Twitter Chats and Hashtags: 5 Strategic Ways To Increase Twitter Engagement
Due to the visual nature of the platform, Facebook engagement can be a bit easier than some others. Google+, Pinterest and Twitter have their own qualities that make them special for engagement. Today we'll focus on Twitter.
As each network operates in its own fashion, it is important to understand each network before you jump in. By knowing your audience and the audience of each network you will be more successful in the long run. Just like you wouldn't show up to a black-tie event in a bathing suit, you shouldn't arrive on Twitter with a Facebook mentality. Knowing the personality of each network is going to be a huge head start for you, so take the time to get to know each network for what it's worth.
While these networks differ in many ways, they do have in one thing in common: they are all a two-way street. This means that if you want to be successful, you will have to pull and push. Pull the users in to your conversation, and push yourself into theirs. No one respects a strictly self-promotional brand on any of these networks.
If you want your followers to be engaged, then you, as a brand, must be engaged as well. Don't forget that by increasing engagement, you will also be increasing your reach and following.
With that said, let's jump right in to increasing your engagement on Twitter.
Twitter is a beast, and when I say that, I mean it in a positive way. It is a giant with a constant stream of information. Many people flock to Twitter with the mindset that they can just post strictly about themselves. This is not true. You need to come up with a Twitter strategy. In my experience, the best Twitter content strategy is one that is well rounded and includes a mix of sharing information about your brand, your founders, your products, your industry (that includes sharing informational articles/pictures/videos), conversations about your fans, reviews, and responses to your fans.
Because Twitter is so heavily flooded, it presents an opportunity as well as a challenge, because so many people are using twitter to share content, reviews, and rants. Watch out for the rants as many people use Twitter as a customer service tool, and they expect you to respond. The challenge for many marketers and brands is breaking through the noise and being heard.
Many of the same rules for Facebook engagement apply to Twitter. Ask questions and respond to questions/comments/concerns, and engage in social listening. Look at conversations as an opportunity to be heard and join in. Besides these similarities you can also be doing a few more things to increase engagement.
1. Join or Host a Twitter Chat
Twitter chats are weekly events that happen on Twitter in pretty much every industry. A Twitter chat is a series of questions in which a lot of people respond using the designated hashtag. Each week the questions change. Twitter chats are generally moderated by someone with a lot of followers, and these folks are good to get to know. Sometimes they are collaborative and you can submit a question to be asked during the chat.
There are fashion chats, food chats, travel chats, PR chats, HR chats, and pretty much everything else you can think of. There are B2B chats that you can participate in to grow your partnerships. But as a brand you don't have to limit yourself to B2B chats. Find one that you have a wealth of knowledge in and start talking. The people who are involved are likely going to be your audience or competitors. You can follow along by searching the hashtag and respond to people whose answer you can relate to. By doing so, you just opened yourself up to a new conversation and perhaps a new follower.
Twitter chats are also good for finding people who are interested in the type of stuff you might sell. If you are a travel agent, Travel Tuesday is a direct hit for you. You can do a Twitter chat search on Google and should be able to find one that fits your industry. Don't forget to cross promote it on your other social networks.
Once you build a following you can event start your own Twitter chat. If you do, make sure you let me know so I can join in. And of course follow me on my personal account here and our ConvertWithContent account here.
2. Follow Hashtags
Hashtags are a means of searching different conversations on Twitter. There is a hashtag for just about everything. You see them on Facebook, Pinterest, G+ and Instagram. People love hashtags. You can start searching for them and communicating with the original tweeter to start a conversation. If you are an interior designer you might want to follow #interiordesign. You will notice that there is a lot of fluff out there but you will be able to find some interesting conversations and jump in.
You can also use hashtags so that people can find you easily. #foodporn is always a good one. #socialmedia #sm represents a social media conversation.
3. Stream Your Twitter Feed on Facebook
Facebook has a tool that allows you to stream your Twitter stream on your Facebook page via tabs or on your timeline. You can decide which works best for you. If you have a large Facebook following, but not such a large Twitter following, you might want to stream it on your timeline so that your fans are aware of your Twitter page. For this to be successful you need to have a different Facebook content strategy than Twitter. If you share the same content on Twitter as you do on Facebook there is no incentive for the fan to also follow you on Twitter. If these two content streams are different, then Facebook users will see that they are missing out on a lot of interesting stuff you are sharing on Twitter and might want to follow you there as well.
Twitter is also unique because you can share more content. While Facebook users tend to get annoyed at an overflow of content, Twitter users are a little more accepting. Just make sure you try to space it out a bit. You can schedule tweets in advance using Hootsuite (my preferred scheduler) so that you are hitting news feeds at different times. This is also important because people tend to be on Twitter at different times.
4. Live Tweet
I love live tweeting. It is a way to get real-time content out there of something that is happening NOW. It's the power of now at its finest. Live tweeting usually happens at conferences or events and there is usually a hashtag that goes along with it. But it doesn't need to stop there. You can live tweet a business meeting to give your followers an inside look at your company culture. You can live tweet a fashion show at your store. You can live tweet pretty much anything. Just make sure it is worth it. When live tweeting, make sure you include some photos here and there, as this makes it more real.
5. Participate in Daily Trends
There are some pretty big trends happening on the Internet and it is definitely something you should be taking advantage of. Here is a list of some daily trends I know of:
Monday - #MeatlessMonday
Tuesday - #TravelTuesday
Wednesday - #WineWednesday (#WW)
Thursday - #ThrowbackThursday (#tbt) -- This one is huge and really fun!
Friday - #FlashbackFriday, #FollowFriday
By sharing content that is relevant on Twitter, you are going to get some views that you would not get otherwise. It also shows that you are a hip and social brand.
Do you know of any other daily trends? Why do you love using Twitter for your business? How do you engage with your customers and followers on Twitter? Let me know in the comments.
Stephanie Frasco is a leading social media consultant and author. Over the past 7 years, she's worked closely with clients from all over the world to help them get more results from social media and blogging. Through experience, Stephanie has mastered some of the most powerful social media websites. Download her engagement report.
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