There are several great articles out there about ways to tweet effectively. When I first started tweeting, I relied heavily on Debbi Ohi’s The Writer’s Guide to Twitter. She shares tons of helpful information, from the basics, to how twitter can help writers, and even twitter etiquette.
There are a few basic types of tweets. There’s the retweet, where you literally retweet something another person tweeted. There’s the link share, where you share a link with your followers. There’s the @, where you are replying to another tweet or trying to tell something to a specific tweeter. And there is the straightforward, here’s what I’m doing/thinking tweet. In general, you do not want to only use one of these types of tweets. It is best to mix it up. I’ll be the first to admit that I’m guilty of over-sharing links. Link sharing is simple. So is retweeting. What I’m not great about is sharing my own thoughts. Do people really care? I’m also not great at @tweets. Just because I don’t do them often though, I do make a conscious effort to mix up the tweets.
Tools for Tweets
Let’s face it, Twitter can be a huge distraction. You think, oh, I’m just going to quickly post this tweet. Then you get sucked into reading other tweets and clicking links and the next thing you know, you’ve killed two hours. The other problem with Twitter is spreading out your tweets. I personally don’t think about Twitter all day. I have set times when I like to check out Twitter and catch up on blogs. Unfortunately, if I post all my tweets during these times, I’d post several in the span of 30 minutes or so, which is not good Twitter etiquette and it does not help with Twitter engagement.
Thankfully, there are tools that help you manage your tweet posting schedules and that can also limit the time you spend on actual Twitter (meaning less distraction).
I used to use Hootsuite. Hootsuite is great because you can schedule your tweets well in advance and see your Twitter stream (what your followers are tweeting) on the dashboard. You can also see @mentions and pending tweets. The downfall is that you have to login to Hootsuite and actively think about when to post a tweet.
Hootsuite also has an analytics function. You select what type of report you want to create (follower growth, retweets, etc) and Hootsuite then generates the report. A downfall to their analytics function is that you need a paid account to use it.
I recently discovered a new tool, Buffer. Buffer is great for many reasons. You do not have to login to schedule tweets. You can install a button to your toolbar and, if you see something you like, push the buffer button. A tweet screen pops up with the link and title and you can alter the text and decide whether you want to schedule your tweet or tweet it immediately.
You can also add tweets within buffer or schedule buffered tweets directly through Twitter. Buffer auto-schedules your tweets to spread them out during the day. You tell it how often you want to tweet and it picks strategic times. What’s great is that you can look at your scheduled tweets and move things around so you aren’t posting the same type of tweet several times in a row. What’s not so great is that you can’t schedule a specific tweet for several days down the road, like with Hootsuite unless you change your posting schedule or add in lots of filler tweets.
The best part about Buffer, in my opinion, anyway, is the analytics tool. Buffer tells how many people clicked links (per tweet), favorited a tweet, or retweeted a tweet, and it shows the potential reach for each tweet. Typically, my tweets only have the potential of reaching my followers, but I’ve had some tweets that were retweeted by users with huge followings, increasing the reach potential for my tweets. The caveat is that you only get analytics for tweets that were sent through Buffer. Buffer has a paid account option, but so far everything I want is available through the free account.
Analytics for Twitter Engagement
Analytics are extremely useful because they can help you learn what types of tweets are successful – clicks, retweets, likes, etc. All of these activities equate to engagement, and social media success is all about engagement.
Analytics can also help you determine if the reach of a tweet is affected by the time/day. Despite studies I have read to the contrary, among my followers I have not seen a correlation between time/day and engagement, but that is not to say that other people with different audiences will not find this to be the case.
Knowing how your tweets are received can help you create more engaging tweets as you move forward. It helps pinpoint what worked and what did not work. It also helps you monitor changes over time. Maybe something that worked last month does not work this month. Social media is constantly changing, and monitoring your analytics can help you stay on top of these trends and continue to create engaging content for your followers.
Are you using any great tools for Twitter? I’d love to hear about other Twitter management apps.