In the era of social media, your internet presence is extremely important. After all, that’s mainly how new people will find you. That handful of characters you put online every now and then are often the only thing your fans get to hear from your project. Properly engaging them is the only way to keep these people hooked!

So you want to get better at Tweeting and learn how to build up a decent network? Smart move! Here’s a step-by-step guide that will help you strengthen your game. Put some time into it and you’ll soon reap the rewards of your efforts!

Step #1: Tweet More

Now… I’m not saying fire one out every 30 seconds, but you don’t want the users you’ve engaged with to think you’ve spontaneously combusted. If you’re out of material, here’s a quick trick: find out what the Twitter network you’re targeting is hashtagging, talking about – even an event they may be attending – and talk about that.

I know all of these, together, sound like some sort of pseudo-stalker induction programme but, hey, it’s social networking! “But how to build up that network”, I hear you cry! Well, let’s roll on to the next few steps.

Step #2: Engage and Network

Got something you want to talk about? Have an idea about a community you want to engage with? Then do it! Search for your favorite artists, indie game developers, writers, craft beer makers and engage. What do you have to lose?

An example of this is what I do with 2000AD; a British comic that’s published weekly. Each Wednesday, the latest prog (issue) comes out and I pop down to my newsagents to pick it up.

Next thing I do is get comfy, snap a picture and throw it up on Twitter. Fans, artists, writers and sometimes the PR person behind 2000AD’s Twitter shoot me a reply or a like. It’s all about finding what communities or people you want to engage with and, well, doing just that!

This doesn’t only work with big companies and established projects, though. For any events that you may attend, fire up an image and tweet at the person/ organization running the whole gig. People are more than willing to engage with those talking about their brand, mainly because it promotes their work all over social media.

Finally, you can decide to tackle your goals head on. Comment on a developer’s latest update, give some thoughts for example, and they may get back to you. People with common interests may even seek you out and respond to your tweets. But how do we refine this and gather a close-knit network?

Engaging is definitely the most pivotal part of building and maintaining a strong Twitter network. So get tweeting!

Step #3: Add Locations and Images

Words are great but not always enough to get people’s attention. Fortunately, Twitter offers other tools. One of the options to choose from when you tweet, for example, is to add a location.

If you’re trying to build up a local network – let’s say you’ve started a new business and want to attract the local community – this is an extremely powerful ally. Fire down the location, hit that tweet button and wait. More often than not, people in the same area will respond and reply to you simply because you’re neighbors!

A few times, I’ve also mentioned how tweeting with images is key to grabbing people’s attention, especially people you’re trying to network with. When you add an image, particularly of a game, event or location, the people you’re targeting will be more likely to respond and engage.

This can be a pretty challenging effort to get someone’s attention – mainly because you’ll need the time to grab a picture – but it helps your post stand out in the ocean of other tweets, especially if you add a witty comment to accompany the image.

Step #4: Research Hashtags

You’ve added an image, included your location, and targeted a special someone, but you still want to draw in more people… how can you do this? The answer is hashtags! Before you move further down the list, do some research as to what hashtags people are currently using in the communities you’re trying to engage.

Let’s say you’re looking to engage with more craft-beer enthusiasts, why not use #craftbeer #beer or #alcohol? This will enable your tweet to have a further reach across the community you are targeting. Hashtags research is basically hunting down people with similar interests and using secret phrases to make them come out of the woodwork. You can even see what’s trending in your area and use that hashtag to interact with what’s happening closer to you.

There are a wide variety of apps and extensions that allow you to find trending hashtags that may be of use to you. Still, unless you want to fork out some money each month/year, it’s better to just do the nitty-gritty yourself.

Look at what people are tweeting about and focus on that. Yes, this can be time-consuming but, if you want to build up a network of people who actually engage with one another, it can be worth it.

Step #5: Figure Out Your Timing

So now you’ve got your hashtags, images, location and a funny message all wrapped up but, still, no one is replying. “What’s up with that?”, you might wonder. Timing, that’s what’s up!

The ideal time to tweet – based on a number of websites’ research – is between 12pm-3pm. I’m assuming that this is due to lunch breaks, work wrapping up, etc, but there you have it! Got a spare 5 minutes at lunch? Take a photo of your half-eaten baguette and tweet something about a diet. Use #mondayblues and you’ll become a Twitter deity.

Joking aside, there are many accounts that run networking hours. Accounts such as these are great for networking and engaging with other users. Even if it is just an hour a week, it can make all the difference for your branding/networking.

Here in Ireland, for instance, we have both @MayoHour and @GalwayHour that offer a lot of chances to expand your network. All you need to do is check out if there are some networking accounts that operate in your area and get engaging! Alternatively, why not set up your own?

Step #6: Deploy Cats

Last but not least: the internet’s favorite creature. I wish this section was satire but you’ll be surprised with how much more engagement you’ll get if you throw in a picture of your evil balls of fur. Pets tend to catch people’s eye. Most will stop and engage with you, even if they were not looking to do so to begin with.

For this step: I’ll put my money where my mouth is. I’ll tweet with an image of my cat. Let’s see if anyone responds. Only a few hours later, a picture of Toothless with a tie got multiple likes, comments, and a few retweets. Not bad at all, don’t you think?

So there you have it. Some tips and tricks to help start or boost your Twitter networking skills! Now that you know all of this, how about shooting us a message over on The Indie Toaster and show us some skills? Bonus points if you send a picture of a pet!