Achieving Genuine Engagement on Twitter

by Ben Shute

Despite its challenges, Twitter’s role as a live communication channel is as strong as ever. For brands and individuals, it also means that it is becoming harder to cut through the noise and reach the right people. To help improve your engagement on the platform, here are some considerations.

Curate Your Feed and Build a Theme

Engagement starts with building a following, and key to building a following is having a theme to tweet around. This will build authority in an area that will attract people who are more likely to opt-in to your messages and engage with content that you are creating.

Curating quality sources from both Twitter and the web in general is also important. You want to be finding unique and interesting pieces to share. Understand that a Twitter following is largely people like you, so you don’t want to be the thousandth person sharing the same piece of content, as this will diminish engagement overall.

For tips on curating a quality Twitter feed, check out this post

Length of Tweets, Images and Hashtags Matter

The actual composition of tweets is also a factor in how much engagement they get.

The optimum length of a tweet is around 100 characters, with tweets under this getting 17% more engagement. If you’re including a link, up to 120 characters can work well for you.

Try to include an image with your tweet as well. Twitter recently updated their character counts to exclude any images, meaning you can now attach up to four without impacting your character count. Images have incredible impact on retweets and clicks.

Lastly, think about your hashtags. Twitter is where users first created the hashtag as a way of collecting content around a theme, and they continue to be important today.

Identify two relevant hashtags to add to your tweet as a way of bringing it into a conversation. Research suggests that tweets with 2 hashtags can see a 21% engagement increase. Any more that this can have a negative effect of up to 17%.

Time of Day and Frequency

According to research by Moz, the average lifespan of a single tweet is about 18 minutes. When you consider the factors that can affect this – the average number of account a person follows and the time of day something is tweeted and any algorithmic impact, there is a very good chance that the brilliant link you just tweeted may not be seen.

Understand when your audience is active is important. Not everyone spends all day every day on Twitter waiting for your tweet. In fact, the weekend is actually better for engagement. You can also use scheduling tools like Buffer to optimize your sharing across multiple times of day and analyse the results.

One good practice to increase engagement is to tweet the same link multiple times over a period. If it’s a link to a piece you’ve written or find interesting, tweet when published, then an hour later, then the next day, three days later and then the following week. CoSchedule has done some research into this, which can help.

Cumulatively, this program of tweeting will increase engagement around a particular piece. Following this kind of frequency and analyzing what works well will give you an idea of the kinds of subjects, hashtags and images that perform well and should guide the way you curate and share moving forward.