Kevin Hillstrom is my analytical idol. So, when I bought a copy of his e-book, Twitter Hashtag Analysis a few weeks back, I was mostly looking for hashtag analysis techniques. But I got a huge bonus: This great e-book is a blueprint for Twitter community building.
Hillstrom based his e-book on analysis of activity in the #blogchat community. He slices and dices the data 99 ways, as I've come to expect, so you to read it for yourself.
I have no business or other connection here, by the way. It's just a great book that you need to read. And I think I might earn $.10 from Amazon if you buy one.
I'm still working my way through the data, but here are the biggest lessons I've picked up so far:
Everyone wants a little love. Reply to those who retweet you. In Hillstrom's analysis, folks who retweet you and then get a reply from you will become engaged members of your little community 60% of the time. If you don't reply? They return 6% of the time.
As Hillstrom succinctly put it: OMG.
Just a little 'thanks' could have huge implications for your community-building efforts.
Even answering someone's tweet makes them more likely to participate. Folks who get their tweets answered will engage—participate again—41% of the time.
That compares to about 6% of the time if someone tweets once or twice, retweets and then is gone.
So, even if they don't retweet you, respond to folks if you want them to stick around.
The more engaged participants you get, the easier it becomes to maintain a healthy community. Why? Because engaged participants will answer tweets and retweets. So, they actually generate more engaged participants, who then respond to new members, and so on.
It doesn't have to be you. Respond to folks and they'll help out.
There is a TON of great insight in Hillstrom's e-book. This little post is just a slice.
But the moral is clear: If you want to build a real, responsive audience on Twitter, nurture it. Respond to people. It pays off, big.
Caveat: This is based on his analysis of the #blogchat hastag. Your results may vary. Kevin has some other great examples of this kind of analysis, though, on his blog.