5 ways to use Twitter for Community Building
Social Media Marketing

5 ways to use Twitter for Community Building

11th November 2013

use Twitter for community building

There is no getting away from it; Twitter (at the moment) is one of the best networks to use for Community Building when launching an online strategy.

The network is vast, fast and doesn’t live in the past.

For Twitter virgins, advanced digital marketing folk and those who simply want to start talking to more people – here is a quick 5 step guide to utilising this network more effectively, build a bigger community and ultimately start converting followers into customers.

1) Use Twitter Search to Keyword Target – like a boss:

The search bar is there for a reason and it’s just waiting for you to show it some search love, here is a handy twitter search operator guide to basic searches:

I Type…

I Find…

beach balls Tweets and Tweeters containing both “beach” and “balls”. This could get awkward.
“Justin Bieber” Tweets & Tweeters containing the exact phrase “Justin Bieber”
“Katie Price” OR “Peter Andre” Tweets & Tweeters contacting both of these exact match phrases
beer -stout Tweets & Tweeters containing the phrase “beer” but not “stout” (stout is gross)
#hashtag All hashtags using the exact hashtag #hashtag


Advanced Searches

What’s that? You’re not getting enough data you say? Here are some cracking advanced search terms you can use:

I Type…

I Find…

from:receptional sent from the Twitter handle “receptional”…shameless.
to:SarahMBradley sent to the Twitter handle “SarahMBradley” – not that anyone ever Tweets me *lonely*
@StateofDigital or “StateofDigital” Tweets mentioning @StateofDigital specifically


Refine your searches by date and location 

I Type…

I Find…

“Digital Marketing” near:Cardiff Tweets & Tweeters containing the exact phrase “Digital Marketing” and sent near “Cardiff” ‘coz Wales is the best.
“Digital Marketing” near:Cardiff within:450mi Tweets containing “Cardiff” within 450 miles
“Social media” since:2013-05-27 Tweets containing “social media” sent since “2013-05-27? (year-month-day) – Twitter is American after all.
Haribo until:2013-05-27 Tweets containing “haribo” and sent up until “2013-05-27?(year-month-day)


Search by sentiment, intent, URL or auto Tweet tool

I Type…

I Find…

Starbucks -Tax Tweets containing “Starbucks”, but not “tax” with positive sentiment
“Starbucks tax” Tweets containing “Starbucks tax” with negative sentiment
“Hot Chocolate”? Tweets containing “hot chocolate” that ask a question
Google filter:links containing “Google” and linking to URLs.
news source:Sendible containing “news” and entered via Sendible or another auto-tweeting tool like Hootsuite or TweetFeed


2) Social Listening

monitor baseline

Now you know your search phrases, you can use them to start listening to the right kinds of people. Connecting with relevant Twitter handles is one of the easiest ways to boost a relevant following who are more likely to A) Follow you back and Re-Tweet your Stuff and B) Talk to you offline.

Start your social listening by doing keyword searches that relate to Industry, Brand and your Competitors to establish the baseline buzz around these areas then ask yourself these questions:

What kind of words to these people use?

What do they Care about?

Who are they connected too?

You will pretty soon start establishing patterns and find new keywords to start looking for based on what your potential customers are doing, from this information, you can start to build a social media strategy and start connecting with people in such a way that you are offering them something rather than expecting them to follow you because your brand is awesome.

3) Customer Service Super Hero

I can’t stress enough how important it is to be a social person on Twitter; having a brand presence and putting out auto tweet after auto tweet will alienate your followers, potential followers, annoy everyone and no one will like you. True story.

customer service on Twitter

Start doing these 6 things and I guarantee you will start getting  relevant, loyal organic growth from day one:

  1. Tailor your Updates – leave your soapbox at home and listen to what people care about, use keywords that you use in your blog posts and website and be consistent
  2. Help customers quicky – be prepared to do some epic customer service in the evenings, the faster you respond, the faster you can sort a situation out
  3. Keep a consistent tone – even if there are more than one of you on a social media team, keep your tone similar to that of your colleagues and your branding. Polite, friendly and succinct is the best way to be on Twitter.
  4. Reach out first – don’t wait for your followers to retweet you without at least some interaction from you first. That’s just bad manners.
  5. Don’t take it Personally – while I am an advocate of personal brand, don’t take any negative feedback on Twitter personally. Remaining calm means you can control a situation, becoming irate means you lose.
  6. Take it offline – when dealing with a comment or complaint follow this mantra: “Reply publically, direct message then contact the customer directly

4) Sync your Twitter accounts with some awesome tools

There are hundreds of social monitoring tools available to suit any social media budget – a few of my favourites are:

  1. Hootsuite
  2. Sendible
  3. FollowerWonk
  4. Twtrland
  5. TweetReach


5) Optimizing your Tweets for mobile & Time them Right

A great way to effectively community build on Twitter is to utilize some of the funky features it has for mobile – one of which is quite recent; Twitter finds people who you follow and tell you who they are now following.

twitter suggestions


Those Koozai lot get everywhere.

But the premise behind it is the concept of following Influencers – encouraging the people who are connected to each other to connect to more people. So take advantage of it where you can.

What works well on Twitter mobile’s newsfeed are images and links:











What doesn’t work so well is Tweeting hashtags all the time as they aren’t hyperlinked in the feed:












So, making sure you use Bitly link data as well as Google Analytic data to check where your clicks are coming from and what devices people are using is essential to starting to talk to your customers in such a way that they respond too. Tailor your updates with mobile in mind, and you’ll soon see the re-tweets happening.

Timing your Tweets right is hard, but using tools will help. When you have a really strong relevant audience, you’ll start to notice that certain days and times do better than others, adjusting your posts to hit those optimum times is a great way to talk to your audience when they are ready to listen, as well as making sure you’re putting the right message in front of the right people. Here is an example of Sendible data:

Twitter engagement timesEngaging on Twitter should be fun! Afterall you’re talking to people who will probably give a damn about what you say and will shape your future updates; making sure you aren’t viewing Tweeters as customers and rather viewing them as valuable connections is the surest way to be successful on this network.

So, get Tweeting and let me know how you get on!



Written By
Sarah is Social Media Account Manager for the leading digital agency, Punch Communications. She has worked on a range of Digital Marketing campaigns and is a strong advocate of the use Social Media for the progression of any business. Her clients include Sony Mobile, Electrolux and more! A Welsh rugby...
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