Note: This is the second in a 4-part series on increasing engagement on social media. Click here to view #1 – 16 Outstanding Ways to Increase Engagement on Facebook.
As a school marketer, you already are aware of the opportunity Twitter presents to you as a tool for reaching out to parents and prospective parents. With more than 330 million users on Twitter, it’s easy to see why it is one of the platforms most school marketers say benefits their school.
But here’s the challenge – how do you get the right Twitter users (also known as Tweeps) to engage with your posts and click on your content?
Almost every school marketer has been in the position where they are churning out a mountain of content, and no one ever seems to want to interact with it. It’s easy to get frustrated when the last three tweets linking to your latest genius blog post don’t get noticed.
In this post, I’m going to take a deeper dive into Twitter engagement. We will look at what Twitter engagement is, how to measure it and why it matters. I will also give you 25 strategies you can use to increase your engagement and click-through-rate (CTR) on Twitter.
Types of Twitter Engagement
Twitter engagement is when someone engages with the content that you post in your tweets. To be considered engagement, Twitter users can:
- Reply to your Tweet
- Engage with someone who replied to your Tweet
- Retweet your Tweet
- Like your Tweet
- Direct Message you
- Add you to a List
- Add your Tweet to a Moment
- Follow and unfollow you
- Mention you in a Tweet by using your Twitter Handle
- Click on your link
Engagement is one of the main purposes of having a Twitter account – to send interested, engaged traffic to your website and/or blog. Just remember that if someone isn’t following you, they can’t see your postings.
What You Should Know About Twitter Engagement
Before we get into the specific Twitter engagement strategies, it’s a good idea to understand the Twitter environment in which you are trying to engage. (Source: 61 Social Media Statistics to Bookmark for 2018)
- Twitter users prefer content and engagement
15% of Twitter users will unfollow a brand within three weeks if they are not making an effort to engage them, such as posting relevant content and engaging with them
- Active Twitter users are on Twitter every day
Out of all active Twitter users, 81% are active at least once a day, 15% access Twitter more than 10x a day, and 60% tweet at least once a day
- Twitter users like to engage with brands
49% of Twitter users are following brands
- Twitter users prefer to use Twitter for customer service
19% of active Twitter users seek customer support on Twitter
- Twitter users prefer visuals
Visual content (i.e., images, graphics, infographics, and videos) get 150% more engagement on average than text-only tweets
- Twitter users prefer to use their mobile devices
82% of active Twitter users accessed it through a mobile device
- Millennials are active Twitter users
81% of millennials in the U.S. view their Twitter account on a daily basis
Why Twitter Engagement Matters
Interaction on Twitter offers a great deal of benefits to your school.
Engagement on Twitter (except when it goes really wrong) will enable you to build and foster relationships with parents and potential parents. If they are interacting with your content, they are interested in your school, and may even be sharing it. This is especially true if you’re responding to them and having conversations, even if they are brief.
Once you start getting click-throughs to your website and/or blog, you will be gaining more visitors, inquiries, and enrollments.
Also, when you garner retweets or mentions, you’re expanding your reach – for free.
Twitter engagement can drive results, so it’s worth measuring the results and adjusting your campaigns to improve the performance of your Twitter campaigns.
How to Increase Twitter Engagement and Link Clicks
Here are 25 strategies you can use to increase Twitter engagement for your school. You will want to test these strategies to determine what will work best for your school.
- Build an audience by following others
You want to consistently grow your followers by following others. Find the best followers by using Twitter Advanced Search to laser-focus your search criteria. Just remember to thin out your Followers (I use ManageFlitter to do this) because you want to maintain a balance between the number of people following you and the number of people or brands you follow. One strategy I like to use to build my Twitter audience is to find local influencers and search through their followers to find potential followers.
- Engage with other content
Yes, the Golden Rule works on Twitter. If you want others to engage with your content, you need to engage with theirs first. Like, reply to and retweet others content. When you engage with other Twitter users’ content, they will be more likely to pay attention to your content. This can help to build social proof over time, which is valuable on all social channels.
Not only will this increase engagement, but it will also help you build relationships with your followers, expanding your reach both on – and off – Twitter.
- Retweet other users’ tweets
Another golden rule and retweets are golden in the Twitterverse (yes, it’s a thing!) Retweeting is a form of engagement that Twitter users value a great deal – not only are you saying you Like their content, but you value it enough to share it. Reciprocity is an important part of why people choose to follow and engage with your school. By retweeting, you will have a better chance of connecting with them.
- Keep your tweets short
Twitter only allows 140 characters in each tweet, to begin with, but the best practice is to keep your tweets really short – like 80 – 110 characters. This is for several reasons. Leaving space for more characters allows users the opportunity to add their own tags and @Mentions, making it easier for others to retweet. Several research studies have found that shorter tweets have a higher level of engagement.
- Share a variety of content topics that include links
While it is important, of course, to include links to your most valuable content, you also want to share curated content as well. With social media, you never want to make it all about your brand. No one wants to feel they are being “sold” to all the time.
- Respond when someone tweets you
This can be especially challenging for large schools that have a lot of engagement. However, it’s best to respond to users that engage with your school as soon as possible. Sending an actual response tweet is usually the most powerful and effective. If you receive criticism or they seem upset, respond to them quickly and make the conversation private (i.e., Direct Message) as soon as possible.
Responding when someone tweets you increases the chances they will engage with your future posts.
- Know the best times to post
There are certain times of the day or days of the week when your active Twitter followers are more likely to be online. You will get more views and engagement if you post during your peak hours.
Most studies have shown that posting between noon and 3 pm Mondays – Fridays is a peak time, while other studies have found that 5 pm Monday – Friday or noon and 6 pm offers the best CTR.
Most social media scheduling tools (I use Buffer and SproutSocial) make it easy to distribute content during the best days and times for your school. It’s always a good idea to test your posting schedule to ensure you are posting during the best times for your social media platforms and audience.
- Always provide high-quality content
People don’t want to waste time, especially on a microblogging site like Twitter. Schools should seek to provide value through information, inspiration or entertainment. Providing value, in whatever form you choose, is among the most important factors for success with content marketing. Value will keep potential parents coming back and staying interested, and, best of all, engaging with and clicking on the tweet you’re posting.
- Always use hashtags
Hashtags play an important role on Twitter. Just like with Instagram, hashtags are part of the Twitter culture. But they are functional too. Hashtags help people find what they are looking for when they are searching. Hashtags also are used to emphasize core points you want to make.
Tweets with hashtags are retweeted 33% more often than tweets without hashtags. However, less can be more. Tweets with only one hashtag receive 69% more retweets than tweets with two or more hashtags.
For this reason, it is best practice to use only one hashtag per tweet. Also, remember that using a trending hashtag will help increase engagement and impressions.
Want to know how to research the best hashtag for your tweet? Click here to learn more.
- Include images
Visuals are important on all social media channels; Twitter is no exception. Images are important on Twitter because you are limited to the number of characters you can use. Case studies have shown that tweets with images receive 313% more engagement.
While you can use up to 4 images per tweet, including at least one image will drive extra engagement.
- Post videos
While images can get more attention than plain text tweets, videos will outperform images. Twitter Video allows you to upload an existing video directly from your smartphone. The time is limited to 30 seconds, but you will lose most of your audience after 30 seconds anyway.
Most Twitter users – 82 % – watch videos right from the Twitter platform. Native videos will drive more engagement than videos from third party players.
Video is a great way to share stories about your school, offer a day-in-the-life look, evoke emotion and highlight your Twitter presence. Videos are a dynamic way to boost your engagement.
- Ask for retweets
Asking for retweets has been shown to be an effective strategy – as long as you don’t overuse it. When you have something really important you want people to share, say “Please RT” or “Please share” at the end of your tweet. If you use “Please RT” all the time, people will just ignore your request, so use this tactic sparingly.
- Don’t over tweet
If you tweet too much – especially if you tweet the same content over and over – you will see your engagement decrease. Most studies show that tweeting 1 to 3 times per day is ideal. Posting more than four times per day will negatively impact your audience.
- Space out your tweets
When you’re sending out your 1 – 4 tweets during the day, don’t send them all at once. Be sure to space your tweets out over the day. This will increase the number of people who see it and help to increase your engagement.
- Use simple, clear language
You are limited in the number of characters you can use, so don’t try to be clever or speak in riddles. Get right to the point and make it easy for people to grasp what you’re trying to communicate. You do want to pique your audience’s interest, so use language that will make others want to pay attention and take the action you are inviting them to take.
- Ask questions
This is a very common tactic for drawing people in. People want to share their opinions and experiences, so ask them! Asking questions will increase engagement and give you valuable insight into the type of content they are interested in and want more of in the future.
- Use power words
Using power words and superlatives in your blog will increase engagement. You want to provoke curiosity and evoke an emotional response from your audience. If you’re not sure what power words to use, or you just want some ideas, CoSchedule offers a free download of 500 power word for writing emotional headlines. They also offer a free headline analyzer you can use to evaluate your headline – or tweet.
- Talk about important people in your area
When you interact with an influencer in your area (i.e., school board member, mayor, etc.), it can help to get new eyes on you. On Twitter, talking about or tagging an important person can be enough to get more engagement and new followers. Use the @Mention feature whenever it’s appropriate; you might build a stronger relationship with the person you’re mentioning as well as getting more engagement.
- Use Twitter Cards
Twitter Cards are a great way to add more content to your tweet. You can use a summary card, photo card or product card. Twitter Cards are larger, which attracts more attention to it, as well as enriching your post. To learn more about how to set up and use Twitter Cards, link here.
- Use shortened links
Twitter has such a limited number of characters; you don’t want to waste them on long, ugly links. Most social media schedulers will have a built-in link shortener. Some WordPress themes come with a link shortener, or you can install a plugin like Pretty Links. Many social media managers use Bitly, Tiny URL, Goo.gl or Bit.do.
- Recycle your best content
If you posted content and it performed well, you can extend it by using it again. Many schools recycle their best content, making sure to get more eyes on their high-quality tweets, videos, and links. Most content is missed the first time it is posted; and even if people see it more than once, most won’t even notice the replication.
Many social media schedulers allow you to repost content and offer an easy way for you to change up the tweet. Make sure to stagger your postings when you are reusing content. Repost on different days, at different times and put a few weeks in between your posts as well.
Of course, you don’t want to recycle content that relies on timelines like breaking news, holidays, events or certain trending topics.)
- Include a call-to-action (CTA)
People want to know what they should do next after reading your post. Use action words to inspire Twitter users to, well, take action. Some examples include:
- Learn more
- Follow Us
- Please Help (good for nonprofits)
- Visit Our Site
- Place an Inquiry
- Shop Our Sale
Use the word “free” whenever it’s appropriate is a good idea. Twitter users love giveaways and freebies!
- Alternate between “titles” and “text” copy
Switch up your tweet copy between using headlines and regular copy. If you have an attention-grabbing title, you will attract interest, but don’t forget about interesting statistics and data within your content. Often, that type of copy will increase engagement.
- Invest in Twitter Ads
Twitter Ads are a good way to increase your engagement, especially if you want to grow your follower-base. Twitter Ads do cost money, and can be more expensive than Facebook Ads. However, most Twitter users that invest in Twitter advertising have found that Twitter’s click-through rate (CTR) is higher than Facebook advertising. Promoted tweets are the best type of advertising for increasing engagement.
Create a Twitter Ad by locating the tab on the same dropdown menu where you find Twitter Analytics, which you can find by clicking on your logo next to the Tweet button in the upper right corner.
- Consider using a Twitter Conversational Ad
Conversational Ads are designed to increase engagement and brand influence. They are similar to promoted tweets, but come with the addition of a CTA that encourages users to tweet with hashtags you can customize and choose.
When a Twitter user clicks on the CTA, the tweet will open with a pre-populated message that users can then customize and share, after which they will be automatically thanked.
Twitter Conversational Ads are a great tool to use to grow engagement for your school.
Besides paid advertising, most of these Twitter engagement strategies are free and only require a small amount of extra time in addition to the content you may already be creating for Twitter. There are millions of Twitter users out there – you just have to find the right strategies to get your target audience to engage with your school.
As you continue to drive engagement and increase your CTR on Twitter, you’ll most certainly increase the number of inquiries over time by sending traffic to your website and blog. Twitter engagement will help you build rapport, trust and positive relationships with your potential parents, and ultimately, your school’s enrollment.
What strategies have worked best for your school to increase engagement on Twitter? Please share with other school marketers in the comments below.