social media how toAre you a newcomer to Twitter? Do you need a little help crafting tweets to engage people in meaningful conversations?

You can start a conversation on Twitter in many different ways, but they all come back this: be yourself and find the right tone to engage with people you want to get to know better.

In this post I’ll explore some easy ways to start Twitter conversations.  You’ll see just how easy it is to take this first step in networking on Twitter in fewer than 140 characters at a time.

Social Media Examiner’s Facebook fans recently shared some great ways to engage people on Twitter. Based on their recommendations, here are 12 tips to better engage people on Twitter:

#1: Publish Useful Tips or Facts

One of the first ways you can contribute to the conversation is to share useful information. This is always welcome when it’s given from a fresh perspective.  And it’s a great way to grab the attention of the people you want to reach.

Cyndy Hoenig offers about five PR tips a day… Notice how she used the word you in this tweet to grab readers’ interest.

#2: Retweet to Acknowledge Others

Retweeting other people’s tweets is a form of acknowledgment.  Why not add a comment at the same time and add more to the conversation? Simply being social is a great way to get people to notice you and begin making connections.

Jonathan Saar is simply being social.

#3: Reach Out With Follow Friday

Although Follow Friday (#FF) has been around a while, it can still be a good way to initiate conversations when you put a little thought into it.

#4: Answer Other People’s Tweets

Another easy way to engage people is to respond to others’ tweets. Whether it’s a question or something that grabs your attention, try to respond in an authentic voice. People recognize sincerity and are more likely to respond to it.

Janice Campbell shows us how natural conversations can be on Twitter.

#5: Respond When Something Grabs Your Attention

When responding to something that interests you, show it.  Show you care about what people have to say.

Cheryl Garrett adds a personal touch to her professional Twitter presence.

#6: Introduce Yourself to New Followers

Give your new followers a personal welcome that shows you care about getting to know them better.  Some people do this in the public Twitter feed and some people prefer introductions in direct messages.  Find out what’s best for your audience.

#7: Introduce Yourself at Twitter Events

You’ll notice people following live events on Twitter with a hashtag.  When you attend your first event on Twitter, don’t get distracted by the tools and forget your social manners. Remember to introduce yourself to everyone. And why not follow up personally with a few of the other attendees after the event? This is a great way to meet new people with similar interests.

#8: Let People Know When You Add Them to Your Twitter List

As you add people to your Twitter lists, give them a shout-out to let them know.  Everyone enjoys this small sign of recognition.

#9: Ask For Help

Many other people on Twitter are also looking to engage in meaningful conversations.  Make it easy for others to respond to you and tell them what you are looking for.

Daniel Casciato uses Twitter to find sources to interview for his articles.

#10: Say Thank You

You’ll find many different reasons to thank people on Twitter.

Notice how Amy Porterfield is connecting with this person on both Facebook and Twitter.

#11: Say Thanks When Others Add You to Their Twitter Lists

The people who add you to their Twitter lists are often good connections because you share similar interests.  Reach out to thank them and introduce yourself personally.

#12: Ask Questions

Questions work wonders on Twitter.  With a little thought you can come up with great questions to find the people you want to engage with on Twitter.

Katie Fox asks a specific question to engage conversation of interest to her.

As you can see, it’s easy to start conversations on Twitter.

Now it’s your turn. What other Twitter conversation starters do you use? Please share your comments below.

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  • Hi Cindy,

    I appreciate your engaging tips.

    Saying “Thank You” has been the #1 way for me to engage. Appreciation opens more doors than any other. Tweeters like to be noticed; who doesn’t? I thank every person who RTs my work with either a personal TY or a group TY. These TY’s get retweeted which opens relationships with fellow engaging tweeters.

    Try RT’ing your Retweeters 2 or 3 times in addition to saying Thank You. This is an awesome technique to quickly build a relationship. A TY plus 2 or 3 spots in your stream often results in more engaging with that person as well as others who appreciate gratitude.

    ‘Good Morning’ or ‘what are you up to?’ are 2 simple engaging tweets. People appreciate people; even though successful tweeting is content-based tweeting a little conversation goes a long way. I’ve built more than a few twitter friendships with each of these quick tweets.

  • Guest

    Hi Cindy – Excellent post and thank you.

    The only one on the list that I am doing a bit different is #3: Reach Out With Follow Friday. For me, I have begun doing a Follow Friday Blog Post instead. This way, it cuts out the clutter of all the #FF messages and it gives me a chance to say a little bit more about someone…..then I just let everyone know with one tweet about my “Follow Friday” Blog post!

  • Great article…thnx Cindy

  • Great quick n easy list, thanks. Occasionally when I RT I like to add a lead-in like “Great tips for restos here –>” or whatever market I’m catering to might find the post valuable. Or CC’ing someone in particular.

  • Hi Ryan, thanks for making such a good point! I do this regularly too and find it can really turbo charge your Twitter networking. Also, it can be fun to add in a little variety. So, in addition to a RT you could use the @ tag to mention their name in a FB update, or share their link on FB or any other of the social media platforms.

  • Hi Shane, I’ve seen some creative #FF blog posts. It seemed as if this Follow Friday trend was slowing down, but I think it’s continuing because people are getting creative and sincerely trying to show their appreciation. I have to say that Friday seems to catch me by surprise most weeks and so I don’t do this regularly.

  • Great tip Lara! Some people are really good in linking the tweet with a specific audience. It does make the tweets and the whole sharing aspect much more fun.

  • Maxiosearch

    Great tips Cindy, thanks for sharing! What I like to do the most on twitter is to join conversations. I might get some replies or not, but the interesting thing is that I could also motivate other to join and get them to see I´m there. However, the bes way to do it is to combine different tactics like the ones you mention above. The most important factor at the end is to know how to listen, be in the right place at the right time and be there for them!

    Join conversations about Twitter on

  • Really good list Cindy. I see plenty of room for improvement on my part. Now, if only there were 48 hours in a day!

  • Simple and brilliant…..I am so glad to know I already do a lot of these and here I was thinking I am a complete novice at Twitter….you’ve restored my confidence Cindy :))!! I like you extra much for that….good work!

  • Great article. I really appreciate the tips.

  • Thank you Cindy and everyone for providing such great tips for Twitter!!!!
    Judy Rothermel

  • Gord Vass

    Twitter is tricky to get the hang of and this is very helpful Cindy 🙂

  • I am definitely going to be pointing some people in the direction of this post! I concur that these tips really do work — especially when used in conjunction with each other. A Twitter stream is perfect in my opinion if it has a good balance of information, inspiration, motivation & personality. You hit them all! — Tara

  • Kim

    I like to individually list each person for a #ff and put down why I feel they are worth following rather than the common practice of the #ff followed by as many names that you can fit in. I have gotten a lot of positive responses since I have done this. And it doesn’t take all that much more time actually.


  • I was wondering why everyone was saying thank you to the people who put them on their twitter lists today. Now I get it.. I’m going to take some time this weekend to evaluate my engagement level online.. We all need a self check up once in a while. I’ve really slacked off on the thank you’s for Retweets as of late.. Anyways, enough about me – Just wanted to let you know this was a great post and really got me thinking!

  • I use #FF to encourage others to follow several “active re-tweeters” who regularly re-tweet my updates. It not only honors my followers, but it lands them a few new followers, as well.

  • Hey thanks for sharing. Great to hear there was lots of gratitude 🙂

  • Glad to add a little to your day 🙂 And congratulations on doing this, I’m sure you’re a natural at networking!

  • It’s been said a hundred times before but I still feel these tips are important for anyone wanting to build on a successful Twitter account that others feel it’s worth following.

    With Twitter’s usage still growing albeit not as substantially as it was a while back, it’s incredible the amount of new users of Twitter that still “don’t get Twitter”, certainly in the UK. Despite numerous attempts at trying to explain what Twitter is, what it isn’t and how it should be used, many businesses still just can’t grasp that the micro-blogging platform should be seen as a networking/conversation engagement tool rather than as a direct marketing/sales channel. This is exactly the sort of article they should be pointed to.

    A well written, documented, simple article that is is much easier to follow and grasp than many of the others out there.

  • Why has my comment appeared half way up the comments list?

  • Time to start outsourcing Mr. J!

  • Cindy.. you really need to think about become an author, and write a Twitter Book. Your info would been a great addition to all the other great Twitter Books I have here. (Just a hint.. tehe:)

    Cheers.. Are

  • Your 12 points are what Twitter is all about! When used properly Twitter is the essence of what it means to be social. I really appreciate the mention as well. Too many folks jump on Twitter and act like a deer in the headlights. This is a great article I plan on sharing with some people I have been coaching. Nice to connect with you! Have a great Thursday.

  • Thanks zigojacko! I’m in France and understand exactly what you mean about there still being a large number of new users struggling to understand how to tweet.

    This particular article is also an example of more advanced social media networking: I posted a question on the Social Media Examiner Facebook page. And there were lots of great responses, so I choose tweets from the people who commented there to use as examples here in this article.

    It makes the networking fun because these people are now connecting with me on Twitter.

  • I don’t know. Disqus does funny things sometimes 🙂

  • Hi Are… so you figured it out 😉

  • Thanks Jonathan! Great to connect here too… and thank you for taking that very first step in sharing your tips on our Facebook page!

  • How about doing a few at a time and then change a bit every once in a while? That’s what I like to do. It makes it a bit more fun 🙂

  • Thanks Cindy for the twitter ideas, for some reasone I feel really awkard on there. I will impliment some of these ideas and see if I can get more personal.

  • johnnydtrump

    Great Advice. I have found that a mix of strategies and channels always wins in the end. The internet has made it so easy to inexpensively try new things.

  • frankbradley

    Great post as usual Cindy. I’ve adopted a particular technique the last couple of weeks with regards to Twitter, that I’m finding very fruitful.

    I use this site to each day select a random follower and friend. I then set aside some time during that day to give each person some special attention e.g. read their recent tweets, do some ReTweets, reply to their tweets, read their blog posts, and leave comments.

    I’ve made some great connections during this period, and come across some great information, I otherwise would not have found.

  • Yeah.. 🙂 Already have your Twitter Plan, and all the other great articles you have written. So I figured it was just a matter of time.. 😉

    I have Joel Comm, Laura Fitton and Warren Whitlocks Twitter Books.. would not mind at all adding yours to my Social Media Library here. Already know that I want to get Mari Smiths book on Facebook.

    Cheers… Are

  • Pierre

    TY for tips. As a newbie much of it went over my head – no explanation. e.g. FF?? thought it was some sort of secret society – what is it – seen it but clueless. Introducing yourself to new followers and events – how to do it. I guess this wasn’t for newbie but intermediates? Shout out??

  • Hey Richard, where can I get a good deal on a clone?

  • Hi Cindy, that’s pretty much how I do it. Looks like disqus is working out well for you. Do you think it’s better than nested comments through WP?

  • Cool! thanks for sharing Frank! I like your consistent networking routine… and how you mix in the other platforms. I’m sure it’s a great way to get good results.

    I did something similar but with Skype: I tried to connect with one person on Skype every weekday and only reached out to people who really interested me. That was my new year’s resolution for 2009 and I kept it up fairly well for the first 4 months or so and then dropped down to 2-3 times a week. That got me into the habit of taking the conversations out of Twitter fairly quickly.

  • Hi Pierre, I explained FF or Follow Friday in my previous article which you might want to have a look at:

    But the “#FF” or “#FollowFriday” you see on tweets on Fridays is to give a “shout out”, or in other words, to show a sign of recognition to the people you like on Twitter.

    If you’re a newbie, why not do a couple of the tips that seemed easy to you? And then after a couple of weeks I’m sure the rest will be easy too.

  • Nice piece, Cindy! As you mentioned, I’ve found many wonderful sources for my articles using Twitter. It’s often been a timesaver.

  • Congratulations for this relevant informative post about Twitter start. Kind regards

  • Can we clone you Cindy??!?!

    Amazing post, you articulate and lead by example so well.

    Thank you for sharing.


  • Resurgence

    Thanks for some great down to earth tips from this newbie!

  • Hey Daniel, thanks for being so active on Social Media Examiner, both here and on our Facebook page!

  • Thanks for the laugh Al! Sometimes I wish I could clone myself and I guess most of us active on social media wish we could. Glad you like the post.

  • This is a really great article with lots of really useful, practical tips on making the most out of Twitter.

  • sandi4heinrich

    Excellent tips — Thank you. A good one to keep to pass along to my contacts.

  • It can be intimidating at first, but hashtags can be really helpful for finding conversation or group of people talking about a topic of interest to you, thus making it easier to jump in to a conversation. Also, if you are posing questions and looking for feedback, add a hashtag so others in that conversation circle can see your question and respond back. In addition, the Twitter chats use hashtags and these are a great way to get involved; many are weekly chats and there are so many topics/interest to choose from.

  • I def love the advice. Def will save website and come back. – @mizztcasa

  • Thanks, this is awesome info 🙂

  • Both interesting and helpful, thankyou for the info.

  • This is a really helpful article. I use twitter a lot so I’m always trying to find new ways to gain more followers and keep my current ones interested.

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  • Admin

    Hi Cindy,
    Thanks a lot for this article, I just started running a new blog for graphic designers ( and I was looking for some great ways to engage with people in Twitter, especially graphic designers.
    And I found this article very useful.
    Many thanks 🙂

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  • DeDe Parker-todd

    How do people build in time with their other work responsibilities to browse around on all the social media programs? What is the average amount of time spent on each of these vehicles? I sometimes feel frustrated because I get so far behind. The topics are all interesting, but don’t always align with my work focus, so it causes me to feel a bit ADHD when I find myself wandering off down all the tributaries of interesting conversations….Suggestions?

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