How Do You Converse on Twitter?
When I started writing this article, I noted down ‘50’ as the number of tweet ideas I wanted to share with you. I ended up with 49 tweet ideas to start a conversation on Twitter, how is that for a ‘magic’ number?! I personally think starting and having a conversation on Twitter is fairly easy (and lots of fun) but not everyone is going to agree with me on that. I wrote this article for those of you who might be in need of a little help. Before I do that, I want to answer the ‘why’ (as in; ‘Why do I need to have conversations on Twitter?’) because not everyone understands the importance of Twitter conversations. Do you?
Why Is Starting (and Conducting) Conversations on Twitter Important?
There are many reasons you’ll want to have real conversations on Twitter. The obvious reasons being
- To grow your audience
- To make new connections
- To increase your influence
- To get to know your audience better
- To share information
- To show you are a human, not a robot
- To share your expertise
- To build trust
- To increase brand awareness
All of these are valid reasons to have real conversations and I suggest you try to have several conversations on Twitter per week (for starters). I know we get all busy, and running a business pulls you in many different directions, but having real, meaningful conversations on Twitter can enhance your overall social media efforts tremendously and the pay off for being ‘real’ can be enormous!
Note: Not all conversations have to be ‘live’. It is totally awesome when you catch your friend(s) online and you banter back and forth and leave a long series of tweets as a result of having a real (live) conversation on Twitter. Yet not everyone is ‘live’ on Twitter for extended periods of time, so it’s perfectly OK and acceptable to continue a conversation for several hours and/or days, depending on when you and your friend(s) are online.
Responsive Tweets and Leading Tweets
As I started to put these tweet ideas on paper, I realized I needed to divide these ideas into two main categories: leading and responsive tweets. This merely means that some tweet ideas will come from you when you want to start, or lead, the conversation (hoping that someone will respond to you), the other string of ideas will come from you responding to a specific tweet you see, continuing a conversation with someone already tweeting. I guess you could thus also name the categories ‘planned’ and ‘spontaneous’ tweets, as the leading tweets are planned by you and the responsive tweets are merely that; responses to someone else’s tweets.
Responsive (aka Spontaneous Tweets)
These types of tweets are created on the spot. I can’t really teach you how to ‘speak to’ or ‘converse with’ people on Twitter, but maybe, just maybe, I can open your eyes to the opportunities out there for Twitter engagement and conversation.
Spontaneous means “performed or occurring as a result of a sudden inner impulse or inclination and without premeditation or external stimulus.” Therefore, if you are going to be spontaneous on Twitter, you’ll need to listen to your inner impulse or inclination and keep an eye on your Twitter feed to find tweets to respond to.
Responsive Tweet Ideas
Question & Answer Ideas
- See a general question in your Twitter feed? Answer it! (@reply)
- See a blog post title with a question? Read/scan the post, RT the tweet and tweet your opinion.
- See a question about your industry? Give the expert answer! Then follow up with an article link, if appropriate and follow that person!
- See someone answer a question and you disagree? Tweet your opinion.
Your Own Article Links, Tweeted By Others and you @Mentioned
- Someone tweets your article; say ‘thank you’ and ask a question about the article!
- Someone tweets your article; say ‘thank you’, ‘favor’ the tweet and follow that account.
- Someone tweets your article; say ‘thank you’ and add that person to a Twitter list.
- Someone tweets your article; say ‘thank you’ and ask them their opinion.
- Someone tweets your article; say ‘thank you’ and wish them a happy Monday, Tuesday etc.
Thank You For Sharing/RTing My Article Tweets, Directed at You
- Say ‘you’re most welcome’ and tell them what you liked about the article.
- Say ‘you’re most welcome’ and ask them why they wrote the article.
- Say ‘you’re most welcome’ and ask what they are working on next.
- Say ‘you’re most welcome’ and tell them you’ll be happy to share again!
Trending Tweets Ideas
(You can see what’s trending on Twitter at any given time!)
- Relate what’s trending to you and/or your business.
- Use the appropriate hashtag to join the ongoing conversations.
- Trending tweets are what is getting people ‘riled up’ right now! It means their emotions are involved, or they would not be tweeting about it! Emotions like fear, outrage, anger, desire, passion etc. Add some ‘spark’ to your tweet as well as you converse!
Photo Response Ideas
When you see a tweet with a photo, especially pictures of people at events
- say something about the picture
- ask a question about the picture
- ask questions about the event
Live Event Ideas
- Before the Event: Put the event hashtag in your search bar and follow those who use it. Send each account a tweet to let them know you will also be an attendee.
- During the Event: RT interesting tweets bout the events and have live conversations with other attendees.Send out tweets with quotes from the speakers. Don’t forget to tweet pictures of you and other attendees, mentioning them in your tweets!
- After the Event: Keep monitoring the event hashtag for tweets and join conversations about the past event, giving your opinion.
Leading (aka Planned Tweets)
These types of tweets are planned, and can be scheduled. Each of these tweets are meant to get someone’s attention and possible to spark a conversation. For non-scheduled leading tweets, consider checking trending tweets for inspiration. And then it gets interesting; Not every planned tweet will get traction, or a response. There are other factors involved like timing and your current influence status.
If you are very new to Twitter, I suggest you plan some leading tweets, but concentrate your efforts on having real Twitter conversations by tweeting mostly responsive tweets. The beauty of responsive tweets is that you know the other person is most probably already waiting and willing to have a conversation. But first, let me give you some examples of leading tweets. (feel free to copy and paste where appropriate and adapt where needed)
Leading Tweet Ideas
You can schedule any of these! (Yes, even the thank you tweets)
General Question Ideas
- How do you wake up each morning? I run on coffee… you?
- Weather in SC is crazy today. Thunderstorms and rain. Welcome to #fall. What’s your weather like?
- Ever want to just curl up in your office chair? Yeah, me neither. ;) I vote for office #naps! Agreed?
- What do you love most about your #job? I love the freedom to work from home. Your turn!
- Who else lives in #SC? Ever been to Myrtle Beach?
You can ask questions about your industry, your current project, the weather, etc. Make sure it’s a question, not just a statement!
Content Curation Question Ideas
- Who influences you on #Twitter? How? #tweetme #blogresearch
- Question: Do you write and edit-as-you-go or write first and edit later? #blogginghabits #research
- What Pinterest feature do you love most for business? Writing an article and would love to quote you (and link) Tweet me!
- To tag or not to tag on #Facebook? Your #opinion is needed for an article I am writing. Pros, cons and dislikes. Let me have them.
- How did you pick your company name? Looking for great stories! You’ll be featured on my blog. #branding
Apply this to your industry, your current project, your next blog post, research etc.
(try entering #BusinessQuotes or #Quotes in the Twitter Search bar to find tweets like these)
- “Strive to sell a solution, not just a product” #BusinessQuotes
- “A business has to be involving, it has to be fun, and it has to exercise your creative instincts.” ~ Richard Branson #BusinessQuotes
- “Know thyself. Know the customer. Innovate.” ~ Beth Comstock #BusinessQuotes
- “I try not to make any decisions that I’m not excited about.” ~ Jake Nickell #BusinessQuotes
- “Leadership is not a position or a title, it is action and example.” ~ Anonymous #Businessquotes
Finding quotes is easy. You don’t necessarily get a conversation initially, but you might get a few RTs. You can then thank someone for the RT and ask them what they liked about the quote, or how it resonated with them and BOOM, you are having a a conversation!
- Best and worst of 80’s music… Go!
- Pros and cons of homeschooling 4 kids. Considering it and I need advice!
- Do you let your teen date before their 16th birthday? #parenting
Some people are really good at this, me not so much, yet I wanted to put it out there for you to consider. Bantering back and forth and debating certainly will get your Twitter profile noticed and will establish a relationship with your fellow debaters/conversationalists. They idea is to attract new people to connect with.
Your Own Article Ideas
(use your own articles and create a bit.ly link!)
- ‘Who Influences You On Twitter? “Bit.ly link” (I want to know so I can follow them, too!)
- Dislike Facebook Tagging? Tell me why, and then read this! “Bit.ly link”
- What is the best spam filtering wordpress plugin? I suggest you read this “Bit.ly link” and let me know if you needed this!
The bit.ly link (or any other link, shortened) serves as a ‘teaser’. The title of the actual article is not revealed until someone clicks. By adding a question, people might be curious enough to come back and answer it after reading the article (I know it works; I fall for it! ;))
Other People’s Content Ideas
(use articles you love and create bit.ly links for them!)
- I like how Jacky compares X to Y! “Bit.ly link” I wonder how I can apply that to my business?
- Number 6 is THE best! Which one is your favorite? “Bit.ly link”
- Amen! “Never underestimate the power of a kind word” “Bit.ly link” Who has been kind to you today?
Again, like I suggested you do with your own content, you are trying to start that conversation by adding a bit.ly link and a question. I myself always get curious when I see these types of tweets and if you catch me at the right moment, I’ll be someone who clicks, reads and responds!
Thank You Ideas
- Thank you to @person1, @person2 and @person3 for sharing my Twitter Influence article. Tell me, who influences you?
- Thank you for connecting with me this week @person1. Who else should I get to know on Twitter?
- @person1 Thanks for adding me to your Twitter list. I am excited and followed those on the list. Who else should I connect with?
So Many Tweet Ideas, So Little Time!
I get it! I have a much (or as little, however you want to play that card) as you. Yet I try to make time each week to start a few Twitter conversations. Some weeks are better than others; it depends on how busy my client work keeps me and what’s going on in the world of social media.
There Is One More Way To Have a Conversation: Twitter Chats
There is ONE MORE easy way to have real conversations and meet real live people on Twitter and that is through Tweet Chats! Most of these chats last one hour (just block an hour on your calendar) and there are many to choose from, in many industries and with many different topics! Using a Tweet Chat tools makes it easy, even for the beginner.
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