(Disclaimer: This is the longest post I’ve ever written at Luke1428 – over 2700 words including this disclaimer. It’s been in my mind for awhile and a recent article at my blog prompted its posting. Let me dispel any notion at the start that I am upset at someone for not tweeting my posts. I love the community that is growing here and the readers I’ve encountered. You have added so much to this site that I am grateful for the interactions and any Twitter love I receive from you. This post was born out of my first year blogging experience and is mostly designed to help up and coming bloggers understand the psychology of Twitter users and to not become frustrated when it seems no one notices or shares their work. With that said, I hope you enjoy this article and if you don’t have time to read my epic now, bookmark it for later consumption. Thanks!)
When I first started blogging over a year ago, the question that serves as this post’s title gnawed at my brain every time I would put a new article on my site. Compared to where Luke1428 is now, I was getting pretty much no traffic in those early days. As I heard my blogger friend Shannon from The Heavy Purse say once on her site, “Only the crickets were reading.” Now that’s funny! But a few months in, I could see from the site statistics that people were viewing my posts. And more specifically people I knew that had Twitter accounts were leaving remarks in the post comment section.
So why wasn’t I getting any Twitter love? I mean, the Twitter share tab is right there at the end of the post. If you cared enough to read (and especially if you left a comment) why not tweet it out to all your followers? Seems like the courteous thing to do, right? Needless to say, I was very confused as a newbie blogger.
Last Tuesday, I wrote a post entitled “Freedom: It’s Why Budgets Rock!” that generated a lot of buzz on my site and at the various social networks. I responded to 15 comments, received 7 Shares and 9 Likes on Facebook and had an astounding 29 Tweets (only three of which were generated by me). So 26 other people felt that article deserved to be shared on Twitter, making it the most tweeted post I’ve ever had.
(I know those statistics are chicken feed for some of you but I was pumped!)
(Shameless plug update: Since I wrote this, another post “Is the Effort to Get Rich Worth It?” has received 37 tweets. Go figure.)
What made these posts stand out more than others? Believe me, I’m still trying to digest that because whatever it was, I need to do more of that. I have my theories and will share some ideas about tweeting shortly.
I also don’t know the identity of each individual who cared enough to tweet it. The only ones I can know for sure are those who put a “via @Luke_1428” tag somewhere in their tweet. 13 of my Twitter followers did that.
Honestly, I didn’t feel it was my best work in the past year. Other posts I spent considerably more time on, like my five-part series on investing, deserved the same level of attention. Or did it? Needless to say Twitter, and the psychology of its users, remains a mystery to many.
So, why don’t people tweet your posts? Before I get to that, it would help to understand what Twitter is mainly used for.
The Three Main Functions of Twitter
Many opinions have been written about this and some have even tried to research it through polling Twitter users. The big three reasons for using Twitter seem to be:
To make connections. This is all about networking in the person’s area of expertise or interest. The more connections a person makes, the more strategically positioned they are to influence their sphere of the Twitter world. These connections could lead to increased business sales, freelancing jobs, or other mutually beneficial deals.
To get noticed. Everyone has a story to tell and an opinion to share. More importantly, each of us has an inner desire to feel valued. What better way to meet those needs than to get 10,000 followers on Twitter?
The more we get noticed the more we feel valued. So people tweet, sometimes in outlandish ways, to draw attention to themselves in the hopes of gaining the all-valuable re-tweet. (And to make themselves look more important than they are by drawing a re-tweet from a celebrity.) The more re-tweets, the more a person gets noticed, the more followers that creates, the more valuable they feel, the more they tweet and get re-tweeted…repeat the cycle ad infinitum.
To share information. This may be a more altruistic reason than the first two but it definitely is a reason people tweet. I love sharing valuable content with my community. So if a post strikes me as something beneficial that might interest Luke1428 followers, then I’ll tweet it.
Another aspect of sharing information might be to assist someone in getting off on the right foot so to speak. An established blogger might tweet an up-and-coming blogger’s posts to help that person gain some more followers. Again, that’s a thinking-about-someone-else approach to using Twitter but a valid reason nonetheless.
I would encourage you to develop your own tweeting philosophy. Decide what qualifications a post needs to meet to deserve a tweet from you. My current philosophy is that I tweet out probably 90% of the posts where I choose to leave a comment. My thinking is that if I care enough about the post to leave a comment then I should probably share it.
Occasionally, I will tweet a post where I don’t leave a comment. In that case, I either don’t have time to comment or the post was SO GOOD I didn’t know what to say in the comment section. My mind works like a slow processor, thinking through my responses to each post. If a post really makes me think and I have to dwell on it’s message for awhile, I’ll tweet but not comment.
I’m sure this will change over time but that’s my tweeting philosophy right now.
10 Reasons People Don’t Tweet Your Posts
If you are a new blogger and ever wondered why people don’t tweet your posts, here are ten reasons why it doesn’t happen. They can be divided into two categories, things you can and things you cannot control.
Things out of your control:
No Twitter account. My 12-year old daughter is a great example of this. Every time she reads a post, Luke1428 gets credit for a page view but she doesn’t have a Twitter account…yet. So she can’t tweet my post to all her pre-teen friends. It’s that way with a lot of readers. They are not engaged in any form of social media where they could share even if they wanted to.
Didn’t see it. Even your most ardent supporters don’t read every post. I don’t think members of my own family read each of my posts. So don’t be disappointed if the followers you are the closest to don’t tweet out everything written on your site. Maybe they just missed it. We all have a limited amount of time with other life responsibilities. It’s too much to expect your blog followers to read and tweet every post.
In addition, followers may view a post but not tweet it because it’s from a guest poster on your site. Offering guest posting slots is a great way to get more content on your site and reduce the pressure of writing your own posts. But some readers will only want to interact with and promote the site owners content, not the guest poster content. Sounds silly I know, but it happens.
Don’t believe in the message. Perhaps they don’t agree with your point of view. If I believed credit cards were of the devil and destructive to one’s financial lifestyle, I would be less likely to tweet out a post that supported the use of credit cards. You may have written an incredible masterpiece but because of my differing perspective I’m uncomfortable sending it along (even though I care enough to voice my opposition in the post comments.) That’s interesting, isn’t it?
The topic won’t interest a tweeter’s followers. My followers are mostly in the personal finance world. Although they might like to hear about my other interests on occasion (like our family camping trips or my pickup basketball games), they really desire most of the information I send their way to be related somehow to personal finance, blogging, life improvement and spirituality. If I start consistently tweeting about other topics I’m reading, they might be turned off because I’m cluttering up their Twitter feed with items they are not interested in.
The next step is for them to become so annoyed with my Twitter behavior that they un-follow me. I lose that connection and the chance to further that relationship. I know this happens because I’ve un-followed people who clogged up my Twitter feed every 15 minutes with useless information (useless to me anyway).
It’s old content (as in maybe just a couple of days old). Most blog content fades quicker than a pair of Levi’s washed in bleach water. A quick glance at your daily page views should show that many older posts are receiving several hits a day. It’s great when older content gets read but don’t expect it to be tweeted. For some reason, people shy away from sharing content that is not fresh.
I’ve found myself doing this as well. After having read a great post, I then realize it’s a month old and already has 47 tweets. I assume that either all my followers have already seen it or that they won’t appreciate it because it’s old. Both assumptions are incorrect and should not stop me from tweeting a post.
I wouldn’t fret about this. Be glad your older content is being read. That means people are searching for topics you’ve written about and are finding your site. Page views are always a good thing.
Things you can control:
The content is boring. No one likes to hear this. We all think our most recent post is the greatest thing ever written. In reality, we write a lot of drivel that should never be published. But we feel the pressure to get something out – anything – to keep our blog fresh and our followers returning.
Perhaps it would be better to post less, giving considerably more time to improve the content and one’s writing skill. Good content is king and will be what ultimately continues to bring readers back to read more. If your content is top notch, your readers will share that.
It doesn’t add much new value to the community. I referenced earlier the investing series that I put considerable effort into that didn’t seem to generate as much Twitter love as my two recent well-received posts. The investing articles were very detailed and provided solid information for anyone looking to improve in that area of their financial life.
So why didn’t more people tweet out those posts? I surmise it’s because articles similar to those are written every week in the personal finance blogosphere. And even though I have my own unique writing style and personal spin on some investing issues, it has kind of all been said before by others.
To be fair to myself though, I have to write those articles to be seen as a credible personal finance blogger. People require investing help and I have some knowledge in that area to share. My site needs to have that type of information on it. But unless it stands out in a unique way, people will be less likely to tweet out something they have read a hundred times before.
Get a better post title. Now that I’m back in school, I check in on between 50-60 blogs a week, a few each day, depending on my schedule. Typically, I will go directly to the site following a bookmark in my browser or from my website. That seems more efficient to me that scrolling through my Twitter feed looking for interesting articles.
Once at the site, the first thing I see is the post title. Within five seconds of reading that title, I’ve decided whether or not I’m going to continue to read the rest of the post. If I don’t read the post, I’ll be less likely to tweet it. You get credit for my page view but nothing else.
Did you get that? 5 SECONDS! That’s all the time it takes to turn a reader off or get them moving into the rest of the article. That’s how big a deal post titles are. A great one will pique the reader’s interest, spark a question in their mind, and get them emotionally involved in what you are writing. It will help answer the question “Should I take the time to read this post?” with an affirmative “Yes.”
This post presents a great example for this point. Do I make this post title “Why Won’t You Tweet My Post!?” (which sounds antagonistic) or “10 Reasons People Don’t Tweet Your Post” (which is emotionless and generic)? Both have value and will attract a certain type of reader. One might be better for SEO purposes while the other produces some feeling. I chose the first because I actually said this to myself very early on in my blogging career. It speaks to some frustration I was dealing with at the time that I’m sure others have felt. Which would be better? It’s a toss up in my mind. I’ll have an idea when I see how many people read this post.
(Update: I changed the title of this post to “10 Reasons People Don’t Tweet Your Post” on 11/24/13 to test this title theory.)
You are making it hard for them. This one is fairly easy to explain – readers can’t find your tweet button. I’ve been to many sites where the content was great and I wanted to share it with my readers. However, I couldn’t quickly locate a Twitter share tab at the site to do so. Either it was too small or placed at an odd location in relation to the post and didn’t catch my eye.
I could go through the task of pulling up Twitter, writing out your post title in the tweet form, copying then pasting the blog post url into the form and sending it along to my followers. Again this takes valuable time and many people won’t want to go through all that, even if it only takes them a minute.
Put a Twitter share icon right after the end of the post that links directly to Twitter. Or use the floating icons along the side that follow the post as you scroll down. And make them big enough for the reader to see. You have great content so make it easy for your readers to share it.
Readers are turned off by the writing style. Some readers won’t share things they find offensive. Sarcasm and rudeness don’t sit well with many readers either. They may read, but choose not to share because they are uncomfortable sending that type of post to their followers.
Incoherent language use, spotty punctuation, inconsistent thoughts or confusing points can be turn offs as well.
A blogger has the right to put together a post anyway they wish. That freedom is what makes the blogosphere a valuable medium for dispensing information. Recognizing what your readers are attracted to and appreciate enough to send along to others is a vital component of making your blog awesome.
How will readers react to this post? I have no idea. It may be viewed as a pure SEO play done to generate traffic. Maybe it will be seen as useful and sent along to others. I hope it’s seen as the latter for that was my intention. It would have been helpful information for me to know these things as a newbie blogger starting out a year ago.
Why do you tweet or not tweet a blog post? Are there other reasons people use Twitter? Were you ever confused by this like I was?
Prior Post: Are You Setting Your Kids Up For Success?