Ty Scheiner

Twitter’s CEO recently announced that the micro blogging site has reached 400 million Tweets a day: how many of them mention your brand? As nearly one in 10 online Americans use Twitter daily and the platform is developing countless new tools to help marketers better reach their audiences, there are growing opportunities to bring followers to your website – but only if you’re posting the right kind of Tweets.

From the launch of the revamped Discover tab, which customized recommended content according to users’ activities, to the recent release of Tailored Trends, improving the relevance of hot Tweets formerly developed according to users’ regions, the company is giving companies chances to reach more relevant audiences. Brands can benefit from having their stories and Tweets trending as it helps with reach, visibility and influence within their industry.

But it’s not enough to have a few posts that hit on trending topics through hashtags. To maximize visibility and influence Twitter users,  brands have to have an interactive profile that encourages users to participate and engage them.

The anatomy of an interactive post

Brands have two avenues to post their content to Twitter. A brand can automate or manually post their articles to the network. Automation saves time, can increase your reach and may boost your visibility through frequency. It allows a company to schedule posts throughout the day without having to update its Twitter feed every hour. I am an advocate of having automation in your Twitter marketing mix. Being able to schedule posts allows brand to reach their audiences no matter where they are located (or what time zone they’re in), and the more updates a profile has the greater chance they have at being read and shared.

Automated Tweets without interactive posts can look spammy

Automation tools are a great resource, but the practice is only part of the equation of what makes brands successful on Twitter. If someone is looking at a Twitter feed with just a headline and a shortened link posted throughout the page, it can come across as “spammy,” and give the impression of a brand being lazy for just automating content for content’s sake, instead of giving their account a more “personal” feel. Check out the account on the left. It shares great content, but too much automation and not enough interactions in the mix make the profile look, well, automated.

On the other hand,  you can Supercuts Twitter account (featured below) for an example of a brand doing a good job of generating interactive Tweets. The company has some posts that seem to be automated, but it’s clear that it is also creating custom, interactive content for the microblogging site.

Interactive posts include:

  • @mentions that call out other users
  • @replies that respond to inbound Tweets
  • manually shared content that include #hashtags and timely comments that put brands in trending conversations
  • questions or calls to action around manually shared content (“What do you think of…” or “RT if you like this infographic about…”)

How interactive posts are good for your brand

Interaction and engagement via Twitter is key for any business to increase brand awareness, visibility and thought leadership within its industry. The more interacting a profile does, the more content that is being produced that calls for groups of followers to respond, the more likely an account will generate interactions around shared content that can help their Tweets achieve status as trending in the new Discover tab.

Plus, interactive posts show followers you’re not looking for a one-way conversation where you broadcast your own opinions: You build the road for two-way chatter that can help you nurture leads and other business relationships through social. Brafton has reported that 64 percent of Twitter users say they’re more likely to buy from brands that answer their questions on Twitter. A brand’s reach can also inform whether or not they make Twitter’s “Who to Follow” suggestion list, so interaction can have a snowball effect where you’re likely to gain more influence as you go.

64 percent of Twitter users say they’re more likely to buy from brands that answer their questions on Twitter.

Profiles that are interacting with their followers on consistent basis can also be rewarded by being mentioned in the new Twitter emails. This new feature sends weekly emails to Twitter users highlighting the top content for the week and articles that created the most buzz. If a brand can get on these emails, it creates an opportunity for Twitter marketing to help them reach audience across multiple channels.

Also, people will be more likely to click the links you share if you engage them directly and give them a good reason to do so. This brings us back to one of the most important benefits of interactive Twitter marketing: It helps drive relevant website traffic.

Measurable results of interactive Twitter marketing

It doesn’t matter what industry your business is in. Interaction is beneficial for brands across multiple industries. Brafton’s clients in various sectors have had tremendous success in  engaging in conversation with followers as opposed to just automating their content.

This example is from a client in the business and finance industry. The first graph displays the statistics for clicks on automated Twitter content over a month period. There were a total of 221 automated posts that received 2,363 clicks for a 10.7 average clicks/post. (Brafton’s data shows that the average social media post in this industry receives 4.9 clicks/post, so this is already well above average, which is great to see!)

Automated Tweets click to website

Here are statistics for the same Twitter feed over the same period of time based on posts that are manual and fit the anatomy of engaging and interactive Tweets. (These cover the interactive Tweets that included site links, though it’s worth noting that NOT every interactive Tweet included a site link.) We see a significant jump in clicks per post. The clicks per post more than tripled from automation to interaction, which makes sense. And we have to speculate that the interaction might also make followers more likely to click the automated posts.

Interactive Tweets click per post

Now here’s an example is of a client that is in the educational industry. The numbers are not as large (which Brafton’s client pool shows is standard for education compared to business and finance), but the results are similar in comparing automation and engagement. The company has a pretty low number of clicks per on automated Tweets, so it’s not winning a lot of site traffic from this strategy.

Education Automated Tweets

Once again, the clicks per post more than tripled from automation to engagement. The company went from an average of just 2.3 clicks to their site on automated posts to 7 clicks per post on interactive Tweets.

Education Interactive Tweets

Quick tips for your interactive Twitter marketing campaign

Once a brand decides to start engaging on their Twitter profile, here are some good tips to increase activity and attract more followers to participate in conversation:

  1. Retweeting others: If you see a post that you like, find interesting or want to share with your followers it is best practice to Retweet the original tweet. This allows for you to give credit to the original profile that posted it and lets that profile know that you find their content interesting enough to share with your followers.
  2. @mentioning relevant audiences: If you have content or want to share content with specific people on Twitter who maybe interested in the post you should @mention their twitter handle within your post.  Again, this tells that profile that you think they would be interested in the story and sharing the story will hopefully open up a line of communication between the two profiles where you can discuss the particular piece of content.
  3. Incorporating relevant hashtags: Trending hashtags can be a good resource, as it will help with visibility of your tweets when people are searching those keywords in addition to informing users what you and your tweets are about.
  4. Sharing new blog, articles, news etc. with compelling lead-ins:  Using site content is a great way to encourage conversation on social media.
  5. Sharing a variety of the content from your site at timely moments: Aside, from posting articles and news pieces, try posting webinars, pictures, upcoming events and or promotions that your brand is running. This allows for your followers to see there is a person behind the Twitter handle and gives it more of a personal feel.
  6. Using Twitter to promote new jobs: Sure, you may be in Twitter marketing to generate leads, but Twitter can be a great resource for the Human Resource department of a company to post job postings. Job Tweets let you you reach out to connections who may know of prospective candidates for job opportunities. Plus, this helps your brand show there are people behind it.

Twitter is a very important network – not just “be” on, but to be active on. Brands should take advantage of this resource. With only 140 characters, your business can reach thousands of followers. Brands need to be engaging on a daily basis to make sure their profile isn’t “stale,” and keeping an active profile will leave an incentive for followers to keep returning to their profile, reading their content, visit their site and, ultimately, do business.