Twitter has become an absolute necessity for brands looking to connect with their customers in an impactful way.
Recently, the MTV Video Music Awards drove an astonishing 18,495,883 tweets over the course of the event and at various points throughout the evening even garnered 306,100, 219,800, and 194,500 tweets per minute at different moments.
Was your brand active in real-time conversations surrounding the VMA’s? Is your Twitter account often active during publicized events? This is just one way of actively placing your brand in front of relevant conversations and adding your own unique perspective to the situation, bringing value to your audience and new visibility to your offerings.
There are approximately 195 million active Twitter users every month, which illustrates an unprecedented opportunity to reach your audience among this platform’s users.
Here is what it takes to optimize your brand’s tweets for more engagement, visibility, and followers in the long-term:
1. Participate in Real-Time Events
Like mentioned above, participating in mainstream events in real-time will help bolster the effectiveness of your Tweets, bringing your brand into relevant conversations and helping to improve your reach across Twitter. This could entail attending an event like a sports game or an awards show, watching a TV premiere, or another form of a live event.
Use Twitter during these events to add real time commentary that brings value and your expertise to the conversations around the experience. Use the event’s hashtag to ensure all of your tweets are further associated with what’s happening at the event. Reach out to other commentators and players related to the event and active on Twitter to spur interesting conversations that further engage users to retweet and interact with your commentary.
Retweet the interesting tweets of others covering the event in the hopes of further connecting their analysis with your brand and driving engagement and followers to your account and conversations. Follow other influencers both big and small tweeting about the event as it happens to potentially connect with them in the future to expand your network.
During this year’s Super Bowl, Oreo took advantage of real time participation at events by releasing this ad on Twitter and Facebook in response to the power outage at the stadium a few minutes after it happened.
Oreo’s content received unprecedented engagement on both social networks, highlighting that relevant and timely interactions on Twitter is what resonates on the network.
2. Add Stunning Visuals When Possible
Visuals resonate far better than any other type of media shared on Twitter and across social media in general. When it comes to Twitter, tweets with image links tend to have engagement rates 2x higher than tweets without image links. Images are easy to add to your tweets through the Twitter website, mobile apps, and many other social media scheduling tools available to manage your tweets.
Add images to incorporate another layer of commentary with your tweets. Use the copy of your tweet to compliment the photo and vice versa. Look to create exclusive images for sharing on Twitter, but also feel free to use quality stock photography that fits the look, feel, and aesthetic of your brand.
3. Incorporate Vines
Video as a form of marketing is an effective method of connecting with an audience because your messaging can be spoken and seen dynamically, as opposed to just being read in text or viewed in an image. Begin using Twitter’s new video service Vine, to add even more value to the tweets you’re sharing with your followers.
Vine is a unique video platform that only allows for uploads of real-time videos clips, no longer than six seconds. These clips continue to loop after they are played until a user clicks on them to stop or decides to move along further in their feed. Create videos to incorporate in your tweets that educate, excite, and expand upon the topics you’re regularly tweeting.
General Electric recently ran a campaign on Twitter, called the 6 Second Science Fair that asked their Twitter and Vine followers to create a moment of science and share a Vine of it for the chance to be featured on their Tumblr page. This helped encourage their followers to share amazing content that was on brand and spread word of the campaign. General Electric uses their own Vines, as well as Vines generated by their followers to build a more comprehensive experience on Twitter with each and every tweet.
4. Tweets with Links & Hashtags Receive More Engagement
When tweeting with your audience it is important to vary the topics and the types of content you are tweeting. When tweeting about a variety of subjects make sure to always relate back to your voice, industry, expertise, and the overall subject areas you cover. One way of drawing more engagement with Twitter as a brand is by including links and hashtags.
According to Expanded Ramblings, tweets that contain links receive 86% higher retweet rates than tweets with no links, while tweets with hashtags receive 2x times more engagement than those without hashtags. Like the example from clothing retailer ASOS above, include links in your tweets that take your audience to your website, other social media channels, the content of others, or your own original content. Using links in your tweets can help drive traffic to your various web properties and ideally, increase on-site engagement.
Using hashtags in your tweets is important to help drive engagement and tie together different themes among your content. The use of hashtags is an art because it is easy to mess up, but when used correctly it can improve the quality of your conversations and make use of one of Twitter’s original unique features.
When tweeting with hashtags there are two approaches to take. The first is to add commonly used hashtags to your tweets that are used by many to categorize their tweets like #tbt, #ff, #love, #rewind etc. These types of hashtags can help when it comes to the natural discovery of your content by people searching those hashtags. The second approach is to create your own hashtags that are unique to your brand and its campaigns like what ASOS is doing with #ASOSSale or Cadbury’s new product focused hashtag #Crispello.
For more clarity on hashtags, Twitter put together this visual guide to choosing a hashtag appropriately.
5. Occasionally Ask Followers to Retweet
An often-underutilized technique for gaining more traction with your tweets is simply asking your followers to retweet your content. This approach to the way you tweet should be balanced with other types of tweets because once you start asking your audience to share your tweets too often, then this tip quickly loses its effectiveness and could hurt your credibility on Twitter.
Tweets that ask followers to retweet receive 12x times higher retweet rates than those that do not; yet less than 1% of brands implement this strategy regularly. There is a fear by many companies that this approach could come off as cheap or desperate but that can be avoided by asking for a retweet from your audience at the right time with some of your best content.
The approach to take when asking for a retweet is to wait until you’ve got an exceptional product, service, or piece of content to share with your audience. Plan to send out this tweet during one of the times your audience is most active and use it as a reminder, not as a demand.
6. Shorter Tweets Are More Engaging
Twitter already limits your tweets to 140 characters, but it is highly recommended that some of your tweets also be shorter than that. Analysis shows that tweets that contain less than 100 characters receive 17% higher engagement than longer form tweets.
Since your tweets are already limited in character count, don’t stress about this tip but look to incorporate it when possible to increase engagement and help build a larger following on Twitter. Keep in mind that these shorter tweets don’t have enough room to incorporate a link. Experiment with sending shorter tweets to see what works for your brand and what doesn’t.
7. Be Real, Witty, and Transparent
The most important tip for optimizing your tweets is to be authentic. When your tweets read as witty, from a real person’s voice, and transparent, they are more likely to resonate with your audience than would a robotic and fake approach to your tweets. A few brands use this approach to Twitter and it helps them to stand out above the chatter of the other millions of accounts active on the network.
This conversation between Taco Bell and Old Spice on Twitter was particularly witty, which resonated with both brand’s audiences and the Twitter community as a whole. The rule of thumb for this tip is to jump on interesting opportunities when you see them. Review how you’ll respond and take a leap of faith for a chance to stand out in front of Twitter in a meaningful way. One last thing to keep in mind when implementing this tip, always think and act like a person. If you model your behavior off of what a person would talk and act, then you’ve reached a good balance of safe and experimental with the type of messaging your sending on Twitter.
What tips or tricks have you discovered to boost the reach of your tweets? Have you tried any of the above techniques to engage your following? We’d love to hear your Twitter success stories in the comments below.
Updated November 17, 2017.