If you read this blog, you probably have a Twitter account. Whether you use Twitter to promote your personal or professional brand, you need an audience to talk to. The following 8 tips will help you gather the first 1000 followers you need to increase your Twitter reach.
1. Use a public profile and your real name
Twitter offers the option to create private profiles. It seems the obvious choice, but still needs to be repeated: as a promotional channel, Twitter only works if your profile is set to public! If you want to take advantage of Twitter as a marketing platform, don’t set your account to private.
In addition to your Tweets being public, make also sure to chose the right Twitter name and handle. If you tweet in your personal name, chose a combination of your first or family name, if you create a company account use the company’s name or abbreviation. Try not to be too creative or Twitter users will have a hard time finding your profile on the network – just keep it simple.
2. Follow other Twitter users
Twitter as a social media relies on building a community. However still far too often you see Twitter users, and especially profiles of companies, governments or politicians, who refuse to be part of their community, don’t follow other users and use Twitter only as a ‘push and pray’ network. Even though you shouldn’t exaggerate (I recommend to keep at least a 1-1 ratio of following and followers), make sure to follow other Twitter users who might be interested in your content or who have shown an interest in your company, product or niche.
A good way to start a following is to import your e-mail contacts into Twitter and follow those users who already were in contact with your brand. Another tool to find interesting Twitter users is to take advantage of the Twitter Search, which helps you find accounts by keyword, location or hashtag.
3. Create interesting content for your community
According to Twitter, 70% of respondents retweet because they like a business’s content. There is no way around it: if you produce great content, people will follow your Twitter account. Specifically this means:
- Know your audience and post content that is interesting to your followers. Mix in some company updates and product news, but don’t use Twitter as a ‘push-only’ release channel for your press releases.
- Be consistent in your posting: follow hashtags and influencers in your niche to find interesting articles and opinion pieces to post and add your personal touch. Use Google Alerts to filter the web for news and reports that might interest your audience.
- Respect your tonality. B2B businesses use a different tone than B2C lifestyle companies. Be respectful, humorous and represent you brand online, like you would offline.
- “Good” Tweets also include images, native videos, call to actions and hashtags to their full advantage!
4. Don’t ignore comments and mentions
Interacting with your community is key to increasing your audience. Far too often you still see company accounts on Twitter who mistake the platform as a press release tool and refuse to answer comments. This refusal to interact not only counters the advantages of the social network, but also give a bad impression of your brand online. If you chose to create a Twitter account, you can’t do worse than ignoring comments!
One note on response time: in general, due to the fast-moving pace of the network, Twitter users are expecting a quick response. However this does not mean, you need to check your mentions every 5 minutes. An easy way to not miss any comments or replies is to activate e-mail notification in your Twitter setting: especially when you have less than 1000 followers, you can make sure not to miss a mention without getting an e-mail every few seconds!
5. Retweet and mention influencers
Reaching out to new users on Twitter can go beyond just following them. If you produce interesting content, think about who might share or comment on you post and mention them in the Tweet by including their handle (@username).
Sometimes, you don’t have the necessary characters left to mention all possible influencers. With Twitter’s image upload, you can use a workaround to mention more users in you post than the 140 characters would allow. Just mention the accounts in the picture, and they will get a notification of your tweet, and possible share the post.
6. Use the right hashtags and be part of the conversation
Twitter made the hashtag famous: an easy way for connecting users discussing a specific topic, brand, product or event. You can tap into the potential of hashtags by following the conversion closely and finding followers, who may not yet know your brand. Use the Twitter search to find the keywords interesting to your brand and product, follow, retweet and reply to those users that are most active.
7. Tweet outside working hours
There is ample research to exactly pinpoint the time when you should update your Twitter feed. In general you should make sure to vary your publication time and experiment: the only thing to keep in mind is not to limit yourself to post only during office hours.
— Buffer (@buffer) July 23, 2014
But don’t worry: you don’t need to work on weekends or after hour. You can use tools like TweetDeck to schedule your publications and Buffer even automatically posts your tweets in previously-defined time-slots. Both tools can be used in a free version, so try them out!
8. Promote your Twitter profile online and offline
Adding your Twitter account to your business card and company presentations will not result in an increase of hundreds of Twitter followers, however it connects your social media presence with your offline activity and will lead to more qualified leads. As such, make sure to add your account name (@YourProfile) to all of your company’s print material, mention it at events and speeches and cross-link on other online platforms (website, LinkedIn profile, Facebook page). Add a Twitter button or a link to your timeline as well as social share button to your website to connect your visitors with your profile.
Hopefully with these few tricks, your Twitter following will grow steadily. But as noted is the first entry in this series: don’t focus too much on the numbers. There is not one single more helpful recommendation that this: be consistent and continuously produce great content and new users will follow!
Author: Jerry Weyer, Partner at Clement & Weyer Digital Communication Consultants