For entrepreneurs and brands, Twitter’s an attention game. The stronger spotlight you can shine on your tweets, the more visible your brand will be to potential customers. The more you get noticed, the more prospects you can pull into your sales funnel.
There’s one problem.
Back in the day, before social media, businesses could toot their own trumpet. All you needed was a creative marketing team to present your brand with its best foot forward.
Now, that’s all out of the window. You don’t control the spotlight. The trumpet has been wrestled out of your hands.
Today, your customers are in the driving seat. They’re the ones who decide if you sink or swim. And I don’t only mean by opening their wallets. If your customers shine the spotlight on your brand, then you’re set to grow.
If they leave you in the dark, then you can trample the sequins in the dirt. Business might not be showbiz, but if no one’s in the dance hall, then that’s the end of the disco.
Fortunately, it’s not all out of your hands.
You can’t control whether your customers choose to toot your trumpet. But you can give them a tune to play, just in case they’re in the mood for a jazz session.
Tweet the right way, and people will be desperate to help you any way they can.
That’s what this article is all about. We’ll show you 10 types of tweet that people pay attention to.
These are the tweets that will get replies, retweets, favorite stars and that will make people think you’re the kind of dude they’d like to have a beer with.
Who doesn’t want that?
1. The Handy Tip
If there’s one thing that gets attention above all else, it’s being helpful to your audience.
People follow your business on Twitter because they believe your product or service can help them. They’ve got a spark of hope that you’re what they need. By tweeting helpful tips, you blow the bellows on that spark, breathing life until it becomes a raging fire.
A lot of people assume you have to write a long blog post to provide anything helpful. What can you say that’s useful in a single Tweet?
The truth is that if information is genuinely helpful, it can usually be condensed into 140 characters. You can squeeze a lot more into a tweet than you imagine.
You don’t have to link out to a blog post to be helpful. And it’s better for engagement if you don’t include a link. If people have to navigate away from their Twitter feed to read what you’ve shared, then they’re less likely to come back and retweet or favorite your tweet.
When to share handy tips: Keep a scrapbook of little tips related to your niche (Evernote or Simplenote are perfect for this). Share one or two each day, and focus on times when your audience is most likely to be online.
2. The Fascinating Fact
Looking for advice isn’t the only reason people go on Twitter. Oftentimes, they’re looking for a distraction or a quick fix.
Brain candy is exactly what they want.
Sharing fascinating facts fires up the imagination of your audience. What’s more, they’ll want to share in the glory of having “discovered” this intriguing piece of information, so they’ll retweet what you shared to show it off to their friends.
The facts you share should be relevant to your business. If you’re a fitness instructor, you’ll only alienate your audience if you share tips on how to grow garden herbs. On the other hand, if you’re a gardening blogger, then the herb tips would be perfect.
The more facts you share, the more you’ll get a sense of what resonates with your audience and gets the most retweets and favorites.
When to share fascinating facts: As with handy tips, you can keep a virtual scrapbook of facts to pull up when you need them. Share them at times your audience is likely browsing Twitter aimlessly – such as the beginning and end of the working day.
3. The Question
Twitter is a broadcasting platform. You speak, your followers listen. But it’s also a place for conversation. For learning and sharing and growing as a person.
Questions invite your followers into a conversation with you. Asking questions shows you’re a brand who genuinely wants to engage with your audience.
Questions get attention because people are on Twitter because they want to connect. Human beings are social animals, and in today’s world, social media is one of the ways we reach out and engage with others.
The best Twitter questions are closed questions. These are survey type questions that can be answered in one or two words. For example, a food blogger whose niche is sweet treats could ask any of the following:
- What’s your favorite dessert?
- Chocolate is my favorite sweet treat. Yes/No?
- Fave summer fruit: Strawberry, raspberry, blackberry, or other?
- If you had to choose, would you rather never again eat cookies, or never again eat cake?
- Have you tried the new Hershey’s candy?
When to ask questions: Questions are for times when you and your audience are online, so they can grow into a conversation. Try different times of day to see when you get the most responses.
4. The “Retweet if…”
This tweet is similar to the question, but even more powerful for boosting your visibility.
- “Retweet if you love chocolate chip cookies”
- “Retweet if you’re starting school this fall”
- “Retweet to wish @justinbieber happy birthday!”
These tweets work because people love to be part of something bigger than themselves. By retweeting, they show their followers that they’re part of a crowd – whether that crowd is cookie munchers, students, or closet Biebettes.
You’ll often find many people who don’t follow you will end up retweeting. This will give you a list of people to say hi to and start a conversation with.
When to use the “retweet if…”: Unless you’re a global brand with hundreds of thousands of followers, this isn’t a stunt you can pull off every day. Use this tweet type sparingly when you want to draw a crowd.
Before you use a “retweet if…”, do your research. Notice which questions you’ve asked have pulled in the most answers. These are good candidates to be re-used as “retweet if…” tweets.
5. The Contest Tweet
If you want to get attention fast, you can’t do much better than holding a Twitter contest.
Contests give people an incentive to tweet about your brand. That’s because to enter the contest, people must share a particular tweet.
Your contest prize should be big enough to make people want to win, and should reflect your brand identity and values. For many businesses, offering one of their products as a prize is the best way to go.
Contest entries can be:
- Retweet to Win. The is the most straightforward type of contest, and as long as it gets picked up by a few of your followers, it can quickly go viral.
- The Hashtag Contest. If you’ve created your own hashtag, and you want to shine a light on it, then create a contest where entries must include that hashtag. Everyone who uses the hashtag enters the contest.
- Include a special link. If the prize is one of your products, why not include a link to a landing page that explains more about the contest, and also gives people an opportunity to find out more about your product range?
- Share a twestimonial for a product. Want to collect some Twitter endorsements? Encourage customers to tweet about your products by entering anyone who does so into a contest.
All tweets should include your brand’s Twitter @username so you can monitor contest entries. Of course, this has the added bonus that anyone who sees contest entries also sees your brand, and may decide to follow you.
When to host a contest: When your growth on Twitter has hit a plateau and you want a high speed steroid injection to get things moving again. Like all steroids, contests work in small doses, but they’re not to be overused, or you’ll end up with a monster.
6. The Link
Links are what we share most often on the Social Caffeine Twitter feed. They’re not the best overall for grabbing attention, so why do we use them so much?
- They’re a solid day-to-day filler. Not everything you share on Twitter can be a dancing monkey. If you always shared dancing monkeys, they’d quickly become boring, and they’d no longer work at grabbing attention. You need something to fill the gap that people never get tired off. Curated links are perfect for this.
- They show we know what we’re talking about. If our followers see we’re reading good stuff, they’ll (rightly) assume we’re writing good stuff on our blog, too.
- They’re easy. We’re just being honest here. Curating links is much easier than creating our own content. That’s important when you’ve got to share stuff every day.
- They keep our feed flowing. By sharing tweets at least every hour, we keep ourselves in the feeds of our followers. Research by communications group Ragan found people who post lots of tweet have 50% higher follower growth compared to those who don’t.
- Some will draw a crowd. Not every link we share will be a big hitter. That’s okay with us. But some will pull a crowd, which is always awesome.
When to share links: You’ve probably guessed it already. You can share links all the time. They’re the easiest and most effective way to keep your Twitter feed busy and your followers engaged.
Brief Interlude: Do You Want EVERYONE to Pay Attention?
So far, our advice has been about how to get as many people as possible to notice your brand. Growing your follower count is a worthy goal, but it’s not everything.
Twitter isn’t a popularity contest. It’s a network. And that means you can use it to reach out to people you could never have imagined you’d be able to contact 10 years ago.
How can you get the attention of these influencers?
(Note: We haven’t explained when to use these tweets, because it’s up to you when you use them. They’re suitable whenever you want to get someone’s attention).
7. The Retweet
Retweeting influencers is a subtle way of saying “I’m here, you might want to check me out”.
The truth is that influencers are busy and popular people, and if they’re getting hundreds of retweets, they’re unlikely to check out your profile.
But if you consistently retweet or favorite their tweets, your name will lodge in their subconscious. Then, when you approach them, you’ll seem vaguely familiar.
It’s an easy way to get your foot in the door.
8. The @Mention
If you’re following the strategies we outlined above, then you should regularly be sharing links. Good job!
If you want to get the attention of influencers, there’s more you can do when you share links.
Whenever you share a link, you should always include two @mentions. These are:
- The person who helped you discover the link;
- The author of the article/video/image.
Both of these people are likely to have at least some influence in your niche. Give them credit where credit is due, and chances are they’ll return the favor in future. You never know when you might need their help.
9. The @Reply
When you really want to get someone to sit up and take notice, why not talk to them?
This needn’t be intimidating or difficult. You can:
- Answer a question they’ve asked;
- Help them with a problem they’ve shared;
- Say thank you for something they did or shared that you found helpful;
- Just say hi.
Most importantly, don’t expect an answer, and don’t be disappointed if they don’t reply. It’s nothing personal. They were probably just busy when you sent your Tweet.
Keep talking to them (but don’t be too persistent, stay casual), and eventually they’ll reply to you.
10. The Networked Tweet
As you get to know influencers, you can become a powerful networker, introducing your followers to one another.
A personalized networking tweet will get the attention of both people you’re introducing and be helpful to them both. It will also raise their estimation of you. It’s a win-win-win situation.
How do you do it? Just as you would in real life.
@username, meet @username – you’re two of the best food bloggers I know.
Painless and effective. The more you do it, the more you’ll find it fun.
What types of Tweet have your found are most effective for getting the attention of a crowd? What about for getting noticed by an individual?
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