I’ve been in the Top 10 of the Eventopedia Power 250 for a number of weeks now so it would appear that I’m doing something right when it comes to my social media strategy.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m certainly no social media expert but I thought I’d share with you some of the strategies I use for Twitter, with a view that you may find them useful if you’re looking to improve your engagement. Here they are…

1. Don’t send automated Direct Messages!

We’re all busy people and as tempting as it might seem with the thought and promise of saving you time don’t be swayed by this one. There is nothing more obvious than when you have just followed someone and almost immediately that little message appears asking you to like their Facebook page or check out their website.

Don’t get me wrong it wasn’t too long ago that I was doing the same thing, but I stopped as soon as I realised it really wasn’t the best approach and was probably doing more harm than good.

You may think you’re doing the right thing by sending a new follower a little thank you with a call to action but people really do not like receiving automated direct messages.

Remember that a successful social media strategy should be focussed on driving engagement and if you’re turning people off almost as soon as they’ve clicked that follow button then it’s really not a great place for you to start.

The best way to thank someone for following you is to follow them back, also take 5 minutes to check out their profile, if you see something they’ve tweeted you like then give them a little retweet and a mention, that beats any direct message you would send.

2. Keep an eye on your Followers and Following ratio.

This should roughly be the same, unless you are a high profile celebrity or a major fashion brand there really is no excuse for a huge difference between the number of people who follow you and the number of people you follow.

To highlight again social media networks like Twitter are exactly as the name suggests, they are designed for networking and two way communications. Contrary to belief it’s not about the number of followers you have but how engaged you are with your followers and how engaged they are with you, in a nut shell how much they’re listening to you and they’re not going to listen to you if you’re not listening to them.

You wouldn’t go to a live networking event and stand there in the corner ignoring everyone that came up to introduce themselves and not engage in any conversation (I’m hoping the answer to this is no by the way), and you shouldn’t do this online either.

Big differences between followers and following just sends out the message that you’re not particularly interested in the people following you and can make you come across as slightly arrogant. If you find it difficult to stay on top of your followers then you really should rethink your social media strategy to ensure that it’s not an after thought and is given the time and effort it deserves.

Social media is an extremely powerful communication tool if used in the right way and effectively, and people can be influenced just as much by what you don’t do as they can by what you do.

3. Thank your Top Followers and people you have Influenced.

By this I mean spend time each week sending a shout-out to the followers who have mentioned you, retweeted and favourited you etc. I personally like to do a #TopFollower shout-out on a Tuesday and also a #FollowFriday for everyone I have influenced but you should decide what would work best for you and your followers.

You’ve probably heard before that you should always try to attach images to your tweets to drive impressions and engagement, the same rule applies here, maybe try a GIF image as these seem to work particularly well for this.

To help you monitor and evaluate your top followers you can use tools such as socialbro.com, that give you a snapshot of the followers you have influenced in a 24 hour to 30 day period. Socialbro even has a mention helper so you can do your tweets easier and quicker dependent on the number of interactions. Remember the same rule applies to mentions and tweets as it does to direct messages, don’t set these up to be sent automatically each week, use the tools that are out there to help you but make sure you send the tweets yourself.

4. Respond to mentions within 24 hours.

There really is no excuse for not responding to someone on social media that gives you a mention, and it really is the worst thing you can do. Unless of course it’s obvious spam then of course you should be reporting them to the Twitter police.

Make sure your social media accounts are loaded on your mobile devices so you can quickly and effectively respond to people whilst you are on the move, and again thank them for taking the time to mention you. 24 hours is the general rule absolutely maximum 48 hours, and if you don’t have time to be managing this then again you should have a rethink about your social media strategy.

5. Share other people’s content as well as your own.

Social media is all about sharing! As a blogger I obviously have my posts such as this one that I share with my various twitter audiences, but I also take the time to read posts by other bloggers and anything I like I make sure I share that with my followers as well. Feedly is a great tool for following blogs and news feeds by the way.

To give you a starting point you should be sharing 50% of your own and 50% other people’s content, and there are some social media experts that claim it should be even higher than that.

Again social media is not about standing in the corner and shouting out about how fantastic you are. People have been receiving traditional advertising messages of this nature for years and now crave something different and two way. Think of social media as a telephone rather than a TV, and you’ll also hugely increase your credibility by talking about how good a few other people are rather than yourself.

So there you have it, my top 5 engagement tips. I hope you find some of these useful. Remember though there are no one size fits all rules when it comes to social media as everybody’s audiences are different, so it’s best to try a few different things and see which ones work best for you.

If something works well make sure you keep doing it, if it doesn’t stop doing it and try something else, simple!

I’d be interested to hear your feedback once you’ve given a few a try, if indeed you do, and in my true style I’m going to leave you with a little quote:

“Social Media is the ultimate equaliser. It gives a voice and platform to anyone willing to engage” – Amy Jo Martin, Entrepreneur, Founder and CEO.

Until next time #Eventprofs…