9 ways to boost your Twitter engagement
Effective Tweet Scheduling
As we’ve pointed out before, the buzz your tweets generate will at least partly depend on the time they’re released. Knowing when your followers are online, and scheduling important tweets around their social media patterns, puts you in touch with the largest possible audience every time you send through an update. HootSuite is great for this, as its intuitive dashboard allows manual control over your tweet schedule. I personally like to use the HootSuite Hootlet Google Chrome extension (see image below) and ‘AutoSchedule’ my tweets which means you let HootSuite choose the most optimal times to post your tweets.
Hashtags Are Your Friend
Hashtags are a powerful tool for broadening your audience. Using hashtags effectively gets your tweets in front of people who may never have heard of you before, but who are monitoring the topics currently trending on Twitter. Be sure your tags are concise and relevant to reach the Twitter users who are most interested in the kind of services you offer. Touching base with the people who most want to hear from you gains followers and extends the leverage of your Twitter presence.
Leave Space for a Retweet (with Attribution)
Twitter famously—or infamously, if you will—imposes a strict 140-character limit on tweets. Don’t use all of that space, though; you’ll be sabotaging your followers attempts at retweeting your post! If you’ve used the total allowable space, anyone who tries to retweet the post will have to either omit the “RT @yourname” bit, which prevents your new audience from knowing where the tweet originates, or give up on the retweet altogether. Given that a simple retweet is one of the easiest and most popular forms of Twitter engagement, this limitation is serious business. Keep your tweets under 130 characters whenever possible to give your loyal followers room to credit you properly in the retweet.
Drop a Quote
Using quotations in your tweets dramatically boosts your Twitter engagement and encourages retweets. A tweet that includes a quote is 30 percent more likely to get a retweet, according to social media scientist and renowned clever person Dan Zarrella. One reason for this seems to be that people enjoy passing on bits of wisdom and other inspirational content. If you’re posting something that’s worth quoting in the first place, after all, it’s probably worth a requote by someone in your Twitter following.
Your Words Count
Some words get your tweets more attention than others. Including the right words in your updates can drive Twitter engagement by motivating people to share your content. Surprisingly, the most commonly used word in retweeted posts is “you.” It’s almost as if a tweet to the effect of: “you should check out this new blog post” triggers your reader to identify with the subject of the message and respond accordingly. “Check out” and “new blog post” are also among the top twenty retweeted words and phrases.
Upload Pictures—the Right Way
People respond to graphic stimuli. Adding pictures to your Twitter feed captures people’s attention and earns your posts a second look. Not all picture uploads are equal, however. As the above-cited Dan Zarrella found, when he surveyed over 400,000 randomised tweets, posts with an image uploaded via pics.Twitter.com are 94 percent more likely to be shared, while tweets with twitpic links are 64 percent more likely to be retweeted. Pictures delivered via Facebook, on the other hand, actually decrease the odds of a retweet by 47 percent!
Also according to Buffer, tweets with images received 150% more retweets – suffice to say, visuals work on Twitter too!
Hyperlinks are at the heart of what makes Twitter engagement possible. By including a hypertext link, you can turn a 140-character tweet into an introduction to your longer, more thoughtful blog posts. Including hyperlinks in your tweets also gives your followers a simple, one-touch way of joining the discussion by connecting them to your complementary posts on Google+ and Facebook.
Active, Not Passive Voice
Verbs are action words, and they lend themselves to a more active voice in your tweets. Given Twitter’s built-in space limitations, you need to deliver your message in a short, punchy way that has an immediate impact on your reader. The kind of clarity that verb-packed writing permits makes for a quicker and less demanding read that gets shared much more than noun-heavy tweets written in the passive voice.
Remember how “you” is the most commonly retweeted word? “Twitter” is, perhaps unsurprisingly, number two. Numbers three and four on the list are “please” and “retweet,” while the eleventh most-common phrase is “please retweet.” Clearly, the direct approach of simply asking followers for a retweet works well enough to drive heightened engagement.
If you’re as serious about social media marketing as we are, attracting a large Twitter following is only the beginning. Remember to schedule your tweets for peak times to connect with your current followers. Integrating quotes, TwitPics, and hashtags to encourages sharing, as hyperlinks encourage your followers to visit your other resources for a better look at what you have to offer.