1.) You get clicks on your links
The first and for many the most important way to engage is to get someone to click on the links you are tweeting. Mastering this technique is crucial if you want to drive traffic through to your site and capitalize on your Twitter effort in a measurable way.
How to trigger it
Build trust and be consistent
I found triggering clicks is bound to you being savvy in the topic you are Tweeting about. People need to trust and respect you.
The experiment with Alyssa Milano (1,6mio followers), trying to sell a book about social media and not getting one single sale, is the best example I believe. Of course, it’s not to say that there aren’t many topics Alyssa’s links get clicked and are appreciated.
A great example to observe is Dave from @TweetSmarter. Dave is tweeting in a focused, regular and high quality manner about all things Twitter Tips and Tools. He is recognized as a true expert and totals hundreds of clicks on each of the links he is Tweeting.
So if your goal is to get clicks, build trust amongst your community. Pick a topic that you are genuinely interested in. Stick to it and tweet out content regularly until you have a certain proficiency. People will feel safe to get great content if they click your links.
Another factor I found is frequeny of your Tweets. Dan Zarrella pointed out in a very recent study, that Tweeting between 1-4 times per hour gives the best click through rate. You can read up more on his research here.
With Buffer, we have a frequency of exactly one Tweet per hour set up. It has paid off greatly and built trust amongst our community, as regularity, yet without overwhelming others is key.
Get 200% more clicks on Twitter with Buffer
By Buffering Tweets, they are posted at optimal times giving you 2x more exposure.
2.) You get retweeted
A different form of Twitter engagement, that is slightly deeper is to get retweeted by someone amongst your followers. It is a great way to extend your reach and get more clicks. It is also a great connection point and you can see retweets as a way to start chatting with new people.
How to trigger it
Lengths of your Tweets
Although a lot of the things mentioned for getting clicks are also true for getting retweets, there are a few more factors to consider I found. Firstly, keeping your Tweets short is crucial, so more people can add their username and retweet you.
Timing of Tweets
Another point, which I find particularly interesting here is timing. The timing for clicks is not necessarily the best timing for retweets. This is something which a recent analysis from Dan Zarrella showed very prominently. He found that a Friday is much better for retweets, but not so much for clicks.
Of course, it is key, that in order to get retweets your tweet needs to have a compelling headline others want to share. There is a fantastic list from @TweetSmarter showing you the various types of Tweets you can write to get more retweets.
As Buffer gives me analytics for each tweet sent, I have taken a look which tweets did best in terms of retweets and here are a few examples:
3.) You get followed
Of course, another key form of engagement with you on Twitter is that someone follows you on Twitter. Gaining followers is crucial, yet not all followers are created equal.
You can buy followers or let automatic programs add them. Or you can get them organically, because you produce value for them.
How to trigger it
Provide value and put your Twitter profile everywhere
The best strategy for getting people to follow you I found is to provide value on your Twitter stream regularly. As you do so, it is key to put your Twitter profile link or even your Twitter button on as many sites as possible.
Have the follow button your blog, put your Twitter link in your email signature, list yourself in directories and put a link on your Facebook and LinkedIn.
Online and offline events
Another great way to get high-quality and people related to what you are doing is to attend online or offline events. Ever since I have started to attend Twitterchats like #ToolsChat or #EAvChat run by @MQTodd, I am leaving with 30, highly engaged followers.
Another great way to grow your Twitter network is to attend offline events, such as tweet-ups or conferences. Twitter titan @MayhemStudios mentioned this as one of the most important things to do in his interview here.
Auto-follow programs, follow lots of other people, buy followers
These are methods that I found lead to the least engaged followers. Yet, it is of course up to you to decide what the best way is to get more exposure on Twitter. Personally, I wouldn’t recommend any of these, yet wanted to point them out for completeness.
4.) You get an @reply or @mentioned
This might be the most obvious point that we naturally associate with engagement. In short it is when we have chats with others on Twitter. Yet, this is also the form, which many say they have most trouble with to get started with, mainly because many of the people you meet on Twitter, you might haven’t met in real life.
How to trigger it
Ask thought provoking questions
When we started out with the Buffer Twitter account, we used to focus on Tweeting the best links to Twitter tip posts and tools. As we moved along, we realized how powerful it is to keep your community fully engaged by asking questions. Doing so has lead to lots of new connections and is something we continue to do so.
Kick off conversations yourself
Many told me that they find it difficult to kick off conversations, so here are 3 quick pointers, to help you get more direct engagement from Twitter:
- If someone follows you, check out their bio and find something you really appreciate. Then hit them up with an @reply to build a connection.
- Use friendly retweets, where you add your own comment, to start off a light interaction. Then jump in for @replies.
- Lastly, simply listen to your followers and see if they ask questions or need help with anything. Then hit the reply button and get your conversation going.
Yes, you are absolutely right, this post is the most lengthy one I have ever written. Yet, I hope it gave a most holistic picture as of how I am using Twitter for engagement. Focusing on each of these 4 individually has helped me a great deal to make the most of Twitter
Which areas of engagement are the most important ones for you?