Engaging Thoughtfully on Twitter

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When talking about social media engagement, many people talk about the value of being authentic. We do too. It’s crucial for a brand, personal or otherwise, to be real and themselves. However, one of the best ways to be authentic is to be thoughtful—of what you say and who you say it to. This week on our #TwitterSmarter chat, we wanted to explore how we can all be more thoughtful when we engage on Twitter. We invited freelance writer and #TwitterSmarter regular, Masooma Memon, to discuss thoughtfulness. Here’s a summary of our chat.

Guest: Masooma Memon
Topic: Engaging thoughtfully on Twitter
Format: Eight questions directed at the guest. Everyone’s welcome to share.

Q1: What do you mean by engaging thoughtfully on Twitter?

Engaging thoughtfully means that when you see a post, you don’t jump into a response right away, but take the time to actively engage with that post. This refers to understanding the original poster’s perspective so that you can contribute to that conversation meaningfully and respectfully. In other words, engaging thoughtfully is making a conscious effort to expand a discussion rather than add to the noise.

You should also be thoughtful about the person you’re responding to. As Chris said, this means you’re empathetic to everyone in that conversation and you treat them with the same respect you want them to treat you with.

Q2: What happens when you don’t engage thoughtfully?

If you’re not engaging thoughtfully, you’re not getting the most out of the platform. You’re not making a good impression on people, and as a result, you’re not cultivating any lasting relationships.

As Christine added, if you’re not engaging thoughtfully, it comes across as being overly-planned, churning out canned responses. You won’t resonate with your audience.

Q3: Does engaging thoughtfully apply only when replying to others’ tweets?

Not at all. Engaging thoughtfully is not a single action, but a choice of being on Twitter. It’s not a diet; it’s a lifestyle. So whether you’re quote-retweeting, replying to others, discussing a topic on Twitter chats or Spaces, or even responding to people on direct messages, practice thoughtfulness and be aware of how you’re interacting with people.

Our friends from GiveWP spoke of something we don’t think too much about. Likes. Sure, we see a snappy video or meme that we think is good, so we like it and move on. However, with Twitter’s current algorithm, even your likes will show up on other people’s feeds. That’s why it’s important to be cognizant of what you’re liking on Twitter and what sort of message that’d send to your audience. That’s not to say you should like tweets just because they make you look good. By all means, be authentic. But also careful.

Q4: What are some ways to engage better on Twitter?

Be social. That’s what so many people forget to do when they join social media. We try so hard to cheat algorithms and stay on top of things, but we don’t often realize that listening and engaging actively is the best way to engage on social media. Whether you’re on a chat or just responding to someone’s comment on your post, or even conversing via direct messages, you can engage thoughtfully every day in every way.

Vivian from Nimble also added that you can use your quote retweets in thoughtful ways. You can cite other people’s work, share their content, and shine a spotlight on them.

Q5: Share some tips for writing engagement-driving tweets.

Questions and human interest stories drive engagement. Use that to your advantage. Show what’s going on behind the scenes, showcase your personality to create tweets, and discuss topics that people resonate with so they’d want to respond and engage.

That said, as our guest reminded us, be careful not to share too much either. You don’t want to stray from your brand. We discussed this exact topic in a previous chat—here’s a summary about how to share your personality without sharing too much.

Another way to drive engagement is to add a persuasive call to action to your tweets, as Madalyn pointed out. A CTA could be something as simple as asking for a retweet or a bit more specific as asking people to read an article, sign up for a service, or try a product.

Q6: Is there a specific type of tweet that drives the most engagement?

Short answer: yes, tweets that emotionally connect with your audience will get the most engagement. There are many ways to invoke emotions, such as celebrating a victory or milestone, showcasing your personal side, or asking for people’s feedback or opinions.

Jelle added another good point–accessibility. Tweets that are accessible to more people get more engagement. It’s a simple numbers game, too. That’s why it’s important to make sure you have clear alternative texts to images and GIFs you share, and that you make your tweets easy to read whether your audience is consuming it on a screen or a screen reader.

Q7: What are your top tips for writing thoughtful comments?

Masooma’s top tip is to try to broaden the conversation. You can do this by introducing a unique perspective, sharing a personal lesson that relates to the topic of discussion, and asking thought-provoking questions that keep the discussion flowing.

Clarissa pointed out the importance of being yourself and not salesy. A common mistake most novices make on social media, and especially Twitter, is to promote themselves or their brand as a reply to someone else’s tweet. Not only is this disrespectful, but it’s also spammy. Instead, listen to what others are saying, acknowledge that they’ve been heard, and only then say something. Even then, say something that advances the conversation.

Q8: What are some Twitter features you can use to grow engagement?

Lists and Spaces, said our guest, because both of these features are exceptionally good at helping you develop relationships with people. While Lists help you find and stay in touch with people from various walks of life, Spaces helps you discuss a variety of topics with many people in real-time, just as you would in a cafe or a bar.

Most of our community members echoed Masooma’s response. Twitter chats, Spaces, and Lists are essential features that enable us to engage thoughtfully on Twitter.

Well, folks, that’s all from me this week. Thanks so much for reading through, and for more great insights from our chat with Masooma, have a look at this Twitter thread. And if you have some spare time next Thursday, join us live for our next #TwitterSmarter chat. We’ll be on from 1pm ET. Catch you then!

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About me, Narmadhaa:

I write all the 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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