Social media tips and tricks are plentiful. We’ve got piles of great research showing ways we can increase the effectiveness of our messaging for the best return. This data is great for getting the greatest ROI from our social messaging, but you need to think about what your goals when using each tactic.
Different Tactics For Different Results
Hashtags and mentions are a great way to not make your messaging easier to find and signal others, but also increase the engagement of your messages. A popular study by Buddy Media showed that tweets that include a hashtag receive twice the engagement as those without. Another study from Dan Zarella found tweets with hashtags are 55% more likely to be retweeted.
Like hashtags, mentions also increase engagement on Twitter. Mentions signal others and often result in them retweeting the messaging to their own following, helping to expand the reach and engagement of the message.
With great gains like that, one might think you’d be a fool not to utilize hashtags and mentions in your messaging. Though they increase engagement, think about the objective of your particular message first.
More Engagement, Less Clicks
Hashtags and mentions drive engagements but a recent study by Twitter showed they also decrease the number of clicks you get compared to messages that do not include them. According to the study, a tweet that doesn’t include a hashtag or mention will generate 23% MORE clicks. Most likely, the reason we see lowered clicks from messages that include hashtags and mentions is that Twitter highlights those items, which draws the viewers attention away from the highlighted link.
Which Should You Choose?
So which is the better trade-off? Greater engagement or clicks? That all depends on what the goal of your message is.
All About Engagements
If you’re looking to convey your point within the message itself, then adding a hashtag or mentioning someone else will help increase the engagement and likely the overall reach of your message.
— Ben Brausen (@BenBrausen) June 3, 2015
Here you can see how I used the combination of both a mention and a hashtag to greatly increase engagement outside of just those that currently follow me.
Drive Website Traffic
If your goal is to drive people to a website with your messaging, then leaving out the mentions and hashtags is the way you may want to go. While you might not get the expanded reach often seen with their inclusion, you could greatly increase the number of clicks you receive, and that’s the ultimate goal.
Leaving out the hashtag and mentions doesn’t mean the message won’t see great reach either. If someone clicks and finds the piece you’re linking to has great value, there is still a good chance they’ll retweet and share that value with others too.
Consideration Is Key
Thinking about the goal of a particular message or campaign is key to deciding which way to go about drafting your messaging. Depending on the desired outcome, you can pick the tactic that is likely to give the best results.
And remember, not all social followings are created the same. Just because those studied performed in this way doesn’t guarantee your following will also. Test out both methods within your messaging and use your analytics to see which performs best to gain the desired result. You may find that your following is far different than the norm.
By knowing which messaging methods fuel different desired results, we can pick the one that will give us the best bang for our social buck.