When it comes to crafting social status updates to ensure maximum exposure and click-throughs, many of the tried-and-true methods seem somewhat obvious. Posting at certain times of day, for example, can have a dramatic impact on performance. Makes perfect sense.

Sometimes, effective optimization can come from places you didn't expect, and the only way to find out is by analyzing a large set of cold, hard data.

That's exactly what Dan Zarrella does for a living. The self-proclaimed "social media scientist" at HubSpot examines large datasets from sources like Twitter and Bit.ly and then publishes some of his findings.

Recently, Zarrella discovered that where the link is located in a given tweet can actually have a big impact on how many people click on it. Tweets that included the link about a quarter of the way through the tweet got clicked the most, even though it's common practice to include the link at the tail end of a tweet.

To figure this out, Zarrella took a random sample of 200,000 tweets and used the Bit.ly API to figure out the click-through rate on each one. He cross-referenced that with where the link was located in each tweet and came up with the heat map below.