’d want to narrow your information funnel, but then I do business, where the more information you have, the more money you can make.
I don’t think a lot of #mtpol posters think like that, both because they don’t have to do business and because someone else pays them.
On top of it, no one much looks at #mtpol.
We know this from looking at the analytics feature that came out this past summer and that Twitter gave everyone for free:
I’ve been looking at these stats for some time, and even after a post being up for hours on a weekday, it’ll rarely get above 100 impressions.
An impression is just someone scrolling past the post, not even reading it. Engagements are far less, and when you do get them, they aren’t anything to write home about:
You get about 3 click-throughs back to your site, on average, I find. If I put up a new article I’ll get maybe 5 to 7 sometimes, but that’s about it.
Wow, that’s not very effective, from a marketing standpoint.
I dunno, maybe users like MT Cowgirl get a lot more engagement and a lot more click-throughs. I’m willing to bet that the percentages are about the same as mine, however, which is low.
So…that tells me that Twitter isn’t effective for getting the word out politically in Montana.
It’s far more effective than Google+, because that doesn’t really exist for Montana, and Facebook doesn’t have a coordinated group.
So Twitter is it, and boy – it’s a bust.
That won’t stop Montana Democrats from using it to ceaselessly attack Republicans.
They could talk about real issues, or maybe even create some content of their own.
I mean really – don’t you think this would do more to inform, education, and get people to the polls?
But don’t bring that up – you’ll be called a Democrat in Name Only (DINO), and quickly told to go fuck yourself.
Analyzing Your Twitter Click-Through Rate
Yep, like most things it doesn’t give you a lot all the time. Sometimes, however, it can give you some results.
I find that this is contingent upon the quality that you share, and the perceived demand for that.
Again, this demand typically only comes about through great content. 140 characters just doesn’t deliver that – except for your chuckle buddies that like everything you do – so you need to share blog posts.
Having a website helps with that.
I wish we’d see regular #mtpol posters like Tom Glover, Virgil Middendorf, and Tim Adams start their own sites. It’d be a lot more effective for them than just posting other people’s content, or personal views, to the feed.
Here are some of my better Tweets to give you an idea of what I mean:
Now, it took one hour for that post to get 10 link clicks, or an engagement level of 13.8%.
The first thing that you want to realize is that link clicks are the most important form of engagement…second only to comments.
Yes, if someone replies to your tweet you’re actually talking to a real person for a change, not just yourself. Make sure you reply and keep that conversation going.
That’s the typical rule of thumb on social media…but what about social media politics?
Many times you want to ignore those that reply to your tweets because they’re your “political enemies.” Oftentimes this means they’re nothing more than a nuisance, a pain in the ass.
Like a fly buzzing around your ear, they pose no real threat.
So you want to get those clicks more than anything on #mtpol because it shows that people are interested in what you’re sharing – the message you want to deliver – and they’re wiling to click over to read what that message is.
Now, don’t get too excited. We know that most people will leave your site within a minute and most leave in 10 to 20 seconds.
Ouch, that’s tough to deal with! That means you need to not only grab that person’s attention (which you did with your tweet), you need to keep it.
How do you do that?
With good content. What’s more, if you’re consistent then people will read your content regularly – social sharing isn’t as important.
That’s where I’m at with my site and the reason for that is I’ve been writing on political issues for nearly two years and nearly everyday.
People like that consistency, almost more than quality. On sites like MT Cowturd you get neither.
Something that makes sharing on Twitter a lot easier is if you’re organized.
If you have a spreadsheet of old links that you can Ctrl+F and search out a keyword in, then you can share old and relevant content when it’s time.
Here’s an example of how to do that:
The trick is being proactive and knowing what’s going on.
When someone puts out a favorable social message about one of your enemies, be ready with a fast rejoinder pointing out that enemy’s inadequacies.
Besides that, however, quality content trumps all. People want to be informed, they don’t want a “pithy” soundbite.
How do you do that?
It’s hard to say, but perhaps by taking a look at some of my better tweets, with some explanations, you can get a feel for it.
Some of My Most Effective #mtpol Tweets
I’m not sure when I sent out this tweet, one dealing with Young Montana Democrats to Watch, but it got a tons of link clicks (an amazing 25%).
This one I sent out on October 7 did well. I took this screenshot about 12 hours after it went up.
Getting 14 clicks in that time is pretty good, for me at least (23% is damn good).
Notice those two replies as well. That’s the gold-standard in engagement and I managed to get people talking.
This tweet was sent out on October 19 and got a lot of engagement quickly.
Alright, maybe it's time we do some quick math. We can see that link clicks are only 7% of total impressions.
I get this number by entering 7/122 on my computer.
Is that number good?
I think that it is. According to this April report, the average click-through rate for internet ads is 0.06%, or 1 click in 1,000 impressions.
Clearly I’m doing a lot better than advertisers…but how about those putting up blog posts?
A lot better. The average click-through rate on Twitter is 1.64%, which isn’t much higher than email marketing, which comes in at 2.95%.
I’m actually blowing it out of the water each time I put up a good post.
This March post on Buffer will give you 14 Ways to Increase Your Click-Through Rate on Twitter.
Again, it comes down to posting links to your content, not just soundbites that are doing little more than preaching to the converted.
Let’s look at some more successful tweets of mine.
This was a tweet I sent out that linked to a Flathead Beacon post on farming stats.
It got quite a few clicks, a rate of 3.6%...or more than twice the average click-through rate.
Few #mtpol tweets, however, can match one that complains about Montana Cowturd. This one above got a click-through rate of 14.9%, or 9 times the Twitter average.
What does this tell me? A lot of people do not like that site, a lot of people feel defensive about that site.
This was a very popular tweet that I sent out around August. There was no link on this one, just an image with a stat that I’d gotten from the desk attendant at the Montana Historical Society.
The tweet got tons of impressions, mainly due to the reshares. That higher impression level drove down my engagement percentage, but it’s still quite respectable at 3.4%.
Remember that tweet I showed earlier, the one saying that there are two types of people on #mtpol – those that are passionate and those that are paid?
Yeah, no one gave a damn about that one.
Something they did like was my one-time Tweet on September 4 saying I’m No Longer a Democrat.
As you can see, lots of engagement on that post. The click-throu rate alone was 17.3%, more than 10 times what most tweets typically get.
Again, people want compelling content.
I also got 6 replies on that Tweet, none of which I replied to. Most were Democrats sniping at me. There’s no reason to respond to that.
One more popular tweet that I sent out was a simple image of the University of Montana in 1895 that I sent out in September.
It got more than 300 impressions, probably because of the 4 retweets. For photo clicks I had 13, which is an engagement level of 3.7%.
That’s not much, but remember – you don’t need to click on the tweet to see it most times. Hell, you don’t need to do anything but scroll down the feed!
That’s the beauty of Twitter – people are going to see you. It’s true that you could be blocked by others, but whose loss is that really?
Twitter’s #mtpol is effective if you have a compelling message to spread and you have relevant content to link back to.
You don’t need a blog necessarily, but it helps. Remember, images that are compelling do well.
Hands down, however, if you want to have long-term impact on #mtpol you need to give people something to go to. That means a website or blog.
If you don’t do that you’re just spinning your wheels.