By ETMG Social Media Team
One thing that’s becoming clear to social media marketers is the fundamental differences between Facebook and Twitter as social marketing platforms. While both are essential, they are as different as night and day in how brands harness their power to engage with followers.
Facebook is about people you already know; Twitter is about people and topics you want to know. Twitter is a fast moving train, an interactive experience that exists in the moment, and a very different experience than the more easy-going Facebook culture. Facebook allows you to catch up and engage over the course of days, not the mere hours Twitter conversations often last before the train moves on.
This difference demands unique strategies to engage Twitter followers and increase awareness. These five ways to engage with your Twitter followers will build the infrastructure you need to launch a successful marketing campaign, promote your brand or share your content.
1. It Starts With Your Followers
Followers are the lifeblood of Twitter. Your careful curation and engagement with followers ensure many hands helping you get your message across.
Many new Twitter users make the mistake of following big name brands and celebrities believing the name recognition will somehow rub off on their brand. It doesn’t happen that way. Brands are usually happy to follow you. Big celebrities, though, are too busy promoting their own brands to bother with most “follow” requests.
Following brands has some serious drawbacks:
- Brands don’t buy your products or services. People do.
- Brands don’t read your blogs or watch your videos. People do.
- Brands don’t retweet or “favorite” your marketing campaigns. People do.
- Brands don’t respond to calls to action. People do.
Follow people and you’ll build a relationship with them through conversation and interaction. Twitter users are a loyal bunch and are happy to share, retweet and click on your links to purchase and promote your brand—but only if they feel there’s a real person behind the Twitter handle. If all you’re doing is promoting and not inviting a deeper connection, you’ll soon be dismissed as a “spammer”—the scourge of the Internet.
2. Ask For Retweets and You Shall Receive
Don’t underestimate the power of asking for retweets (RT). According to a study done by Buddy Media (now Salesforce), retweet requests receive 12 times the number of retweets than those that don’t make a request. You have to tell your followers what you want them to do, and they will reward you by doing it.
The value of retweets lies in the retweet’s reach. If your follower, with 1,250 followers of his or her own, retweets your tweet, you’ve effectively extended beyond your own network and reached 1,250 new people. If you have a few big influencers as followers, you can see how the simple request to retweet on your part expands your reach exponentially.
A retweet request is just one call to action, and the culture of Twitter welcomes others as well:
- Pose questions and then ask for replies
- Add a link to your blog or website and ask for clicks
- Seek out interesting people to follow and ask for follow backs
- Promote your other social media accounts and ask for follow backs on those as well
3. Hashtags Are Your Friends
Hashtags are a little mysterious, but they’re a handy marketing tool and are ripe for engagement. Just as you can follow people, you can also follow hashtags. Their beauty is that tags that are applicable to your brand such as #infographics or #contentmarketing can be easily sought out with a simple keyword search. Anyone searching the hashtag will eventually encounter your original tweet and can choose to follow, retweet, favorite or click on your link.
When your followers retweet your tweet with the hashtag, the tag rides along with the retweet and is broadcast to your follower’s network. In this way, your message can be broadcast to far more people outside your network.
Tweets with one or two hashtags (never more) see a surge in responses when compared to tweets without. Piggyback a retweet request and a hashtag and you’re on your way to ultimate engagement.
One hashtag that you can get a lot of mileage out of is the #TBT or #ThrowbackThursday tag. You can recycle your older social media content: blogs, images, infographics and video with a simple “Look what I found for you in the archives—#TBT, please RT.”
4. Mix It Up
Half the battle of engaging with your followers is giving them something to engage with. Twitter is still primarily text-based, but savvy marketers are introducing visual content: infographics, images and video. These tools break up the monotony of walls of words and offer a welcome respite for eyes fatigued by tedious text.
People crave visual stimulation. According to a 2014 study by Twitter, 2 million tweets were analyzed and it was found that photos bumped up retweets by 35% while videos bumped up retweets by 28%. Visual content is a powerhouse and will only become more important as time goes on.
Twitter makes it easy to add infographics and embed photos and video, and it automatically shortens URLs for you, so all you have to do is add the links.
5. Show Your Appreciation
The core of engagement is really human interaction and communication. Nothing brings people together like mutual appreciation. When your followers retweet your posts, follow your account, share your pictures and videos, thank them. This isn’t a marketing ploy or a scheme to build engagement; it’s simply the right thing to do.
If you’re going to have a public face, whether it’s on Twitter, Facebook or any other platform, extending the simple courtesies goes a long way towards making people feel good about you, your brand and ultimately their part in supporting your endeavors.