Using Psychology to attract attention on Twitter

Dangerous Marketing’s specialists employ an understanding of human behaviour to develop innovative approaches to get our clients to “punch above their weight” and beat the larger corporates to win business. One of our key services uses our experience of social media, in particular Twitter, to raise a business’ profile, so here are some tips we’ve applied that increases the likelihood of getting YOUR business noticed.

A key starting point is having an emotionally intelligent style when writing about your business (if this term is new to you, look up Wikipedia or the originator of the term, Daniel Goleman for more detail).   Emotional intelligence (EI) is about your awareness and use of your own emotions and behaviour to perceive, understand and manage emotions in others. Social media is about interacting with people (known and unknown) in the virtual world, but the same social and cultural rules apply as if you were in a room of people.  How do you want YOU (as the personification of your business) to be perceived by others? Someone who talks (or shouts!) at others but doesn’t listen? Someone who wants to engage? Or someone who is just desperate to sell something now!

Therefore write your tweets with an individual in mind, rather than trying to appeal to everyone.  Picture your ideal customer: what do they do? How do they behave? What type of information would most interest them? Put yourself in their shoes and make this the basis of what you tweet. You are engaging people in a conversation to build a relationship. Remember – it’s not about what interests you, it’s about what interests them!

Only tweet/retweet when you have something relevant (and current!) to say. People get particularly interested if they think you are giving away useful information! Don’t worry – only having 140 characters means you only have the space to impart the bigger picture (the “what”) rather than the detail (the “how”). Natural human curiosity will entice others to start a conversation with you to find out more.

Be genuine – relationships happen much more quickly when people believe it is a real human being behind the tweets. The only accounts that send out hundreds of automated messages are spam accounts, so keep your tweets participative and reactive to replies and retweets (always helps to say thank you!). You’ll be much more likely to be re-tweeted or get invited to engage in conversation.

If you want to have a conversation, invite interaction by using calls to action. For example, ask a question or request an opinion on a situation from your followers. Active tweeters like to engage and conversations on Twitter often lead to e-mail exchanges and telephone calls when people want to know more about what you do.

Don’t get hung up on the number of followers you have – quality is far more important than quantity! Twitter is a great communications channel for small business but it only works if you engage with other Tweeters most likely to have an interest in the products or services you provide. Your tweets are about creating connections – and humans only want to connect with like minded people.  Humans crave similarity and compatibility – not something that applies to a mass audience.  The virtual world is the same as real life –  you get a much better response when engaging in depth with a few people rather than shouting “sound bites” to an audience of thousands.

Stay in control with a plan for why and what you tweet – have a social media strategy that is part of your business and marketing strategies. If humans feel out of control, they get stressed. When we are stressed, we are more likely to say things we did not intend or the meaning is unclear. Having a plan maintains the balance between remembering Twitter is one communications tool among many and getting caught up in the social media frenzy (Twitter can be highly addictive!).  Remember – everything you tweet is in the public domain, so every tweet must be for a reason as this defines your audience’s expectations of what it will be like to deal with your business.

And finally, a fairly obvious statement but one that gets ignored frequently: be professional at all times. This means conforming to the expected standards of your profession or business sector, eg avoid tweeting using language or content that could offend; think about the reactions your words might create in others. Whilst other tweeters set out deliberately to provoke to grab attention, it is unlikely to engage people’s interest for long as constant provocation is very draining. Develop your professional “voice” in your tweets that sums up what it is like to deal with your business, eg friendly/formal, chatty/to the point, generally informative/specifically technical etc.

We are always keen to hear from others who have used psychology to attract attention on Twitter, so contact us and let us know how they work and what response you typically get.

(This article is an update to an article we wrote and published originally in March 2010).

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One thought on “Using Psychology to attract attention on Twitter

  1. Pingback: Twitter & Blogging Newbies Needed! | Dangerous Marketing Ltd

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