When you read a news story announcing that a celebrity recently held an intimate party for 300 of their closest friends, what do you think? Do you know anyone who has that number of dear friends? Surely not. But how is this relevant to Twitter and your effective use of it?
Well, this equates to believing that simply having large numbers of followers is all that it takes to make the medium work for you. Not so – the aim is to have ‘engaged followers’.
These people are more likely to take the time to read your tweets, and then perhaps respond to them, or pass the content on to others. Let’s look at five simple ways you can engage with people on Twitter:
#1 Offer Interesting Content but Avoid being Offensive
Twitter is a place where many people go to sound off and even be abusive to others. Now, we know that some folk are very easily offended, it may even be their hobby. But, in general terms, make sure your content isn’t going to switch off those people you are keen to engage with. Equally, the content you post shouldn’t simply be what you find interesting, but material that will be of value and use to the people you want to build an online relationship with. Otherwise, your tweet can be like that individual at parties who simply talks about themselves and their interests. Don’t end up being the one most other partygoers avoid!
#2 Deliver Positive and Helpful Content
Many Twitter postings are used to complain about life’s annoyances. They offer negative opinions and talk about what’s wrong with the world. Be the person who posts positive and helpful content. Margaret Thatcher, when PM, was once asked about why she had appointed a certain minister from outside of her usual circle of confidants. Her answer was simple: ‘Everyone else brings me problems, he brings me solutions’. Be that kind of presence on Twitter and you give people positive reasons for engaging with your tweets.
#3 Engage with the Responses and Hold Conversations
How often do you respond to something posted on Twitter and never gain any further feedback? Of course, it’s not possible to respond to everything, but it is good to be seen to be there on a regular basis. Show that you are paying attention to the responses, and the respondents, and you’ve taken another step towards offering that engaged Twitter presence. People will feel their contributions are valued and listened to and will believe they are a key part of the process, rather than simply a spectator. Show gratitude for the involvement of others and offer compliments when you can.
#4 Share Key Content More than Once
Traditional direct mail or telephone selling campaigns don’t simply take a single chance to gain a response and give up if this isn’t achieved. Those conducting them know there are many reasons why it takes more than one attempt to be successful. Don’t be afraid to apply this thought process to your tweets. When you want to link to an article, posting or the like that you feel will be of benefit to your followers, introduce it positively by highlighting your reasons for offering the link. Then, further down the line, introduce it again by finding a slightly different reason for its value. If space permits, you can hark back to the initial posting and then add your ‘also’ reason for posting again. This might even refer to some positive feedback you’ve received from the previous occasion.
#5 Keep at it
There are many other tips we could offer about effective tweeting techniques. The most important may well be this one: Many people start with enthusiasm, and then this dissipates over time, and the connections that were often hard to gain are swiftly lost. Like any of life’s relationships, it does need constantly to be worked on!