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Five Ways to Engage Twitter Followers: Lessons From Virgin, VW, and More [Slide Show]

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120823-0 Intro

Take a minute to look at your Twitter profile. Do you see unimaginative variations on the same basic tweet? Have you noticed a corresponding lack of follower engagement? If so, it's time to mix it up—and here are five ways to do it.

(Image courtesy of Bigstock: Laughing teenagers)

120823-1 Join a conversation

1. Join a conversation

After Richard Marx railed against the ineptitude of a competitor airline's service, Virgin America jumped into the conversation with a clever reference to his 1989 hit "Right Here Waiting." Marx re-tweeted the message to over 30,000 followers.

120823-2 Introduce yourself

2. Introduce yourself

Zappos never runs out of great customer service ideas. And here's another: individual members of the online retailer's Twitter team announce when they'll be handling questions and comments—turning an impersonal forum into a personal concierge service.

120823-3 Answer a common question

3. Answer a common question

Can you decipher all the warning lights on your car's instrument cluster? Probably not. Would you like to know what those illuminated symbols mean? Of course. And that's why this tweet from Volkswagen truly engages the carmaker's followers.

120823-4 Announce an offer

4. Announce an offer

You won't engage your followers with a steady stream of nondescript offers and links. But they'll appreciate stylish offers like this one from Target—a pre-order opportunity that plays on a central theme in The Hunger Games.

120823-5 Ask an interesting question

5. Ask an interesting question

And, finally, the most straightforward way to engage your followers: Ask a direct question. This one from Random House is interesting and invites followers to share their answers in an interactive venue.

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Christian Gulliksen is a writer who has authored several of the Get to the Po!nt newsletters for MarketingProfs. A former editor at Robb Report, he has also contributed to Worth, Variety, and The Hollywood Reporter.

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