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Episode 3: Using Twitter to Drive More Conversations & Community

Twitter’s audience, more than almost any platform, can feel like it’s all over the place. So how can you not only drive more meaningful conversations but also and build community with existing and potential customers?

HubSpot’s Krystal Wu talks through how you can find like-minded audiences and add valuable discussion. Because it can all get overwhelming quickly. So you need to know when to keep it simple. And breathe.

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Episode Transcription

Hi. I’m Matt Brown from HubSpot, and this is Skill Up, the show where you’ll learn how to take your sales, marketing, and service skills to the next level.

Ah. Twitter. A land ripped from old Norwegian fairy tales, where trolls roam free, and, other Old Norse tale things happen.

Twitter’s an interesting study in audience. Because it can tend to feel, more than almost any platform, like it’s all over the place. It’s where groups of beautifully anonymous people come to watch movies together in isolating times, or where politics come to wage their own battle of Winterfells, but it’s also where you’ll find the snark of Wendy’s and MoonPie.

[Krystal: The Twitter audience is so comical to me. They are like the fun aunt that you want to hang out with.]

That’s Krystal Wu, she’s the social community manager here at HubSpot.

[KRYSTAL: I think that's because there is no filter and people are very raw, organic, say what's on their mind, and they do it, uh, so creatively, in such a short format that I think when I come to Twitter, I'm almost, uh, relieved of how human people act compared to other social platforms.]

Your brand’s Twitter isn’t The Mandalorian, people won’t just click on it because there’s nothing else to look at on the platform -- hot take, sorry Disney+. What you need, is to drive conversations and build community.

[cue segment music]
OK Krystal, let’s break these two terms down. Starting with, what is conversations.

[KRYSTAL: I think conversations in Twitter mean having a fluid back and forth interaction that's not just like one-off. So if you're seeing a tweet and you're seeing people respond to one tweet and it's kind of taking off in a thread, I think that's where you're really seeing the community build.]

Right. And this can mean retweets, too.

[KRYSTAL: When someone retweets a piece of content. It's going to their profile and they're saying, I identify with this and this is what I value and this is a bit about me. So it's important to them. So you have just made something that is similar to other people, which then can kind of trail off and it builds.

Ok great, and on Twitter, what do you define as community?

[KRYSTAL: Community is anyone that is your audience or your potential audience. You want to think beyond whom you have just as followers. I think it's important because, um, your followers can also gain from you attracting new people to your channel as well. They'll get a different perspective.

They'll get new types of conversations. Um, they might even start following those people or those accounts, and that's where it starts community building.
[end segment music]

Alright, so let’s get you started. You’re going to need to put a strategy in place, lockdown those values, goals, you know, then you’ll need some copywriters, might as well grab some scriptwriters because you’ll want some video content, high production stuff, so start buying up high-quality cameras, need full Adobe suite to edit, by the way, might need to hire an animator to break up all the video content, oh, and you’ll want tools to help with scheduling because you'll need to find a balance between prepared content and organic content, obviously….

[KRYSTAL: I think my first piece of advice would be to relax.]

[deep breath] Ok, Krystal has three pieces of advice when it comes to driving more conversations and community on Twitter. Number one, re-lax.

[KRYSTAL: And I'm not trying to, um, make it sound like it isn't, but I'm just saying if you can manage it appropriately, so like the first thing I would say is, just take a step back, follow brands that align with your brand message as well. Like if you had. 100,000 followers and you're following a hundred accounts, those people are going to see whom you're following and they want to know, you know, who do you align with and who are you getting your information from, and who are you trusting?

And it's okay to start out with, you know, a hundred accounts you're following with zero followers. That's not terrible. It's not the end of the world.]

Krystal’s second piece of advice is to put the customer first.

[KRYSTAL: So what I mean by that is if you create a piece of content and you're like, Oh, this is kind of interesting, I think this would be sort of relatable to Twitter. I don't know, uh, really think that through and be like. It's taking a step back to be like, what are we trying to get out of this? What is our audience trying to get out of this?

You know, um, is this worth putting out there as a piece of content? It's much better to tweet once to twice a week versus five times every day during the week. Um, because you're putting out quality over quantity.]

And lastly, Krystal says to not overthink it. Less is more sometimes.

[KRYSTAL: A lot of people think like they have to be doing so much more and sometimes simplicity is key. I have seen tweets go off where it has been like one line tech sentence and that's all it needed to be. People would kind of just, you know, respond back.

They would lose their mind a little bit. It would turn into this like whole meme creation or, you know, people respond with gifts on how they feel about that. And just. Don't overthink it.]

[cue synth flourish]

As with anything, there are pitfalls. Right? And Twitter’s no different. And the thing most people get wrong -- not you, or at least, not after this? A lack of consistency.

[KRYSTAL: The biggest thing would be a lack of consistency. Setting out time in your calendar. Even if it's 10 minutes a day to be like, I'm going to check in on Twitter and the community there and see how our content is doing, see what the audiences like, I think is so valuable.]

Think of it this way. Building a community on Twitter is just like building the trust of a customer. First, it takes time. Relationships like that don’t happen overnight, right?

[KRYSTAL: No, you expect it to happen over a period of time. And guess what happens with that trust? They become a loyal customer and then they're going to become an advocate for you.

And the opportunities? Well, they’re endless after that. But you gotta remember, it all takes time. I’m talking like, first three months of starting your brands Twitter, expect little. In fact, expect less than that.

One Tweet here or there might take off, but you’re looking beyond memes here. Conversations and community are the long game

[KRYSTAL: This is what social media is. This is what community building is.]

So, plan accordingly.

[cue synth flourish]

[KRYSTAL: Here at HubSpot, a great example of what we've done to help build our Twitter Twitter audience throughout the years.

Let me just. Say that it's throughout the years, not months, um, is engaging ourselves in other conversations. It's seeing where people are having discussions about certain topics that we align with as well. Trying to get our voice out there and just kind of, um, building that, uh, conversation up. So an example of that would be Twitter chats.

Essentially it's some brand accounts. We'll put out questions weekly and they just use a hashtag to get it following so people can kind of pick up where they left off and um, trail along with it in those Twitter chats. I think that's a great example for other brands or other accounts to kind of jump in.

Say their piece of what they think about something and then it kind of takes off and now you're in a whole new realm of where people are having a discussion. And from there you could actually get the audience from that Twitter chat over to your channel and then you're learning now, okay, this audience has a really strong interest in these types of topics.

Now you've built your audience and you're seeing like. You know, a spike in growth. That's something you could also pull back and be like, now we're going to create content around this so we can have our own discussions with this new audience. And it gets really exciting. And now you can just kind of build from there.

And that's how you're like starting it out. Um, but it's not usually just from creating an account and posting content. You have to. Venture out into the Twitter-verse. You have to find those hashtags that are going to be relevant. You have to find those brands that are having those other discussions. Um, really use like the discovered feature on Twitter to find those conversations and put yourself out there.

Yes, that probably sounds like a lot of work. You're probably sitting there and going, Oh, this is exhausting. Or enough time for this. Like who is able to find all of this information? But again, setting that time on your calendar 10 minutes a day. That's something that you could focus on because the long term reward is worth it.]

[cue synth flourish]

So to recap: Conversations are the back-and-forth between folks and your brand. It can be comments, but retweets are an even stronger sign of people supporting your company’s message.

Communities are not only your existing followers but your potential followers. And to get communities talking about and engaging with your brand takes three things: Relax, even starting from nothing is totally fine, then create content that puts the customer first, and finally don’t overthink it. You can always make more work for yourself but just know, you don’t always have to with Twitter. Less is more sometimes.
Find existing like-minded audiences and meet them where they are, in places like Twitter chats, to bring even more value and start to build relationships from there.

[KRYSTAL: I think that people that are using the platform more to engage versus to push content are going to find a lot more value.]

Next episode, we’re turning our attention to where our three-piece suit personalities call home online. LinkedIn. And we’ll talk about how you can start building out your employer brand. So until then, hey, I’ll see you there.

[cue end theme]