social media how toAre you struggling to build an engaging Twitter community?

Do you want to lead relevant conversations, but aren’t sure where to begin?

Standard auto-tweets aren’t going to cut it. Your top priority should be creating helpful, authentic interactions.

In this article I’ll tell you six ways you can start Twitter conversations and keep your followers’ attention.

#1: Make Your Twitter Profile Inviting

When someone is looking for you or your brand on Twitter, the first thing they’ll do is search for you, and then they’ll check out your profile. If you want more followers, this is their first stop, so make it pop!

SpareFoot is an example of a Twitter profile done right. They’ve humanized their brand by showing employees having fun in their creative office space.

sparefoot twitter banner

New followers love to see the real you in your Twitter profile.

Are your Twitter pictures and bio compelling enough to follow?

If you’re not sure, give it a quick test. Is your bio concise and clear about your brand’s purpose? Does it include keywords that flow naturally in the description? Do your background and profile picture convey the message you want associated with your brand?

You can include elements that encourage an emotional connection with any audience. What those elements are will depend on your niche.

Pro Tip: Clear out all of the clutter! Avoid using too many hashtags and don’t overdo it with links and text.

#2: Add Enticing Visual Content

Ninety percent of information transferred through the brain is visual. If you want your messages to get attention, include photos and videos with your tweets as often as possible.

When Twitter added in-stream previews of images, it increased overall engagement. The more you invest in visual content, the more retweets, favorites and click-throughs you’ll see.

A study by Buffer found that tweets with images get 150% more interaction.

buffer statistics

Increased visual content means big engagement.

In the example below, Sephora used calculated composition to include as much information as possible. A single picture shares a discount and product examples, as well as promotes a weekly feature.

sephora twitter image

Partner short tweets with carefully composed images.

Pro Tip: Remember that images use up about 26 of your 140 characters. Make adjustments to your tweets as necessary.

#3: Keep Tweets Short and Simple

Clear messages demand simplicity.

Some businesses try to squeeze as much text as possible into their tweets. The result? Their message isn’t properly conveyed. If you waste words, you’ll probably waste followers too.

Twitter’s best practices guide cites a report by Buddy Media that found that the ideal tweet is 100 characters or fewer.

ikea vine

Ikea used 64 characters and a Vine video for maximum effect.

Pro Tip: Use medium-length tweets to get a 17% higher engagement rate.

#4: Insert Retweetable Words

Twitter only gives you 140 characters to capture your audience’s attention and convince them to jump into your conversation. Since your audience is already overloaded with social updates, the right words can make or break that connection.

To find those power words, Dan Zarella from HubSpot analyzed the top 10,000 most retweeted tweets. He found 20 words that have the most potential for capturing your audience’s attention and turning your tweets into actions.

Pro Tip: Want to get the most out of your tweets? Add please, free, check out, how to or 10 to your tweets—those are a few of the top words Dan found to be most effective.

#5: Ask Your Audience Questions

When you first meet new people, what do you do? You ask questions. What’s your name? What do you do? How did you like the keynote?

If you want to get people talking, ask them about themselves. Twitter users love to share their opinions, so why not give them a chance to express their feelings?

To keep things focused, stick to questions related to your niche. If your company sells shoes, ask your followers about the last pair of shoes they bought.

steve madden question tweet

“Who’s ready for Saturday night?” gets the conversation going while highlighting the product.

In the example above, Steve Madden stretched that advice a little bit. They posted a question about Saturday night, but paired it with a fabulous outfit featuring their shoes.

No matter how big or small your audience is, thank everyone who made the effort to answer your question. Show that there are real people behind your Twitter account and address everyone personally.

Pro Tip: Keep your questions conversational. Don’t talk to your followers like a robot, but like a friend.

#6: Share Curated Content

Excellent content will improve your engagement, but that doesn’t mean you have to dedicate all of your time creating it from scratch.

Collect and share interesting content from other sites with your audience. Talk about it from your point of view, apply a consistent voice and show that you’re an expert in your field.

Wells Fargo tweets out a mix of original content and valuable links from other sites. They identify with their audience’s needs and find content that addresses those needs.

wells fargo curated content tweet

Curated content can be just as valuable as original content.

Pro Tip: Share a mix of curated links and information along with original tweets to make you the go-to brand for your niche.

Some Parting Thoughts

Twitter can be a struggle for any business, big or small. Getting back to basics can help you increase your follower count and overall interactions.

One of your first steps is creating an attention-worthy profile with compelling imagery. Anyone who stumbles across it should be able to get a sense of your company’s culture and products or services.

You may feel like you need to update your stream all of the time to keep up visibility, but if you don’t have a strong message, don’t tweet. Your followers won’t pay attention if your tweets lack authenticity and power.

Instead, focus on sharing intriguing visual content and stories that spark Twitter conversations around your brand or niche.

What do you think? Do you have advice about getting traction with Twitter conversations? What have your challenges been? Tell us in the comments.

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  • Twitter promotion have never been my strong side. I am getting good traffic from all the rest major social network, but my Twitter strategy doesn’t work. I see why, I have barely scrateched the surface.

  • This was so helpful particularly tip #1 & #2. I rarely include images and I definitely have to make my profile more inviting. Thank you for this. It’s concise and extremely practical.

  • Chris

    I wish i could automate my tweets when someone uses my Hashtag? Any thoughts

  • Nvulane

    Very helpful post. But sometimes it’s gets even more hectic when you come from a more narrow niche, like mine, arts and crafts from Africa, what do you do? It’s more of a hustle keeping engagement as the fan base might miss some of the niche terminology. Try and trying again, does help.

  • Ramesh Ranjan

    Great post, Sofie. I had never seen that Dan Zarella blog post until now. Those top retweeted words make a lot of sense – that is, it makes sense that those were retweeted a lot. Great tweets require great copywriting.

  • treb072410

    Great post Sofie! Thanks for sharing, I really had a great and informative read..

  • Sofie De Beule @Engagor

    Thanks a lot! I’m glad it could be of help!

  • Sofie De Beule @Engagor

    Thank you Ramesh, really glad to hear that! It is indeed important to use power words. Many people tend to overdo on jargon, however, tweets require simplicity with strong wording.

  • Sofie De Beule @Engagor

    It’s indeed a trial and error process. I advise to keep a close eye on which tweets get the most engagement and try to analyze why they have gotten more engagement than others.

  • Sofie De Beule @Engagor

    Hi Daphne! Thank you for your lovely comment. It’s of course all about the visual aspect that will make you stand out! I indeed tried to boil down this article into very practical tips. Good luck with it in the future!

  • Sofie De Beule @Engagor

    Hi Kaloyan, thanks for your comment. It’s better to excel in establishing one very good social media presence on a single social platform than failing on a multitude of social networks. If Twitter is not “the way forward” for your business, I would advise to focus on the other ones as much as possible.

  • John Moneypenny

    You killed it, Sofie! Awesome reminders of what it takes to knock it out of the ballpark on Twitter. In your opinion, which Twitter features do you think are the greatest benefit to small businesses and entrepreneurs?

  • Mary Bajwa

    Thank you, this is actually helpful 🙂

  • treb072410

    Huge help!

  • Sofie De Beule @Engagor

    Thank you, John! I would personally recommend to focus on the Twitter features that will allow you to get the most engagement. A lot of small businesses also seem to forget to tweet daily to keep the conversation going. Make sure you’re using a lot of pictures or videos with your own, exclusive (or user-generated) visual content. Show who the real people are behind your company. Just move beyond simply broadcasting pushing marketing messages.

  • Sofie De Beule @Engagor

    Thanks a lot, Mary!

  • Sofie De Beule @Engagor

    Hi Chris, can you explain more into detail what it is exactly you want to achieve? I hope I can be of help!

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  • La Casita Del Cuco

    Very interesting post Sofie, added it to the small list of tips I have already now. As well your comment to be good on one social media platform then to fail on several is a good tip. But knowing myself I might be to stubborn to try to do it all.

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  • Sofie De Beule @Engagor

    Hi! Thanks a lot! Glad I could be of use. It’s indeed difficult sometimes to set the right priorities. If you need some extra guidance on this, you can always email me at and I’ll be happy to help you out! Good luck with your business La Casita Del Cuco. Your website looks great btw!

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