— Mitt Romney (@MittRomney) May 31, 2012
Mitt Romney sent the above gem after his surprise visit to Solyndra today. While the 102 retweets it garnered may sound good, that is merely 23% of his weekly average. In fact, this message got fewer retweets than anything @MittRomney has sent since April 1st. First, it violated the fourth rule of effective political tweeting, which points out “what I’m doing now” tweets are incredibly disliked, with a particular hatred for Foursquare updates. Moreover, Romney made the fatal mistake of including two links in a single tweet. Analyzing 31,182 tweets sent by presidential candidates since January 1, 2011 reveals the below trend.
Tweets with two links get merely 41% of the average retweet count of those with just one. Chances are slim both links support the same idea, which violates rule 3: limit tweets to one idea. At best, two links share a loose connection and may even play off one another. Unfortunately, Twitter users don’t dissect the meaning of tweets with such care. Do you really think anyone will click one link, read an article, then come back to your tweet and click the second link? It is much more likely that you are splitting your traffic between the two options, hurting the click-through rate for your primary link.
I frankly don’t understand why Romney chose to do a Foursquare update, which appends a link to the end of tweets. Twitter’s mobile app has the option to enable location, which includes a geo-code as meta-data. For the one or two people reading my blog who aren’t dorks, that means your location will be displayed in a tweet without it taking any room in the body of the text. Just make sure that pretty arrow is blue, as shown to the right. If you’re not tweeting for a campaign and want to be King of McDonald’s or get a reward from a company, then use Foursquare. Otherwise, use Twitter’s native capabilities.