We all would like the benefits of an active Twitter account without being a slave to it, right? Sure, but is it even possible to have the best of both worlds?
Turns out that it is—if you manage your Twitter feed same way as some of the major players in online media. These aren’t super-techie tricks or something that costs a lot of money (in fact, these tools are mostly free). But it does take some planning.
In an article by NiemanLab, seven editors from major new organizations shared their strategies on managing their Twitter feeds. The verdict? To optimize your Twitter engagement—and save time—employ a smart combination of automation and “human touch.”
Let’s look at both methods of engagement, and a few tips to get you started on the path to tweeting like the editor of a major media outlet.
Get With a Program
There are several online applications that can help you administer your Twitter account more effectively. Two of the most popular are HootSuite and TweetDeck. They both function basically the same way, allowing you to connect multiple accounts and manage them all from one dashboard. They are both free, but HootSuite also offers and upgraded version. For most people just managing their own 2-3 accounts, this isn’t necessary—the free version works fine.
The best feature of these two apps is their ability to schedule your tweets. It’s much more time-efficient to plan your tweets for the entire week. This automation ensures that you will be “active” on Twitter even when you’re not logged into your account. It gives the illusion to your followers that you’re always there to engage with them.
Unless you are CNN or the New York Times, then 3 or 4 scheduled tweets a day should be plenty. Use a combination of promoting your own content, and sharing other people’s content. This will show your “social” side and will lead to an increase in organic followers.
Also, space out your scheduled tweets throughout the day. If you want to know the very best times to reach your audience, consult Tweriod, an online app that analyzes your past engagements to give you the exact times of the day to optimally tweet.
This automated process will account for about 70-80% of your tweeting. For the rest, you’ll need to personally interact with those who have mentioned or retweeted you.
Automated tweets are great conversation starters, but it certainly doesn’t end there. You’ll likely get some people responding to your tweets, and hopefully retweeting your content. Make sure you engage with these people, as twitter is at its best as a real-time chat platform.
Moreover, the feedback given by the big-shot editors tells us that these types of personal tweets get more total interaction than the automated ones, no matter how clever your headlines are.
To take advantage of this phenomenon, try organizing Q & A sessions around your niche or industry. Come up with a catchy hashtag and host a weekly “twitter chat” to increase both your engagement and your exposure. Or just jump into one of the more popular ones already established like #YogaChat #LeadFromWithin or #PureWander for example.
Each social media platform has its own native language. Don’t try to copy and paste the exact same text from your blog, to your Facebook Page, to your Pinterest Board. It doesn’t work.
For Twitter, the voice is quick, sharp, and witty. It might be the only social media platform where context is as important as content. In other words, “how” say something is as important as “what” you say.
Use Twitter Cards to display tweets that are more content-rich and eye-catching. This requires a bit of help from a WordPress plug-in such as JM Twitter Cards. It’s not difficult, and in any case, it’s worth the effort to make your feed look more professional and gain significantly more engagement.
Add a “teaser,” where the headline or the image compels people to click through to your webpage. The example on the right shows what a difference in Social Sharing that the headline can make (572 retweets versus 73).
Retweet your most popular tweets again. And again. For those tweets that are “evergreen,” you can reuse them for weeks, even months. Not everybody is on Twitter at the same time in this global cyberspace of social media, so reusing old tweets is perfectly acceptable, and actually a very smart idea.
The editors at the large news outlets obviously have more resources at hand than you and I. But by borrowing from their approach to Twitter management, you can still reap the benefits of this two-method strategy. Automate to get the conversation started, and interact personally to keep it going.
Now you’re tweeting like the pros! If you want to go further into this topic, check out my FREE guide: Tweak Your Twitter