Consider tweeting fewer links

by Jason Keath on Oct 13, 2015


Twitter use to be so cool. It was a water cooler conversation everyday. A chat room you never wanted to leave. And then it wasn’t.

I still love Twitter. But anyone who has been on the microblogging social network for more than a few years can tell you there use to be a lot more community on Twitter and not so many links.

Today, Twitter is more about breaking news than chatting with friends.

And that’s fine. Things change. And sometimes they change back.

But, as a digital marketer or business owner trying to use Twitter to help fulfill your business goals, it is important to recognize the truth of what Twitter is today as a platform.

It’s links. Lots and lots and lots of links.

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A Tale of Two Links

Conrad Hackett (@conradhackett) works for Pew Research as a demographer. But for the purpose of this article all you need to know is that he Tweets out a ton of cool data.

On August 4 2015 Conrad sent two very similar tweets, 20 minutes apart, about the same United Nations data (as reported by the Economist). The content in those Tweets related to what countries will have the largest populations in 2050 compared to today and 1950.

Each Tweet contained the same chart visualizing the data and a partial text list of the 2050 population stats. The content in these Tweets may or may not be interesting to you. I was very fascinated to learn that UN projections for 2050 have India as the most populist country and Nigeria as #3. If you like this kind of data, follow Conrad on Twitter.

But the real story for me here is the difference between the two tweets.

The only difference is that one Tweet had a link and one did not.

And of course that one of the Tweets was shared 330% more than the other.

Tweet #1 — with link

Tweet #2 — without link

At the time of this article, the linked Tweet was shared 86 times and the non-linked Tweet was shared 284 times.

Why share fewer links?

I’m not telling you to stop sharing links on Twitter. As a platform, many Twitter users are looking for links. They are prepared to click through, consume, and reshare that content.

But your content does not have to include a link to succeed. The above example from Conrad shows us that stats and images can stand on their own and gets shared very widely on Twitter.

For your Twitter content strategy, consider how content without links could benefit the success of your Twitter account. Share more quotes, stats, data, photos, videos, test lists, gifs, questions, and charts without links.

And test their performance.


Sometimes it is easier for your followers to share a funny image or cool stat without a link attached. If they don’t have to click through and read an article (or skim it), they can make a quicker decision to share it and put less pressure on their followers to do the same.

Post Author

CEO and founder of Social Fresh, the social media education company. Jason is a social media consultant, a social media speaker and industry analyst. He consults with corporations and agencies on social media strategy, building community, and influencer...

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    There’s a big flaw in this test – and that is that the version without a link was posted second, which means it’s the most recent and most likely to be highlighted on his user’s profile. Most people will see the second message and skip the first one as they realize it’s redundant.

    He should have tried it another day in the reverse order (post without a link and then with a link) to see if the results match.