Have you ever felt like it’s hard to get traction on social media? If you don’t have many followers, it probably seems even harder.

The good news is that there are ways to build your follower base and there are ways to increase engagement on Twitter. In this article, we will look only at tweets. We will look, more specifically, at how to craft a tweet that gets noticed, boosts engagement gets retweeted and increases followers.

There are other ways to boost follower counts. There are other ways to engage Twitter users. There are even other ways to get noticed more and to increase engagement. But this article will focus strictly on how to craft a tweet.

5 Twitter Tips

Tweet length

When Twitter increased the allowable characters in a tweet from 140 to 280 – what, was that a year ago or two? – a lot of people got very excited. People love to babble. But is 280 characters ideal? It turns out…not. In fact, under 100 characters is ideal. I don’t usually keep things under 100 characters, but I do generally respect the old 140-character limit.

Hashtag research

It’s one thing to use hashtags. It’s another thing to use relevant hashtags.

And it’s a completely different thing to use relevant hashtags that people are following. There might be a gazillion people tweeting with #travel in their tweets, but is anybody following that hashtag?

What you want to do is identify a community of interest, a topic that people will follow and/or search for. “Travel” is too broad. “PackingTips” might be better. “RoadTrip” might be better. You’ll have to find out which are used most often, then check the feed and see who is engaging with those tweets.

Another great way to use hashtags, which I have used effectively, is to geo-target. This works

Go multimedia

Any image is better than no image. Video can often be even more effective. GIFs also grab attention. Make sure that whatever image you choose is attractive, has interest value (stock photos = yuck!) and is related to your message.

Faces work well. We humans are attracted to other human faces. And on the Internet, we seem to also be attracted to cat faces. Even just text in an image works better than just text as a tweet. If the text in the tweet and the text in the image complement each other, you could have a winning combination.

Best to use the ideal size for a Twitter image, which has been tested. There are in fact several sizes that work well. The closer you are to ideal, the better the image will resonate.

Don’t be shy to tag people in the image, if you think they will find it relevant. Remember, they have to think it’s relevant. If you just tag people willy nilly, they’ll call you out for spamming.

Blog post images

In this day and age, it almost seems juvenile to say this, but I still see blogs that don’t identify a twitter-friendly featured image. This is the very least you should do. However, my featured images often don’t match Twitter’s ideal size, so I usually create a variation that does. I upload it into WordPress using the JM Twitter Cards plugin.

No… I said “multi” media

That’s right, video and GIFs work better even than images. I’m cheating here, because this is not something I’ve done much with. Yet. But I should!

Timing your posts

This is one technique I have NOT wasted my time on. The theory goes that you can get your best engagement by carefully timing your posts. The theory is not altogether wrong. There are times when engagement is highest, but just which times is a topic for hot debate.

It does depend in part on your niche, but it also depends on the time of year. People’s schedules are different in winter, during summer holiday season, prior to Christmas and during weeks when school is out. Some people will be affected more or less by these differences. And people’s social media habits are constantly evolving.

In other words, perfect timing is a moving target that requires a constant measurement and a lot of patience.

Without measuring, can you tell the difference in engagement by the timing of the tweet? If you can, then it might be worth adjusting your social media schedule. If you can’t, then the difference just isn’t worth the effort to measure.

More than that, if you want to reach all your audiences, you want your tweets to go out at a variety of times, anyway.

Read more: Quick Twitter Tips for Your Business