How many people do you think retweeted this tweet below?

Justin Bieber Tweet

One? Two?

Bet you didn’t guess it was 95,182.

So how did they do it?

They became every teenage girl’s dream (Justin Bieber).

Unfortunately for the rest of us mere mortals, we can’t get away with simply tweeting the first thought that pops into our mind. You’ve got to compete against hundreds of tweets filling up a user’s Twitter feed. Each new tweet pushing down older ones into obscurity, never to meet the eyes of your follower.

So just like any other marketing message, it’s crucial to have the ‘right content at the right time’.

Last week I gave you insights on the best time to tweet for YOU, so we can cross that off the list.

Now you just need the right content.

First you should get familiar with Buddy and Dan.

By Buddy, I mean the BuddyMedia study. Not your pet. And of course, Dan refers to Dan Zarella and his Webinar on the Science of Timing.

Often bloggers will reiterate the findings, with no mention of how to apply it to your own Twitter account. I don’t know about you, but this always leaves me a little confused as to where to start. And I’ll even admit this leads me to ignoring some studies altogether.

Instead, I’ve detailed how I applied it to our SocialMotus Twitter account and tips for applying it to your own Twitter account to explode your twitter engagement.

1. Use hashtags and keywords

Just like you, other Twitter users are constantly on the lookout for valuable tweets to share to their followers. Hashtags (keywords with the ‘#’ in front) enable your tweet to be found when a user searches for the keyword in Twitter search. It not only increases your tweet exposure, it also brings it to the attention of those who are specifically interested in that topic.

But don’t go overboard though. According to Buddy Media, tweets with 1 or 2 hashtags had 21% higher engagement than those with more hashtags.

I can understand why. Tweets overloaded with hashtags set off a spam alert in my mind, and I instantly skip ahead to the next tweet.

Instead of guessing which keywords your audience are searching for, try Twubs. This tool lets Twitter users form groups around popular hashtags. Since the information is user-generated, you can see what hashtags are popular under different categories. Hashtags.orgs is also handy as it graphs how popular the hashtag is.

I’ve seen the best results with ‘socialmedia’, ‘social media’ and ‘smm’ for our SocialMotus Twitter account.

2. Use less characters

BuddyMedia found tweets with 100 characters or less had 17% higher engagement rates.

This gives your followers room to add extra words such as ‘via @[your username]’ or a comment next to your original tweet. I recently saw the benefit of this after tweeting about our last article on optimal tweet timing.

@JasonPromotesU shared our tweet and added ‘via @SocialMotus’ to his own Twitter community. This lead to retweets from his followers and some unexpected (but awesome) benefits for me.

One of his followers @SoBoDesignLoft not only read our article but signed up to our social media platform.

Another follower @Socialolio was able to fit in the comment ‘Great Article’ in his tweet, helping it stand out from other tweets.

While another @LCYamaoka was able to fit in the hashtag #Entrepreneurs. Not only did she share it with her own Twitter followers, users who search for entrepreneurs in Twitter search can find my now find tweet.

I’m grateful to @LCYamaoka as I would have never known to use this hashtag.

I received these extra benefits simply because I kept my original tweet short and concise!

I then looked at other tweets where I maxed out the character limit.

When users shared my posts, the tweet content couldn’t actually fit! The end of the tweet was cut off which made it less valuable to their followers.

While you don’t always have to keep your tweets under 100 characters, if it isn’t too difficult to shorten the tweet, then I recommend you do so.

3. Space out tweets

Dan Zarella and BuddyMedia found tweets that were spaced out had a higher CTR. Buddy narrows this down to tweeting no more than four times per day.

I’m not sure I agree with this. If you can schedule more than 4 valuable tweets a day with ease, I suggest you do so as long as they’re spaced out.

I can name several Twitter users who have found success scheduling tweets several times a day (@kimgarst, @jkcallas, @PamMktgNut and so on).

Regardless of how many tweets you schedule, Tweriod comes in handy. Rather than providing you with a specific time, if offers multiple time periods throughout the day for you to tweet for optimal Twitter engagement.

Based on the times above, using SocialMotus I might schedule my tweets at 3am, 3,30am (since the 3am mark has the most followers I want 2 of my tweets sent around this time), 7am and 9am to reach my followers when they’re most likely to be on Twitter.

I try to leave at least a 30 minute gap between my tweets and a couple of hours gap between my first and last post of the day. This way I can catch the eyes of different followers without them knowing I’m actually fast asleep during these times.

Then when I come into the office, I reply to those who have engaged with me.

Here’s a great tip from Melissa Reyes, blogger for Social Amateurs. If you start your tweet with a username (@username) this means only those following both you and the user you’e mentioning will see the post. As long as there is a character in front of @username, anyone is able to see the tweet. If your tweet offers no value to other users, it might be a good idea to start your tweet with @username.

4. Add a link

BuddyMedia found tweets with links receive retweet rates that are a massive 86 % higher than those without links. Tweets in themselves can only offer so much value as they are limited to 140 characters. Adding links to tweets pointing to detailed resources offers people much more value.

And for obvious reasons, adding a link increases CTR.

If you didn’t know that, you’re in the wrong field my friend.

Most of the engagements for our SocialMotus Twitter account have been for tweets with links. Thankfully it’s easy to click a tweet button and send a tweet with the title and link.

I don’t know about you, but I prefer brands that mix up the tweets they send. It makes me feel like they’re putting in much more effort to offer me something of value.

So I do try to mix up my tweets regularly.

Sometimes, I might find an article I like and while scheduling the tweet, I will use an interesting sentence or fact from the article rather than the title.

I also mix it up with link-less tweets if they offer value for my followers. Through personal experience I’ve found that my followers only share my tweets without links if it contains a tip, quote or if I directly mention them.

5. Mention these words

Dan suggests tweets with “via,” “@,” “RT,” “Please,” and “Check” had the highest CTR, while those with the words “@addthis,” “marketing,” and “get glue” had lower CTR’s.

Sadly I haven’t found much success when asking for clicks using ‘Check’ or ‘Please’. Those with a very engaged following will probably have more success with this. Though when sharing a story I sometimes add via @username to credit the user I found the tweet from. They in turn often tweet me a thanks.

Here’s a great tip from Mandy Kilinskis (@ImAmandaJulius). When you share an article, often it only @mentions the website you’re sharing it from. Tryvia @”mentioning the author as well. Usually you can find locate their Twitter handle in their profile or through a quick twitter search.

Jeff Goins ended up following Mandy after this.

All it takes is a few added seconds and you’ll often get a follow and/or thank you out of it, as well as someone else who becomes aware of your brand.

6. Split tests

I’m not sure why this isn’t mentioned more in other articles on increasing Twitter engagement. How do you know what works unless you test out different tweets promoting the same content or tweets with slight variations?

Instead of trying these tips with new tweets, conduct a simple split test by sending the same tweet 2-3 times during the day or at the same time on different days.

If you’re not comfortable doing this why not tweet old content from a few days or week ago? Then compare the engagement levels. Here are the simple steps to follow:

    1. Find a tweet that you believe is valuable to your followers.
    2. Send once with a hashtag, reduce the characters in another tweet and so on. Try a combination of these if appropriate.
    3. Send it out during your optimized time.
    4. Monitor any noticeable increases in engagement.

According to Tweriod, the best time periods to tweet are the same across Tuesday to Friday for our SocialMotus Twitter account.

Chances are, the same people are on at similar times during the week.

Taking these factors into consideration I decide to test out tweets at the same time (7am on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday) to see which engagement types my followers respond to best.

If you’re using SocialMotus, you can schedule your tweets out periodically at the same time each day. Simply select ‘Periodic’ within the ‘How often do you want to publish’ field.

Life would be easier if there was some magic formula for finding the right content to tweet for followers.

But as we know life isn’t easy, and all followers are different.

You need to discover your own tested formula for success.

That’s it for now. Look forward to the near future when I bring you my article on lessor known ways to increase your Twitter engagements.

And if you have found this article helpful at all, please do share it with your Twitter (or any other) community. It only takes a few seconds and it’ll make all the hours I put into it worth it knowing you found it valuable.