Effective Twitter Strategies to Grow Your Network

Effective Twitter strategies to grow your network - #TwitterSmarter chat with Kristin Smedley - November 7, 2019

Considering how versatile and instantaneous Twitter is as a social platform, there’s no one right way to build a Twitter strategy. What works for one person may not always work for another. That’s why it’s important to always be learning from other people’s experiences. You never know what great idea will strike during a brainstorming session. You’ll learn the various ways to approach engaging and marketing on Twitter.

So we invited speaker, author, podcaster, and founder of the Curing Retinal Blindness foundation, Kristin Smedley to talk to us a bit about Twitter strategies that’ve been effective to her so we can all learn and gain inspiration from her.

Here’s a summary of our chat.

Guest: Kristin Smedley
Topic: Effective Twitter Strategies to Grow Your Network
Format: Eight questions directed at the guest. Everyone’s welcome to share.

Q1: How do you decide what to talk about on Twitter?

What you share on Twitter depends on your audience and your personal interests. For example, our guest follows hashtags like #ThrivingBlind and #RareDisease. As a mother of two blind children and as the owner of a non-profit that strives to assist blind people, those topics matter most to her. And that’s where she contributes value to the community.

Following relevant hashtags and chats also gives you plenty of ideas to work with. As one of our members said, you can even use the questions as prompts to create more industry-relevant content.

Aside from participating in existing interactions around your topics, you can also create new conversations by sharing content you come across every day. Whether it’s a podcast, article, or your friend’s new venture, if you think it’ll be useful to your audience, then go ahead and share. Along the way, sprinkle in some of your own articles and content to give your audience a wide range of information.

Iso pointed out that you can also use trending hashtags in creative ways. Find a smaller, relevant, story within a big hashtag and talk about that. Add your own opinions on a trending situation to give it a different spin.

Q2: Can Twitter chats help you build your network in the long-term?

To this question, our chat exploded with a resounding yes! Even our first-timer, Alyssa, noticed the difference.


Of course, when you participate in a Twitter chat that’s relevant to your industry, and share your ideas about the topic, not only do you showcase your expertise but you also attract the right audience. You’ll immediately notice your network growing.

What’s more, your Twitter network is a solid community that you can transfer to your other social networks as well. For instance, as Chaim said, connect with your Twitter relationships on LinkedIn to find new ways to collaborate and share knowledge.

Q3: How can Twitter chats help you connect with people offline?

Twitter chats are breeding grounds for conversations around mutual interests. You’ll find thousands of people who care about the same things as you, and are willing to discuss and learn from each other both online and off.

Many of our #TwitterSmarter chat regulars met each other in real life during events. Rhianna from Olesco mentioned it too. Twitter chats are a great way to make friends and catch up with them afterwards.

Events are excellent meeting places, but there’re other ways to connect with people too. For example, if you’re in the same geographical area, or if you’re travelling and know someone living there, meet up for a quick cuppa. You can even meet them through tools like Zoom and Skype. Even though you’re technically still online, video calls take you as close as you can go to meeting in real life.

Gerry brought up an important point as well. In some cases, you can also first meet offline and then take the conversation online. This is particularly prevalent in trade shows and conferences, where you meet potential clients, explain your services, and then have them contact you though your website or social media.

Q4: How important are hashtags in growing your Twitter network?

Hashtags are golden. They’re special indicators that not only help you reach a large audience, but also find people who talk about the same things as you.

Maria put it well. She said hashtags are like a GPS. They guide users from Twitter all the way through to their final destination. It could ether be a blog post, a webinar, your website, or an ebook. Regardless of what you’re sharing, a hashtag will serve as your navigator.

All that said, it’s also crucial that you find the ideal hashtags. Not every hashtag or every trend will be relevant to your business and content. A good way to approach this is to experiment and observe how your audience is engaging with the various hashtags you use. Like Lance pointed out, some of them will perform well for your brand in general while some others may be more suitable for specific campaigns. Don’t be afraid to test and pivot.

Q5: What are some ways to leverage Twitter at events?

The most important thing to do if you’re attending an event is to get on Twitter and follow the official event hashtag well in advance.

Browse through speaker profiles to see whose content is most relevant to you. Then follow them on Twitter and start engaging. Observe their posts and be an active learner.

Then when you’re at the event, share insights from the various sessions you’re attending. Tweet quotes and tag the speaker, share slide images that your audience can get useful information from. Remember, when you’re attending an event, you’re there not only for yourself but also as a representative for your follower base. They’d expect you to share knowledge from the event, so don’t shy away from it.

Of course, all these applies to you if you’re a speaker as well. Make sure you’re connected with other speakers and people interested in attending your session. If it’s a registered session, you’ll already have a list of your audience. If it’s a manageably small crowd, find them on Twitter and try to learn more about what they’re expecting to hear from you.

And if you’re an event co-ordinator or organizer, don’t forget to create a relevant hashtag for the event. As Sarah said, a custom hashtag is a great way to stand out and to rally people around your event.

Q6: Why is video such a powerful way to communicate on Twitter?

We’re all visual people. And video is a great way to showcase your personality to an audience without limiting yourself.

Not only do you have more space to share your ideas, but you also get to explain your thought process in a clear way. You don’t have to clip your words just because you’re running out of characters.

And hey, a video is such an eye-grabber. In a feed scattered with large chunks of text, a video pops like cherry on an ice-cream.

It’s also worth remembering that videos work well during events too. As Janice suggested, you can use videos as a way to let your audience access the event even if they couldn’t be there in person.

As you think about using video, explore the Media Studio. As Madalyn explained, and demonstrates all the time, the media studio lets you add meta details and calls to action to your videos.

Q7: What are some important things to remember when making a Twitter video?

Kristin shared with us the three main questions you should ask yourself before making a video on Twitter.

  1. Why are you making the video?
  2. What do yo want your viewers to take away from your video?
  3. Who is your audience?

A couple of our community members mentioned accessibility issues. Most people access Twitter when they’re commuting or in a public space. Have closed captions so your audience can enjoy your video even without sound.

Work within Twitter’s maximum limitations. As Caitlin pointed out, you get a maximum of 2 minutes and 20 seconds on Twitter video. Make sure you deliver your message in an optimally, and in a way that’s relatable. However, remember that 2 minutes is still a long time for Twitter. Most users don’t like watching such lengthy videos on Twitter. Experiment and find the ideal length.


Chris also pointed out some useful things to remember, like being consistent with your brand’s voice, ensuring that you’re in a proper setting without background distractions, and getting explicit permission from participants in your video.

Here’s a great example from Madalyn about using videos in creative ways to promote other types of content. Not only is the video directly promoting her podcast, but it also gives us a preview of the content and Madalyn’s personality.

Q8: What are your top Twitter resources?

Like most of our community members, our guest uses Canva to create images. She also vouches for Typorama to add text on her images.

If you’re making videos on a regular basis, consider investing in mini tripods for your mobile phone and tablets. It’s a little thing, but goes a long way in helping your videos come out nice and shake-free.

And if you’re a full-fledged blogger, or have a website with a blog you publish regularly, add the ClickToTweet plugin to your posts. It makes people want to share your content even as they read through the post. Plus, as soon as someone clicks on the option to share, the content is pre-filled into the Twitter compose box. They don’t even need to type out the tweet, if they don’t want to.

Bernie mentioned a bunch of tools and resources he regularly uses. For example, Quora and Feedly are great to expand your knowledge, not just about Twitter but also about using social media in general. They’re helpful in curating content from various sources as well.

Here’re a few other resources our community members use:

  • Hootsuite for scheduling and listening
  • Asana to manage a content calendar
  • AnswerThePublic for inspiration
  • Hootsuite Amplify for employee advocacy
  • Buffer for scheduling
  • Twitter’s native analytics
  • Search engine results
  • Twitter’s advanced search
  • Falcon for social media tracking
  • Podcasts and webinars
  • Twitter official resources
  • Twitter chats and community knowledge

That’s all for this week, folks. Thanks for reading, and if you’d like to see more from our chat, check out this Twitter Moment that Joana put together.

If you have some time to spare on Thursday, join us for the next #TwitterSmarter chat at 1pm ET.

About me, Narmadhaa:

I’m a writer of all things—technical and marketing copy to fill the pocket; haiku and short stories to fill the soul. A social media enthusiast, I’m a member of the #TwitterSmarter chat crew, and always happy to take on writing gigs.

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