If you’re an experienced blogger, you may find yourself focusing so much on Facebook, Pinterest and Instagram that you believe Twitter is dead. If you are a new blogger, you may be overwhelmed by too much social media and put Twitter at the bottom. I believe both ideas are a mistake. Personally, I have let Twitter fall by the wayside for the last year, but now I’m much more interested in better Twitter engagement this year for several reasons:
- Ease of Use: Tweeting someone has got to be one of the easiest social media to engage.
- Brands Notice: Yes, they are watching and engaging tweets that mention them for good or bad reasons.
- It’s a Relationship Builder: You can build real friendships. Wouldn’t you love to always say that about Facebook too?
- It’s a Powerful Tool for Change and Social Good: Egypt, 2011, enough said.
Twitter’s Not Dead
Despite being a powerful tool since 2008, Twitter has changed very little in my opinion. This fall, rumors surfaced that Twitter is about to become more like Facebook. Wall Street Journal reported in September that Twitter CFO Anthony Noto which may include group chats, better search and revamping the timeline to show relevant tweets, even from account you’re not following – shades of Facebook indeed.
Personally, I like the order, but part of the problem Twitter is trying to end the endless stream of boring, repetitive commentary on the same topic. Noto says these changes will be incremental and that they’ve already been integrating them. I hope they do not adapt a “pay to play” model, like Facebook has done. We shall see.
So what’s new?
According to the Twitter blog, here is what is coming:
- Pulling relevant content up to the top of your feed.
- Record, share and edit your own videos on Twitter, a la Vine.
- Snapshots of what’s going on in Twitter.
- Personalized instant timeline.
- “While you were away” recaps, rolling out this week.
- Ability to take a public conversation private.
What You’re Doing Wrong on Twitter
Even if you haven’t stopped using Twitter, you may not be using it properly. Let’s take a look at what makes for poor Twitter engagement:
- You’re rarely on Twitter, or on at random times.
Better Twitter engagement occurs when you are on it regularly, at a consistent time. Check Twitter analytics
- You don’t DM anyone.
Really, never? I’ve had lengthy conversations with my Twitter friend that built great relationships. It’s just like meeting someone at a blog event and keeping in contact with them, only much easier.
- You never use “.”
This little tool takes your tweet to say, I don’t know, a brand you want to work with, for example, and shows it to everyone, not just those who follow you and that brand. Sometimes you want everyone to see your tweet, like when you are campaigning and that little dot is your friend.,
- You don’t engage in trending topics.
I’m a niche blogger who doesn’t care all that much about celebrity or politics, so to for me there are not many trending hashtags that fit me but there are at times. For example, today “Valentine’s Day” is trending, and since I’m planning a post for Valentine’s Day, this would be perfect. Remember that you can change trends to reflect current location OR you can have Twitter generate “Tailored Trends” which reflect who you follow and your location.
- You don’t regularly follow your own niche’s hashtags.
You need to be consistently following those hashtags, even if they are not trending. Just be sure it’s a hashtag that exists and is frequently updated, such as #bloggingtips, if that’s your niche.
- You only follow people when entering contests.
Ok, this is just bad form. A short list of people you should be following – and tweeting includes brands and companies you want to work with, people who are respected “rock stars” in your niche, fellow bloggers that you’ve met at conferences or in blogger groups, people you meet at Twitter parties that you “connect” with, interesting people, and more!
- You’re on Twitter for business, JUST business!
Perhaps for corporations, this makes sense, but even so it makes you look cold and impersonal. You’re a person, get out there and act like one! Just because you blog about fitness, for example, doesn’t mean you don’t watch Blacklist or listen to Katy Perry or aren’t watching the Super Bowl. Have some fun and show people you’re a real person who enjoys life – this is even more critical if your niche really is fitness! People want to connect with a person, even if it’s a brand rep.
- You’re only on Twitter to rat out companies.
If this is your sole reason for tweeting, you are never going to work with brands if all you have to say on Twitter are complaints. Write the company a letter or email instead and call customer service.
- You never unfollow anyone.
It’s time to clean up your Twitter act. You can easily use a tool like ManageFlitter, to unfollow dead accounts – ones that haven’t been active in months.
6 Tips for Better Twitter Engagement in 2015
I’ve been guilty of many of these things, but to be honest with you, I miss frequent engagement on Twitter. This year I’m implementing my own plan to get more involved, based on what’s worked before. Here are my steps to capitalize Twitter usage in 2015:
1. Start with Twitter analytics.
Step one in creating a solid Twitter engagement plan is to use Twitter analytics to its fullest. One of the more helpful aspects of this tools is under the “Followers” tab, since it give you details about the top 5 most unique interests of your followers and the top general interests. You can also see who they are following on Twitter. For example, 24% of my followers also follow Whole Foods Markets. I can use this to my advantage by:
- tagging Whole Foods in my tweets with a hashtag we have in common (#vegetarian),
- tweeting their recipes with their hashtag (#WFMdish).
In addition, Twitter analytics tells me that my followers are solidly interested in babies & kids, parenting and moms, and 23% following Parenting’s Twitter account. For me, that means crafting tweets that comment on Parenting articles with appropriate hashtag, add in some controversy, tagging some key moms or using “.”
You can also use analytics to track impressions (who saw your tag) and engagements, the total number of times anyone has interacted with a Tweet. Like on Facebook, use this tool to review your most popular tweets and reshare. Here are 6 more tools to track your Twitter influence.
2. Improve hashtag engagement.
To make this work well, you have to be engaged with the best hashtags and that means finding good tools to use. RiteTag has worked in the past is great tool for finding the best active hashtags for your subject and creating a library for them. For other tools, check out this list on Social Media Examiner of hashtag tools, although most of them are not free. You can use free tool like Hashtagify.me or Topsy.com to find the most popular hashtags on Twitter at any given time. When you have the list of top hashtags that fit your niche, use TweetDeck to engage on Twitter and save a column with that tag so you can easily see what people are talking about.This is going to be critical as relevance is factored into Twitter’s algorithm.
3. Tweet out daily prompts.
Once you have these resources and a good idea of who is following you as well as a list of popular hashtags in your list, you can start doing daily prompts. Putting message out to Twitter is only useful if it is seen, so try several times of day to find out when your message is being heard and shared. Then create a schedule using the most popular sharing times, according to analytics. (Remember that Twitter party sharing may not necessarily count, especially if it is done with a brand or user who has a large following or was doing a giveaway.) Include your hashtag, “.” and tag relevant parties with a service, question or comment. Stir up a little controversy. Be sure that you are addressing the tag PROPERLY. For example, “Throwback Thursday” or “TBT” needs to a past reference (at least a year, but older is better) and is better with an image.
4. Use and engage Twitter lists.
I don’t often use these but they are a great tool for keeping an eye on a niche such as “green blogger,” and adding that list to TweetDeck. Remember that you can subscribe to other people’s lists, as well as create your own. I’m going to use my lists to build better blogger relationships by supporting those I’m in membership with.
5. Use Twitter cards.
The best tweets are high up and have big images with them, but how can your standard Tweeter get those? Large images with a small description can be implemented using Twitter cards. This neat little tool adds an image to your site with a bit of code or by activating Twitter cards unders “Social/Twitter” if you have the Yoast SEO plug in (which I highly recommend). WPBeginner has an excellent tutorial on both ways to integrate it. If you activate through Yoast, be sure to enter the URL of your post and not your general website URL. Once activated, Twitter will need to approve your card to get started.
6. Capitalizing on Twitter events.
I love Twitter parties and events but they really boost your blog when you can share your content.
You can share posts during parties for bigger brands as a question answer, if they are doing Q&A, for example, if you have a recipe using a food brand hosting an event. Think about the subject before the party to you can write compelling tweets that the host will retweet. For smaller hosts or parties, ask before you share so you don’t hog their hashtags. If you can invite people to the party, your host will be thrilled and may invite you back or ask you to be a panelist. And remember to share the event in the days leading up to it across your social media to drive in more visitors.
What’s Your Plan with Twitter in 2015?
Twitter is most certainly not dead, but alive and well in 2015 and a simple tool that you can use to boost your blog. Read Kevin Muldoon’s post on the Art of Twitter Following to build your audience.