For Great Twitter Engagement, Pretend You’re in a Granite State Coffee Shop

man coffee shop public domainAs you have probably noticed, we’re heading into a presidential election cycle and that means we’ll be getting about 72X the news stories out of New Hampshire than we normally receive.

One of the things I like best about this season, is when candidates and reporters head into New Hampshire’s local coffee shops to talk to the citizenry. These small businesses have been public meeting places for neighbors to talk and share ideas for generations.

It’s this kind of engagement that we’re always trying to achieve with our social media strategies and if you keep this in mind, it will help you be better at using a platform like Twitter.

Chit chat over a popover

For example, at Popovers On The Square in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, how popular would a guy be if he only spouted off his opinion and never listened to anyone else? He might be tolerated, but I can guarantee you that he wouldn’t make many friends.

Translate this to Twitter and you get a person who never engages his followers. His followers stop following, mute him or just start ignoring him. Take the “social” out of social media and it’s just media. Pfft.

There’s a secret added benefit to engaging your followers or those you follow: The Twitter users who engage with you are themselves the most “engaged” on Twitter. Because of this they are the most likely to send your message or your brand along to their followers.

Further, when a follower reaches out to you on Twitter, try to respond quickly. According to a Lithium Technologies study, more than 70 percent of Twitter users expect a response from a brand and just over half expect that response within an hour.

Engagement best practices

LeadSift, a company that helps brands understand, identify and reach their ideal consumers via social media, studied what makes a good and bad Twitter response. They found that:

  • Having an external call to action link in the first Twitter response reduced engagement by 19 percent, but if you must, put the CTA link in the second half of your response.
  • Using a hashtag increases engagement by 15 percent.
  • Personalized responses increase engagement by 20 percent.
  • Using “click” instead of “find” in your CTA links boosts performance nearly 30 percent.
  • Emoticons are good. They increase engagement by two thirds.
  • Punctuation is great! It improves engagement by 27 percent!

I could put all of these “best practices” back into my New Hampshire coffee shop setting. For example, if you’re talking to a salesperson, do you want the first words out of his mouth to be a hard sell? And with emoticons, isn’t it more pleasant to chat with someone who has personality?

So as you manage your Twitter engagement, just see yourself having a cup of Joe with a new friend in New Hampshire, waiting for the well-scrubbed candidates to come around to make their pitches and shake your hand.

Relax, enjoy and engage. (Repeat.)

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