5 Ways to Tune Your Twitter Strategy Based on Audience Behavior

Establishing and maintaining the right balance in terms of content, tone and messaging is essential for building and maintaining an engaged audience.

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By Shannon Byrne

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Whether everyone is willing to admit it or not, most of us experience that happy fuzzy feeling when someone we respect engages with us on social media. These interactions aren't only good for your self-confidence, they're important building blocks when developing a reputation -- personally or for your brand.

Although each social-media channel has its own purpose and set of goals tied to it, Twitter is an essential tool for gaining traction when getting your business off the ground due to its ease of access to influencers and ability to identify discussions around topics relevant to you.

If you're just getting started or are a seasoned tweeter, establishing and maintaining the right balance in terms of content, tone and messaging is essential for building and maintaining an engaged audience.

A great way to strike this balance is to tap into your audience's behavioral patterns to determine what resonates the most with them. Here are five ways to do just that.

1. Get inspired by influencers.

Many of the questions you should be asking yourself when deciding what to share on Twitter that will resonate with your target audience are going to seem obvious:

  • What industries am I targeting?
  • Who needs whatever value I am providing?
  • Are my customers/clients/community members restricted to a certain geolocation? Demographic?
  • What key terms are they searching to solve their problems?

Once you've nailed down your topics based on your audience's roles and demographics, you should do a search on these terms on Twitter to discover who is leading these conversations, what they're saying, and how they're positioning themselves. The people with the most followers and clout will be at the top of the list.

Related: How Marketers Should Approach the New Twitter

An alternative method is to use a media-monitoring tool to easily search and save influencers in your industry. With Mention (where I work), for example, you can filter by "Priority" -- determined by Klout scores and number of social followers -- to both identify influencers in that area and the most recent tweet they sent on that topic.

Mention offers integration with Riffle by Crowdriff, allowing you to easily and quickly discover more about each influencer, and arming you with information on their communication habits and topics of interest before reaching out to them.

To see what content is seeing the most shares on any given topic, conduct a search on Buzzsumo.com. Use this content and headline style as inspiration when planning your own content calendar, for both original content sharing and curation of content for Twitter.

2. Determine what resonates with your audience.

You should have a regular rotation of content that will be discoverable and interesting to the people with related business interests and goals using the approaches above.

However, it's important to also think about the personal aspects of your "brand" when choosing what type of content to share on Twitter. Who are you? What are your likes and dislikes? You'll be surprised by how many business relationships you build based by tweeting about things you enjoy or hobbies you're passionate about.

A lot of people don't like to share their personal lives on social media, and that's understandable. But it won't hurt to share something about one of your hobbies and see how many people, and more importantly, who it strikes a chord with. Even Jack Dorsey says to take a personal and genuine approach to Twitter.

Your Twitter bio is a great place to test this out. For example, I've made some incredible friends and industry peeps because they share my love for music, craft beer or Wes Anderson. Admittedly, I didn't share any of these things with a goal in mind, I was just being myself, but sharing this information has proven to be valuable in building relationships that are important to me.

Here are some of my favorite Twitter bios that show personality, while still being professional:

3. Track unfollows.

Certain tools allow you to track who unfollows you on Twitter. With unfollowstats.com for example, you can opt to receive daily digests on how people are interacting with you on Twitter, including follows and unfollows. Although you may not know the exact reason someone unfollowed you, deductive reasoning will allow you to pinpoint the probable cause.

Perhaps you used offensive language, or you were promoting a brand that someone doesn't favor. Or maybe people expected content-marketing tips from you, but instead you were tweeting music suggestions, or visa versa. You'll also come across people who followed you for the follow back. In that case, it's their loss, not yours.

With this approach, you can determine which content and key terms attracts the audience you want, and which sends them running away.

Related: 8 Social-Media Sins That Are Sure to Get You Unfriended and Unfollowed

4. Use analytics to determine the type of topics that engage the most.

No matter what social-sharing platform you're using, it should offer data on how your tweets are performing. I prefer Buffer -- for both streamlining my social-sharing process, and for viewing an easily digestible snapshot of how my tweets are performing.

I've gained a ton of valuable insights into my social strategies thanks to Buffer analytics. For example, I know that posts with images or those mentioning certain brands or opportunities (such as job postings) see the most engagement, measured by clicks.

Twitter's analytics platform is also a helpful tool for monitoring the effectiveness of your tweets, as well as gaining a better understanding of your audience's interests and demographics. Just be cautious of its engagement metric, as it includes any clicks within the tweet, whether that's on an image or an actual link or any retweets, replies, etc.

5 - Pay attention to what your audience is saying, when and where they're saying it.

Media monitoring and social-listening tools also provide an opportunity to discover new potential community members based on key terms specific to your core focus and offering. Identify a few key terms related to your topics of interest and use your media-monitoring tool to track who is having conversations around them, what they're saying and where they're having them.

A solid tool will monitor blogs, news sites, forums and social channels. Looking at Twitter specifically, pay close attention to what hashtags and other key terms your potential community is using, and who is leading these conversations. Identify the influencers and strike up a casual conversation. Get to know these people and their other interests.

Final thoughts: Defining the balance.

The right balance in tone, messaging and content is going to differ from person to person. Your balance depends on what your personal goals are and who it is you're trying to reach. First, define what it is you're trying to accomplish on Twitter -- do you want to drive traffic to your site, build a personal brand, become a thought leader, etc.

Based on this goal, identify who your target audience is -- who is going to receive the most value from what you have to offer. From there, it's all about doing your due diligence to test and iterate different approaches to your Twitter strategy. With enough trial and error, you'll find the right mix that has you building an engaged community. Be patient -- building an organic community takes time, but it's worth it in the long run.

Now that you have five tips to remain tuned into your audience when building a solid Twitter reputation, have some fun with it! Have conversations that are interesting to you and your followers, and maybe you'll learn a thing or two as well.

Have you seen success building a relevant Twitter audience? What are your tips and strategies? Let us know in the comments section below.

Related: Increase Retweets and Improve Engagement on Twitter With These 12 Tips (Infographic)

Shannon Byrne

Content and PR manager for Mention

Based in New York, Shannon Byrne is the chief content officer for CloudPeeps, where she crafts words, creates strategies, and recruits loyal brand advocates. Previously, she served as the content and PR manager for Mention

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