As social media marketers, we have an abundance of tools in our digital marketing arsenal to measure Twitter performance. When Twitter Analytics came on the scene late 2014, marketers rejoiced at the wealth of new Tweet stats available – including statistics directly linked to the platform in a visually beautiful new format. What’s not to love about that?”
But with so much to measure and so many metrics, it can be easy to lose your way. Many believe that Follower Count is the be-all and end-all of Twitter performance, but what is the point of collecting followers if they just sit there and don’t engage with your account?
This is why Twitter engagement is the holy grail of Twitter marketing. It’s this metric that forces social media marketers to up their game and dramatically improve their strategy. It’s no small feat, and specific tactical decisions are a must; a Tweet here and there simply won’t do if you really want to move the needle, fast.
How pixel8 tackled Twitter Engagement
This article will give you an insight in to pixel8’s journey in the last six months with Twitter Engagement. We’re going to let you in on how we played the Twitter game to boost figures across the board. We hope that by sharing our nuggets of tried and tested strategies that you too can apply these to your Twitter business accounts. We hope you see not only quality growth, but also that you give back a little to your audience, making their Twitter experience a good one.
It all began when Twitter introduced their new analytics function towards the end of last year. Previously, Engagement was somewhat of a mystical measurement, but now, we had a direct figure from the horse’s mouth on platform engagement performance. I found a particular statistic alarming, pixel8’s ‘Engagement Rate’ stood at just 1.00% in October 2014. I knew immediately that we needed to make some tactical decisions on how to increase this figure.
Our company’s Twitter account to needed to garner responses from digital audiences and encourage feedback and dialogue.
Our first step was to examine our historical results. Between Jan – Oct 2014, our average Twitter engagement rate (TER) held steady at 1.2% per Tweet:
Was this good? Was this bad? We weren’t sure. What we did know was that we weren’t driving enough steady traffic to our website (one of our KPIs) but we were increasing Followers month on month (another one of our KPIs). We also held a strong social share of voice with Retweets and Favourites (a third KPI). We were doing okay, but there’s always room for improvement.
We set a modest goal in October of increasing our TER to 1.4%. By the end of 2014 we had exceeded this marginally and achieved a 1.5% TER. In January we saw continued growth, and knew we were heading in the right direction. It was a hard slog, miracles unfortunately don’t happen overnight with Twitter engagement.
How do you calculate Twitter Engagement?
What does this all mean? How do you calculate Twitter engagement rate? Essentially, it is a measure how many people – who see your tweet – actually interact with it. You divide the number of Tweet engagements by the number of impressions to get a percentage of your engagement. The engagements included in the calculation are:
- Link clicks
- Embedded media clicks
- Detail expands
- Shared via email
- User profile clicks
By this point, you may be rolling your eyes thinking that Engagement Rate is a showing-off metric. You’re not alone. I felt the same at first, too. But what our team discovered is that TER is a directional metric – a performance indicator, if you will. If you are increasing your TER, other magical things start to happen to your KPIs.
For example, the traffic we were driving to our blog increased from 0.82% in September to 5% in December 2014. We were floored to see results so quickly. How did we do this? We made a conscious decision to shift our content to focus on our core audience: senior marketing and brand managers, and were then targeting these individuals via Twitter and encouraging dialogue about the blogs.
We wanted to provide our audience with something of value, and in turn, we also saw lead generation increase by 56% between October and May 2015. March, historically a slow month, became a key month for social media lead generation, with us garnering over 48 leads via social media.
So what was the secret to our success?
Practical & Valuable Content
Understand what your audience WANTS to see in their stream. Our marketing and brand manager targets are always looking for new tips, tricks, or hacks to make their lives online easier. Practical content works extremely well here. Our eBook, 25 Best Social Media Practices for Business, has been one of our most popular pieces of content in 2015:
We targeted brand and marketing managers across Twitter to take a look at our guide and offer their insight. Cue key Twitter engagement metrics! Not only did we collect Retweets, Favourites and valuable link clicks through to our website, but we gathered a bank of leads wanting to find out more. This is a key example of sharing something of value via social media – if you give a little, expect a lot in return.
90% of information transmitted to the brain is visual. Visuals are processed 60,000X faster in the brain than text so it makes sense that images play an integral part to your social media messaging. Select compelling images to accompany your Tweet. Images that really stand out from the stock image crowd. It’s important that these images are royalty free so do your homework before attaching anything to your messaging. GIFs also perform well, so it can be worth your while to work with your design team to create some GIFs to accompany Tweets.
Tweets are like children
Refine your copy over and over again. Tweets are not like prizes on the Generation Game – you can’t ‘set it and forget it’. Tweets are like children. You need to nurture them over time and keep testing and refining until you get it right. Double down on content that works and post at optimum times when your audience are most active.
Tweets and content that perform can be published over and over again with minor adjustments. Tweets or content that are duds quickly find their way off the conveyor belt. It’s really important to feed back to your content team to let them know which pieces of content didn’t perform as well as they should have done. This allows content to continually develop and allows a strategy to be put in place where content is created wholly with the audience’s needs in mind.
Personality: Show some sass
Show a little personality in your copy. A little bit of sassiness and sarcasm (funny, not mean) can go a long way in getting people to engage with your Tweet. Remember, you’re trying to stand out in a sea of brands and individuals competing to be heard.
A Selection of some Engaging Messages:
We dug into our archives and pulled six of our favourite Tweets that showed strong Twitter Engagement Rate. Here’s why we feel that each Tweet was successful:
1. Visually Exciting Content that’s Valuable
This Tweet works because the content it’s providing is extremely helpful. Remember Rule Number 1: Provide value. Launching our new content strategy towards the end of 2014 saw some interesting results. We trialled using illustrated images to complement the relevant blog topic and we saw engagement metrics going through the roof. Not only did we boost Impressions, but we were driving our social media audience to visit our website and hang around for longer.
We believe that social media users interact more with illustrated images that are unique. There’s a sea of stock imagery floating around social media platforms so it’s interesting to see something different that jumps off the screen.
2. Team News & Views
Some of our most engaging Twitter content is simply team news and views. We use Twitter as a platform to shout about our team successes, news, views and general goings-on with ‘the pixels’. This plays to the audience’s inner curiosity, people love to see what others are up to – it adds personality to what could be a faceless brand.
3. Video Media via Vine
Twitter’s buddy, Vine, comes in very handy when you want to add some pizazz to your Twitter content creations. Here, we created a Vine video spelling out ‘Yay! It’s Friday!’ with our beloved brand mascots, Dunny dolls (we have hundreds in the office!) This tweet was click-resistible, and encouraged views and the audience to find out more about our funny little agency.
4. Entertaining Messages
Remember what I said about using a bit of sass? This Twitter message is a brilliant example of a tongue-in-cheek message to get your audience involved. Keep a good balance of informative and valuable content but throw some fun in the mix too, your audience will thank you for it.
5. Hot Topic Content
During John Lewis’ Christmas Advert promotion, we hopped on the bandwagon and offered our view on John Lewis’ ‘Christmas Storytelling’ over the last 4 years. This linked in nicely with the branding side to our business and offered detailed insight in to why these adverts are so successful at stirring the nation. This was a hot topic on Twitter and by ensuring pixel8 had a voice, we collected important engagement results from the audience, current and new.
6. ‘What makes us tick’ Content
We’re based in the Northern Quarter in Manchester and are known for our love of great design as much as our love for our Manchester home. This great share couldn’t be missed so we showcased a local artist who created some incredible posters defining our city. This content shows our Twitter audience what makes us tick, and encourages similar users who have the same interests to connect. This again is an expression of pixel8’s personality and every opportunity needs to be taken to demonstrate this. With an Engagement Rate of 17.9%, this certainly stirred up our Twitter audience, helping us meet our Engagement target.
When, What and How to Tweet?
When you tweet.
Most social media experts claim that the weekend is the key time to tweet. That might be true overall, but there are millions of people on Twitter from all over the world, all online at various times. You want to narrow things down to your own Followers. Try Buffer, Socialbro or SproutSocial to find out what times your followers are most active, and then schedule your excellent content for those slots.
What you tweet.
Remember, you want to be creative, dynamic and interesting. Your content should reflect this: being high quality, aimed at the interests of your followers, targeted to a demographic, and a good mix of different forms of media. Text tweets, links, photos and videos should all be included for the best results. Remember, don’t Tweet anything that won’t be of value to your audience.
How you tweet.
Tweet frequently. While a platform like Facebook is better for occasional brand updates, Twitter is made for rapid fire and frequent interaction. Post a few times a day. Schedule them if you have to, but try to have plenty of chances for people to see your content.
All in all…
Twitter Engagement is all about experimentation. This social media platform is constantly evolving and it’s important that you adapt to meet its needs and keep momentum. If you apply the advice in this article to your own brand’s Twitter strategy, you should see an increase in engagement from your audience as well as quantifiable leads.
Be creative, dynamic, interesting and most importantly, valuable.
Do you have any tips on increasing engagement from your Twitter audience? Head over to @SM_Experts or tweet me directly on @fox_creative_ and share your thoughts.