Twinteraction: How To Guide

How many times have you read a “social media marketing for beginners” guide, only to be told you should be ‘interacting’ with your audience. I know I’m guilty of writing this in articles, and giving this advice to small business owners on countless occasions. It seems that when we’re talking about SMM, ‘Interaction’ is seen as a self-explanatory task. Just, interact. Simple.

Interact by definition means “Act in such a way as to have an effect on another; act reciprocally.” Say what now? We’re no closer to understanding what this means. Many people will join Twitter as part of their SMM efforts. Then they’ll take one look at their feed, and back away slowly; afraid to make any sudden movements for fear of drawing attention to themselves.

It’s like walking into a group mid-conversation; only this conversation involves around 120 million people. You can either: jump right in and hope you understand the gist of what they’re talking about, or hang around in the background feeling awkward. It needn’t be this way; there are some things you can do to make your integration into to Twitter pain free and, more importantly, valuable to your SMM campaign.

So here it is: top tips for interacting with your followers on Twitter.

Baby Steps

  • Follow twitter users with similar interests. If you find it hard to find things to RT in your Twitter feed, you’re following the wrong people.
  • Don’t go overboard with the follows when you first sign up; keep it relevant by checking recent tweets before you hit the follow button. This also makes sure you’re only following active accounts which will bring value to your feed.
  • To start out, try retweeting a few relevant comments. Nothing will make your insides feel warmer or gooier than the feeling you get after a RT, so it’s nice to pass this feeling on. This is the easiest way to get into the spirit of Twitter.

Learning to Walk

  • Once you’re happy RT’ing, try making open comments on the things you’re RT’ing to drive conversation. You’ll have to copy and paste into the compose a tweet box for this.

RT @username “Their Tweet” Your comments

  • Don’t be afraid to have an opinion, just make sure you’re polite and transparent in expressing it.
  • Shorten your URLs using bit.ly or something similar, this will give you more space for
  • Use pictures to get your message across; visual content is a real crowd pleaser. This also helps to engage with users on a more personal level.

Running with the Pros.

  • Once you have a solid following, pose questions to your users and Retweet the best responses. These don’t have to be related to your industry, but could be seasonal or relate to current events. This can run over several days; Penguin books are particularly good at engaging their followers in this way:

Penguin Books UK ‏ @PenguinUKBooks  Happy International Women’s Day! Who are your female literary heroines? Let us know! #FemHero #iwd”

  • Organise a live Twitter debate between two industry experts; this is a particular challenge for the participants as they will have to keep their comments to 140 characters or less. Make sure you brand it with a specific hashtag so other users can make comments, and you can search and compile a record of it when it’s over.
  • If a live debate wouldn’t work for your particular area, how about a Q&A session? You can build up to this over a week, select the best questions, and then have your industry expert spend 30 minutes or so answering the best.