A Twitter account with no engagement from others is like an empty dance floor – useless. You don’t want Twitter to be like a school dance with people standing all around the dance floor, a lot of music and side-chatter, but nobody going into the centre of the floor and actually engaging. Sometimes it is the right music, maybe the chat-up lines, but whatever it is, to create an engaging community on Twitter, you have to figure out what is necessary to get people out on the dance floor with you.
For this newsletter I wanted to share a few ideas about creating an engaging community.
Remember though, Twitter is not one-size-fits-all and there is no turn-key strategy that will work for all. You have to decide what strategies will best work for you and how to focus them around your ultimate objective. After all you don’t want to simply seek engagement for the purpose of engagement.
What is engagement in a Twitter sense? In the broad definition, engagement is any action taken by a Twitter follower, which includes a retweet, favourite, reply, and also includes viewing and reading your tweet or selecting to follow you.
The replies probably have the highest value because they lead to conversations and build relationships. However, all forms are needed to have an engaging community. You need people engaging by following you as without this you have no potential for people to engage.
You need people to read your tweets, you need people retweeting you or favouring your tweets. You need people direct messaging and tweeting at you. All of these types of acts of engagement work together to create an engaged community.
Here are 3 ideas to increase your Twitter engagement:
1. Proactively Engage
This is the invitation to dance in the dancefloor analogy.
How to Proactively Engage:
Identify your target audience and people within that group. Follow them. Retweet them. Reply to their tweets and initiate conversation. They won’t all respond, but some of them will and that will be the start of your engaging community.
Identify your competitors. See who engages with them. Follow and engage with them. They are likely highly targeted followers.
Show an interest in what interests your followers. If they mention a hobby in their Twitter bio, Tweet at them and ask them a question about that hobby.
2. Tweet Regularly
People can’t engage with someone who is invisible. If you don’t tweet 5+ times per day (including replies and retweets), your Twitter presence is nearly invisible. Twitter is not like other networks. 1-2 Tweets per day won’t do the trick.
How to Tweet Regularly:
Tweeting 5+ times per day can seem like a daunting task. Keep in mind this does include replies and retweets. Investigate tools like Hootsuite that allow you to schedule tweets. However, don’t automate and forget. If you won’t be available to respond, don’t schedule content during that time.
Consider tools like BundlePost and Buffer, which help find quality content to Tweet. This is important because people will likely only engage with you if you’re adding value to them, and quality content adds value to your followers.
Use images when applicable. Images get more views, replies and retweets.
3. Be Human
Even if you are engaging from a company account, if you don’t value people and relationships first, you won’t have an engaging community. Engaging with your community comes down to the same principles, whether you have 1 follower or 1 million followers. Although every engagement is an opportunity to eventually make a sale the mindset that leads to having an engaging community is realising that every engagement is an opportunity to be human and develop a relationship.
How to be Human:
Reply to people – aim for within 60 minutes. If the engagement becomes so active that you can’t reply to all Tweets, then change the system. If someone says hello to you, part of being a human is saying hello back. That principle applies on Twitter too. When someone shares your post, thank them. When someone asks a question, answer the question. That is part of being human. When you don’t reply, you’re telling that person that you don’t value them. When your followers feel that they don’t matter to you, you won’t have a community nor engagement.
Show your personality. Robotic replies and press release type content won’t do the trick. Share a joke. Talk about what is trending. Share something about your life. When you open your personality up to your audience, they’ll be much more likely to engage on a meaningful level.
Takeaway Plan of Action
To close here are 5 things that can be targeted each day to create an engaging community.
Tweet 5 times
Follow 5 targeted followers and Reply to or Retweet one of their tweets.
Thank, compliment or congratulate 3 people.
Ask 2 people a question about a topic listed in their bio.
Send 1 humorous reply to a Tweet (show personality).
Growing a community takes time. Engagement increases slowly over time. There is no magic pill, but the above ideas are proven steps to grow your engaging community.