Is it better to answer an irate customer on Twitter, or take the conversation to email? Should you include happy faces in your tweets, or keep them professional? There is no end to the questions that businesses have when developing their Twitter engagement strategy, so we decided to help.

LeadSift examined over 10,000 randomly selected interactions from brands and small and medium sized businesses on the LeadSift platform to see what works, and what doesn’t, when engaging with customers. Take a look at the following infographic for 10 research-backed ways to improve your Twitter customer engagement:

1) People who are active on Twitter are more likely to engage with your response
Every good marketing plan includes a description of the people the company is trying to reach. Your work on Twitter shouldn’t be any less focused. People who tweet regularly are more likely to interact with you – and as an added bonus, they tend to have larger friend networks to draw on. On average, those networks are 8% larger than those of people who are less active online, and their members also tend to tweet more frequently.

2) Males are 21% more likely to engage with a response from a businessTweet this
Even if your products or services are for women, that doesn’t mean that you can’t communicate with men. You might find that they’re looking for a gift for a partner, friend or family member – or that they even have a personal interest in your company.


3) The optimal time to respond to a tweet is within 92 minutes of the post Tweet this
As always with Twitter, time is of the essence. Marketers will want to check regularly for tweets related to their business in order to ensure that they have access to that window of opportunity.

4) Including a user’s first name in a response increases engagement by 20%Tweet this
Adding a personal touch is a cornerstone of building relationships online. Even though many users work hard to come up with a Twitter handle that reflects their personality, using their first name shows that you recognize them as someone who exists outside the Twittersphere.

5) Punctuation marks like “?” and “!” increase engagement by 27% Tweet this
Asking questions and demonstrating enthusiasm show respect for the user and the product or service you’re promoting. People also feel more at ease when they’re invited into a conversation, rather than when they’re being pitched. Use a warm, friendly tone, and people are more likely to engage.

6) Using positive emoticons in a response increases engagement by 67%Tweet this
Emoticons are part of how people communicate online. They’re playful and they make people smile. Isn’t that exactly how you want a potential customer to respond to you? There are some exceptions, of course (sometimes somber and professional is best) but as a rule, happy is good.

7) Having an external link as a CTA in the first Twitter response reduces engagement by 19%Tweet this
Consumers want to be treated with respect. They’re on Twitter to have a conversation, not necessarily to make a purchase. The trick is to find a way to guide them to that purchase without being overly pushy.

8) If you do add a link in the response, the optimal position to add it is about 45% into the Tweet
Show that your first concern is to address the user’s needs, not your own. Adding a link later into your message demonstrates that you want to connect with them first, and promote your business second.

9) “Click” is a better call to action than “Find” when asking the consumer to follow a link (29% higher engagement rate)Tweet this
It’s also important to be as specific as you can in how you word your post. With readers skimming their tweets and other online text, your message needs to be crystal clear in order to ensure it gets through.

10) Presence of a #hashtag increases engagement by 15%Tweet this
We all know that hashtags help people in their Twitter searches. Just because you’re writing to a specific user, that doesn’t mean that they won’t make the tweet public. Hashtags can also be used to add humour or context to a post, so go ahead and include one or two – but no more.

Positive interactions will benefit your business
Businesses that build meaningful connections on social media will find it a useful way to win clients and boost sales. Taking care to respond to people on an individual basis – with thoughtful tweets that show enthusiasm and communicate clearly with the user – will help you to take that important first step towards a relationship that will benefit both you and your customer.