This was very eye-opening. In yesterday’s post I reviewed a few great Twitter bios. The best part about the post was the discussion below and someone asked very bluntly: “These are some great people, but how do I start talking to them?”

It struck me, because it is often easy to forget that starting out on Twitter might not be easy at all. So after you have started following a few people, how can you best start chatting? Here are a few very simple ways that allow you to kick off a conversation:

 

Post a few friendly retweets

If you aim to get in touch with someone, I found that simply retweeting that person a few times builds a great basis for discussion. Add a short comment too, in order to show your engagement with the content.

What works very well too is to put the RT at the back of the tweet so the content is first seen by your followers. I believe posting retweets is a fabulous first step to launch a first connection with someone.

 

Use a person’s Twitter bio as a starting point

Another way that has helped me many times in order to start talking to people is to relate to something interesting you read in a person’s bio. If you are building a following based on your interests, this will be very helpful. Simply tweet a comment on something that you found interesting and usually a great discussion is under way:

 

Relate to an article or piece of content

We all care and seek appreciation for our work. Which better opportunity is there for you to use a piece of content that you liked as a starting point for a conversation?

Leave a comment on the post or tweet it with a nice reference to the author. In many cases, I found that this can kick off a great conversation. If you show that you are truly engaged with that content it raises interest from the person mentioned and you can continue your conversations from there.

 

Answer a question

If you are attentive of the people you are following, you will see that many ask questions, hoping that some of their followers might respond. If this is someone you always wanted to chat with, then it is a no-brainer to take this up as a chance.

Before you know it you will end up in a nice conversation. Here is an example where my answer was even taken up further and got me featured on TechCrunch.

 

Don’t force it

Like in real life, the best conversations are those which come naturally. I found that trying to force a talk onto someone can turn out to be troublesome. Try combining a few of the techniques above and let them come casually as you experience Twitter.

So simply following someone and enjoying the content being tweeted is how I made Twitter work for me. A simple Tweet of appreciation, if the tweets from someone continually add value is also something you might want to try.

 

I am very thankful for GirlyGrizzly, bringing this topic up. After all it is the conversations that make Twitter such a wonderful place to be. Helping out by getting started with more conversations is something I believe is very important.

I have one question for you though. I considered to list replying to auto-DM’s in order to get conversations started, but I am not quite sure. Do you believe this is something we should do?

 

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Written by Leo Widrich

Co-founder and COO at Buffer. I enjoy working on company culture, customer development and marketing. For more personal posts, check out leostartsup.

  • Frances

    I love this post! As always, Leo, you find and write the best blogs on Twitter. I’ll keep a copy of this post and share it with my colleagues and clients. Thank you!

    • Hi @0cd95eb25b8446085cc64e6fb068822e:disqus ,

      That’s great to hear, so glad you like the posts and things I am writing about. Gives me a lot of encouragement to do more!

      Thanks for sharing the post! 🙂 

  • I really dislike auto-DM’s. They usually signal to me that the person I followed is interested in promoting a business or themselves. They rarely reply to further DM’s or mentions so I generally don’t engage with them.

    That said, if there is a clear hook for engagement, it might be a useful strategy.

    • Hi @twitter-278459954:disqus thanks for your comment. I think you are very right, auto-DM’s are a really bad way to do this, yet sometimes if you are really trying to connect with everyone it might work. I have stopped doing it though, because of the reasons you mentioned.

      Btw, it was amazing meeting you! 🙂 

  • The more i read your blog, the more i get inspired by the design of your theme which offcourse is way different from Modernist. And offcourse the content tops this list. Too bad i am not into web-dev. 

    Coming to the post, i feel its also dependent on the nature of conversation you want to start with the user. Some have way too many followers and probably don’t have the time for replying to every mention. However complimenting on a nice link/tweet sure helps building a friendly character for self. Contradictory opinions can also find replies where the person is open to views. 

  • Rhonda Hernandez

    Forgive my ingorance, but I’m not only a noob to Twitter, but I’m also well over 40 years old…a dinosaur, I know. Your first point on re-tweets confuses me…every time I click the re-tweet icon, there’s no place to add text. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve wanted to add a message at the beginning, but can’t. What have I missed?

  • Hi Leo, have come across Buffer first and then your always interesting blog posts a couple of months ago. I learn new things from them every day, although – to quote one of the previous commenters – I am a 43-year old dinosaur. 🙂 

    I follow both Buffer and yourself on twitter, and am using the Buffer RT features and the scheduler on a daily basis. Since I live in Germany I have to tweet during a certain time when my US following wakes up hehe. So always consider that versus ET or PT. I am in the process of establishing myself as a freelance writer, so definitely Buffer is helping me with that.

    One question: Is there a way to schedule recurring tweets using Buffer? I know twaitter was able to do that in the past. They are now called gremln and are in beta.

    Thanks so much. Keep up the good work & whenever I tweet you hope you’ll reply. 🙂

  • Anonymous

    These are great tips, thanks Leo.

  • andy

    Interesting review of twitter, I will try these tips on obat untuk keputihan berwarna coklat. Thanks Leo Widrich