Getting your brand noticed on social media is getting harder every year. The organic (unpaid) content that you share faces ever-increasing competition with paid or boosted content. Twitter uses a complex algorithm to determine what content surfaces in each user’s feed. The precise rules of the algorithm are not available to the public, but you can be sure of one thing: engagement is a huge factor in Twitter’s algorithm.
Your company may be posting content on Twitter regularly and reporting back a steady level of impressions, but impressions are not enough. Engagement is a much more meaningful measure of your success. Impressions measure reach (how many people were exposed to your tweets) but engagement measures how meaningful your content is to others based on their interactions.
How engagement rate works and why it matters for marketers
Twitter engagement is a measure of a variety of interactions by other Twitter users related to your Twitter profile. You can track your average engagement rate, but you can also review the engagement rate of each tweet you post. Let’s say you post 10 tweets that have a minimal engagement rate, but then on your 11th tweet something clicks and suddenly people are liking, commenting, and retweeting your post. All of this engagement activity causes your tweet to appear in other Twitter user feeds, exposing your brand to new audiences.
When you improve engagement you are more likely to benefit from increased Twitter followers. Growing your engagement rate is the best way to increase brand awareness on Twitter’s massive platform of 330 million monthly active users. When you get Twitter followers, you increase your impact as a marketer through new opportunities to raise awareness, generate leads, and build loyalty.
What’s inside your Twitter engagement score?
You can find your engagement scores in Twitter Analytics (choose Tweets from the top navigation menu). Twitter defines engagement rate as the number of engagements with your tweets divided by the total number of tweet impressions. This is the most standard definition of engagement score, but some marketers look at audience engagement in terms of engagements / followers. This variation tells you how many of your followers are engaging versus those that are just lurking. Whichever metric you use, you’ll want to monitor your overall average engagement score as well as post engagement, which involves looking over the metrics of each tweet to see which drove the highest and lowest level of interaction.
An engagement can include any of the following actions:
- Likes: A like is counted when someone presses the heart icon for your post
- Retweets: When a user shares your tweet with their followers using the Retweet function
- Replies: Comments from other users about your tweet
- Mentions: When a Twitter user tags you in a tweet using @yourusername
- Follows: When another user chooses to follow you and see your tweets in their feed
- Link clicks: Click-throughs on URLs embedded in your tweets
- Video Views: When you embed video into a tweet (rather than linking to a site like Youtube) each view counts as an engagement.
Setting a benchmark and goals for engagement rate
There is no clear consensus for what is an excellent, average, or poor engagement rate. There are a few reasons for this:
- Engagement rate formulas vary by social media platform, and
- Engagement rates vary wildly by industry.
What’s most important is using your engagement score as a relative performance indicator for the effectiveness of your Twitter content strategy. If you have a Twitter business profile that is active today, you already have a baseline engagement rate to plan from. Your goal now is to see how high you can drive it.
We’re focused on Twitter here, but it’s worth mentioning that there are similar engagement rate scores for other social media channels. Many marketers automate the monitoring of social media engagement rates with social listening software. For example, SentiOne has out-of-the-box engagement rate scoring for Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.
10 tips for increasing engagement on Twitter
Some small tweaks to your Twitter content marketing approach can generate a sizable boost in engagement. Here are some expert tips for Marketers to activate your Twitter audience.
1. Get the timing right
There is no universal magical weekday moment that’s the best time to post on Twitter. Your best time to tweet might be quite different than others, depending on the habits of your audience. Some marketers test a broad sampling of days and times to see what generates the most activity. You can also take a more automated approach to finding the best time for your company to post on social media. With SentiOne Listen, you can analyze a brand or a topic to discover the top hours of the day, and days of the week, during which the most users were active.
2. Don’t just answer, ask!
Businesses too often fall into the trap of trying to always be the expert authority in their industry. But teaching (or preaching) the definitive final answer doesn’t generate high-engagement posts. Consider interacting with your audience through provocative questions that stir up interesting ideas. A Twitter poll is a great option here – it makes it easy for your audience to share their opinion with just one click. You don’t need to have a specific answer or outcome in mind – the value is the conversation, not the outcome. @Hubspot does an excellent job of engaging their Twitter audience through questions. Some are business-related (“Is virality just a guessing game or can it be manufactured?) and others are just fun (“Do you remember how many licks it takes to get to the center of a Tootsie Pop?)
3. Dive into trending topics
The risk of rigorously following a content calendar is that you’re working weeks ahead of schedule while missing one-of-a-kind engagement opportunities happening right now. Set up news alerts for your industry, and regularly scan what’s trending on Twitter. You’re likely to find some high-engagement post ideas. Sometimes all it takes is a clever twist in perspective to make a seemingly irrelevant trending topic a valuable conversation-starter with your followers.
4. Actively respond to your audience
When your company or products are mentioned on Twitter, your team should be one of the first to respond. Sometimes a simple thanks is all that’s required. But don’t expect all references to your company to be positive – you might have some cranky customers that are venting on social media. As we’ve seen time-and-time-again, brands that are active and support their customers, helping them resolve and work through issues, are rewarded by loyalty and can also generate interest among new potential customers.
5. Experiment with media formats
Twitter has extensive research to share on different types of media posts. One study looked at the increased amount of Retweets by media type:
- Photos – 35% boost in Retweets
- Videos – 28%
- Quotes – 19%
- Hashtags – 19%
A more recent study found that using GIFs results in 55% more engagement than typical tweets, while yet another found that videos drive 10x engagement on Twitter. Add a variety of content types to your content marketing plan and keep a close eye on your analytics to determine what resonates best with your audience.
6. Use highly relevant hashtags
Hashtags are a great way to link your tweets to broader topics, and can generate new traffic when others are exploring those hashtags. Consider developing a hashtag that is unique to your brand, but also look for niche hashtags specific to your industry that you can include in your tweets.
7. Let some personality shine through
Twitter is a platform where colourful voices can attract a lot of attention, and also where the formal language used by most corporations doesn’t always fit. Humour, done well, can pay off nicely. Also if your company is comfortable having an opinion or taking a stand on an issue, that can really attract some attention. You can use as many hashtags in a tweet as you like, but the official recommendation from Twitter is to use no more than two hashtags per tweet.
8. Retweet posts from external sources
Strive to know and follow the most respected voices in your industry. When you retweet insightful data and opinions from these experts, you build gratitude within your network and reinforce with your audience that you’re active and connected. Also, always attribute ideas to the original owner. If you’re expanding on an idea, @mention the owner so that they feel appropriately credited.
9. Don’t obsess over CTAs
Some marketing purists will insist you must always have a revenue-linked call-to-action with any post on social media. Otherwise, what’s the point? Remember, on Twitter your engagement score is a valuable part of the ROI equation for your content strategy. A fun and whimsical holiday-themed post might drive your best engagement of the year. That tweet will expose your brand to new audiences and could result in new followers that will regularly see all the other content you share thereafter.
10. Consider a contest or giveaway
Information and opinions can get you so far, but free stuff can really drive interactions. You don’t want this to be your sole source of social media growth, but it can be an effective way to nudge your audience into action.
Drive your Twitter engagement score to new heights with SentiOne
With SentiOne you can automate the time-consuming task of collecting, analyzing, and reporting your social media effectiveness. Automate social listening by using SentiOne Listen to scan social media platforms for phrases related to your brand, product category, and competitors. Track your engagement score across Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram with ease. SentiOne Listen also provides a powerful layer of artificial intelligence to support your content marketing strategy. For more information or to book a demo, visit SentiOne.