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Do you remember to tweet regularly? How about to open conversations, reply to tweets, mentions or share multimedia? Twitter now has over 300 million active users sending out a mind-boggling 500 million tweets every single day and that adds up to a lot of noise.

Instead of being just another unremarkable voice humming along, here’s a reminder of the things you can start doing differently to improve the engagement with you and your brand.

Being conversational

Twitter got most of its momentum by enabling short, real-time conversations people dropped in and out of; a lot like a hop-on, hop-off city bus. This meant that people stayed on the platform and came back to it to be social. Much like other social networks, as Twitter has grown and people started seeing it as an opportunity to boost brand visibility, the conversations started turning into broadcasts.

It’s getting increasingly harder to find real conversations taking place and, to my surprise, brands that are conversational on other social media networks seem to mostly broadcast on Twitter….and what big brands tend to do, smaller businesses and personal brands tend to follow.

When we think about being conversational, we assume that the best way to go about it is to ask questions. Well, not necessarily.

Most of the time, making a powerful statement does much more to spark a conversation than a question would. Not only does it position you and/ or your brand as someone with something to say, rather than a mouthpiece for someone else’s ideas but a strong statement will get people talking much more than a “guess what” will.

When it comes to being conversational on Twitter, news channels and agencies tend do a much better job than brands. Which can seem a smidge weird when you think about the fact that broadcasts are at the core of what they do.

One of the main reasons they do so well in terms of conversations is because they talk about what people care about right now. They’re always banking on current topics of interest and they understand really well what their audience is interested in. So, when looking for inspiration on how to be more conversational on Twitter – look at what news channels and agencies are doing.

Telling people who you are

If you met someone in real life, let’s say at a conference, you would’t recite a series of technologies you work with or concepts that are part of your job, right? You’d say something like “Hi, I’m Bob and I work in Sales for so-and-so and I think your talk on whatever was really interesting and I’d like to ask you more about this topic.

So you’re telling them who you are, what you do, building a connection through something you have in common (the talk) and driving better engagement by asking them to share more. All this common sense somehow flies out the window on social media, including on Twitter.

In his profile, Canva’s Chief Evangelist, Guy Kawasaki does a great job outlining who he is, what he does and what you’re in for if you follow him. It’s not unlike the information you’d get if you met him in person, even though it’s adapted to an audience reading it on social media.

So, when introducing yourself through your bio, be very clear about who you are and what you do ( please don’t say you’re a guru), use one, maybe two hashtags relevant to you, a link to one other associated account and links to your website, blog or portfolio.

There’s more to an audience than following

Many people believe that being successful on social media means having loads of followers, buckets of likes and driving lots of traffic so they’re very focused on driving up the number of followers hoping everything else will follow suite.

If you walk into a room and don’t talk to anyone, just follow people around, would you be someone they’d want to talk to or run away from because you’re kinda creepy? The same applies online. Following people randomly doesn’t guarantee you a growing audience and it might actually earn you a very passive one, for whom you’re just another number they ignore in a list they only go through to unfollow.

If reach is what you’re after, you don’t have to stalk people to do it. You can, instead, invest your energy in discovering the conversations about your brand or topics relevant to it and join them. This gives you the opportunity to follow the people who are engaging and follow you back because they, in turn, care about what you and your brand have to say.

Lists are also a great way to participate without pressing the follow button until it hurts. I encourage you to build your own, as well as follow public ones, as it makes it easier to engage with your audience without having to scroll through your newsfeed for hours. It’s also particularly useful when you want to engage with Twitter power users, as they share a lot and can quickly drown out your newsfeed.

There’s no media like multimedia

Time and time again, we’ve seen that pictures and videos are a great way to make sure a message sinks in so we’ve started investing time and budget into building multimedia. Yet some aren’t seeing too much return on their investment.

One reason, which we’ll be discussing in an upcoming post, is because the visuals themselves are poor, either in terms of concept, execution or both. Another is because there’s more to multimedia than just dropping it on Twitter…or Instagram, LinkedIn and Facebook, for that matter.

Sharing multimedia on social networks has the added bonus of being able to tag people in them, which improves reach and makes said piece of content relevant for their own followers.

From simple photos and videos to much more creative visual snippets, multimedia can drive a lot of engagement, as is the case with this post from Singapore Airlines. So you can use, re-use, slice and collate the multimedia that you have in a multitude of ways which can enable you to communicate and engage with your audience.

The Bottom Line

Twitter continues to be a great social network for real-time conversations, as well as a solid source of traffic for your website. But both visibility and engagement will be a struggle unless we learn to build audiences not just increase the number of our followers and, most importantly, drive conversations through valuable content. Whether you become a number in someone’s list or a true influencer, is entirely up to you.

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