10 ways to maximize engagement on Twitter

twitter engagement

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I’ve been on Twitter for over 10 years, and wow – has it gone through a lot of changes!

In early days, you were limited to 140 characters, including links, so you had to be creatively concise. Surprisingly, this led to some interesting conversations and relationship-building.

Upgrades to the platform have allowed us to encourage engagement by including twice as many characters as well as attaching post previews, images, or videos to our tweets. But has it really worked?

We now have nearly 20 times as many people tweeting, with a pretty high percentage of them not even attempting to have conversations. Instead, they just post random quotes or links to their own blog or someone else’s, usually without any personal comment. Not engaging at all!

If that sounds like your entire Twitter strategy, you’re not alone. I’ve done it too, more often than I’d like to admit, but lately I’ve been trying to get back into using Twitter as an effective networking tool.

I realized I was following too many people who tweet about the same topic, so it was flooding my newsfeed. Since I’d already added most of them to Twitter lists, I began to unfollow, knowing I can still see their tweets by going to the page for their particular list when I want to explore that topic. Now my newsfeed is more varied and I’m more inclined to reply or click on a link.

One side of networking on social media is finding people to connect with. Cleaning up my newsfeed was a big help.

The other side is showing that you’re someone they would want to connect with.

10 Types of Tweet

Back in 2009 I wrote a blog post to answer the question “What should I tweet about?”

In my post, I found and shared 10 tweets, most of which did a great job of showcasing the user’s business or personal brand without sounding like a sales pitch. These were the types of tweets I identified:

  1. Motivational
  2. Promotional
  3. Appreciation
  4. Announcement
  5. Casual chatter
  6. Initiating a discussion
  7. Mundane chatter
  8. Replying to someone else’s tweet
  9. The retweet
  10. Asking a question

Read the original post to see the examples.

I’d intended to come up with ten current examples for this post, but discovered that there’s not nearly the variety and interaction I experienced in the early days.

What if we all went back to these concepts? Wouldn’t Twitter become a much more interesting place to hang out?

Twitter Challenge

I’ve made a commitment to be more engaging on Twitter, and I hope you’ll join me! Here’s how:

  1. Download or pin the infographic and keep it handy.
    10 types of tweets
  2. Make a point of tweeting every day. Do whatever you normally do, but make sure that one post comes from the Tweet Type for that day.
  3. On Day 11, start again, using the next two Tweet Types on the list.
  4. Continue working through the list, increasing the number of Tweet Types every day. Eventually it will become second nature.

Follow me on Twitter to see how I make out and so I can check up on you!

Photo © prykhodov / Depositphotos

Casual Photo of Janet Barclay

Janet Barclay

I eliminate stress for my clients by hosting, monitoring, and maintaining their WordPress sites so they don’t have to worry about security, downtime or performance issues. When I’m away from my desk, I enjoy reading, photography, cooking, watching movies, drinking tea, and spending time with my family.

Join the Conversation!


  1. Linda Samuels on November 5, 2018 at 10:41 am

    How incredible that you’ve been using Twitter for 10 years! And yes. There have been lots of changes. I haven’t been active as long as you, but close. I started using Twitter and other social media platforms about 9 years ago. I like that we have more characters on Twitter and can add visuals. I agree with you, too, that there isn’t as much engagement as there once was. I’ve always seen you as someone that has stayed engaging and active. You’re great at sharing, commenting, and conversing. I love your infographic and suggestions on it. Lately, I’ve been questioning which social media platforms to focus on. I like some more than others (like Twitter and Instagram.) But I’m not sure if I’m really ready to give up the others. They each have their benefits.

    • Janet Barclay on November 5, 2018 at 12:26 pm

      Linda, you’re one of the most engaging people I know on Twitter (and off)!

      I know what you mean about the value of various platforms. It was actually a relief to read that Google is shutting down Google Plus Personal Profiles. One less to manage!

  2. Hazel Thornton on November 5, 2018 at 12:13 pm

    I didn’t realize that one could add someone they are following to a list, then unfollow them, and they will remain on the list. Good to know. Love your 10 categories of engagement, Janet!

    • Janet Barclay on November 5, 2018 at 12:28 pm

      Thanks, Hazel! I realized after I published it that “mundane chatter” was something I’d recommended avoiding! Oops! I guess it’s okay as long as it’s interesting to your followers, and not TMI!

  3. Sabrina Quairoli on November 5, 2018 at 12:39 pm

    I love that I can add extra characters! Making posts for clients is so much easier now. I’m definitely going to try to get more engaging with my followers! Thanks for the motivation and the infographic.

    • Janet on November 6, 2018 at 12:34 pm

      I love being a motivator! 🙂

  4. Seana Turner on November 5, 2018 at 1:10 pm

    I love Twitter. It is probably my favorite platform because I enjoy the challenge of keeping things pithy. I do think a lot of people just pot their own content and never interact, and I feel sad about that. I also feel that the political stuff has taken over many conversations, and I don’t enjoy that so much. I try to mix up my posts, although I don’t think I’ve done much in the “announcement” category. I’ll have to give that some thought.

    • Janet on November 6, 2018 at 12:31 pm

      It is sad. I know I’ve been guilty of limiting myself to posting my own content off and on. Maybe the problem is that it’s just too easy to share without going to Twitter, so that’s what a lot of people do, and as a result, they don’t see anyone else’s tweets.

  5. Andi Willis on November 5, 2018 at 1:45 pm

    I’ve struggled with Twitter lately and I think it’s because of the lack of relationship building like you mention. And I’m as guilty as the next tweeter. Thanks for the great food for thought!

    • Janet on November 6, 2018 at 12:32 pm

      It sounds like we’re all on the same page with this one! I wonder if it will ever go back to the way it was.

  6. Nancy Haworth on November 5, 2018 at 3:44 pm

    These are great tips Janet! I love the infographic on the types of tweets! Thank you for this information.

  7. Janet on November 6, 2018 at 12:33 pm

    You’re welcome, Nancy! I’m glad you found them helpful.

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