Five easy tricks to grow your following on Twitter
Growing a following on a social network can be a difficult task, especially if you are starting from scratch. In this article, I will be focussing on Twitter as a business medium. Since its inception in 2006, Twitter has become an internet favourite; its low cost and viral nature drawing in a large variation in user demographics – young and old, from businesses to celebrities - making it an ideal platform for businesses to make their voices heard.
Marketers the world over have been flocking to Twitter assuming they’re going to be instantly rolling in leads, prospects, retweets and follows, and it’s easy to get demotivated when your first tweet as a company doesn’t immediately break the internet, but there are easy ways to grow a following on Twitter without having to resort to buying followers.
Before we start, it’s important to note that, as with most things, it’s not the size of your following it’s what you do with it that counts. It’s all well and good having a million followers, but if none of them are engaging with what you’re posting, they might as well not be there. In my experience, it’s better to have fewer followers that actively engage with you than a large following that are mostly silent. It’s like standing in Trafalgar Square and shouting at the top of your voice and then claiming all of London as your audience vs a small concert in a local pub where everyone is singing along and clapping. The engagement is going to be much higher in the second scenario than the first, so relevant followers is the real goal.
With this in mind, it’s time to embark on finding your following. It essentially boils down to five core concepts:
1. Following relevant people
2. Posting content that will be relevant to your audience
3. Engage with your following
4. Hashtags, hashtags, hashtags!
5. Cross-posting your social feed
Firstly, some profile basics. You should always make sure your profile is as strong as it can be to entice people in. Your profile picture should be a company logo if it’s a business page you’re running, or a head and shoulders shot if it’s a personal page, or if you yourself are the business. Research has shown that people are more likely to trust a smiling face, so a picture of your lovely smiling face would work best. Your Bio is another area you should consider using to maximise your profile efforts. You have 160 characters to work with, so a short description of you or your business and a link back to your website is usually sufficient. Finally, your location. If you are, for example, a personal trainer in Liverpool, it’s going to be beneficial for you to set your location to Liverpool as you’re not going to be able to deliver your services to people in Newcastle. Similarly, if you’re a business that distributes nationally, you should set your location to “Nationwide – UK”. This allows you to keep an eye on the trends in your local area – something we will cover in point 5.
1. Find your following
The people you want to follow and who you want to be your followers are out there, you just need to find them and you need them to find you. Simple, right?
Using Twitter’s search function
This is an easy way to engage with people based on what they’re saying. Take Compliance Studio for example, we might want to connect with people who are searching for app developers, or other app developers in the industry. Simply head over to Twitter and pop “#AppDeveloper” in the search box.
Once you’ve done that, Twitter will bring up your search, generally filtered by Top Posts. You can change that to “Latest” or “People” depending on what you want to look for.
Using the People function, we can connect with a bunch of web and app developers, see their feeds and what they’re up to.
Generally, about 20% of people you follow will follow you back. Even if they don’t, they might be prompted to read your profile, which is where an engaging bio and a good picture comes in.
2. Post relevant content.
A good way to grow your following is to post content relevant to your audience. For example, as a software company, you’re not going to expect to see vegan recipes from Compliance Studio. If your content isn’t relevant and engaging, it’s not going to earn you followers and may well end up losing you followers.
Using Google Alerts is a good way to get daily updates about what your audience is interested in. You can choose things to be notified about based on what’s relevant in your industry, and then you can gear your content around what’s popular at the time.
Sharing media is another good way to getting engagement. Tweets with a picture or a video are twice as likely to get noticed than a Tweet that’s just text. It doesn’t always have to be a call-to-action, it could be a picture containing details of an upcoming event, or a video walkthrough of your office, or an infographic containing industry-relevant figures. There’s all sorts of media types you can post, so get creative!
Finally, another easy trick is to see what your audience is already talking about. Starting a conversation can be hard, but keeping it going is much easier. See what your audience is talking about and get involved in the conversation. Try re-tweeting something relevant from one of your industry leaders, or reply to tweets of customers.
People on twitter who do not engage in conversations are significantly less likely to gain followers as they are not engaging their audience.
A great way I’ve found to get people to follow you is to engage with their content. For example, if you’ve followed someone and they haven’t followed you back it’s not the end of the world. Check out their content and engage with it. If I am trying to get someone to follow me, I reply to a tweet, like another and retweet a third, usually across a few days. You will start appearing in their notifications and it makes them more likely to engage you in return. I’ve got some great business leads and Twitter pals through this method, and I definitely think it’s underrated.
Additionally, being part of a conversation will put you in front of more people. If you reply to someone’s tweet, you will be in front of their followers as well, increasing your chances of being followed. From personal experience, every time I get into a conversation on Twitter, particularly if there are more than three or four tweets back and forth, I tend to get at least 5 new followers. You could put a picture up of a new product line or service and say “What do you think?” and then @ some industry leaders or some of your favourite followers to start up a conversation.
4. Hashtags, hashtags, hashtags!
Following on from point three, hashtags are a great way to both find people to follow and to find people to engage with. There are a few different and easy methods of engaging through hashtags.
This is a really easy one, both for finding followers and joining conversations. Some regions across the UK have scheduled chats on certain days at certain times, usually for an hour. You can find out local ones by googling them.
If you have something valuable to tweet, say your business is currently having a clearance sale and you’re based in Yorkshire, you could tweet about it on a Wednesday at 8:30pm and hashtag #YorkshireHour. This means your tweet will be visible in that hashtag topic when we search for it on Twitter. There’s every possibility that the dedicated account for your desired account could retweet you. You can also explore the hashtag and see if there’s anyone you want to follow in there. Sometimes big events like exhibitions will have #chats going on that you can contribute to as well.
You should also use hashtags on your original content to make sure it’s seen by the right audiences. Take this blog for example, when posting it to Twitter, I would put two relevant hashtags on it to make sure that it’s got the most potential of being seen. Generally speaking, any more than two hashtags tends to put people off your tweets. #Letsbehonest #thisishardtoread #dontyouagree #retweetifyouagree. Hashtags work best when they are clear and concise.
“New #blog up on the website – “5 tips to boost your twitter following! #SocialMediaMarketing” would be a good way to pitch this blog into the Twittersphere.
5. Cross-posting your Twitter feed
The final tip to boost your following is to put as many links back to your social media profiles as is reasonable.
If you have a company newsletter that goes out to your customers, put a link to your twitter feed at the bottom, or do a feature in your newsletter on your social media activities. Make sure you’ve got links to your Twitter feed on your company website, including any company blogs you might have. You could also include an RSS feed on your company’s homepage to your company’s Twitter feed. Put social media links in your email footers – using little icons of the twitter symbol with a hyperlink to your feed is a good idea. If each person at your company has their own Twitter account, put links to their accounts on your “about us” section on your company website.
So there you have it. Five easy tips for boosting your following. If you want any further advice or information, make sure you contact us at Compliance Studio for a bespoke quotation on our Social Media and Digital Marketing services.