How to Benefit From Twitter: A Guide to Real-Time Engagement

Why are you including social media as part of your overall marketing strategy?

Is it for generating leads? Are you building brand awareness or influence? Whichever goal you might have, there’s one universal way of achieving it: engagement.

Twitter engagement article quote

Social media isn’t a broadcasting platform, and it certainly isn’t meant for only one-way communication. Success on Twitter is all about putting the “social” in social media.

Engagement is how you can accomplish that.

As a basic summary, this is how to define social media engagement:

The process of initiating or responding to outreach.

Those doing this engagement correctly are both actively seeking out their audience and responding to those users who communicate with them directly.

One social network that has some of the best features for engagement is Twitter. That’s why it has its own blog post. It’s the best place for you to be if you want to engage in real-time.


The Basics of Twitter Engagement

When you’re evaluating Twitter’s overall value, what do you see as its greatest strength? Using Twitter for marketing means understanding and incorporating this value.

Marketing on Twitter means more than just scheduling a few tweets every day. It requires real-time engagement to bring success. If you’re making everything automated, you’re missing the point of social media.

Now that you’re aware of Twitter and its engagement purpose, it’s time to dive into what this activity actually looks like in action.


Best Practices for Engaging on Twitter

It starts with your tweets. Creating tweets that increase engagement doesn’t have to be a challenge. You simply have to know who you’re tweeting for (your target audience) and what they prefer to see.

Your audience might want to see video instead of or in addition to link tweets. Or, they might want to see more link tweets that lead to free offers. Focus your tweet types on what will draw attention from the right audience, and your engagement level will increase.

Typical Mistakes on Twitter (and How to Avoid Them)

One of the most common mistakes Twitter users make is pushing their business more than offering value to their audience. Your audience should be your first priority. They are more likely to engage with your tweets when they can relate to or otherwise appreciate what you shared.

Many Twitter users choose to automate everything, and that’s the complete opposite of what real-time engagement is. You’ll need to schedule tweets for times when you’re not online. However, you should reserve most of your time on being present to engage with other users.

Your audience will reach out to you, but if your account is robotic and automated, your brand presence and reputation will suffer. Make your account human and responsive to prevent negative reactions from users.

Your brand might offer customer service or real-time responsiveness, but do you ever initiate discussions? Ask questions and actively seek out your audience to start a conversation with them. Twitter users will engage more when a brand initiates it.

However, don’t get so thorough in your outreach that it becomes creepy. If a user mentions you without the tag, they might not want or expect to hear from you.

Another mistake you’ll often see is in the frequency and timing in a brand’s activity. Some users don’t tweet enough. Others tweet too much. Find a balance or give notice of any tweet bursts. This will help prevent a mass unfollowing.

Your timing is key to getting engagement. You’ll want your audience to see your tweets when they’re online, and that means your tweets need to go out at the right time. Twitter feeds move rapidly, so the right timing is crucial.


Featured Engagement Purpose: Customer Service

Do you offer customer service on any social media platform? Twitter is a big opportunity for this offering. Its fast pace and real-time conversation capabilities make it the ideal place for social customer service. You can easily monitor and respond to any outreach or mention using a tool like Buffer Reply or even just the Twitter program Tweetdeck.

First, why is it so important to provide customer service on Twitter and other social networks?

Sprout Social did a study in 2016 to determine the effectiveness of social customer service. In their report, they explained some key findings you’ll want to think about.

In their study, they found that there are serious consequences from not offering social customer service:

  • With no brand response, 36% of respondents said they’d be more likely to shame the brand publicly.
  • Also, 1 in 3 respondents said they’d switch to a competitor.

Statistics about twitter customer service

Social media users are quickly switching their customer service preferences to social media instead of phone or email. In fact, from a 2016 Conversocial report, they stated that 54% of customers prefer social media over the traditional methods.

In Sprout Social’s study, they found that social media is the first place where 34.5% of respondents turn to when they need help solving a problem with the brand’s product or service. 70% of respondents indicated they’d buy from a brand that responds to their outreach. 65% of them would be more loyal, and 75% would be more likely to share their good exchange with their own friends and followers.

Brand Loyalty

Back to Conversocial’s report, 86% of their respondents (those with an income of over $150K annually) were more inclined to be loyal to a brand when they engaged together on social media. Also, 46.7% of respondents said a personalized brand response would increase the likelihood of brand loyalty.

Outreach Frequency

If you think social customer service doesn’t apply to your business, think again. In Conversocial’s study, they found that 47.1% of respondents with an annual income of over $150K have reached out to brands on social media for customer service purposes.

Also, Sprout Social found that social media customer outreach to brands increased by 18% from 2015-2016. This is huge because it means people are truly gravitating toward social media to get their answers and assistance from brands. This percentage isn’t likely to decline but rather increase as time goes on.

Expense vs. Savings

Lastly, if you’re thinking about how costly social customer service would be, these numbers from a Gartner study might surprise you:

Social media engagement, such as for customer service, costs less than $1 per interaction. Phone calls each cost $6, and emails each cost between $2.50 – $5. This means you’d actually save money by investing in a social customer service offering. It doesn’t mean you should ditch the other methods, but it’s clear that social media is the place to be for engaging with customers.

Setting Up

As for Twitter as a customer service platform, you have several ways to let users know you’re there to help. Twitter lets you set up responsive hours and direct messaging availability. You can set up your account as a business account to get extra features in your profile.

Setting up a Twitter Business account

Are you convinced? It’s undeniable that social media is a great opportunity for effective customer service. You’ll find that offering this service will quickly build your brand presence as well as customer loyalty. The numbers don’t lie.


Who is Engaging Best on Twitter (and How)?

It’s hard to get started with Twitter engagement strategies without seeing how it’s done. You want to make the most of your efforts, so use these examples as inspiration.

Buffer for their weekly Twitter chat #BufferChat

BufferChat Tweet

Buffer hosts a weekly live chat about a wide variety of topics relevant to their business and culture. From only one of their two chat times, Buffer usually sees around 140 users participate each week for a reach of over 1.6 million unique impressions. Twitter chats like #BufferChat help build a loyal community and increase a brand’s influence and exposure.

Do you think your brand can host a recurring Twitter chat? Use this hosting guide by Hootsuite to get started with your own chat.

SpotifyCares for social customer service on behalf of Spotify

SpotifyCares Twitter feed

Spotify uses a separate account to run their customer service offering. It’s a great way to keep your main account clean and focused on content and promotion. The important thing SpotifyCares does is respond promptly to user outreach. That’s key in a world of instant gratification.

Are you thinking of offering customer service on social media? Use this social customer service guide by Zendesk to follow best practices and be effective.

Wendy’s for sheer entertainment

Wendy's Twitter account

One of the most effective ways of building a loyal audience is to generate plenty of emotion, especially through humor. Wendy’s has made headlines on numerous occasions for their responses to other users, usually with sarcasm. They cause a little controversy without going too far. This attention has helped them build a massive Twitter following, which increases the brand’s exposure and influence.

Find more examples of Twitter brands that engage effectively, and learn more about how to interact with your own audience.

Are you ready to drive your Twitter account to increased exposure and business? Use this guide to get started, and remember that your audience is the ultimate decision-maker. Act how they’d like you to, and offer what they’d like to receive.

What have you done on Twitter to build your presence and business? What has worked, and what hasn’t? Leave a comment with your experience!

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