By @TheMarkDalton

Twitter is the open cocktail party of the internet. It is one of the very few places in my mind where you can jump into and out of conversations with no prior connections.

I never understand why people feel the need, especially in business, to not have Twitter in their arsenal. It creates a fantastic opportunity for networking and engagement. Sure, it has a noise problem at the moment and people are trying to shout over each other but there are things you can do to help improve your network size and engagement on Twitter.

Larger network and higher engagement ultimately translates to better traffic and click through rates. Here are some tips when it comes to navigating the twittersphere.

Share other people’s content

Something that we forget to do is share other content. We get too deep into promoting our own content and soon it just appears to be us shouting at the top of our lungs about how great we are and look at what we can do.

Retweeting others is popular, everyone loves when their content gets re-shared on another account. Curating content from others will also help with getting more followers as people will see you as a source of great content in both your own content and other content.

It is always a good plan to keep within your niche. So for example, I know off the top of my head that the vast portion of my demographic on Twitter is small businesses and marketers so I curate content in line with what I think they will like. You don’t have to keep rigidly within a niche but just try not to go too far left field, so I know my demographics is largely small businesses which means I won’t be retweeting what Justin Bieber did last night because why would they care about that?

Make use of visuals

No piece of content gets tweeted without some kind of visual attached to it. Typically an image that has been edited in Canva or a GIF. Visuals are a big thing, especially on Twitter and we know for a fact that content with a picture or a video has higher engagement on the platform.

So with that in mind, why would you try promoting your content without making use of that fact? Twitter now has a built in GIF search which can also really boost your engagement rates. Why? Simply because people love using GIFs! I have started to throw content out there with GIFs and they are getting picked up more than some of my other tweets around the same content.

There are even tools available to create your own GIFs to show off promotions and special offers.

Implement a smart hashtag game

Okay, this is all about striking a balance. You don’t want to overload your tweets with hashtags. After all, there is only space of 140 characters to play with. However, hashtags can be used with great success and they can help people find your content and brand quicker.

Try stick to a single hashtag most of the time, on a rare occasion throw in one or two more. Keep an eye on the trends throughout the day, something that many people fail to do. Trends give you a chance to ride the wave of a hot topic which can help your brand get noticed. Thousands of people are looking at trends and you are bound to get a retweet or two.

Just make sure you research what the hashtag is about first, have a look to see what people are talking about. Many brands have made the mistake of jumping in without paying attention to the context of the conversation only to have it rapidly backfire on them.

Use Twitter polls

Struggling to figure out what your fans like or what type of content they want to see? Run a poll on Twitter, it allows people to anonymously give their feedback. Pin the poll to the top of your profile so that it has a longer lifespan and more people have the chance to see it. If you don’t pin it to the top you just run the risk of it getting lost in your feed.

Optimise the same content in different styles

Twitter moves fast and so you need to make sure you promote content multiple times. When I put up a new post on the blog it gets shared five times throughout the day. However, what you don’t want to do is share the exact same content and copy five times a day. It looks a bit spammy.

How we get around that is by changing the copy and the attached visual, the link to the content of course remains the same. Changing something as simple as the copy and image attached makes it look like a completely different tweet and does not give off an impression of laziness.

Also, keep in mind that your content on Twitter needs to be around 80% of providing value and around 20% sales. Too many sales tweets and trust me you won’t last long. Take a look at the four tweets below from my Twitter account, all posted on the same day and all promoting the same piece of content.

Each one of these four tweets are promoting the exact same piece of content and are posted at strategic points throughout the day. Different copy, different images, each one looks somewhat different than the last. It is little things like this which can go a big way and make the difference when you are promoting your new and old content.

Follow relevant accounts

Do not buy followers, don’t bulk follow random accounts for a follow back.

Trying to game the system won’t get you anywhere, the number might look impressive but it never actually works. Follow relevant businesses and people in your industry. People check out your profile, see you are in the same field and you begin to build a loyal organic following of people who are actually interested in what you are tweeting.

Give it a try and watch how your numbers will improve in followers, retweets, favourites and replies.

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