Twitter is more relevant now than ever before, considering the shift from brand-centric marketing to people-centric marketing. It could easily be the best social network to use in connecting with and establishing relationships with influencers and potential brand advocates.
However, even with the large amount of networking opportunities that Twitter provides, marketers have a tough time growing their list of followers. If you are ripping your hair out over not having enough Twitter followers, chances are, you are probably doing something wrong. Try making a few changes in your Twitter marketing strategy, instead of resorting to the “not-so-ethical” ways of increasing followers like buying followers. Buying followers may work at times, but you can’t always count on these followers to generate leads and increase conversions. The followers you may end up buying might just be spammy or inactive accounts. The best way to grow the number of genuine followers on Twitter, and have them engage with you, is to do it organically.
Make it a habit to reciprocate. When you receive a notification indicating that someone is following you, check out their Twitter profile, and follow them as well. This is a commonly used tactic – even by the most influential people on Twitter. You can also start interacting with celebrities on Twitter by re-tweeting or mentioning them in your posts. The celebrity might just mention or retweet you, which will be seen by their followers. The “Who To Follow” list on Twitter can also be helpful when you are trying to follow someone who belongs to the same field as you. Twitter recommends these users based on your areas of interest and the activities you perform on your account. If through this process you gain a brand new follower, don’t hesitate to send across a DM letting them know that you are paying attention and care about their opinions.
Create Twitter lists. It can be hard to follow and engage with a lot of people. You may have prospect brand advocates, consumers and partners (co-marketing is on the rise) on your Twitter page. How do you distinguish between them and keep track of all their activities?
One simple solution is Twitter lists. Don’t include more than 20 people on each Twitter list as that will defeat the purpose and make interaction difficult. Create multiple sub-lists for your major categories.
For instance, you could have prospect advocates 1, prospect advocates 2 and so on, and prospect employees 1 and 2 and so on. You can’t name the lists that though, because the people you add to them will receive a notification with the name of the list that you have added them to. Name the lists something that people will feel nice about seeing in their notifications.
Interact with the content posted by people in your Twitter lists on a regular basis. Treat it like an offline relationship. Link, comment and share where it makes sense and strike conversations when you can.
Spark a conversation. Twitter is forever buzzing with activity, and many of the ongoing conversations might relate to something your company does, or to your brand. Don’t hesitate to join the discussion. Twitter conducts chats on particular days of the week, and joining in will help you increase your network and get in touch with more people who share the same interests, and love to discuss similar topics as you. Also, if you are tweeting out new information about a product, keep the sales pitches to a minimum, and make the conversation more personable. If you really want to engage your audience in a conversation, ask questions and opinions, take polls, or start contests that will make your followers want to interact with you.
Put hashtags to good use. Hashtags can help boost the number of your Twitter followers if used appropriately. Since you only get to work with 140 characters, use hashtags sparingly. Use just 2-3 hashtags in your posts, otherwise your posts can end up looking very spammy. Keep a lookout for trending tags and when you spot one that is relevant to your business/brand, send out tweets using the tag. To make sure your posts are getting attention, you can retweet other users who might be using the same hashtags. If you are going to be hosting an event or if you are starting a new campaign, create campaign/event specific hashtags, and promote them so that your users can easily connect with you. For a better reach, go for hashtags that are used commonly and are relevant to your business.
Remember the 80/20 rule. The reason you are being followed is because your followers are interested in reading your tweets and they hope to gain some information from them. To ensure that your content is up to the mark, you can use a content discovery tool. When in doubt, use the 80/20 rule – 80% of the content you post, should be informative and should engage your audience, while only 20% of your content should talk about your brand or your company. For the 80% of your content, you can refer to other influencers, and post something that can be shared by others. This can include inspirational quotes, retweets, links to news pieces and more. You can even share images and videos of events that you attend, or ask your followers to share their experiences with you.
Promote your Twitter page. Raise awareness of your Twitter page amongst your clients/consumers. The best way to go about it, is to publish the link to your Twitter page on your Facebook account, your company’s Facebook page, and your LinkedIn profile. Also, create an interesting profile that people will want to read. Most people on Twitter, skim through profiles before clicking the Follow button. So make sure that your profile is complete and provides information about you and your brand. If you write blogs, publish your Twitter handle with your posts. You can even publish one-liner teasers of your upcoming blog posts to get people intrigued. Signing up on Twitter directories will also help increase followers as these directories are often visited by those who are looking for interesting people in their own field.
Note: This article was originally published on June 11, 2015 and has since been updated.