Mar.14

There is a lot of controversy surrounding Twitter’s future but we still think it’s a robust platform for people to engage and share their thoughts about the world… in real time.

Many companies also rely on Twitter to get the word out quickly! I can go on about Twitter but regardless of your intentions, good Twitter engagement leads to more followers and ergo, more exposure.

There are a lot of general rules about increasing engagement but the problem is that it’s missing context and data. They are often based on anecdotal evidence. I’ve managed to look at data for about 20 Twitter accounts and discovered 3 easy ways to increase engagement on Twitter.

1. Use Images!
The data is clear, use photos! In every Twitter account that I have analyzed, 9 times out of 10, Twitter engagement soars with a photos and gifs. Now I wish I had the processing power to tell you which kind of visual content works best for engagement but there are some general rules about how you should post images on Twitter.

First, the image should be seen in it’s entirety. Twitter’s feed is only so big, so it’s best to resize the image for the Twitter feed. We recommend 440 x 220 resolution for images. Some images can be larger, but Twitter crops them. If you are using larger images, make sure the focal point of the image is in the centre. The images should be clear and relevant to what you are posting about. Gifs also count as images and they get a lot of traction on Twitter.

Second, don’t just post an image for the sake of posting an image. When you share links to your content, be sure to include an image! It has a higher chance to be clicked by the user. The image should be relevant, visually appealing and convey to the reader that this image shows what the content in the link is all about.

Here is a great example from the Toronto Raptors.

Raptors Image Twitter Engagement Increase Open Gym

The Raptors used a still from the video that was larger than 440 x 220, but the image focus in the centre so it cropped well into the feed. The tweet contained a link and the image told the user this is what they will see in the video. This creates an expectation for the user and brings the user to click and follow through to the content. Just by looking at the favourites and retweets, this tweet did quite well!

2. Tweet when you have the best fan activity
I read enough few articles where they suggest to tweet in the daytime or at night. The problem is they often make several assumptions about your audience. Every Twitter audience is different because it depends on demographics, time zones and the type of posts you make. There are a lot of variables in play and there is no rule of thumb.

We recommend using Crowdbabble to analyze your accounts over a few months to determine when is the best time to tweet Crowdbabble has a time-parting analysis tool that helps social media managers determine two things, when is the peak follower activity and when is are the quickest response times for the account.

Let’s take a look at TD Bank.

Response_Time_by_Hour (3)

Response_Time_by_Day

TD Bank’s highest fan activity is late in the night at 12 am EST while their response times are highest at 9 pm. By the day, Wednesday has the highest follower activity while Tuesday has the quickest responses. There two important things we learned here, 12 am EST and Wednesdays have the highest engagement potential. TD may want o pay the most attention to those times to see if they can leverage increased activity to promote their brand.

3. Strategically Use Hashtags
No one likes hashtag spammers. The problem with hashtags is that it’s becoming content. Hashtags are a tool, not the piece of content you want to convey. Twitter posts with a many hashtags don’t really perform well and are considered annoying.

There is an easy fix. The Crowdbabble Hashtag Pyramid (of greatness). The pyramid was designed for Instagram but it doesn’t mean it can’t work Twitter. A hashtag on social works more or less the same on any platform.

We recommend using our pyramid as a framework to select the right hashtags for your post. For example, we want to select hashtags to use for this very blogpost we want to promote on Twitter.

hashbabble_hashtag-analytics-101_hashtag_pyramid-stacking-hashtags

With the pyramid in mind, we have selected the following hashtags.

Trending HashtagsL #PiDay
General Topic: #socialmedia
Expression Hashtag: #easypeasy
Community: #startuplife  #twittermarketing

There is a problem, we can only use 140 characters on Twitter. We would need to prioritize to make sure both our article title and hashtags fit.

Trending Hashtags: #PiDay
General Topic: #socialmedia  #twitter
Expression Hashtag: #easypeasy
Community: #startupmarketing  #twittermarketing

After a few refinements, we selected hashtags that are more focused. This is called refining and stacking. For the Twitter post about this article, we will use #PiDay, #twitter, #easypeasy #startupmarketing.

There you have it! Three easy ways to improve your Twitter engagement by using images, time parting analysis and the hashtag pyramid (of greatness).

Just remember, don’t just implement these tips on a whim, you will need a set of goals and a concrete plan of what you want to achieve from Twitter engagement. Write them down and tweet away!

What’s that you say… you are still waiting for the .14th tip on Twitter engagement? Sorry I am rounding down to 3. Besides pi is a ratio not a framework.