The Ultimate Guide To Building Your Twitter Presence

The Ultimate Guide To Building Your Twitter Presence

7 Steps To Building Your Twitter Presence

Imagine you're at a conference and you enter a noisy room, full of people.

Some are deep in conversation, some are busy reading and some look around with puzzled looks. Your goal is to present yourself successfully; find the right people, grab the attention of experts, and collect contact details of potential partners and customers.

Twitter is no different from this room. And, if you think about it, your goals aren't, either.

Today, I'm going to share seven steps with you to help increase your Twitter engagement by 100% in a couple of months. How do I know these steps work? At SEMrush, we successfully increased the number of retweets by 107% in one month with just one of these seven steps. According to RivalIQ data, our audience is growing five times faster than that of Buffer, and our average engagement rate per tweet is higher than that of Copyblogger or Hubspot.

Intrigued? Believe me, there is no magic in these numbers. If you follow the steps I am going to describe, you will be a Twitter superstar in no time!

Step 1: Optimize Tweet Buttons On Your Blog

Social media, especially Twitter, is a source of traffic. It is essential to make sharing your content as easy as possible. If you have little or no presence on Twitter, encourage your audience to spread the word about you.

3 reasons you should take this step:

  1. You will increase the number of social shares
  2. You will be able to converse with people who read your blog
  3. Your Twitter name will be exposed to a much larger audience

Optimize the "Tweet" social sharing button

Look at the Twitter share buttons on your blog posts. Are they visible? Most importantly, do you have them on your blog? Ensure you have effective sharing buttons that encourage people to share your content.

Ian Cleary mentioned an amazing tool called during his session at SMSS14 this year. Filament helps you optimize your social sharing with more visible icons and indicates the number of shares you already have.

Optimize Social Sharing

However, a visible and attractive Tweet button is only half of what is needed. The secret lies in the pre-made tweet. The easiest formula is:

Title + by @author (Twitter handle) + link + via @yourbrand (Twitter handle)

Premade Tweet For Your Blog Post

By all means, include your Twitter handle! This will help you track mentions, which will be described in our second step.

Use "Tweet This" buttons in your posts

Meanwhile, on top of improving the Tweet button, include "tweetable" content in your posts. If you have some killer phase in the middle of your blog post, or you've made a fantastic roundup post with 10 industry experts and you want to suggest a quote from each one, do that!

This is a terrific opportunity to get more tweets, mention the experts and break the text into more visually appealing paragraphs. Use a free tool called ClickToTweet.

All you have to do is take:

A killer phrase + a link to your post (+ you can mention an expert in the case of a roundup post) + "via @yourbrand"

and paste it to ClickToTweet to create a short link. Embed it in your post with a nice design, and you're good to go!

Use Tweet This to highlight quotes and stats for easy sharing.

Use "Tweet This" buttons in blog posts to get more tweets and add visual interest to your article.
Tweet This

Mention does a great job using ClickToTweet on their blog. These two techniques will help your audience share your content on Twitter. You'll find complete setup instructions here.

Step 2: Track Tweets That Link to You

Once you made sure your audience is actively sharing your content, it's time to track mentions.

3 reasons you should take this step:

  1. You will find out who shares your content without mentioning you
  2. You will build relationships with people who already know you
  3. You will track the feedback about you/your brand on Twitter

Part of the mentions are in Notifications and are easy to find. The second part includes the mention of your brand name without the Twitter handle or includes just a link from your site, but not your branded keywords.

Set up an advanced Twitter search. If your Twitter handle is the same as your domain name, make sure to exclude your handle. So for Hubspot, I would set up a search for "hubspot" and exclude @hubspot.

Track Twitter Mentions

The search results include tweets that contain a link to Social Media Examiner, but are not visible in the Notifications section.

Remember: It is easier to build a loyal audience out of those who already singled you out in a noisy world of social media than to knock on the closed doors of mega influencers with 100+k followers.

Step 3: React and Engage!

Once you've found out who talks about you, reply! Answer questions, thank people for sharing your content, favorite, retweet and follow.

3 reasons you should take this step:

  1. You will build brand advocates with people you have conversed with
  2. You will grab the attention of people who had no clue you were on Twitter
  3. Your audience likes knowing there is a person behind the brand

It is all about online relationship management. Act like you'd act in the real world. In a room full of unknown people you are likely to approach someone who has heard about you and start a conversation. Do the same online!

Use this set of "thank you" templates to save time and increase interactions.

Thank You Phrases

If you are a global company, you might come across tweets that mention you in different languages, so have those alternates prepared as well. I am happy to share some general templates you could use in English, Spanish, French and Italian.

Thanks for the feedbackGracias por los comentariosMerci pour les commentaires!Grazie per il feedback!
Happy to hearEstamos felices de escucharloHeureux d'entendre!Bella notizia!
Thank you for the reference!Gracias por la referencia!Merci d'avoir recommandé notre outil!Grazie per il riferimento!
Thanks for the mention!Gracias por la mención!Merci de nous avoir mentionnés!Grazie per la menzione!
Thanks for sharing!¡Gracias por compartir!Merci de l'avoir partagé.Grazie per la condivisione!
Thanks for the positive review!Gracias por el comentario positivo!Merci pour votre revue positive!Grazie per la recensione positiva!


Editor's Note: I use the Shortcuts feature on my smart phone to save these kinds of phrases, using the correct characters, for quick and easy use.

An obvious question — How can I possibly find time to post and search for all these mentions, and then interact? Let's move to publishing content, and see how you can save time and increase engagement with your tweets.

Step 4: Optimize Your Tweets

3 reasons you should take this step:

  1. Your content will stand out in the super noisy Twitter feed
  2. By posting the right content you will increase credibility and trust
  3. Influencers will notice you faster and engage with you

We have already talked about the structure of a good tweet you should set up for your social sharing button. Go ahead and improve the tweets when posting content on Twitter.

The anatomy of a perfect tweet:

Headline + by @author + link + via @domainname + #hashtag1 #hashtag2 + image

The Anatomy of a Perfect Tweet

Include images in your tweets

Ensure the tweets you post to support your own content always include nice images. Put text on the image; that looks nicer and communicates the title clearly. Remember to avoid copyrighted material, and use free photo resources like Pixabay or Unsplash.

2 simple ways to create a nice image for your tweet:

Microsoft Power Point

  • Use a free image via Pixabay or other site
  • Copy it to Power Point
  • Add a rectangle or square, and adjust the transparency
  • Add your title and choose a font
  • Save as an image and crop (if you're using Mac, press cmd+shift+4 and make a snapshot of the image in one second)


  • Use the Twitter post template, and choose a background
  • Choose a vector image from Pixabay that suits the title
  • Add the image
  • Add your text
  • Save the image

I include images in the majority of my posts. This move specifically has increased the number of retweets for the SEMrush account dramatically in one month. Try it and you'll notice more engagement in no time.

Be part of the community

Another piece of advice — talk about others and share their content. Not only retweet your followers talking about you, but share posts you have found interesting. And make sure you share the content of others more than you talk about yourself. Talk 60-70% of the time about others and 30-40% about yourself.

Tag authors when sharing their posts

Always mention the author when you share someone else's content, so they will see it in their Notifications. Again, act like you're in a noisy room: How would you approach the most influential person? Most likely by showing respect and mentioning how much you admire what he/she does. Act the same way online!

Even if the author is not mentioned in the pre-made tweet, do a quick search on Twitter. Everyone doesn't do this, and t will make you stand out (especially if you're using an image in your post).

Schedule tweets and save this time to chat

Schedule your tweets ahead of time with tools like Hootsuite and Buffer, and save time for the live discussions.

Step 5: Do Hashtag Research

3 reasons you should take this step:

  1. You will make your tweets visible to the target audience beyond your reach
  2. You will find tweets relevant to your business
  3. You can organize your tweets in topics for in-depth post analysis

A hashtag is a popular way of monitoring tweets around a specific topic. Well-chosen hashtags greatly increase the chances your tweet will be discovered by people way beyond your reach.

Make a list of 20-30 keywords relevant to your business. Choose the short ones and try to adjust them to content you share.

Tools to use for hashtag research

RiteTag is one of the tools you should use to optimize your hashtags. It is compatible with Hootsuite, Buffer and SproutSocial, and indicates if you have included good hashtags in your tweets.

How to use RiteTag

If you have no idea what hashtags to use on a particular topic, do some keyword research. Use a free tool called and get ideas instantly.

How to use

For a more advanced search, check the SEMrush Related Keywords report. Hashtags made up of these phrases might be not as popular, but because some hashtags are posted too frequently, aiming at a smaller audience could be more effective.

How to use SEMRush

Include up to three hashtags and do not start your tweet with the hashtagged word.

Step 6: Follow 50-100 people in your niche each day

3 reasons you should take this step:

  1. You will grow your network by following the right people
  2. Connect with the target audience in your niche
  3. You'll have more authority and influence with a larger audience

Follow new people every day, even if you have limited time for social media. Do it on your way to work, while waiting for someone or having a tea break in the kitchen. Fifteen minutes a day are enough to add 100 Twitter followers in your niche.

Here are few simple ways to grow your audience quickly and easily:

A free and easy tool to use is Justunfollow. It allows you to follow Twitter users by keyword and copy the followers of a specific account. You can also check accounts that have recently unfollowed you or ones that don't follow you back.

A second tool I'd like to share is SproutSocial and their Discovery section (paid version). It shows you accounts who you've either tweeted with or who have mentioned you in a tweet. You can filter these sections by Influential people and follow experts who already know you.

Twitter Lists
My third pick is Twitter Lists. Choose the influencers in your niche or at an event and check their profile. Most of the account has some open lists. Click on a specific list, go to Members and follow people who are, to a large extent, your target audience.

Twitter Lists

Step 7: Attend Live Twitter Events

3 reasons you should take this step:

  1. You will have real-time conversations on Twitter with dozens of people
  2. You will build stronger bonds with people in your industry
  3. You will be an expert in a niche where your competitors are not present

Twitter chats and live streams from offline events are invaluable in growing your audience and authority.

Twitter chat

A Twitter chat is a conversation around one unique hashtag. Twitter chats are arranged in advance, occur at a specific time and are often dedicated to a specific topic (#seotalk or #ppcchat). Some brands have their own Twitter chats (#Koozchat, #Sproutchat).

For more information on how to host your own Twitter chat, check out this post by Ann Smarty:

You have to know the exact time and date to join a Twitter chat and, most importantly, the hashtag being used. A hashtag is what binds the tweets together and shapes up the conversation.

Once the Twitter chat is over, check the results. Try TweetBinder or Keyhole. Both are awesome tools to track the impact Twitter chat had and its virality.

Check out the list of weekly Twitter chats on Gnosis Arts. Also, TweetReports publishes relevant Twitter chats by the day of the week.

Twitter chats are fun, and I suggest you try to participate in one or two on a regular basis. You will be amazed at the exposure of your tweets, level of interaction and new Twitter friends you will gain!

Live streams via hashtag

Twitter and events are a good match. Lots of events and webinars are now using their own hashtags. You can track who is going to attend the event before it starts and connect with potential attendees.

If your fellow marketers are participating in an offline conference and the conference has a hashtag, connect with participants online and forward them to your stand.

Twitter is a perfect place to converse during an online event. An excellent example is #SMSS14 — people tweeted out they registered before the summit started and are tweeting now during the live sessions. The level of engagement during such events is amazing. On top of numerous interactions with other people in your industry, you also easily connect with influencers, and this is an extraordinary opportunity to do so.

If you check tweets from the Twitter mobile app, it is super handy to favorite, retweet and follow people on one page. Less clicks save you time.

Live Stream Events

Wrapping up

Remember, social media is about being social and person-to-person relationships. Some key takeaways:

  • Be human, act human and let others know you care;
  • Increase the exposure of your tweets by adding images and hashtags;
  • Make sure you share quality content about your industry;
  • Save time when you can and spend this time on live discussions
  • Grow your audience by linking to others and following people in your niche; and
  • Never sell directly.

What step did you like the most? And please share your own favorite Twitter tip!

Image courtesy: Canva and Pixabay, Razor Social Blog Strategy, Tips For Creating Content That Drives Growth, Twitter, Hootsuite Pro Free Trial,, SEMRush, Twitter App

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Olga Andrienko is the Director of Social Media at SEMrush. Olga specialises in conversion and relationship marketing and has increased SEMrush social engagement by 400% in one year together with her team.