Engagement is a word that gets thrown around a lot these days. And I believe it’s great. Thinking about how we can increase the human interactions with each other is what makes up a great presence in Social Media.

Yet, not all engagement is the same. There are different ways you can get someone to interact with you. Knowing exactly which type of engagement you want to trigger is crucial in order to achieve your goals on Twitter I believe.

Here is a breakdown of 4 different forms and how to get to each one.


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.

Posting frequency

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.


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.

Great copywriting

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?

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Written by Leo Widrich

Co-founder at Buffer.

  • Tweeting 4 to 6 times a hour can increase tweets plus gain a couple more followers along the way.

    “Black Seo Guy “Signing Off”

    • Hi Antonio, yes a higher frequency is very powerful and can certainly help. The data we found suggests that 1-3 Tweets per hour during peak times gives you the best outcome. Have you tried it yet?

  • Just stopped by to engage. Wow Leo you really get it. I love our relationship!

    • Hi Michael, thanks for your comment. Same here, glad to be in touch with you! 

  • Thanks, Leo! Since starting to use Buffer, my tweets are mostly links to what I read. I must admit that I don’t always acknowledge the original tweeter so I suppose it would be hard for them to realize my engagement without analytics on clicks like bit.ly or Buffer.  I do take the time to look up, follow and tweet the handle of the writer, though, which many people do not.  Surprisingly, I rarely get a thank you or a follow for the mention.  I’m a little proud of myself today because I did a tweet cloud of my most tweeted words in my personal account (@twilidiot): please, thank, thank you, love and awesome.  Camping for three days outside the San Diego Convention Center for the Twilight Breaking Dawn panel at Comic-Con also probably counts as the ultimate in-person tweet up. I’m figuring out how to apply that high level of engagement to a more professional setting and the #toolschat has been wonderful for that.

    • Hi Gretchen,

      Wow, that sounds crazy, indeed, it must be the ultimate IRL person tweet-up. 

      So glad Buffer helps you get more out of Twitter and also know how well you are doing. That is a very similar use case to how I personally do it. I just want to see how many people have clicked that link and how many people I have reached by taking a look at the analytics.

      Fantastic, glad #ToolsChat is fun, same here, love chatting with the others! 🙂

  • Ellen W-T

    Very interesting and fun.

  • Great points and ones which a lot of serious tweeters do adhere to, I know I do 😉 I’ve also found that timing is crucial to not only myself tweeting, but, it has also helped my follower count by giving fellow tweeters some well placed, timed tweets, to read 😉 

    • Hi Karen,

      Great to see you here. Yes, absolutely, it is not just for us Tweeting the content, but also for our followers receiving it. By timing your Tweets well you are doing yourself and your followers a great favour! 🙂

  • Great list and thanks for the mention 🙂

    • Hi Calvin, thanks for stopping by, glad you like it!

      No worries, well deserved to mention you here. 🙂 

  • Great post. Thank you Leo. Will try that in real twitter.

    • Awesome, so glad you like it! Sure thing, go ahead and give it a shot, let me know if you have any findings on it! 🙂


  • Leo, I like the Post because it reminds us that not all engagement is created similarly. We should have some goals and strategies. I’ve been using points 1 & 2 on Replies and Mentions pretty successfully. People really appreciate a real message when they follow you vs an automated DM. 

  • nice post 

  • Great & really useful advice!

  • Amazing write-up! This could aid plenty of people find out more about this particular issue. Are you keen to integrate video clips coupled with these? It would absolutely help out. Your conclusion was spot on and thanks to you; I probably won’t have to describe everything to my pals. I can simply direct them here!

  • Great learning and  information out of this post.Thanks Leo for such a nice composition for twitter users .

  • Anonymous

    Very Interesting!  Thanks!

  • Tweet unto others as you want to be tweeted unto yourself…. or something profound like that!