7 Best Practices for Listening and Engagement on Twitter

Many Twitter skeptics have lamented the tendency to tweet into the void without actually listening and engaging in a conversation. This is as true of brands as it is of individuals. Sure, it takes more time to engage thoughtfully than it does to schedule a few tweets and call it a day, but it's a solid investment.

Adam Snyder, VP of Corporate Communications, MUFG
Adam Snyder, VP of Corporate Communications, MUFG

If you're going to commit to using Twitter to really build your brand, Adam Snyder, vice president of corporate communications at MUFG (Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group), has some advice for you. Speaking at PR News' Digital and Marketing Summit in Miami, he shared the following seven tips:

  1. Building a brand through Twitter is about being known for something.
  2. Providing value means offering something useful to a community. A problem, says Snyder, is that "content has been commoditized, so we’re not giving audiences something in exchange for looking at our content; but content must be about providing something useful."
  3. Thought leadership should take a stance and truly lead on a topic, issue or subject. "Thought leadership can be a long-form advertisement for the company, but it should be much more than that—it should contain useful information," Snyder says.
  4. Tweet thoughtfully and carefully—once it’s tweeted it won't go away.
  5. Hashtags aren't "tweet jewelry": They should be targeted, relevant and most importantly used by the audience you’re trying to reach. "Really think about who is going to be likely to use [a hashtag]," says Snyder; "it may be less obvious than you’d think."
  6. Engagement is paramount and cannot be done passively. You can think of engagement as belonging to one of three categories: active, interactive (respond, retweet, disagree, counterpoint) and proactive (being a part of a media moment, having newsworthy reaction).
  7. It’s not about what you “think” but rather what you know. Understand your audience; their activity and preferences should be the foundation of your content. "Listening is something that’s often forgotten. Lots is done on a hunch; e.g. 'I would engage with this content, I would enjoy it etc.,'" says Snyder. "You need to use outside listening tools to figure out what’s really working, to make a left, right or U-turn."

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