You've been on Twitter for awhile and are interacting with your constituents. The Twittersphere is your oyster! You’re flying high!
But wait, are you? Maybe it’s time for a little self-assessment. Time to find a mirror, don a sweater vest, look deep into your own eyes and ask yourself, “Are people retweeting my tweets?” “Is my following growing?” “Am I meeting my highest Twitter objectives?”
If you’ve answered “no” to any of these questions, don’t despair. It’s probably just time for a little Twitter heart-to-heart.
How are you engaging people on Twitter? Take a look specifically at:
- Interactions. How often do new people follow you? How often do others mention you? If you’re consistently seeing a lot of retweets and mentions, hooray for you! You’re engaging! If not, keep reading.
- Retweets. How often are others retweeting your tweets? This is the best measure of how relevant your content is. If you’re low on retweets, we suggest perusing our best practices in writing for the web to help make your content more appealing.
- Followers. Look carefully through your list of followers and their profiles. How many of them represent your target audience? How many of them are your mom? If at least 80% of your followers fit the profile of your stated Twitter audience, congrats. You’re staying on point and have a clear target audience.
Now, how many people are you following in comparison to how many follow you? Ideally you only follow those who create content that interests you. Also, ideally, more people are following you, than you’re following. Don’t indiscriminately follow everyone who follows you just to be nice.
Dig Deeper into Your Twitter Behaviors
Take a look at your last few months of tweets, and answer these questions:
- How many tweets are personalized? (Example: @Foundation, wicked awesome report! Thanks for sharing!) Remember, if you attach an image to your tweet you can tag up to ten people by clicking "Who's in this Photo?" This is a particularly good strategy for connecting with influencers (but don't overdo it!).
- How many tweets link to original content on your blog or website? You should be producing relevant content of your own, not just promoting others.
- How often do you retweet other people’s tweets? This is a fantastic way to share interesting content and create goodwill toward your organization. Retweet generously. It’s the back scratching principle. It creates visibility for you, helps share good content with your followers, and others will be more likely to retweet your tweets.
- How many of your tweets include images? You can embed up to four pictures in a post by clicking "Add more" after uploading each picture. (Again, don't overdo it.)
A master Tweeter will have a good mix and balance of these different tweet types, leaning more towards original content. Be sure to regularly your Twitter Analytics page so you monitor the health of your account and use the metrics to adjust and perfect your strategy.
If you haven't found your organization's own tweeting sweet spot, Manageflitter.com can tell you when the largest percentage of your followers are online.
Don't Forget Hashtags
Too often people neglect to mark their posts with hashtags. If you want to get in on a conversation, you have to use the right hashtag so people can hear what you’re saying. A lot of organizations monitor hashtags, so this is how you get on their radar. Without hashtags you may just be tweeting into the void.
- Ask yourself how often you use hashtags. Scroll through your past month or two of tweets. Most of your tweets should have at least one hashtag. But don’t go hogwild. Six hashtags in one tweet is overkill, and looks a little desperate. One to three is preferable.
- Next question: “Which hashtags am I using?” Do a quick search. Are they high-volume hashtags? Hashtag trends can change like the weather. If no one used it in the last hour, your hashtags may be too obscure. One of our favorite free tools is Hashtagify.me to help find popular and relevant hashtags closely linked to your organization.
Here are a few more best practices for tweeting quality control.
Stay Focused. Bend your mind to becoming a great resource for constituents and partners in your field, and make sure everything you tweet is worthwhile.
Engage. Ask questions. Ask specific people what they think about news or events (@CDC – what’s your take on the new stats on childhood obesity?). Thank your retweeters. Recognize people sharing good content. Don’t lag behind. Respond to compliments and feedback in real time.
Share Cool Stuff. People love to see and share:
- Photos (adding a photo to your tweet can increase your retweet rate by about 150%).
- Inspirational quotes
- Provocative statistics
- Breaking news
- New angles on current affairs
- Funny stuff
And if you get in a creative rut, try rustling up some interesting visual content or keeping an eye on a few big nonprofits who work in a similar field. They'll help you see what's working and what's not, and give cues to building a big following.