Twitter and blogging: tips for improvers

Understanding your users, knowing when they are most active and pointing them to more content can help drive engagement.

As a communications agency, our networks are vital. We use social media to help us find and connect with new clients, to keep up to date with news and trends in our industry, to share news, to demonstrate our expertise, to make connections and to participate in conversations.

I recently attended a Twitter and blogging 'improver’s workshop' led by Ned Potter and am sharing some of the key lessons I learned from the event

Know your audience

Social media is not the place for assumptions. You may think you’re producing great content but, if your audience isn’t engaging with you, then you’re probably doing something wrong. Companies often jump to conclusions based on their audiences' age or gender. Ignore these. It’s important to do your research and understand what your audience needs.

A good way to think of your audience is by using the 'visitor/resident' model. Visitors are people that use the internet as a tool to complete a task. They go online, complete a task and then leave. This is the opposite of 'residents' who share information online, connect with others and are usually identifiable. You shouldn’t think of these as two separate, definitive groups. There’s a continuous scale and an individual moves up and down the scale each time they visit the internet. Our challenge is to ensure we have content for all types of users, anywhere on this scale to ensure we make the most of our online content.

Ned introduced us to plenty of free tools that can help with this. Followerwonk is a good place to start – it tells you when your followers are most active and the key words they’re most interested in, so you can tailor your content accordingly.

Consistency is key. No?

I’ve always thought that consistency is key on social media. It can be good practice to embrace the 'voice' of your organisation, even if different people are posting content.

However, Ned Potter believes that being consistent is not always vital. Some followers like to hear different voices. This makes your social media account more dynamic. The nature of Twitter means that followers rarely see all of your content, so it is unlikely that anyone will be analysing all of your tweets. Again, the importance of consistency depends on your individual organisation – do your research.

The magic number

Whenever I meet a social media expert, I always ask "how many tweets should we be posting each day?"  I’m desperately searching for the perfect answer but I’m sad to say, I don’t think it exists. Setting yourself targets of how many blogs and tweets to send out may lead to content which is not always interesting or relevant to your audience. It’s better to post only when you have something to say. If you’re struggling for content, think back to yourself six months ago: was there anything you know now that you didn't know then? This could give you new ideas that will interest your followers.

Make blogs useful to you

The second half of the day focused on blogging. It’s easy to write a great blog, publish it on your website and then forget about it. Ned says it’s important to direct people to more content. Whether it’s a link to your Twitter feed or to another blog that the reader might find interesting, don’t be afraid to point readers to more of your content.

Amy is a consultant for AB Publishing, an employee communications agency based in London. She attended UKeiG’s Twitter and Blogging Improvers' Workshop in July 2015.

You can read more about 'visitor and resident' digital behaviour here.