Twitter is arguably one of the fastest moving social media channels at the moment, with 500 million tweets being sent each day. It’s the easiest way to keep up with current events across the globe, no matter where you are. In fact, in 2019, a study by Ofcom found that half the population of the UK (49%) use social media as a method of accessing news. This figure rises to 55% for Americans (Pew Research Center) and, with Twitter’s rapidly changing newsfeed, this is one of the best platforms to access a constant stream of news. So, in a landscape where everyone, particularly companies and businesses that are household names, are trying to take advantage of this platform, how do you stand out and work at increasing Twitter engagement for your business?
Over the past year, the median engagement rate on Twitter has remained fairly stagnant. On average, across industries, it receives an engagement rate of around 0.045%, this is considerably lower than Facebook (0.09%) and Instagram (1.22%).
Facebook leads the way as the most popular social channel and, combined with its easy to use ads manager, it’s not surprising that it’s many businesses go to platform. Instagram has been going from strength to strength since it’s acquisition by Facebook in 2012, however, it's median engagement took a big hit going into 2020; with the median engagement rate decreasing by 23% from 2019's figure (1.60%). Despite this, Instagram has maintained its position as the platform that rakes in the most engagement; coupled with the fact that Instagram shares its ad network with Facebook, it’s easy to see why Twitter might be chasing at their coattails.
Whether it’s an oversaturation or an ineffective algorithm, there’s no denying that Twitter is lacking in the engagement department. However, it’s still a fantastic social media platform if you know how to make the most of it and appreciate how audiences use it. In fact, in 2010 Twitter announced that they don’t even refer to the platform as a social media channel but rather a content or information platform.
“Twitter is for news. Twitter is for content. Twitter is for information.”
- Kevin Thau, VP for Corporate Development, Twitter (2010)
In this blog, we’ll chat through some top tips for increasing Twitter engagement, starting with…
Optimising and keeping the basics in mind
A lot of your links will (and should) lead to your website. So, the condition of your website should be ideal for those potential visitors. 80% of Twitter users access the platform through their smartphone, so keeping everything mobile friendly is imperative. If your website doesn’t work on a mobile, it’s likely that potential visitors will be closing the window and forgetting about you.
Following on from this, the average internet user is an impatient being, with any loading time over two seconds being much too long a wait. Ensure that your web pages load quickly and if they don’t, work on ways to remedy this. Take a look at our blog on tackling block rendering here and also this blog, which focuses particularly on imagery use on websites and how it can impact your loading time. If you want to test your own loading time, try this tool from Google. It may sound like a small issue, but the ease of use and convenience of a website has a huge impact on how your website performs in terms of visitors, which leads us on to our next point.
Accessibility on your website must be considered. No visitor likes a website that’s hard to navigate or unpredictable when loading. Keep your web host reliable and your website design as easy to use as you can. Try having an outsider navigate your website and take notes on it usability as a lesson in it’s strengths and weaknesses, from there you can work on any changes that might need to be made (these can be as simple as adjusting your terminology so that it is less internal in focus, restructuring content, changing navigation aids, etc). These are the foundations of success.
It goes without saying that increasing Twitter engagement means your content has to be “click-worthy”, whether that’s on a link, the play button on a video or a retweet, you want people to interact with your content. Each tweet gives you 280 characters to play with and that isn’t an awful lot. To be successful on Twitter you have to be creative and smart. Don’t oversaturate your content with things that distract from the actual objective of your tweet. If you have a link that you want people to click on, don’t include other links in the tweet. One tweet = one link. Include relevant calls to action (CTA’s), if there’s something, in particular, you want your followers to do, ask them to do it. “Like and Retweet this tweet to enter the competition!”, “Follow us for more information on…”, “Click on the link to check out the blog!”. Use actionable wording to encourage people to do more with your content - if you don’t ask, you don’t get!
Thankfully, Twitter allows you to retweet or quote a tweet with your own content. This means you can reshare important things, without spamming your followers with the same content over and over again. Although it is good to repurpose content (putting out the same link or copy with a varying factor), repeatedly sharing the exact same content is likely to result in lethargy or, worse, an unfollow. Instead, make use of the retweet and quote tweet function to remind people about the content when you need to. If you do want to use the same link several times, ensure that there are variants changed each time, like the copy, the hashtags used or the imagery.
On the note of hashtags, remember these are a great tool for reaching more people outwith your following. From trending hashtags to weekly staples, Twitter really does monopolise on hashtagging. And, there are several options available when it comes to making the most of hashtags. Keep an eye on trending hashtags, these are shown on the side of your newsfeed and can vary from place to place. You can change the location to suit the place you’re targeting and if you’re a global or even UK wide company (like us), you can keep track of what’s happening in all your locations. For notable days like #MothersDay or #IWD (International Women’s Day), make sure the content you are creating has a purpose and will stand out amongst the countless other posts. It’s easy to jump on a hashtag and chuck in a tweet, but it’s harder to make that hashtag yours.
You can also keep track of hashtags pertaining to your industry by using tools like Brand Mentions' Hashtag Tracker or Hashtagify. Hashtagify is a great tool that lets you see all the most popular hashtags for your industry, depending on what word or phrase your tweet is focused on, and from there you can intelligently use hashtags in your content to reach the right people. Try it now, just hop on and type in a keyword or phrase that you would like to be noticed for and watch all the right hashtags be delivered straight to you, like what we have done below with ‘digital transformation’.
A final comment on hashtags is to remember that you can invent them if you want to as well. If you’re hosting an event, a conference, a party or a talk, remember you can create new hashtags. This is a great way to get the audience more involved, create your own space on the platform for a little while, raise awareness of your event and your brand. It also allows everyone involved in the event to communicate and collaborate with one another in one feed. So, next time you’re hosting something of note, come up with a hashtag (you should check Twitter to see if anyone is already using it first and, if so, look at alternatives) and distribute it around the attendees, get everyone online and shouting about your event.
Remember to link up the physical and digital - if you’re running an event with a hashtag make sure it’s visible throughout and around the event, encouraging people to engage in that space.
Make the most of the features at hand
Twitter has loads of great features that you can make the most of and use to increase engagement. Check out our list below and get familiar with what they are and what they do.
- Tagging - We’ll start with the basics. As obvious as it seems tagging is a great function. It allows you to notify people when you are mentioning them on your account, leading to a higher possibility of engagement on their part, but it also shows that you’re involved with other people and brands besides your own. This goes both ways, when people tag and engage with you, be sure to return the favour. This creates an openness that will make your company seem more personable and approachable, which is never a bad thing.
- Analytics - All social media platforms have an analytics function that allows you to see which tweets have been more successful and at what times of day your followers are most active. Use this to tailor content and put it out at certain times, creating more opportunity for increasing twitter engagement.
- Lists - an often overlooked feature that allows you to curate Twitter accounts into lists, meaning you can access custom feeds populated only by their content. This can be useful if you’re looking to focus in on particular topics or want to engage specifically with collect groups of people.
- Polls - This is a bit more of a fun feature, but it’s a great way to get people engaged with your content. You’re asking a question and specifically for their answer and input, which means people are more likely to click that vote button, but be sure not to overdo it with this function. Use it when you have something interesting or entertaining to gain input for from others.
- Gifs - What started off as a bit of fun has become a social media staple. Whether you’re a regular individual or a massive corporation, there’s barely anyone who doesn’t use gifs online nowadays. Make use of them where you can, they’re especially great when communicating with customers or other brands, adding a little lightheartedness to anything you tweet and catching users’ eyes as they scroll through their feed.
- Twitter cards - Twitter cards aren’t used as often as they could be. They are easy to create and fully customisable, essentially allowing you to create a large link that looks exactly how you would want it to. They can also be used with gifs and short videos as well, giving you a super eye-catching link with all the right copy.
- Fleets (maybe?) - In early March, Twitter announced its plan to test its own version of 'Stories' in Brazil – a 'Fleet' is a tweet that will disappear after 24 hours and be viewed directly on a user's Twitter profile, not in the public feed. As we said, it's currently in the testing phase and will be so for a few months before Twitter decides to roll it out globally, however this could be another potential feature to harness in the future. Like Instagram Stories, which are after used to give a more 'raw', behind-the-scenes glance at companies and influencers, Fleets could be another way to engage more with your audience.
Create engaging content
It’s all well and good using gifs and Twitter cards but you need to have the copy and the other content to back it up. Keep your content short and to the point, like we said, you only have 280 characters and what you say in that space has to pack a punch. A great way of doing this is to utilise some positive user-generated content, reviews with the right type of media are a great asset on Twitter. Everyone trusts the review of the person that came before them, so take some time to browse TrustPilot or TripAdvisor and collect your best reviews to sprinkle all over that Twitter newsfeed.
As we have said media, like videos and gifs, are one of the best ways of increasing Twitter engagement but there are some things to keep in mind. Images should be sized correctly, this will result in a tidy timeline of content and just generally keeps things looking more aesthetically pleasing and professional. Take a look at this blog to get more tips on how to use images appropriately on social media. You can also check out this handy guide by Ad Jelly for a little more insight into the right sizing for each social platform.
When using video content, it’s always tempting to just paste in a link to a YouTube video and while this isn’t terrible, all video content on social media generally performs better by being uploaded to the platforms native video player, as it allows it to autoplay as people scroll past. In fact tweets with native Twitter videos get 10x more engagement than those that don't – so, adding that little extra something could help you rake in the likes and retweets. However, Twitter videos can be no longer than 140 seconds, with an aspect ratio of 1.2:1 and a maximum size of 15MB, it might be a little hassle to get it right but an increase in engagement will be worth it!
A final tip
It’s a lot of information to take in, but in time it will become second nature to juggle all these requirements on social media. A way to make it easier, however, is to invest in some social media scheduling software, like Sprout Social or Hootsuite. From this one web page or app, you can schedule content far in advance, engage with your followers and share content across multiple accounts and platforms. It’s a great tool to have at hand, especially if you are working with several platforms or accounts at once, and it allows you to schedule content for those crucial times each day when your followers all jump onto their favourite social media platform to kill some time (our money is on their lunch break). They can cost money, but many have a free option that allows limited access or use, this is a great way to test it out before you make your decision.
So, while Twitter may not be giving you the engagement figures you’re used to elsewhere, why not use this checklist to see if you can’t turn your Twitter engagement around? It’s never too late to really drill down that social media strategy!