There are more than 300 million registered users on Twitter. According to MarketerGizmo, 85 percent of B2B marketers are trying to reach this audience.
If you are one of the many companies on Twitter, you know how important it is to have a large following. As you look to build your Twitter followers, know there’s no magic bullet, no simple hack and no switch you can simply flick to get people to suddenly take notice. Getting more followers takes a little bit of time, work and research. Here are some tips to guide you.
Make it part of the plan
Even if you’ve already established your Twitter account and are looking to increase your following, take a moment to reflect on your overall marketing strategy.
Cathey Armillas, Director and non-traditional marketing strategist for PURA Marketing and author “The Unbreakable Rules of Marketing,” reminds that, “Every business decision you make is a marketing decision. So decide carefully.”
Why do you want to increase your following? What audience are you hoping to tap? What will you say to this audience? All these things are important as you widen your net with the hope of attracting more people into your circle.
Establish some solid goals such as:
- Developing a loyal customer following
- Establishing yourself as a thought leader
- Becoming a “go-to” source
- Building trust with your following
- Nurturing lead generation
- Gaining more sales
While you can have the goal to increase your revenue or bring in more sales, don’t be blinded by only this goal. Remember that social media is a way to establish a relationship with prospective and existing customers. Most consumers are not ready to buy when they first engage with you. Twitter provides a way to engage, be consistent with your message and develop a relationship.
Dr. Ben Hanna, Vice President of Marketing for Business.com, says it simply, “Twitter is a viable business communication channel, end of story.”
Become relevant to your target audience. Write on a number of topics but always align them to your product or service. Be authentic and remember that Twitter, like other content marketing, is about your audience and not about you. Connect with your followers with postings about:
- Relevant news
- Common problems (and solutions)
- Ways to improve your customer’s lives
- General points of interest
Research by Market Probe International studied 500 adults who follow small and medium-sized businesses on Twitter. They discovered:
- 85 percent of followers feel more connected with businesses after following them. (Thus, you want to reach new followers.)
- 86 percent of followers are more likely to visit a business if a friend recommends it. (You want to be retweeted: RT.)
- 72 percent of followers are more likely to buy something from a business they follow. (Develop the relationship to get to conversion.)
They can’t be bought
While it may seem tempting to use such an easy avenue, Joe Pulizzi, founder and executive director of the Content Marketing Institute, states, “NEVER buy Twitter followers…ever…only bad things will happen.”
Twitter is not like email marketing. You won’t find a viable list of target users. In fact, Stephanie Schwab, CEO of Crackerjack Marketing, says, “I do see a downside to fly-by-night ‘5,000 followers for $5′ programs, as filling your Twitter followers list with egg avatars and a mishmash of overseas or questionable accounts could damage a brand’s reputation.” There are negative consequences that can happen when Twitter followers are purchased from sketchy providers.
Create a good profile
To gain more followers, review the basics. Start with your profile. “Having a succinct, compelling profile is more critical on Twitter than anywhere else,” says Jay Baer, host of Social Pros podcast.
Smaller businesses should do their best to be a person and not a company. Twitter suggests, “every element of your profile should reflect your business identity and personality.”
Use a photo that visually represents your business and fits looks good in a very small space (400×400 pixels). Remember, this image isn’t just in your profile; it is the icon in every Tweet you post.
While logos work, consider choosing a real person. Be sure your profile picture is clear. Using the same photo on Twitter as your other social media makes it easier for users to remember you.
There are 160 characters available to post a bio and describe your business, product or service. Be concise and point out why your business is unique. Most visitors will spend fewer than 5 seconds scanning your profile. Be succinct and give them a reason follow you.
Treat your text as SEO copy. Include relevant words and phrases showcasing the business and your own personality.
Don’t forget to include a link to the company website. If the person tweeting has a bio on the website, point directly to his or her bio section.
Hubspot data scientist Dan Zarella researched the effect of authority in a Twitter bio. He found that self-professed gurus have an average of 100 more followers than a typical Twitter user. Consider using terms such as founder, expert, speaker or official within the bio.
Choose a color background that aligns with your logo or other marketing. Don’t forget to include a header photo to showcase your business. This image could feature products or services, highlight a promotion or present the profiled person at an event or interacting with customers. The recommended size for this image is 1500×500 pixels. (Note that the header photo is cropped to a 2:1 aspect ratio when viewed on mobile devices.)
Find those you know
If you aren’t following anyone, it is difficult to get followers. Find people you already know such as your LinkedIn connections. Make announcements about your Twitter account on other social media and via emails. Put it into your signature line of your email account.
Find accounts that are similar to yours. If they tweet about topics you find important, follow them. This enables you to then tap into their community of followers as well. Search keywords and hashtags to find accounts with similar interests you can begin to follow.
Communicate and remain active
It is important to engage your audience. Beevolve’s report entitled, “An Exhaustive Study of Twitter Users Around the World,” revealed the number of followers directly correlates with how much a user tweets.
The more you tweet, the more followers you’re likely to have. Users who have written under 1000 tweets typically have fewer than 100 followers. Meanwhile those who have tweeted more than 10,000 times usually have followings of between 1000-5000 people.
Thus, tweet at least one to three times daily. Add variety to the tweets to gain the attention of different parts of your audience. The more you tweet, the more you’ll learn the type of content that appeals to your followers. You can then continue to create more of your most popular and engaging content. Post informative content and remember to hashtag keywords. Include photos and other rich visual content, such as infographics.
Remember to keep the focus on your audience. Rutgers University researchers found only 20 percent of people on social media are informers the other 80 percent are considered “meformers,” people who only use social media to promote themselves. Informers post updates that are mostly information-sharing. These types of users had two times the amount followers over “meformers.”
In addition to posting information to start a conversation, follow trends on a daily basis and join in the conversation. Respond to others who post similar content. However, whenever you choose to comment on or retweet a post, consider the user and other users who also engaged with the post. These people will notice that you share similar interests and thus may be more inclined to follow you.
Dorie Clark, a marketing strategist who teaches at Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business, wrote an article for Forbes and suggested users join a Twitter chat. “Every week, groups within various industries get together on Twitter to talk about a topic. By joining these chats and engaging with others, you’ll get the opportunity to meet new people in your sector, play the role of an industry insider, and learn valuable information,” she says.
She also suggests posting inspirational quotes because they tend to see higher engagement with the overall audience on Twitter. “People enjoy reading them and sharing with others, she notes, “This will help you to increase engagement.”
Be sincere and appreciative to those who have followed or retweeted you. You can state this directly, but do not fill your entire Twitter stream with “Thank you for the follow.” Repay them by retweeting their content when appropriate.
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