Daily reminder: reply/retweet others for 5 mins. Nothing about u. Interact, engage, build.@unmarketing (Scott Stratten)
Whenever this daily reminder from Scott (@unmarketing) appears in my twitterstream it makes me smile. Scott’s new tagline is ‘Stop Marketing, Start Engaging’ and businesses and individuals would do well to take both this daily reminder and Scott’s tagline directive to heart. While I completely accept that Twitter is open to be used by anyone in any way that they so choose, the simple fact is that the majority of twitter users would benefit from directing their gaze outwards rather than in.
When I’m informed of a new follower one of the first things that I do is to check their twitterstream. Primarily, I’m checking out their content to see if I’m interested in what they have to say, but what I’m also very conscious of, and will often dictate whether I follow back, is their level of engagement with their community. I’m scanning for altruism.
So how do you tweet in such a way that you engage with your followers?
- Retweet often – If you discover a tweet that you think your followers will find interesting/relevant/funny/informative, don’t keep it to yourself. Pass it on! Most twitter desktop clients provide a retweet function, but if you’re tweeting from the web, simply write RT @username before copying & pasting the tweet you want to share into the update. A retweet should look like this: RT @btocher: Edinburgh Tweetup! Edinburgh Tweetup! Please RSVP here: http://twtvite.com/jqus8r However, you can also write out a retweet like this: How Friends are Born: Stranger > follow > @ > DM > FB > phone > meet > Friend (via @lisahickey).
- Connect using @ – Twitter is, of course, a platform from which you can promote your blog, your business, your brand; however, if you ensure you take the time to send replies you’ll find that a lot more people are willing to listen. Twitter isn’t a soapbox; it’s a space that facilitates communication, and as with all successful communication there has to be give & take. No one likes to talk to the person who is so focused on themselves that they refuse to engage with the other participants in the conversation. In fact, it’s a surefire way to alienate yourself and block your message.
- Answer questions – A frequent tweet that you’ll see often in the twittersphere is the open question. Twitter is a fantastic resources for information and others have claimed that the way in which it harnesses the knowledge of the crowd has the potential to compete with Google as a dynamic search engine. Now I’m not looking for a discussion on the wisdom of the crowds – that’s a post in itself! However, there is value in responding to questions looking for feedback, information, news or opinion as it strengthens original connections and promotes new ones.
- Attract attention for others – One of the most popular memes on Twitter currently is #followfriday. You can find out all about it here, but all you really need to know is that it’s a way of promoting some of your favourite tweeple. Now, there are as many ways to phrase your #followfriday tweet as there are ways to use Twitter itself, but the #followfriday tweets that I find the most effective are the kind where only one person is promoted, and it is accompanied with a few words explaining why others should follow that individual. For me, this appeals more than the #followfriday tweet that includes a whole raft of Twitter usernames. In fact, I prefer these kind of meme tweets so much that I’m going to be making a conscious attempt to only participate in #followfriday with those personalised tweets. I’ll report back to let you know how it goes!
- Become a connecter – If you’re anything like me, then you probably spend far too many hours surfing the net. Turn this to the advantage of your Twitter community by sending links to content that you think will be of direct interest to your followers. For example, if you are following someone who works in education and is interested in social media, send them a link to that post you just read about Twitter & Facebook in the classroom. Another way of performing this role is by connecting twitter users to each other. Know two poets that have yet to find each other on Twitter? Introduce them! By becoming a connecter you show others the value in connecting with you!
I’m sure these are just a few of the ways that we can turn our gaze outwards towards our online communities, and I would love to hear your thoughts on whether you think this is important/relevant to your use of Twitter & if it is, what tips can you offer to help others to engage and connect.
Blog Update – This is the first post of my new writing schedule – from now on I’ll be posting every Monday and Thursday. I’m really looking forward to sharing more of my ideas about social media, but if there’s anything in particular that you would like me to cover, please do get in touch, either here or on Twitter: @amypalko