There are many ways to do your Twitter community wrong. And for me, this social media habit tops the list. HINT: It’s not scheduling and sending automated DMs.
I’ve blogged about Twitter a lot lately. I’ve discussed the latest Twitter changes. I’ve pointed out why no one likes your automated DMs. I’ve explained the real issue with having zero Twitter followers. I’ve even taken the time to say why I #followback on Twitter.
Now I’m calling you out on something you do on Twitter.
It’s not misspellings or bad grammar. It’s not too many emojis or GIFs. It’s not following and quickly unfollowing. And it’s not the your lack of tweets for weeks or months.
It’s not even automated DMs. But those are a very close second.
You wouldn’t even suspect it as something annoying. In fact, on the surface, it seems like a very nice gesture. But it makes my eyes roll every single time it happens.
The most annoying thing you do on Twitter is like or retweet a tweet that you didn’t even read.
Many in the twittersphere (myself included) tweet about their latest content to their followers. These tweets include a URL to direct interested readers to where they can read it.
To be playful on Twitter (and to have the tweet get more exposure), these URL tweets also include an image or a GIF. This catches the eye of a reader scrolling through the feed so that they notice the tweet. Visual eye candy invites them to pause to see what the tweet is about.
I get that it’s hard not to like any tweet that uses a GIF, despite what that tweet says. When a cute cat or my fav cartoon character moves about for a few seconds on repeat, I get all the feels.
But that’s not what I’m talking about.
Many of my URL tweets don’t include a fun meme or GIF. I give a quick lead-in about the latest content piece, I paste the link and I add an image featured in the blog post for good measure.
It’s when you like or share these tweets without reading them.
Don’t get me wrong, I love likes. It shows me what content I’m writing really interests my readers. This helps me devise a strategy on what content to write next based on what you like to read on my blog.
When I see several likes on a recent tweet, I instantly go check out my analytics. I want to see how long you spent on my post and which other blog posts you clicked.
I’ll Give You An Example
Recently, I was humbled when @MindBrainFM tweeted my blog content. They went beyond a retweet by quoting something I said within this content marketing strategy blog post then sharing it as an original tweet. That takes effort!
I couldn’t believe how many times their tweet was liked and shared! And I couldn’t wait to pop over to my analytics page.
Until I did.
Of course @MindBrainFM read my blog post. But the traffic from this tweet did not garner additional page views. That means those that liked or retweeted this post didn’t actually read or even click the link.
That’s Why I’m Really Annoyed
It’s not a vanity reason. I’m not in the blogging and social media game because I want to be the next Internet celebrity.
And it’s not a money issue. I don’t make a dime running my blog. In fact, it’s an annual investment to keep it up and running.
I’m annoyed because I don’t understand why you liked the tweet.
Do you like it as a way to bookmark the tweet so that you can click on the link later? Do you like the topic posed for the new content, just not enough interest to read it?
There is one trait that is consistent with these non-reading likers: We do not follow each other on Twitter.
So I have a good guess as to why many of my non-following tweeters keep pressing those hearts. Many of them have an imbalanced ratio (in their favor) of follows to following. I think this overzealous liking thing is a strategy to increase follows.
Here’s how they think it goes: A Twitter user reads my tweet, sees that there’s a few likes, then clicks to see who liked the tweet.
“My,” says the Twitter user figuratively to oneself, “a social media influencer liked this post. And they have so many followers! They must know what’s what. I better follow them ASAP.”
If appearances don’t deceive, it looks like this social media influencer enjoyed reading the content and are giving it the thumbs up for others to read it. It looks like this Twitter influencer is keeping up on the industry and engaging with the community.
But appearances do deceive. And stats don’t lie. I know they didn’t read it. Or even click on it.
Content creators want to help keep the conversation within the community going. By writing digital pieces, they strive to help others in the industry grow or to help spark some discussion between peers.
By tracking social media and website reading behavior, we can gauge what topics are of more interest than others to reach these goals. This is why liking a tweet you didn’t even read doesn’t help the community you claim to value.
What can you do to stop this annoying habit: Stop liking tweets unless you actually like them.
That means if the tweet had a link, you clicked on it, read the content and enjoyed the discussion (even if it challenged your own opinion) before you press the ♥️ button.
That way, content creators (like me) can create content that we know you want to read.