Utilizing Twitter to Increase Organic Growth and Boost Engagement

January 3, 2016

Though every social media platform offers a unique opportunity for brands and individuals to interact with specific audiences, Twitter is a front-runner when it comes to engaging with a targeted audience in real-time, establishing your credibility as an industry influencer, and participating in social listening.

Because most of UpContent’s users live on Twitter, we knew that we needed to have an active presence on the platform. In the last few months, we decided to invest in building an intentional Twitter strategy to grow our audience–and consequently our user base–and to identify and build relationships with potential integration partners. Two and a half months later, our UpContent Twitter followers have increased by over 2400%! And though not everything can be attributed to our Twitter activity, we’ve also seen a 160% increase in UpContent users.

UpContent Twitter Analytics

While these numbers are very exciting and we have celebrated many mini milestones, for us, it’s not just about the number of followers. Through our Twitter efforts, we have also built relationships with a few potential integration partners, onboarded new paid customers, gained really useful feedback on product features, and gathered some fantastic testimonials that will serve us far into the future.

Clearly, Twitter is one of the most useful tools in our arsenal. In this post, we’d like to break down our strategy in hopes that it can help you:

Find Those Followers

Having a strong Twitter following establishes social clout and gives you a larger audience to influence and connect with. While having a vast number of followers can certainly boost the ego, it means nothing if your audience does not engage with you. Engagement is your most important metric.

There are several tools and services that can help grow your Twitter audience quickly without much effort. These services, while effective, are expensive and may not translate to converted users because your new followers have not been nurtured.

Instead, there are alternative ways to hack your way to more targeted followers.

Though it takes more time than it would using a paid service, it is well worth the investment. After all, it’s better to have fewer, but more engaged followers than many irrelevant followers.

“Having 20,000 followers who don’t respond to anything you share is equivalent to shouting from the top of the Empire State Building and claiming all of New York City as your audience.” - Rich Brooks, Social Media Examiner

As a matter of fact, Twitter already has the tool to help you identify and interact with the right people: Advanced Search. Getting familiar with the many options available within Twitter’s Advanced Search and being specific with your search queries will yield the best results.

Access Twitter’s Advanced Search directly by visiting https://twitter.com/search-advanced. Once there, you’ll notice there are over a dozen ways to search Twitter’s millions of tweets and profiles. You can refine your search in numerous ways, as Twitter outlines here:

UpContent Twitter Advanced Search

Go Down the Rabbit Hole (But Not Too Far!)

You know that moment when you look up something on Wikipedia and you click on a link to another result and then another and then another and suddenly it’s an hour later and you’re learning about something that couldn’t be farther from your original search? That, my friends, is a rabbit hole. Believe it or not, we suggest you apply that same principle to Twitter’s Advanced Search (within reason). Here’s how:

  1. Do an Advanced Search.
  2. Browse through the feed and select a potential user based on his or her relevancy.
  3. Complete an action: follow, comment, retweet, direct message, add their content to your curation tool, and/or view who they are following.
  4. Click on another potential user from that feed and repeat step 3.
Going Down the Rabbit Hole

Spending dedicated time to seek out only the most relevant individuals in your niche will ensure that your interactions are limited to just the people who matter. Here’s a suggestion: give yourself a strict time limit and don’t go over. It’s too easy to get lost in the rabbit hole!

There are a few other free tools that can help assist you in managing your Twitter followers effectively:

  • Crowdfire App - Allows you to unfollow inactive users or those who don’t follow you back and follow others that follow a similar brand
  • SocialRank or Do You Even List? - Helps you create a targeted Twitter list of your best or most interactive followers so you know where to focus your attention (Hint: Their followers or following could be perfect contenders!)

Curate for Conversation

You already know that your Twitter feed should be carefully curated with the best, most relevant content (with assistance from UpContent, of course). But have you considered how your curation can be used as an opportunity to anticipate or foster potential conversations? Instead of treating your content sharing as an automated “set it and forget it” process, think of it as the chance to make organic conversations happen.

RelatedA More Efficient and Effective Way to Curate Content

Here are a few ways to create conversation through curation:

Implement an interaction cycle.

Say you’ve noticed a potential customer has posted a great blog post they’ve recently written or they’ve announced something exciting. Take this as a prime opportunity to acknowledge them in a tweet. Don’t just add it to the bottom of your Buffer queue, though; make sure to move it further up to post sooner rather than later so that it remains timely and relevant. To keep that momentum going, repeat this process again a week or two later. What makes this process even more effective is that sometimes the individual will reciprocate, creating a harmonious partnership.

UpContent Twitter Interaction Cycle

CREATE OPPORTUNITIES FOR RESPONSES.

When sharing links, consider how you can generate engagement with your supporting commentary. Ask a question or create a poll–and don’t forget to tag the author!

SHOW BEHIND-THE-SCENES ACTION.

People crave transparency and they love to know what brands are up to. This can open the door to getting prospects excited about what you are working on and to giving you an opportunity to ask for feedback in real-time.

No longer is curation a “cop out” when you see it as the medium through which great conversations happen. Not sure where to find the right articles from the right influencers? Create a free topic in UpContent today!

Invite Yourself to the Party

Using curation to spark conversations is relatively easy, but how do you insert yourself into conversations on Twitter without coming off as “that guy?” You know the one–”that guy” everyone is pretty sure wasn’t actually invited to the party and didn’t even bring anything to share, but happens to jump from group to group, interrupting conversations with his own commentary and eating too many chips and salsa. No, we don’t want to be that guy and neither should you.

Where to Find The Right Conversations to Join

Twitter can be a very saturated platform–so much so that it can be difficult to find the right conversations by the right individuals. Here are a few places you can look:

  • Through Advanced Search. Remember that rabbit hole we talked about above? Take advantage of the conversations you’ve discovered through your specific search queries.
  • Through your newsfeed or lists. If you’ve taken the time to follow targeted users, your newsfeed will be rife with opportunities to engage. If you’ve created specific lists, whether through SocialRank or on your own, you will have a much shorter feed to scroll through and you can trust that the conversations there will be worth your time more.
  • Twitterchats. These are an excellent way to have meaningful discussions (see below).

How to Jump Into Conversations

Now that you’ve discovered some interesting conversations, it’s time to use your voice and dive right in. Avoid making a fool of yourself by engaging using one of these tactics:

  • Say something complimentary. People love being affirmed, especially out of the blue from a brand! Make a positive impression.
  • Ask a question. This shows your interest in what they have to say and continues a conversation that could lead to so much more.
  • Retweet with some additional commentary–perhaps a question or a compliment.
  • Add a picture. Sometimes a gif or a meme says it all so perfectly. Don’t be afraid to chime in with a relevant, funny, and tasteful picture.
  • Express your gratitude. Thank them for their great blog post, their insight, their ability to brighten your day–whatever, so long as you are genuine about it!

To keep conversations flowing, follow-up with another tactic on this list.

UpContent Twitter Conversation

Navigate Twitter Chats (Like a Boss)

As mentioned above, Twitter chats are extremely valuable for connecting with individuals. If you aren’t familiar with what a Twitter chat is, it is when a group of Twitter users meet at a predetermined time to discuss a certain topic using a designated hashtag for each tweet contributed. The host will ask a question, usually prefered with a Q1, Q2, etc. and participants will tweet their answers with an A1, A2, etc.

Basically, a Twitter chat is like walking into a big theme party and breaking into small groups of people to mingle and chat. It’s a more social and relaxed networking event that needs very little or no preparation in order to be successful.

Why You Should Invest Your Time in Twitter Chats

Not only are Twitter chats fun, but they’re also really effective. Here’s why:

  • You find and connect with people or prospects that have a shared, vested interest in the same things you do. No wasting time on people who don’t care.
  • You can spread the word quickly and easily about what you do and what you believe, making for timely brand awareness. Because Twitter chats rely solely on human interaction, your personality shows and that’s what sells.
  • You can get market feedback and participate in social listening. Instead of guessing what the market wants, you can ask and glean from conversations.

Have we convinced you to give Twitter chats a try yet? If you’re ready to give it a go, the good news is that there are Twitter chats for nearly every industry. You can find Twitter chats by completing a simple Google search, visiting sites like Chat Salad and Tweet Reports, or by paying close attention to your newsfeed. After all, you should go where your following hangs out to continue to nurture those relationships.

If you plan on participating in a Twitter chat, you will want to check out a few resources to save your sanity. Twitter chats move FAST, especially when there are a lot of participants. We recommend using a platform like TweetdeckHootsuite, or Tweetchat where you can input the hashtag and watch the feed live. We also like to keep another tab open with the host’s Twitter profile open because sometimes the questions can get lost in the live feed. That way we’re always replying to questions in a timely fashion, while maintaining our side conversations in Tweetdeck.

We shared some advantageous tips and tricks on navigating through a Twitter chat, but our biggest tip to share is to focus on making connections with 1-3 people throughout the chat; otherwise, you’ll spread yourself too thin.

Use Your Voice

While you may be using Twitter for your brand, remember that it’s a conversation, not a business pitch. You should always be true to your personality while being cognizant of how you are coming across online. Be you, but don’t get crazy.

Here are a few ways to convey your personality and stand out:

  • Stay positive. Refrain from passive aggressive subtweets.
  • When replying to others, use their name. There is so much power in personalization! If you are using a brand handle, try to sign your tweets with your name so people feel like they are talking to a human.
  • Mix it up and use emojis, memes, gifs, and pictures.
  • Don’t be afraid to share what you love. Not everything has to be a part of your sales funnel. In fact, it shouldn’t be all about that.
  • Most importantly, be generous. Retweet others, share links, give encouragement, and be humble.

Martin Lieberman, an active participant of Twitter chats, summed it up perfectly during #SproutChat: “Be the kind of person you want to follow. It’s just that simple. Model the right behavior.”

Think about the kind of person or brand you want to be. Be that person on Twitter and the right community will form.

Even if you cannot implement all of the strategies listed above at one time, being intentional with your activity on Twitter will be well worth the effort. Pick one or two areas to focus on each month and let us know your results! Send us a tweet or shoot us an email!

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