Social media is the perfect platform for promoting your content, building your voice as an authority, and making lasting connections.
Twitter lately has been on the rise.
It’s had its ups and downs (stock value rising and decreasing), but overall, Twitter is an excellent social media platform for engagement.
With 330 million people active on the platform every month, it’s a force to be reckoned with among social platforms.
Screenshot via Statista showing monthly active Twitter user growth
Personally, for me, I’ve been able to build a community solely through Twitter that is one of the most committed, active, and engaged communities I’d ever had the pleasure of hosting (our weekly Twitter chat, #ContentWritingChat, that has been running every Tuesday for an hour since January 2016).
And with the recent increase to 280 characters, users have more creative room with tweets – more so than the prior 140-character limit Twitter had for years.
Here’s an example of how I’ve been able to take that character limit and get creative with it:
* 1. Heavy Advertising
* 2. Redundant/Non-Expert Information
* 3. User Experience (UX) Interference
* 4. “Jack-of-All-Trades, Masters of None” Content
— Julia McCoy 📖 (@JuliaEMcCoy) November 9, 2017
In short, Twitter is quite far from being dead.
But, how exactly can you get to a point of high engagement on Twitter?
What if every time you tweet, you feel like you’re shouting in an empty room?
You might feel discouraged. You might wonder if it’s worth it.
It is worth it. Absolutely. You’ve just been going about Twitter the wrong way.
If you want your tweets to get noticed, if you want your network to grow, if you want to promote your content and build your online presence, you have to do a few things, first.
From my own experience on Twitter, I have some easy tips that can get your posts an audience and dramatically improve your experience. Let’s dive in!
How to Tweet So People Listen: 5 Twitter Tips for a Lively, Engaged Following
Just like any other worthy goal, it takes a little work to build an engaged network on Twitter.
If you don’t have one, your tweets will be like the tree that falls in the woods with no one around. (If no one’s there to hear it, does it make a sound?)
Here are some good keys for getting heard when you feel like a lonely tree in the Twitter forest.
1. First, Build Your ‘Base’ Content
First and foremost, make sure you have an established “base” from which you can share original content. This solves the oft-asked question of “What do I post?!”
This benefits you threefold.
By making sure you have a great “content base,” you guarantee that your content:
- Links to you (important – why share content that always goes to other people and their services/site?).
- Provides a way for people to discover and buy your services.
- Promotes your content and extends your reach.
Without a base, none of the above is possible.
You need your site and your inbound content to round out and populate your Twitter page with quality posts. Everything that entails (blogs, service packages, pricing pages, and even your about page) are pieces of content you can share on social and amplify.
But, be careful with the “type” of base content you share.
Focus on your most valuable pieces – blogs, podcast episodes, etc. – instead of your service pages. And, curate content from other sources.
Here’s a good identification of how to mix this up.
- Share Your “Value Content:” Blogs, Podcasts, etc. 40-80 percent of the Time. Why does the percentage vary so much? This is based on how much content you create. You must be on a consistent content schedule with your site. I average publishing 2-4 new pieces of content on my base site weekly. We have over 1,000 pieces of past published content. This gives me a great place to share a great deal of content from, so we’re closer to the 75 percent share mark.
- Share Links to Your “Buy Now” Content 2-5 Percent of the Time. Tread very lightly here. Sharing too many links that go straight to a paid product is a huge audience turnoff. People unfollow for this.
- Share Curated Content 60-40 percent of the time. Again, this depends on how much content you create. If you aren’t on a consistent content schedule and have a new site, curate content at a higher rate. I’ll mention more on this later, but you need to have 3-5 top influencer sites and publications to share content from that your audience already knows, likes, and trusts. For me, that’s a mix of sites like Content Marketing Institute, ProBlogger, Search Engine Journal, and Smart Blogger.
2. Create a Posting Schedule to Share Your Content
Once you establish your base, including a website, blog, and a consistent content output, you should create a plan to share your content.
Daily tweeting is a must. I tweet at least 8/10 times a day, and far more when I’m participating in a Twitter chat.
There’s a lot of different advice out there regarding how often you should tweet per day, but, in general, do what works for you. For instance, Twitter recommends “a regular cadence of content,” not a specific number of tweets.
Test out different amounts of tweets per day and see what gets the best response. The key is simply to do it daily. After all, the “lifespan” of a tweet is a mere 18 minutes! Your feed moves quickly, so it makes sense that you should post multiple times to get the most views/reads/traction.
3. Don’t Post Generically – Get Creative
This is a huge point.
Generic posts won’t win you any followers.
If you post generically, nothing sets you apart from the millions of other people tweeting the same way.
Instead, you need to be creative when you share your base content.
Make your posts interesting to garner interest.
For instance, instead of just sharing the headline and linking to a recent blog post in a tweet, go further. Tweet a good quote from the body of the post. Create image cards with quotes featuring your best sentences.
The above strategy is an especially good idea when you’re sharing a long form, comprehensive piece of content. Give your audience a taste of what’s in store if they click your link. Don’t just slap the link in a post and call it done.
Here’s a great example of an engaging tweet with substance and creativity:
— Content Marketing (@CMIContent) November 8, 2017
4. Curate Content from Other Thought Leaders
Don’t just share your own content; curate it from others in your field or industry.
For example, I have a personal rule for my posts: I share 60 percent of my own content. The other 40 percent is curated. This just means I share great posts and articles from others in my network:
How do you use social media for professional & #career purposes? I want to hear your story!
— Ai Addyson-Zhang, Ph.D 🔥 Edu Tech Evangelist (@aiaddysonzhang) November 8, 2017
This isn’t a hard-and-fast rule, either. The amount of posts you curate and the amount you share that are original will depend on your content output.
Customize your own posting ratio to fit the way you operate. If you don’t create a lot of content, share others’ content more.
I create a ton of content on multiple sites, so I can do this and not share the same pieces over and over. No matter what, the content I share is always fresh, new and interesting – whether it’s mine or somebody else’s.
5. Engage, Engage, Engage
Engage. It sounds so simple, but it’s huge for getting noticed on Twitter.
There are various ways to do it:
If you’re new and need followers, start following. A great way to gain more followers is to start following people, yourself. Get on Twitter and look for relevant people – those in your industry, for example. Search industry terms to find them, e.g., “content marketer,” “entrepreneur,” etc. Follow people that look interesting to you.
Do this for 10-20 minutes weekly. The amount of new followers you’ll get will surprise you. I’ve achieved 100 organic followers per week just by doing this alone.
Here’s a great infographic from Sprout Social that sums up this strategy:
Check your accounts daily and just talk to people. Talking to people is kind of the point. Make checking notifications and answering people daily a vital part of your Twitter content plan. Don’t be one of those content marketers who never checks their Twitter conversations or replies to messages. Twitter is a place for real community and real conversations, but you have to be real, yourself, to initiate it.
Too many marketers just “tweet at” others instead of talking. Don’t do that. Converse with, tweet with, talk with your peers. Do this regularly and you’ll start to form and join communities. It will also bring trackbacks to your profile and site, which could get you some valuable leads.
START conversations yourself. A great example is @MadalynSklar, who started #VideoReplyDay. Everyone in that thread shares videos almost daily with inside peeks into their lives. These people have become like family to each other and support each other’s online endeavors, like live streams.
— Erin Roy (@Harvest_Agency) November 8, 2017
Bottom line: Don’t be afraid to build a community that doesn’t yet exist, and don’t be afraid to start conversations to do it.
Join weekly Twitter chats. Joining Twitter chats in your industry (there are tons in finance, entrepreneurship, marketing, SEO, freelancing, etc.) is huge! You can walk away with 15-20 new followers and, better yet, lifetime friendships with people who share your passions.
We have a guide to Twitter chats right here if you’re unsure how to join in for a chat. In this article we liken them to mini networking events – so true.
They aren’t just good for networking, though. They also cultivate partnerships, content collaborations, and more.
— ContentWritingChat (@writingchat) November 7, 2017
If You Engage Like a Human, The ROI Is High
And it’s true. If you work at building your Twitter presence like a human, from the ground-up – without too much automation and without handing it off to someone else – you’ll naturally and organically gain a following from your own engagement.
Your tweets will get an audience because you will be connected, plugged-in, and present.
“If you build it, they will come.”
“Field of Dreams” reference aside, this mantra works.
Now, get out there and start tweeting.
More Twitter Resources Here:
- Twitter Doubles Character Limit to 280, Says Longer Tweets Drive More Engagement
- Everything You Need to Know About Twitter Advanced Search
- 22 Tips for SEOs to Attract More Twitter Followers
Featured image and graph provided by author.