Do you promote engagement or gain followers on Twitter?

It’s a no-brainer.

Promote engagement? Who would have thought? I have been flapping about on Twitter since 2009.  It was a very different world then let me tell you. I have watched Twitter outgrow its nest and fly. Various fads and fashions have already come and gone I this short time.

The fad I am glad to see the back of is ‘garnering followers’ without much consideration as to the reason why. How will 10 000 followers actually benefit a small plumbing business for example? (Answers on a postcard please)

Are you a notch on a Twitter bedpost?

Followers are NOT for life; they will dump you without remorse. So the key these days to meaningful social media presence is to promote engagement. Make a commitment to your followers and think carefully about how to utilise your time effectively on Twitter. After all, better to have a few regular, loyal customers than people who see you only as a notch on their twitter bedpost!

So first of all let’s look at how NOT to promote engagement:

Promote engagement on social media top reasons that prevent this from happening.

1.    Broadcasting tiresome, ‘me, me, me’  sales messages.
2.    Endless promotion that doesn’t take platform nuance into account.
3.    Flooding timelines with useless messages 10 at a time (grr I hate that!)
4.    Being self-centred and not adding value to the community, ever!
5.    Periodic, sporadic, call it what you will posts where no one ‘gets you’ as they don’t know you.
6.    Not giving users an opportunity to engage because there’s never an opportunity.
7.    Never planning the desired target audience or understanding audience demographic of specific platform.
8.    Unrealistic expectations through failure to plan and THINK!

So what are solutions for promoting engagement on Twitter?

I have been conducting an experiment on my own account in the past five days. These are things I have been doing:

  1. I comment meaningfully and in a friendly manner to people in my niche.
  2. I respond to quotes I like in a personalized way.
  3. I offer help in areas that aren’t necessarily my niche but that I know about. My knowledge of horticulture has developed into a relationship with a powerful influencer in my network. This relationship has netted me  50+ new followers in a couple of days. These followers are all relevant too.
  4. I have used auto scheduling for sharing other people’s content so I can concentrate on promoting real time engagement.
  5. I have varied the times I am online to catch different people.
  6. I find things that are useful to specific people. One of my followers is a historical novelist. I happened to come across a fantastic visualization of 17th century London and sent it to him. We chatted, strengthened the engagement and I am now the person who RTs his book promotions and who offers help. I follow up my promises and am a supportive Twitter colleague. What are you known for?
  7. I ask questions. I make observations that sound like questions. I make comments with question tags such as: ‘what do you think?’ ‘Agreed?’ ‘Any more tips?’ ‘Anything to add?’ ‘Am I crazy?’
  8. I try to add interesting photos that underscore other passions not just my writing services or social media management. It’s good to develop a sense of who you are communicating with. What do you do to promote yourself as a human being?

Engagement proves we are not robots. It takes us away from the auto schedule mentality and makes us think about customer service in its broadest sense. Isn’t it time you promoted engagement rather than promoting yourself, your product, service or brand? Doesn’t the length of time you take to respond to queries, complaints etc. on Twitter tell people immediately how much you value their business or interest?