I often see tweets advertising services and tools, most of them paid-for, that promise to generate enormous numbers of followers on twitter practically overnight. Let’s ignore for the moment the questions this raises with regard to ethics and fairness in social media marketing and, dare I say, the issue of spamming, and let’s turn first to the question that these offers should prompt. Basically, what do you want more followers for?
This may seem odd but think about it. I’m personally still trying to understand why and how a basket gift company, a wedding organiser and a dentist in LA (a dentist!) ended up following my tweets!
Twitter is, before anything else, a SOCIAL network. Social means interaction, not automation. Social Media is filling in what was missing in the Web, the relationship, the personal, the reality. As I see it, numbers are simply of themselves not a useful metric. It’s not important how many followers we have, particularly if they are all bots, affiliate marketers or auto generated follows. What we want is quality followers and by quality I mean those that are actually engaged. It’s about who our followers are, what they’re saying, what they’re doing, what they’re feeling, what they’re talking about with you, how they’re reacting, what they’re saying about you. In other words, it’s quality not quantity that counts.
If your followers are truly interested in your services/products, a real conversation or engagement is much more likely to convert them into customers. Better still if they already use your brand, then a bit more engagement could make them a true advocate for it.
So if we want quality followers how do we both target and attract them?
Let’s start with attraction. Try to follow these easy steps:
1) SMILE – Make sure your twitter page is ready to welcome potential followers. Do change the default settings, change the avatar or picture- it shows you care. But content is king! Make sure you include all the relevant information. Always mention your website if you have one, and make the most of the 160 characters of your BIO: use keywords relevant for your sector/area, to describe your company. Highlight its strengths and its main focus, its USP. Followers may return to your profile rarely, but they will almost certainly visit your twitter page at least once, and that will probably be the most important visit.
2) BE VISIBLE – Use hashtags and keywords in your tweets. Try to figure out what your targeted audience would search for and use those words in your tweets. Find out how people search for your website if you have one. What terms are they using? Hashtags are good because they make your tweets more visible in twitter search, but don’t abuse them. If your tweets look like a censored conversation (you know what I mean, RT # @# @# thx ##ff## @@####) chances are they will be totally ignored.
3) BE YOURSELF – If you keep hiding yourself behind other people’s links and RTs, the real you won’t be seen. You need a voice and authenticity otherwise followers will lose interest in you and your product/service.
4) DONT SPAM, don’t mass follow, don’t use automated DMs for your new followers, don’t do anything impersonal and automated. Don’t try to sell your products / services all the time: it takes a click to unfollow you, even less than what it takes to bin spam email or to shred advertising material just come through the post.
5) BE FRIENDLY – Make the most of some twitter “events” such as the #FollowFriday, keeping in mind that you only get what you give. Spend those 5 minutes every Friday to hashtag users you find interesting. Someone will eventually include you in their #ff.
6) LISTEN – Take your time and see who is already talking about your product/service on twitter: what are they saying? By all means tweet your own content, but it really helps if you understand the twitter dynamics for your specific sector/area.
7) BE INTERESTING – There is nothing more boring than a constant stream of tweets that sing the praises only of your products and services. Interesting content that is not entirely self-serving will build your reputation as an honest broker and worth listening to, and perhaps most importantly generate retweets so making your name spread more widely.
Okay so what about targeting tweeple to follow and so raise your profile?
1) KEEP LISTENING – By doing this you will identify who are the most influential twitterers among your targeted audience.. so follow them, follow who follows them, and pay extra attention to the interactions going on. Try to engage them into conversations as much as possible. If they communicate with you a lot, they will eventually mention you and you should get some RELEVANT followers from them.
2) SEARCH – Use twitter ADVANCED SEARCH to find conversations about your niche, services or products. Don’t be lazy and think that setting a series of one-word searches on your Tweetdeck is enough, far from it. Search for combination of words, even whole sentences that you think would be part of the conversation among your targeted customers.
3) CHECK DIRECTORIES – Use twitter directories like WeFollow, they may help with targeted searches. You can also include yourself in them, in order to be found by other people.
Last but not least.. Be patient. It takes time and effort. A solid follower base can be a fabulously valuable asset for your brand and it can only be built through QUALITY conversations. Always remember you simply can’t buy customer loyalty.
For more advice and tips, please contact us!