Almost everyone knows how to use Twitter. You share links, chat with friends, being sure to use an @name here and a #hashtag there. And that’s all you need to know if you’re happy with your Twitter audience size and the engagement you get on your tweets.
But what if you’re not happy?
What if you’re trying to kickstart a new Twitter account? What if you’re a writer and you want to get your articles noticed by people who will care about them? What if you’re trying to break into a new field and need to meet some like-minded folk?
Well, that’s going to take a little more work. You’ll need to somehow both get noticed and get chatty without seeming like a stalker or a spammer. Tough job! But don’t worry, it’s possible. You just need to think outside of your normal sphere of influence and trigger some great new conversations. Here’s how:
Keep Track of People in Twitter Lists
Firstly, you need to get your Twitter feed under control. If you’re not making good use of Twitter lists, you’re going to miss out on conversations with the people you really want to engage. Also be sure to use the Twitter mute feature to cut the noise from people that clog your feed.
Make Twitter lists for your real-life friends, your colleagues, your clients, your influencers (industry peers and people you look up to), brands you advocate, hashtags you follow, and potential friends you’re chatting with on Twitter. Use a tool like Tweetdeck to let you see all of these lists side by side, then watch as the magic happens.
You’ll automatically gravitate to your influencers and hashtags lists to find new things to read and retweet. You’ll quickly be able to glance at what your colleagues and clients are up to, and retweet or comment on them accordingly. Most importantly, by having a list for potential friends you’re just starting to chat to, you won’t miss anything from these people just at this critical stage of forging a friendship.
Share Great Content
Aside from retweeting things from your influencers and friends on Twitter, you’ll want to create some fantastic content as well. For this, it’s worth learning a few tricks about how to craft a tweet your followers will want to retweet.
It’s also useful to find some great tools to help you create visually appealing tweets. Tweets with images really stand out, so using a Twitter image tool like Pablo to create your tweets is wise.
The Secret to Serious Engagement
With every link you share, whether it’s to something you wrote or just something you found, be sure to @mention the parties who deserve some praise. So, if it’s an article about an app you love, mention the creator’s Twitter handle. If it’s an article you loved, mention the writer’s Twitter handle.
— Robert Wiesehan (@RobertWiesehan) July 7, 2014
And don’t just throw it in there — actually tell them what you loved about it. The creators will be genuinely pleased that someone noticed their hard work (and mentioned it glowingly), and they may decide to retweet your tweet or thank you for mentioning them. The creator’s followers might then retweet or start chatting with you too, as they are already a fan of what you’ve tweeted.
The thing is, you’ve started a conversation now — a genuine conversation with someone whose work you appreciate. Keep doing this and continuing the conversations and you’ve found yourself a new bunch of friends who create things you love.
— Robert Wiesehan (@RobertWiesehan) June 11, 2014
Investigate Other Social Networks
Take a look at Tumblr, for instance, to see how users go about building an audience. Read up on how to gain a Tumblr following and what happens when a Tumblr post goes viral. There are lessons that can be learned from Tumblr and applied in Twitter, so even if you don’t use Tumblr, it’s worth reading up on.
It’s Not About The Retweets, Really
Retweets and followers are a numbers game, which we’ve already called out as damaging online communities. Twitter is more than all that. It’s a whole lot of fun and you can create friendships with people from all over the world. Everyone needs a little Twitter in their lives. Just remember that both the strength of Twitter and the fun of it lie in human connections and having people who look forward to reading what you share.
— Sophie Lizard (@sophielizard) March 24, 2015
How Do You Make Connections?
What are your best tips for engaging with people on Twitter? How do you start worthwhile conversations with strangers? Share your tips in the comments!