You have heard it said, time and time again, that Twitter is a great marketing tool. The key is to have an interested following, they say. Just how this “targeted following” is developed and cultivated, is something that most Twitter guides neglect to discuss. This is exactly what this article is all about while giving you 7 strategies you should follow.
1. Follow and be Followed
Give and ye shall receive; follow and ye shall be followed. Search Twitter for people whom you want to become your Twitter followers – people who fit the profile of your target followers. Instead of waiting for these people to follow you, follow them first. You’ll find out that a certain percentage of the people you follow will follow you in return.
This is rather tedious work, however. You will have to spend hours and hours searching and following people one by one. You can use auto-follow tools (check the second part of this article), but manual and selective following is still best if you have time.
Basically, the following are a couple of things you must consider when choosing people to follow:
- he is or may be interested in your product or service.
Actual interest can be assessed through a person’s updates. Potential interest can be assessed through his profile – say, someone fits your target demographics. Ideally, choose someone who fits your target demographics and has indicated interest.
- the number of his followers and the number of people he follows are almost the same.
When someone’s “following” and “follower” stats are comparable, chances are high that he follows back those who follow him.
Remember that Twitter sets a cap on the number of people that you can follow. This limit is variable and changes with your level of usage and stats. Twitter will tell you you’ve reached your limit only when you have. To avoid hitting your limit, a pretty good rule of thumb is to keep the number of your followers and the number of people you follow about the same.
Final tip: Don’t forget to take advantage of Follow Fridays. It’s when people recommend people to follow to their followers.
2. Tweet Smartly about Topics Relevant to Your Niche
Notice that Twitter also has that search capability that scans all Tweets and display search results based on a given set of keywords? This means that your Twitter activity and how you interact with your Twitter network also goes a long way into increasing your following.
To get targeted followers, you should tweet about your specialization. Your updates will come out in related keyword searches. People who are looking for people in your field of specialization will then be able to find and follow you.
Do not go overboard, though. Tweet too often and like a spammer and you’ll find yourself being dropped from follow lists faster than a full bucket of turd. Connect with people, listen AND respond. People like to follow people who sound like people rather than automated marketing machines.
3. Use Twitter as Customer Support or Help Desk Mechanism
Ask your existing customers to follow you on Twitter, and watch your targeted Twitter following swell. Use Twitter as your customer support platform. Use it to interact with your existing customers, gain feedback, resolve issues, and build relationships.
Eventually, your Twitter following should include not only existing customers but also prospective ones. Those who have questions about your services or products and those who merely want to observe how you handle customer concerns will probably follow you on Twitter. Your existing customers may also refer you to fellow Twitter users.
4. Organize Contests, Debates or Games
Just like in the real world, nothing draws spectators and human interest like contests, debates and games. Sponsor or start any one or all of these and watch your Twitter following snowball. Those who want to participate will naturally follow you. They could also tell other Twitter users about all the interesting activity in your account, and these others could follow you and refer you to others, too.
5. Include Your Twitter Account Link in Your Email and Forum Signature
Whenever you send emails to prospective and existing customers, do not forget to include the link to your Twitter account. Whenever you join forum discussions, do not forget to add your Twitter account link as your signature.
Do not become a spammer, however. Remember that the effectiveness of your email and forum signatures depends on how good your brand is perceived by your target audience.
6. Integrate Twitter in your Blog or Website
Do not forget to add a link to your Twitter account in your blog or website. Be creative. Use a Twitter badge rather than a single line of text. At a prominent area in your blog or site, include the “Follow Me on Twitter” badge. With every post, include a “Twit This” button.
7. Generate Followers from Other Social Networks
Create a profile in Facebook, MySpace, Friendster, Digg, StumbleUpon, YouTube, Plurk, and all other social networks that you can think of. In your profile, prominently display your Twitter link.
Scour these social networks for your target audience and cultivate their online friendship; leave them comments, chat with them, interact with them in as many ways as possible. When you have proved your credibility and have earned their trust, invite them to follow you on Twitter.