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How to Make Twitter More Engaging

Do you wonder how to make Twitter interactions more personal and valuable?  The Public Speaker explains how to create natural person-to-person connections in 140 characters or less.  

By
Lisa B. Marshall,
November 21, 2014
Episode #273

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Most advice on Twitter marketing is all about getting followers and pushing information out to the masses. Today I’d like to talk about a different approach. We’re going to look at how to promote your business with a more human touch..

I recently read an article by Gary Vaynerchuk, The New York Times bestselling author of Jab, Jab, Right Hook: How to Tell Your Story in a Noisy Social World. In a LinkedIn article titled "13 tweets a Real Estate Agent Should Have Answered. Not Me," he shows us examples of how a real estate agent could find potential customers by responding to relevant tweets. With Gary’s method, if you’re willing to put in some extra effort, you may be able to target high quality leads in a more engaging way.

For example, Gary did a little searching and found this tweet:

"In Toluca and looking for an apartment...this isn't anything like House Hunters International... #homelessinMexico"

He responded by asking what price range they were looking for. This opened the door for him to offer to help and to potentially gain a customer. Now, Gary isn’t a real estate agent. Most likely, real estate agents on Twitter are using automated feeds to tweet out housing market data, share articles about how to buy a home, blah blah blah. Gary’s point is that by relying too much on automated feeds, we lose the human element that might help us attract more interested customers.

Two Reasons You Probably Hate this Idea Already

Reason #1: I’ll seem nosy

Before I read Gary’s article, I had tried this approach with limited success. I had one tweeter I responded to ask me why I was butting in (sorry, but when you tweet your comments to hundreds of followers, you conversation isn’t exactly private). That was just enough discouragement to make me abandon the approach right away. But no approach is going to be met with a 100% positive response. Just because one person doesn’t want your help, doesn’t mean no one will.

Reason #2: I can’t automate it

Let’s face it. Most of us automate our social media feeds because we simply don’t have the extra time to spend monitoring Twitter and Facebook looking for ways to respond and interact with followers. I recognize that social media is a huge part of marketing my business, but I would rather put my energy into writing and teaching than browsing social media sites. For many of businesses, Gary’s more labor-intensive approach will only work if we can hire someone to dedicate to this activity. I believe this can be done, with some up-front training.

Step-by-Step Guide to Human Interaction on Twitter

I believe in Gary’s personal approach, but I also say you don’t have to do it all yourself. Let’s talk about the steps you’ll need to take.

Step #1: Know the Content You’re Working With

If you are going to rely on someone else to manage your Twitter feed, that person will need  need to be very familiar with all of your content. In my case, I’ve written many articles on public speaking. My assistant should become familiar with the topics I’ve covered and know how to use and search my blog for content. An assistant can respond as an assistant, or perhaps even as you.  Just be certain you trust the assistant to match your style and tone and that the responses are consistent with your brand.

Step #2: Search for Relevant Tweets

Most Tweets are marked as public. That means they are discoverable if you search by the right keywords. Use twitter.com/search-home to search by relevant keywords. You can set up the searches ahead of time, or make searching for keywords an ongoing assignment for the assistant. 

In my case, I might search on keywords like "public speaking" or "public speaking tips." But you can also search by specific topics you’ll be covering in your other social media.  In my case, I have a few searches pre-defined in Hootsuite, but I also ask my social media assistant, Franceska, to monitor and set up new searches as we create new content.

Step #3: Pick and Choose Who to Respond to

The key is to look for regular people tweeting about your topic. For example, I would bypass tweets that offer public speaking advice or point to a competitor’s blog on the subject. When I search, I’m looking for tweets like this:

  • Lost my voice from last night and my event is public speaking. Great just great
  • Literally hate public speaking #imsociallyawkward #caninot

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