A couple of days ago, the Twitterverse began to rumble as news of a major change to the timeline began to spread. It looks like Twitter is about to make a move that Facebook started making in 2009 by showing users updates based on their individual engagement previously. This wasn’t a popular decision but once the change was made, it stuck. Now we’re all accustomed to the algorithm based timeline.

But Twitter’s real time, chronologically ordered timeline has remained virtually the same – until now. On February 5, BuzzFeed News released a story that Twitter’s new algorithm based timeline could be happening as soon as the coming week. In response, the hashtag #RIPTwitter popped up as people voiced their opinions about the change.

But public outcry aside, how does this affect businesses?

After reading a few articles about the change, it looks like it’s on the horizon. Twitter is in a position where financial viability is of high importance and this timeline change is expected to improve Twitter’s financial standing in the business world. But, there is something businesses can start to do now to prepare for this upcoming change.

It’s time to make engagement your focus when posting to Twitter.

Yes, I realize that engagement is your focus, but simply sharing posts and hoping people will like, share or comment on them isn’t enough. Here are some tips to be more proactive about improving engagement.

Ask people to engage.

When you post, encourage people to retweet or like your tweet. Now, this is something that must be done strategically and sparingly. Simply ending every tweet with Pls RT or Pls Retweet is not sufficient, nor is it the best way to do it. You should incorporate the share request in the text preceding your tweet.┬áHere’s an example of a tweet I recently shared and how you can tweak it:

Original tweet:

Hashtag activism and arm chair activism play a valuable role in the world of community engagement.

Updated tweet:

Hashtag activism plays a valuable role in community engagement. Retweet with your fav hashtag!

Then I’d include a link. Notice how my engagement request is in context and not simply Pls Retweet. Look for ways to encourage engagement that make sense with what you’re posting.

Ask questions

You’d be surprised at how many people will interact with your tweets if you ask a question. Test it out in your coming posts. Ask questions that relate to what you’re posting, your industry or your brand. Since Twitter is a conversation, follow questions with additional encouragement in subsequent tweets. In other words, create a conversation around the question. Timeline stories can be a great way to tie several tweets together and encourage interaction.

Tag other people

A great way to increase engagement with a tweet is to shout someone out with a tag. If you start the tweet with the tag, put a period in front of it to ensure that the tag shows up in the person’s timeline. Often, the person you tag will at minimum like the post and at most retweet it. But now you’ve shown some love to someone and exposed your tweet to their followers and supporters. Just make sure you’re tagging people that make sense in the context of the post. Don’t tag people just for the sake of doing it. Be strategic with your tagging.

Engagement is important on social media. Yes, it’s organic and creating engaging content is a great way to engage people. But it helps to find additional ways to encourage engagement. Don’t assume people know you want them to retweet, like or comment on your tweets. Take the next step and make it more plain. Remember, the Twitter timeline moves quickly. You’ve got to make an impression in a short period of time.

Questions? Comment below.