Improving Engagement on Twitter

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We’ve spoken about this, folks. Engagement. It’s arguably the most valuable metric on social media. But regardless of how many times we’ve discussed this and how much we know about engagement rates, there’s still so much to learn. After all, Twitter is home to millions of strange and interesting people—you can’t possibly follow the same strategy for everyone. There’s a whole lot of courtesy and even more improvisation involved in garnering engagement to your content.

This week on #TwitterSmarter, we invited social media strategist, Julia Bramble, to talk about all things engagement, Here’s a summary of our chat.

Guest: Julia Bramble
Topic: Improving engagement on Twitter
Format: Eight questions directed at the guest. Everyone’s welcome to share.

Q1: Why is engagement important on Twitter?

Engagement is how you build relationships.

As you engage more with your audience, and they with you, your profile earns more recognition. The Twitter algorithm favors a tweet with a high engagement rate.

For example, if you follow X who engages on Twitter consistently, you’ll gradually start to see posts from people X engages with—even if you don’t follow them yourself.

You’ll also see tweets from mutual friends: Y and Z, who often engage with your friend, X.

This chain reaction can happen only if you engage with people. After all, as Jim rightly pointed out, it’s the best way to build the know, like, and trust factors.

Q2: How do you measure your engagement rate?

Your engagement rate is the number of engagements you get for a tweet divided by the number of impressions for each tweet. Engagements could be a range of activities including, likes, retweets, quote retweets, replies, video views, audio plays, link click-throughs, and tweet expansions.

Your default Twitter Analytics will give you this information. However, like our guest, you can also get this as periodic reports generated on a social media management tool.

As Rachel from Express Writers said, once you analyze which tweets get the most engagement, you can start to recognize a pattern in the types of content your audience prefers most. Once you understand that, share more of that.

Q3: Is there an ideal engagement rate?

The short answer is that there’s no one right answer. Engagement rates usually vary by business size, industry, location, size of audience, the number of active audience, and many other variables.

The best way to find out the ideal engagement rate is to measure your own performance regularly. Don’t compare your engagement rate with others to find out whether you’re doing well. You’ll likely end up with a misrepresented rate. You do you!

Your engagement rate also depends on your goals, as Lance reminded us. If you’re focused on sharing links and want to increase click-through rates, your standard might be much different from when you’re sharing a video or GIF to widen your reach. Because reading a link requires an audience who’s more engaged than one that watches a video.

Q4: How often should you check your brand’s overall engagement rate?

However often you need to. Our guest suggested checking weekly, but that’s not for everyone.

If your goal is to drive more engagement to your posts or increase click-through rates, then you’ll need to check frequently. However, if you’re reasonably established and you’re trying to sustain the engagement you already have, checking your rates every month might be more than enough. If you’re running a campaign or experiment, then you’ll have to assess it more often to identify minute changes in your engagement rates.

Madalyn suggested assessing your engagement monthly. Twitter’s default analytics compares your performance month by month, allowing you to see highlights from each period. You can use this 30-day period as a way to execute a strategy and evaluate its effect.

Q5: When driving engagement, should you aim for quality or quantity?

Healthy relationships are built on quality conversations. The more helpful and insightful your content is to someone, the more they’ll trust you and share your work with their contacts.

That said, though, if your goal is to increase brand awareness and help more people know about you, quantity may play a more important role for you. A hundred retweets and a few tens of one-word responses may well broaden your reach.

Be wary, though. Quantity has its value, but only if handled carefully. As Sabrina said, if you start posting just for the sake of it, it’ll soon start to become noise. You don’t want that.

Q6: Share some tips for creating highly engaging tweets.

Know your audience. That’s the best and most important Twitter advice. The more you know about what your audience prefers, the better you can cater to their wants.

To learn more about your audience, experiment. Try different content formats like audio, video, GIFs, and images. Monitor how your audience responds to each format and identify which ones work best.

Show people your human side. Be genuinely interested in them and they’ll do the same for you. This means asking questions, running polls, and getting your audience’s votes before making decisions. People engage with people they like—be likable.

If someone engages with your content, acknowledge and actively respond to their engagement. Thank them, retweet something they shared, or recommend them to a friend—show them you care.

Q7: What are some common mistakes brands make when engaging on Twitter?

One of the most common mistakes brands make is to engage using only one-word comments. They try to get involved in a discussion, but instead, end up adding empty value to their audience.

Another common mistake is to misuse trending topics. Sure, it’s great to use them when they’re relevant to your brand and your industry, but if you use them when they’re irrelevant to you, it’ll just show that you don’t know your audience well enough.

Another big mistake brands make is to ignore replies they get to their tweets. Now, you don’t want to feed trolls, but it’s important to understand the difference between a troll and a genuine reply. If someone replies to your tweet or quote retweets it, whether it’s appreciation, feedback, or complaint, always acknowledge that as Madalyn said. It’s important to show your audience that you’re listening to them.

Q8: Can automation help improve engagement?

This is a bit of a chicken-or-egg question. Sure, automation is great when you’re using a social media management tool that collates all your activities and responses in one easy-to-access space.

They also help generate comprehensive reports showing how your content is performing over time. It’s a great way to get a dashboard view of your social presence.

However, one of the drawbacks of automation is that it can make you lazy. You might be more inclined to schedule your content and then drop off, failing to recognize the responses you might get from that content.

As our friends from Clover Media Consulting added, use automation for essential tasks, but engagement should always be manual and human-to-human. Keep a content calendar so you don’t have to struggle to find content to share every day, but at the same time, keep an eye on how your content is performing. If someone engages with your content, respond as only you can, as soon as you can.

Well, that’s all from me, folks. Thanks for reading through, and for more insights from our chat with Julia, have a look at this Twitter thread. If you think this summary is pretty good, you’ll love the real-time chat. Join us every Thursday at 1pm ET on #TwitterSmarter. Afterward, we also hang out on Twitter Spaces at 5pm ET to continue our chat. Catch you there!

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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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