When it comes to social media accounts, setting them up is the easy part. It’s building the numbers and growing them into thriving communities that is the real challenge.
Increasing your followers on Twitter is one of the great mysteries of social media for most people. It’s probably the number one question I am asked as a social media consultant.
In reality it need not be a mystery, as there are a number of simple strategies you can implement to maximise your Twitter success.
1. Tweet regularly
Don’t set and forget!
If growing a large following is what you’re aiming for, then a tweet every few days or so will just not cut it. That said, tweeting every five minutes will just disengage followers so it’s important to find a balance.
Aim for three to five tweets per day to begin with, though this can certainly increase as your Twitter star rises.
It’s also important to not give up and get disheartened as your numbers don’t sky-rocket immediately. Growing your Twitter followers is a long game and you have to be patient and work at it. We can’t all be Justin Bieber or Lady Gaga!
2. Tweet interesting and relevant content
This should be fairly obvious, but if your tweets are not interesting, then others are less likely to want to follow you.
If your Twitter account is for your IT start-up, then it would make sense to tweet about updates in your business, your opinions on new technology, and news in the IT sector. Probably not as relevant is what your had for breakfast.
Can’t think of anything to tweet? Re-tweet someone else’s interesting content, or use an RSS reader such as Feedly to curate content for you that you can tweet out.
Better to not tweet at all than tweet something that will disengage others.
3. Follow others
Often the biggest problem with obtaining followers is letting them know you exist.
You can boost awareness of your Twitter account by following others you’d like to follow you in return, as users receive an alert when they receive a new follower.
There is of course no guarantee that they will follow you in return, but experience shows that around 10-20% will.
There are a couple of ways you can find relevant Twitter accounts to follow. First take a look at Twitter lists.
If you’re included on a list called ‘Australian IT’, take a look at the other accounts on that list.
You’re bound to discover other accounts to follow. Want to get more PR exposure? Take a look at lists such as “Australian Journalists” and follow those accounts.
Another way to discover people to follow is to use Twitter directory websites such as Follower Wonk and Tweepz.
These sites allow you to search for users based on keywords, location and names. Looking for Developers in Melbourne? Enter those details and a matching list will display.
4. Use hashtags
Research which hashtags are popular within the communities of interest you’re targeting, and use include them in your tweets.
If you’re a fashion designer, then it would make sense to use a hashtag such as #LMFF during the L’Oreal Melbourne Fashion Festival.
It is, however, important to make sure that your tweet relates back to that hashtag.
It is extremely bad practice to write a tweet about your business and try to piggyback off a trending hashtag, and this will get you nowhere. Your aim should be to add value to the conversation.
5. Run a competition
Once your Twitter account is somewhat established and already has a small following, a great way to bolster your numbers is to run a competition.
, where Twitter users had to tweet that they were entering #CrustFreePizzaFriday and also be a follower of @crust_pizza.
Each Friday a winner was random selected to win five pizzas. This competition resulted in a huge lift in followers for Crust Pizza, and for many Fridays my Twitter feed was dominated by #CrustFreePizzaFriday tweets.
6. Link from everywhere!
Finally, you should remember to display your Twitter URL everywhere you can! Make sure you link from your website, email signature, business cards, promotional materials, brochures, menus, in-store posters…
The people who will see this are most likely to already be your customers (or potential customers!) so make sure it’s easy for them to discover your Twitter account.