A Twitter experiment to try: Interacting with influencers

Want a boost on Twitter (who doesn’t)? One of our team members has been tinkering from his personal account in his spare time and wanted to share what he learned so far as an idea for an experiment.

Although this is based on interactions from a personal profile, the idea is also applicable to brands interested in building relationships with influencers.

Got questions or something we missed? Find us on Twitter @UnionMetrics.

Why influencers?

Influencer marketing has become increasingly popular because influencers tend to get more engagement from their audiences than brands do.

Influencers range from big-name celebrities to “micro-influencers” whose followers look up to them for their opinions and expertise around a particular industry, or even a niche within an industry.

Working with influencers often therefore gives brands a boost in their engagement, sometimes even extending into a sort of “halo effect” for them once they’re associated with a particular influencer.

How does this experiment work?

Our team member put together a rough outline for how to approach this experiment. Obviously you want to first identify the influencers you’re trying to interact and build a relationship with. Ideally they should be involved in your industry, be industry-adjacent or at least be a really good fit with your brand personality.

From there you want to narrow it down to accounts that have a lot of relevant followers, but who also genuinely engage with those followers (in the form of RTs, quoted retweets or even likes with the way the new algorithm works to display them almost like a retweet). Basically you want to pick influencers whose timeline isn’t just a soliloquy; they spend a lot of time starting conversations and actively interacting with those who interact with them.

That means they’re getting a lot of engagement not only from their immediate followers but from others who get drawn into the conversation as it comes across their timelines. This is how genuine audiences are nurtured and grown!

How should you/your brand behave in this interaction? Pay attention to:

  • Content and timing: Be sure you interact with content that make sense for you/your brand, and that it’s recent enough that the influencer will take notice (not from 3 weeks ago)
  • Timeliness matters: Seconds after a tweet count, especially if you’re interacting with bigger influencers who have enormous audiences and whose mentions are probably therefore a mess in a matter of seconds (like @elonmusk or @AnnaKendrick47)
  • Pick the right tone: You/your brand should be funny, insightful, helpful, and/or answer a question in a way that relates back to your established brand voice

You can also choose to interact with your chosen influencer(s) in a few different ways, each with their own pros and cons.

Replies (you replying to the influencer):

  • Likes from the influencer can happen at any time and may bubble up to their followers with context (the new algorithm makes this possible)
  • RTs from the influencer will probably happen near the beginning; otherwise context may be lost to followers

Quoted retweets (you retweeting the influencer with a quoted retweet):

  • RT from the influencer can happen later on since it probably retains original context
  • RT from the influencer may be less likely because replier (you) is not injecting themselves into the reply chain on purpose. A quote shifts the conversation to the replier’s timeline, and the┬áinfluencer has to decide to possibly reopen an older conversation.

How do I know if it works?

Measure your engagement levels before the experiment to establish a baseline, focusing on specific metrics most important to you/your brand. Then decide on the influencers you’ll interact with based on the criteria above, plus how long you’re going to engage in the experiment. Once that time period ends, measure again to see how your baseline metrics have changed.

Did you gain followers as a direct result of any of those interactions? Did your interactions with influencers get you more retweets, likes or replies than your other tweets? Have you continued to get more retweets, likes or replies since you started the experiment?

These are just a few things to consider, and if you need help measuring we’re always here for you!

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