By Terry Green
Increasing your targeted following on Twitter requires a bit of patience and a well thought-out strategy. Twitter, a micro-blogging social networking site, is popular for businesses because of the no-cost, no-frills way the site is set up. Twitter is used by small companies, as well as larger companies like Starbucks, Dell and JetBlue to connect with their customers and clients, advertise new products, monitor their online brands and in general, monetize their businesses.
There are four steps to increasing your targeted Twitter following. First, follow people on Twitter who you consider to be your target audience. Second, post relevant information about your brand and news that is related to your brand. Third, never spam your followers with auto-tweets, or post the same URL over and over. Finally, follow smart people who are online marketers or who are leaders in your industry.
How to Follow the Right People on Twitter:
Before you start following people, make sure your Twitter feed has at least a few interesting posts. Most people on Twitter will not follow you back if your Twitter feed is blank. After you’ve started your micro-blog feed, start following your target audience. There are two ways you can do this. Go to Search.Twitter.com and type in keywords related to your target audience. Let’s say you are selling an iPhone application. Type in keywords like “iPhone,” “bought an iPhone,” “iPhone app,” and other related keywords. Follow these people. If you post interesting, relevant things, there is a good chance they will follow you back.
You can also find your target Twitter following by going to Twitter and clicking on the “Find People” option. Type in keywords and any relevant industries and locations to find your followers. Start following these people.
Give Your Target Audience Relevant Information:
Post interesting news and reviews about your product, but don’t forget to also post related industry news. For instance, if you sell a particular gadget, you can post news about other gadgets.
One of the most important thing about gaining a targeted following is to retweet well and retweet often. If you see a relevant post by another Twitterer, retweet them. Many times, these Twitterers will see that you have retweeted them, and will follow you. This gives you access to their followers-just click on the “Followers” tab under these people, and start following. Be generous with your retweets-it’s one of the few tried-and-true ways of gaining a following.
Check Search.Twitter.com often. Search for your brand name, for example. Are there happy customers? Follow them and thank them. Do you find angry, disgruntled customers? Follow them, retweet them, and ask them how you can fix the situation. There have been countless examples of people reaching customer service reps on Twitter, and then telling the Internet all about the great service that came from a company they had just recently been bad-mouthing.
Never Spam Your Twitter Followers:
If you spam your followers, they will unfollow you quickly. Spammy posts include: Posting the same URLs over and over again; only posting product descriptions of your own products; having a Twitter handle that looks like this: MyAwesomeProduct1000 instead of something like this: NameofMyProduct; and asking insincere questions. For example, if you sell cars, it would be insincere to post a question like: What is the best car on the road? Twitter users are very savvy and jaded consumers. They know when a brand is being disingenuous.
Follow Smart People to Gain a Smart Following:
There are a lot of online marketers who have used Twitter to help their clients monetize their businesses. Twitter marketing gurus like Guy Kawasaki, Dave Peck and Chris Brogan should be on your Twitter list. You might also want to do a search for corporations who are on Twitter because they are the trailblazers and may offer you a great deal of advice in getting a targeted following.
Consider following your competition to see what kind of tactics they are using to increase their own targeted Twitter following. Smart online marketers monitor their competition on social networks to see what they’re doing right and doing it better. It’s also easier to see when your competition has failed and how you can avoid that. If your competition rarely posts to Twitter and never responds to negative posts, you can quickly fill the gap for your audience.
Patience is Required When Using Twitter to Monetize:
Businesses who take to Twitter to market their brand or products should be aware that using Twitter is a long-term strategy. Gaining access to your targeted following will not happen overnight, but if you use the proper Twitter strategies, it will happen. Be very careful with your Twitter following. Don’t sell to them like you would sell to the Average Joe online. Twitterers can sniff out a sales pitch and unfollow the guilty party in the blink of an eye.
When you have gained your targeted Twitter followers, market to them gently. Instead of sending out tweets that say, “Buy this cool product now,” consider writing a more subtle tweet like this: “Do you need a product that does XYX? This one does.” Instead of posting “New product has just launched,” consider starting a corporate blog, and then post something like this to Twitter: “New blog post: Why we’re so excited” and then end the Twitter post with the URL to your blog.
Always reply to any tweets that people send you. Don’t ignore your Twitter following. If your Twitter following gets too large for you to handle, consider outsourcing some of the work or having your Virtual Assistant take on some of the hours needed to tweet or retweet. However, never have someone tweet for you as if they are you. Twitter is a relationship-building tool, and YOU need to be the one building that relationship. You can always have someone tweet questions to start a conversation, share links to articles or other interesting information, or finding new people to follow, but you should be the one responding and interacting in discussions… not delegating it out to someone else. Be authentic!
Twitter is not a one-way marketing tool. It’s an integrated, holistic approach to marketing. That means staying transparent, interacting with the Twitter community and staying interesting. The quickest way to kill off your Twitter following is to be boring.