I advise my friends and chef clients that when you are engaging on Twitter…think of it like a cocktail party. What I mean is that you should try and keep the conversation light, relevant and interesting. We can all remember a time when we were at a social function or industry conference and there was that “one guy” who once you met them, you found yourself trying to get away from them faster than a chicken being chased by angry chef!
When you first met someone at a party or online, one of the best ways to engage and continue the conversation is to not talk too much about yourself, brag about how great your product, service or widget is and to seem genuninely intersted in the other person. Cocktail parties are meant to be light, fun and enjoyable. When you take this same approach with your twitter audience, you will be surprised how easy it is to get followers and more importantly to engage your followers who will promote and pass on your content.
Lately there has been a LOT of talk for both Rock Star Chef entrepreneuers and Fortune 500 brands about “followers” and “friends” and “likes” in the Social Media and Digital space. I agree that the size of one’s audience matters, but there are other numbers that are arguably better measures of impact and overall strength of one’s Twitter feed specifically.
As with anything, there are a few essentials:
Number of clicks on your links
When someone clicks on your link, that’s evidence of interest in your content. Your daily click totals are helpful in understanding the overall “health” of your feed, while knowing which of your Tweets garners the most clicks may help you to craft future messages.
Number of retweets
When someone shares your content—even in the context of an opposing opinion—that’s more measurable engagement, as your “handle” and your words go beyond your own subscribers.
Number of messages, mentions, and replies
When someone includes your @ name in a post, they either want your attention (like a cc:) or they want to speak with you directly. Not only is this an opportunity to connect with people and discover more content, it’s a sign that you’re a player.
Size of your engaged audience
All the above (and more) factor into what Klout and other social measurement companies use to help us understand the “quality” of Twitter accounts. If your own following has a good level of influence over their followers, your messages have the potential to be amplified far beyond your own shores.
Using Twitter effectively doesn’t have to take hours and hours. You can take advantage of free tools (see above) that enable you to schedule your messages throughout the day, and with the ubiquity of smartphones, checking in every now and then is easy to do.
Growth of your audience
As the Twittersphere matures, the progressive acquisition of new active followers should be part of your strategy. It is best when done without gimmicks. If people like your posts, they will let you know by adding your account to their streams. If you’re not seeing new followers on a daily basis, you might need to experiment with your content (tone, subject, focus, timing).
Some Final Thoughts:
Remember that having an audience of 100,000 who rarely click on your links may not be as valuable as a following of 10,000 highly engaged people. This will, in turn, widen your reach organically and genuinely—which can broaden awareness of your brand, product or service.