Do you ever follow an organization’s Twitter account and think, “Wow they are rocking this! Likes, retweets, replies – they’ve got audience engagement in spades. What’s their secret?”

If your answer is yes, you’re not alone. Many organizations aren’t optimizing their Twitter account. It’s easy to think of Facebook or Instagram as the “community” platforms and Twitter as a vehicle for sharing news articles and answering customer service issues. But you can build a community on Twitter and amp up your audience engagement.

And as with most things in life, there’s no “secret” – there’s research, hard work and a willingness to try new things.

The Good News: Your Audience is Probably on Twitter Already

With more than 330 million monthly users and 500 million tweets sent per day, there’s a good chance the people you’re trying to connect with are already on the platform, waiting for you to find them.

Simple Strategies for Increasing Engagement on Twitter

If you’re ready to take your Twitter stream to the next level, try these tips:

Study what works

Our Health Insurance Social Media Rock Stars agree that studying your brand’s social analytics is crucial. Two analytics tips:

  • Research: Use dashboards like Sprout Social and Hootsuite to provide in-depth reports on your brand’s account. And Twitter’s free analytics can give you plenty of information.
  • Respond: Check in at least once per month to see what your followers are responding to, and tweet out more of that type of content.

Say “thank you”

You know it’s important to retweet and favorite other people’s tweets, especially when someone positively mentions your organization. But did you know that replying with a simple “thank you” for retweets or comments increases engagement too?

Here’s how the Twitter-brain works:

  1. Twitter’s algorithm rewards tweets with engagement. That includes any favorites, retweets or comments, including comments you write on your tweets.
  2. When you take a few seconds to thank someone for sharing a tweet or leaving positive feedback, that action will rank your tweet even higher.
  3. This action means more people will see your tweet, and it will stay in the Twitter stream longer.
  4. Wait there’s more! Simple gratitude builds brand goodwill. A Twitter study found that when businesses respond to customers’ tweets, the customers are:
  • Willing to spend 3 to 20% more on future purchases
  • 44% more likely to share their positive experience with others
  • 30% more likely to recommend the business

Include #hashtags – but not too many

Hashtags originated on Twitter before spreading to every other social network. And they’re still an integral part of building community on the platform since they help users discover new content and participate in relevant conversations. But take a look at these stats. Postcron found that:

  • Hashtags – good: Tweets with hashtags are 33% more likely to get retweeted
  • Too many hashtags – not good: Tweets with 1 hashtag are 69% more likely to get retweeted than tweets with two or more

So use #hashtags but #try to be #judicious about when and #where you #use them.

And research those hashtags

Just like you do SEO research before writing web copy, take a few minutes to research the hashtag you want to use. You can use free tools like Hashtagify or Keyhole to determine which hashtags have the most significant reach.

Share video

Consumers love to watch. So go with it. Twitter’s algorithm weighs videos more heavily than other types of posts. That means Twitter gives video posts a more extensive reach, and more of your followers are likely to see them. According to HubSpot, videos are:

  • 6 times more likely to be retweeted than photos
  • 3 times more likely to be retweeted than GIFs

Chocolate or vanilla? Poll your audience

Twitter has always been a place to get your followers’ opinions, so it made sense when the network added the poll functionality. You can post a poll directly on Twitter with up to 4 answer choices.

Asking followers a question and getting a reply is great, but the ability for followers to quickly vote on an option (and to see the current results in real time) makes it a fun way for followers to engage.

Enjoy the new character count

Twitter doubled its character count in late 2017, so there are now 280 characters to play with in every tweet. But don’t get keyboard-happy just yet: According to Fast Company, only 1% of all tweets hit that amount – and there have yet to be any studies that show longer tweets do better.

So don’t worry about writing more. Instead, enjoy adding those funny quips that you had to edit out before.

Set up Twitter cards

Twitter cards give you the ability to add rich text, images and video to your tweets. A developer can add these cards to your website.

If the website uses Twitter cards, then when you tweet articles from the website, the article image, title and subhead auto-populate in the Twitter stream. (Fun visual!) Meanwhile, if the website doesn’t use cards, you’ll only see the hyperlink. (Yawn.)

Twitter card posts:

  • Are more visually appealing
  • Have higher click-through rates
  • Take up more real estate in the Twitter timeline

So don’t be boring. Add the cards to your site with a simple code so that when people tweet posts from your website, they’ll share its image, title, subhead or even video.

Try some of these tips and tweet us at @ahaval to let us know if you see increased engagement!

Need more social media strategies? These posts are full of ideas:

5 Ways to Use Your Content Again (And Again!) To Fill a Social Media Calendar

How to Use Your Facebook Budget

Building a Content Strategy for Instagram

And if you need help creating social media posts that engage with your audience, you can always contact us to see what we can do for you.

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