When I started my Twitter marketing journey, Twitter was different. Yes, I took part and enjoyed many Twitter conversations. But in the end, you could be successful with Twitter marketing without many social engagements. Tweeting content as value for your target audience plus growing a targeted audience was enough to generate masses of traffic for a website.
That all changed. Social platforms like Twitter changed. They are all trying to keep their users on the platform and don’t support external links so much anymore.
But we the people also changed. We learned to engage much more on social networks. We no longer just consume, but also thrive in conversations and communities with “online friends.” It has become the new normal to build relationships on social media with people around the world through conversations.
You have to consider this in your Twitter marketing efforts. Twitter conversations have grown in their importance and they pose a huge opportunity even for new Twitter users to connect to people from their target group and build a community around these conversations.
Conversations on Twitter have long grown beyond Twitter conversations with friends. It is totally normal to comment on anyone’s tweet and join the discussion.
What is the power of Twitter conversations?
Twitter conversations are open to everyone. It does not matter if you have 1 million followers or just 10 – if you have something valuable to add to a conversation your tweet is welcome.
Twitter conversations give you the opportunity to become visible in your niche on Twitter.
By picking your conversation topics you decide which topics people will associate with you. By adding thoughtful comments or answering questions Twitter users ask, you can show your expertise, be helpful, brand yourself for a topic, and connect to other Twitter users.
Growing your audience on Twitter can be hard when your account is new or just has a handful of followers. If no one follows you, you will never reach many people with a tweet, and finding new Twitter followers will be tough.
Joining conversations can do the opposite. You join people where they are already talking and this way you become visible to an increasing number of people on Twitter.
Instead of waiting for people to find you (or in the beginning stumble upon you by chance) you become proactive and join people that are already actively engaging on Twitter.
But you have to find the right conversations. The conversations you are looking for are about topics from your niche.
Not every comment counts as a conversation
You are not trying to leave as many “great tweet” messages on Twitter as you can send out. That will not get you far.
Twitter conversations as a growth strategy only work if you add thoughtful comments to the mix. Every generic comment will just pass by unnoticed and you might as well not make it.
If you invest the time in Twitter conversations, make sure you comment in a way that counts!
Types of conversations on Twitter
Conversations on Twitter are happening in many forms and places. Here are some types of Twitter conversations – I hope I did not miss any important ones:
Twitter direct messages
For a while, automation on Twitter’s direct messages took on a shady or rather spammy character. Twitter banned many tools that allowed you to send a preset automated direct message to all your new followers.
However, messages on Twitter are still a valuable form of conversation.
The least you should do is monitor your messages on Twitter on a regular basis. New business is highly likely to show up here first.
When you tweet valuable information, some of your tweets will get some comments. You can inspire more comments if you tweet more engaging content and use types of tweets like Twitter threads or if you ask questions on Twitter.
Quotes often receive comments on Twitter but you have to be careful that your quotes stay on topic or this engagement may have less value than you hoped.
A reply on Twitter is a comment on any tweet. These usually show with a mention of the original tweet author in the tweet header:
These replies or comments will show in the notifications of the tweet author and you can hope for a reaction to your reply.
Twitter mentions refer to tweets that mention other people’s Twitter handles. You can use Twitter mentions strategically to increase engagement on your tweets.
For instance, you can mention the author of the content that you curate for your Twitter account. Or you can ask a question and mention some Twitter accounts that could give an answer.
There are two types of retweets on Twitter. The plain retweet is done with one click. In addition, you can use the quote retweet which allows you to add a comment to the retweet. Adding a statement or question to a retweet can easily increase comments and engagement on a simple retweet.
Chats on Twitter are tweets and conversations that are connected via a unique hashtag. This way, by following the hashtag you will automatically see all tweets in the chat.
Chats can be around an event or a topic. They can be started by a group of people, a business, or a single person. Since hashtags are open for everyone to see, everyone can join a Twitter chat.
Twitter spaces and Twitter lives
Twitter spaces are public live audio conversations on Twitter.
As a host, you can give other people speaker permission in your space.
When starting out, you should attend some spaces as a listener before starting one yourself. If you want to host a Twitter space, you need an idea of how you will get more people to attend your space.
Twitter lives are live video sessions. You can communicate with the presenter of a Twitter live via the comment section.
How to find Twitter conversations?
OK, so there are many conversations happening on Twitter. How can you find the ones that are relevant to you, your topics, and your niche?
There are many ways to look for targeted conversations on Twitter, here are 6 of them.
#1 Twitter Notifications
Your notifications tab is the place to look for Twitter conversations that someone else started with you on Twitter. Every mention of your Twitter handle, every comment on one of your tweets, and every like and retweet will show up here.
Make sure you include checking your notifications in your daily Twitter routine. And also make sure to answer comments, reply and like, and retweet what you find appropriate.
#2 Tweets of your content
Tweets of content from your website that do not mention your Twitter handle will not show up in your notifications – but they are still happening.
You want to make sure that you at least give these shares a like. You may want to consider replying to them too.
You can find these shares with a search for your website URL.
#3 Topic lists
A great way to find conversations from your niche is to follow people from your niche on Twitter. But if you follow a large number of people, your feed may get crowded, you will miss the best tweets to comment on or have various topics you follow and it gets too much to follow in your feed.
You can solve this by creating Twitter lists of accounts for your most important topics.
For instance, I currently focus on content creation and Twitter marketing. I have a Twitter list for people around content marketing, copywriting and blog content creation – and I have a list of people that tweet around Twitter marketing.
I can now simply check the feed for the list I am currently interested in and comment on a couple of tweets.
#4 Keyword search for Twitter conversations
One of the best ways to connect to new people from your niche is keyword research. It takes some effort to find the best keywords/-phrases that yield perfect tweets that you can comment on. But if you do and invest some thought into your comments, and replies this is one of the most efficient ways to connect to people that you did not have on your radar and that are currently interested in a topic that is relevant to you.
You can set up feeds for various keywords or phrases and monitor them in a tool like Tweetdeck. Or you can save your searches on Twitter to re-use them later.
#5 Start Twitter conversations – ask questions
So far, the methods to find conversations on Twitter were rather reactive. Other people tweeted, and you found the tweets and responded.
But that is not necessary. You can easily be more active and start the conversation.
Provocative statements that many people have an opinion on and questions that many people can answer are great examples of how to start the conversation on Twitter
#6 Combine the above
Sometimes the above yields too many results to find the best conversations. You can then combine some of the above ways to find conversations.
For instance, you can search for keywords in the tweets of your topic lists.
Twitter conversations best practices
If you want to make Twitter conversations part of your marketing strategy you need to consider some aspects of communication and community building that you probably know from your real-life conversations:
You don’t have to agree to everything. But you need to appreciate others and keep it friendly. Nobody wants to connect to a bully or spend their days on Twitter being harassed.
Have an opinion:
Nothing is more boring than generic comments. Only tweet if you have something to say. You don’t have to know everything, a question can also be an excellent addition to the conversation
If people take the time to tweet and open the conversation you should appreciate that. Even if you know more you are not better than others. Meet other tweeters on equal footing.
Tell a story, be personal:
You want to connect. People like to connect with people. Personal stories make you approachable and help to build trust.
Is it just Twitter conversations?
Most of the above applies to almost all social networks: social conversations have tremendous power to build community, audience, brand, and trust.
In many cases, social media conversations are the foundation that will lead to the ability to make a business out of your social media efforts.
In some social networks, conversations work a little differently. The search may work differently, and hashtags are used differently.
But the key to growing an audience is most of the time conversations.
It may feel weird in the beginning to start talking to total strangers. But after a while, they won’t feel like strangers. You will feel like you “know” some of the people you have been talking to for a while. Social media conversations will come easier – and results will speak for themselves.