The Digital Marketer answers the top two questions asked by new Twitter users.
Every now and then, someone will tell me that they’ve just joined Twitter, and they’re trying to “figure it out.” Always, the very first question is “how do I find people to follow?” The second is “how do I get them to follow me back?”
Building your Twitter audience is a critical step toward effective marketing, but there are a few rules:
- Be there to talk to people, not promote your products.
- Listen first to understand what people are talking about.
- Bigger is not better – a small group of engaged followers is better than lots and lots of disinterested ones.
It’s both easy and hard to connect with others on Twitter. Despite the fact that there are 500 million people on Twitter, it’s remarkably easy to find those who have the same interests as you. Here are three of my favorite ways to find people to follow:
- Find friends, colleagues, or industry connections who are already on Twitter. Click on their profiles, and then look at the people they’re following. You are likely to find other people you know personally or who have interests similar to yours.
- Check out LinkedIn profiles of professionals in your field or area of interest. Most people now include their Twitter handle in their profile. This works well for building stronger connections with people you’ve met only briefly, either at events or through professional conferences.
- Check wefollow.com and Listorious, both of which organize Twitter users into topics. Search for any topic that you’d like to follow and contribute to the discussion. Categories can get very specific: If you’re interested in following the conversation about Ironman competitions, for example, there’s a lengthy list of people. Both services work by asking people to join and add themselves to several topic areas.
Now to the hard part: How do you get people to follow you? Here are five ideas.
- Follow people who have roughly the same number of followers as the number they are following. They’re more likely to follow you back.
- Promote your Twitter account on your blog, website, LinkedIn, and Facebook accounts, and in your e-mail signature.
- Promote offline as well as online, by posting your Twitter name on signs at your business, in advertising, and on your business card.
- Share quality content frequently. People are more likely to retweet your content if it’s compelling, thereby exposing you to their full list of followers. I’ve found that original content, such as links to your blog posts, how-to articles, and infographics tend to be shared widely.
- Use popular or trending hashtags. The hash mark (#) is a self-organizing feature of Twitter. It’s used to categorize tweets into topics so that others who might be interested can find them. Twitter has a continuously updating list of the most popular hashtags at any given moment, often reflecting breaking news or a major event. On Oscar night, for example, you’re likely to see #oscar. Clicking on this hashtag will return all the tweets that contain it. By entering this discussion, you’re more likely to raise awareness of your Twitter account and gain some followers.
Remember that building your following is an ongoing process. So revisit these tips every few months and keep your community growing.
Diane S. Thieke is the president and founder of Simply Talk Media, a digital media marketing consultancy. With more than 25 years in digital media and technology, she helps clients build stronger relationships with their customers and communities, using both social and traditional channels. Follow her on Twitter at @thiekeds or visit her blog at www.simplytalkmedia.com/blog.
Twitter home photo from Shutterstock.