Twitter – it’s all about engagement!

Twitter can be used in a number of different ways and it’s great to see people and companies innovate using the microblogging site.

Frank Eliason at Comcast (who has since moved on to Citi) and Richard Binhammer at Dell have led the way by using Twitter as a customer service platform, responding to customer complaints and even seeking out issues that can be resolved. Coffee Groundz, on the other hand, use Twitter as an ordering service, where customers can tweet in their coffee order and have it ready for them in advance to pick up.

Although other companies are successfully* using Twitter as curation or information networks (where they gain large followings by becoming expert sources of information on particular subjects), they often follow very few people back, which is something that I believe goes against the natural ethos of what Twitter is about.

Liz Strauss is a perfect example of someone who uses Twitter very well for curating and aggregating interesting pieces of information, but also as a networking and communication tool. Take a look at Liz’s Twitter page and in addition to all the inspirational posts and links you’ll see a long list replies to others that are responding to what Liz has tweeted about or simply getting in touch to say hello.

Liz Strauss is an expert networker and someone who successfully builds professional networks. And Liz is also someone who really understands what Twitter is about – engagement.

All those replies and retweets show how Liz responds and interacts with her Twitter network. Twitter shouldn’t be used solely as a broadcasting platform but as a communication channel where dialogue and conversations can be fostered and developed. Only by doing this can you begin to build credibility and be seen by others as someone who is willing to share and contribute to the community.

But what else should you be doing to build a genuine, thought-provoking and engaging Twitter presence:

Be consistent

However you choose to use Twitter as part of your brand’s online marketing presence, make a plan and stick to it. Engagement is key and it’s important to show up and join in the conversation on a regular basis. Don’t leave it days, weeks or even months between updates.

If you do decide to create an information or curation network then make this clear in the bio so that people don’t get frustrated when they reply or mention you and receive no response.

Don’t ramble on!

Showing up and participating is essential, but don’t tweet so much that you frustrate your followers! You’ll clog up their timelines and they’ll end up un-following you.

It’s also important not to labour the point regarding a particular issue  or subject matter that happens to be on your mind. By all means tweet about it, but know when to let it go!

Mix & match

Try not to tweet the same type of message over and over – it gets boring!  Even if you work in a relatively unglamorous industry (e.g. a housing association or communications provider), not all of the tweets need to be strictly ‘professional’ and on subject all the time. Have fun every once in a while and tweet about local events, charitable causes, interesting news stories and even the weather. This will help provide your brand with a ‘human’ voice and encourage interaction from the community.

Take an interest

Engagement also involves taking a genuine intrest in what others are doing. Check out what your followers are tweeting about and respond and comment or simply retweet. It’s surprising how simple gestures like this can really make someone’s day. And imagine how delighted one of your customers might feel!

Be interesting!

Whatever your line of business is, try and make your tweets interesting. Just look at what Home Depot is doing on Twitter. They post a variety of different tweets – linked to interesting blog posts and forums – relevant to their target market (DIY), as well as responding and conversing with followers.

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* For the record, some companies don’t use Twitter as an information network as well as others. Even if they don’t follow many people back, it’s still good manners and basic customer service to respond/react to mentions or questions!


4 Responses to “Twitter – it’s all about engagement!”

  1. marketingsara Says:

    I have a strong name as “marketingsara” seeing as to how I know so little about social media like twitter. Thanks for the tips. I’m now following Liz Stauss and never knew that businesses were using twitter as a medium to customer complaints and orders. I merely thought twitter was for voice a thought here and there.

    • Gavin Llewellyn Says:

      Hey Sara, thanks a lot for ‘liking’ my post, leaving a comment AND subscribing – you’ve really made my day!

      It’s amazing what some people and companies are doing with Twitter. But the constant between them all (the good ones anyway!) is that they all have a willingness to share and a dedication to offering help (I stole that line from Brian Solis, someone else you should definitely follow – he’s a social media legend!).

      I’m very pleased you found my tips useful. If you’d like any other advice please let me know as I’d be more than happy to help.

      By the way, I’ve checked out your blog. Only one post but hopefully many more to come!

  2. Terri Johnson Says:

    I am new to Twitter and agree about it being a two way street. I love to see what other folks with shared interests are up to as much as I want them to visit my Blog and enjoy themselves.
    I learn so much from other people just by following their tweets to their webpage/blog, like this.
    keep up the great articles!

    • Gavin Llewellyn Says:

      Hi Terri

      First of all, I’d like to say ‘thanks’ for taking the time to read my tweet and then check out my blog and this post. I’m really pleased you liked the article and I’m even happier to know that it might have helped you in some way.

      People use Twitter in all sorts of ways but I think it’s most effective when, like you say, it is a two way street and you join in and connect with others (just like we’ve done here!).

      Although I’ve been using Twitter now for just over 2 years I’m still learning an awful lot from others every time I log in.

      I hope you continue to learn good things from everyone and it continues to go well for you.

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