With over 250 million active users, Twitter is here to stay. And for good reason — it’s an extremely effective method for communicating with your user base. AddThis data shows that Twitter users shared over 182 million pieces of content in 2014 — and are on track to more than double that in 2015, with nearly 107 million shares to date. However, it’s more than just a “build it and they shall come” platform.
We often get asked, “What’s the best way to increase engagement on Twitter?” In this post, we’ll share some tips and tricks we’ve learned along the way to help you with just that.
Mastering the Twitter Count: You Don’t Need 140 Characters
In your Twitter bio use the full 160 characters allotted. It’ll not only help Twitter users to find you, but also learn more about you. Make sure your bio is fully optimized and includes hashtags.
Tweets on the other hand are a different story. When you’re tweeting you don’t need to use the full 140 characters. You can get away with just 65. We purposely keep our tweets short, and in doing so have actually increased engagement. Earlier this year, we took a look at our top 20 tweets, based on engagements, over a 90-day period (hashtags and links excluded). These top 20 tweets averaged 65 characters in length. Here’s an example of one of our top performing tweets from that time frame, which comes in at 42 characters total (with spaces):
Alternatively, the average character count of our bottom 20 tweets (not counting replies) was 80. What’s a 15 character count difference mean in engagement rate? For this batch of tweets, the top 20 saw a 1.35% higher engagement rate when compared to the bottom 20.
(We’re keeping in mind that lower engagement is not fully dependent on character count, but a lot of variables, such as topic, included media, time of day you’re posting, etc. But that’s a post for another time!)
Analytics Matter: Know Your Audience, What Tweets Work and When to Post Them
- Leverage Twitter tools and Twitter Analytics to get more from your account. With tools likeHootsuite, Buffer and TweetDeck you can schedule tweets to go out at specific times—a huge timesaver and a great feature for those who don’t live, eat and breathe Twitter. These same tools also make it easier to manage multiple lists and follow trends in real-time, all from one screen.
- Twitter’s robust Analytics dashboard shows you your top tweets, mentions and followers by month, plus offers tips for growing your engagement. It even shows you your followers’ demographics and most popular interests, so you can tweet about the categories they’re most likely to respond to. It also features an events calendar, so you can plan tweets in advance around popular topics.
These tools were all created to make Twitter easier to use and more beneficial for your business. So use them! You’ll be able to work smarter, not harder, to grow your Twitter audience.
Promote Yourself: Make Your Twitter Handle Stand Out
- Advertise your Twitter handle in email signatures, on your website, blog, and Facebook page. For example, you could include the following hyperlinked message in your email signature: “Follow us on Twitter @(your handle)”. You can also use AddThis Follow Buttonsto promote your Twitter account to your website visitors, like how we do on the AddThis blog:
- Find similar, like-minded users and follow them. A good place to find a full listing of top Twitter users is Twitaholic. Many of the top users are celebrities (Katy Perry, Justin Beiber, etc.). However, further down on the list you’ll find organizations and companies like the NFL and NASA.
- Retweet interesting posts and engage in conversations with individuals who have built a following. If you’re a food business, someone like Andrew Zimmern would be a great person to tweet at, as he regularly responds to fans. With his more than 800 thousand followers, a tweet from him would definitely raise your profile.
- Embed tweets into websites and blogs to drive engagement. Just click on the more button (three dots …) below the tweet you want to embed and select “Embed Tweet.” Then, copy and paste the supplied HTML where you want it on your website. You can even use this feature to embed a tweet and reply together.
- Add hashtags (#) to your tweets. These give your posts a keyword so others can find it easier. When you begin typing a hashtag, Twitter will offer suggestions. If it’s relevant, use it to increase your tweet’s reach, but make sure it’s relevant—brands like DiGiorno havegotten into trouble for jumping on a hashtag and unintentionally posting an offensive tweet.
- Twitter users like tweets that are informative, timely, useful and/or funny. Old Spice is an example of a brand that uses humor well, both in their tweets and engagements with other users. They have a distinctive, irreverent voice that remains consistent throughout their Twitter activity, which you can see in the example below.
Because of the character limits and the way people use Twitter, it can be tricky getting it right. Like everything else, your tweets and engagements will evolve and get better over time, and your followers will continue to grow because of it.