When I first heard about Twitter, I didn’t fully understand it. I had no idea why it became so popular so quickly. I didn’t think that there was any real value in sending 140 character messages. What could you possibly say with 140 characters that would have any impact? For me, I wasn’t sold.
But then I began to see more and more websites with Twitter icons. I even came across business cards with Twitter icons on them that said “Follow Me”. It was then that I decided to actually get an account and see what all the hype was about.
Once I got a Twitter account and started seeing what others were tweeting, something clicked? What I saw was that others were tweeting simple titles and URLs to the relevant content. WOW!! You can tweet a URL that users can click on to read more. I found that I could easily create my own makeshift custom newspaper of sorts. If something intrigued me, I simply clicked on it. What intrigued me even more is that if I got a lot of junk I didn’t care about, all I had to do was unfollow that person and just like that, no more junk!!
Earning Your First Followers
The one question remains however… How do I get followers to tweet my content to? I’ve seen users create a Twitter account only to have it go stale with very little followers after a year or two. And that doesn’t seem to help them much. Just because a company is on Twitter doesn’t mean they are doing anything with it.
What I wanted to do was gain followers so that they could see all the great stuff I had to show them. So, I read and studied and tried different things to see if I could get people to follow me. Now keep in mind, I’m not a social media professional by any means, so you’ll have a good idea what to expect on your first try. I didn’t get thousands of followers, but I was able to get a good number of followers in a rather short period of time.
All I did to gain my first 20 followers was simply retweet other people’s content. If I found something I thought was interesting, I re-tweeted it. That’s it. I wasn’t writing my own content, I wasn’t self promoting, and I wasn’t advertising myself in any way.
The other thing about this is that I believe in karma…. I figured if I re-tweeted other people’s content, others may be kind and re-tweet mine as well.
Moving Beyond Your First Followers
Create a great, professional profile
The first thing you should do is work on your profile. One of the keys to getting others to follow you is having a professional profile that others can trust and are eager to see what it is you have to say. If you don’t yet have a great profile, fix it…. do it now!!
- Your profile photo. If your Twitter account is about you, then use a picture of yourself. If it’s about your company or brand, use your company or brand logo. Either way, you should use a photo that will tie your brand to your content. When users see your logo, they should know what kind of tweets to expect.
- Your bio and link. You have a limited amount of space so use it wisely. Tell everyone about your company or brand. You’ll have to be clever to get your message across effectively. Also, make sure you put a link to your site so that you can get traffic from those who want to learn more about you.
- Your header photo. With your header photo, what you want to do is match your color scheme and use that space to let others know what your brand is about (or what you are about if your tweets are about you) It doesn’t have to be anything spectacular, just something that is simple and clean.
Here are some examples:
Follow the right people.
The first thing you should do is follow all the right people. See if you can find people that are tweeting interesting things. Better yet, see if you can find users that are tweeting on topics that go hand in hand with the content you’d like to tweet. If you’d like to tweet about tires, follow someone who tweets about cars. If you’d like to tweet about clothing, follow someone who tweets about fashion. The goal is to follow those who’s tweets compliment your own. This makes it easy to find tweets that you can re-tweet and perhaps even get them to re-tweet your content as well. It’s a win / win situation… (PS. I always look for win / win situations)
You should follow both big companies who compliment your field as well as lesser known users. Both have their advantages. Sometimes, you can get a big name to follow you back, especially if you constantly re-tweet their content. Also, it’s usually pretty easy to get smaller companies to re-tweet your content to their followers.
Basically, you should try to follow anyone in your contact sphere… What’s a contact sphere you ask? You can think of a contact sphere kinda like a bubble where nobody competes with each other and everyone can be in the same category. For example: if you are in the technology category. Follow others who are also in the technology that don’t compete with you.
Create Twitter Lists
One of the bad things about following lots of people on Twitter is that your timeline will get bombarded by all the tweets from each and every person you follow. You will undoubtedly get stuck scrolling through a ton of tweets just to find the ones you want to re-tweet. What’s worse is that you may miss the tweets from those who you simply don’t want to miss.
There is a solution to that though. It’s called Twitter Lists
This feature allows you to create lists of those you follow so that you can categorize them and never miss the really important tweets. How you categorize them is up to you. To create a list, simply click on your account button, then click on “Lists”. From here you can create new lists and simply add people to your lists. You can even make your lists public so that users can subscribe to your list. I’d recommend doing a Google search for “How To Use Twitter Lists for Business”. You can find all sorts of information on how to use lists effectively. You can create lists for events, for categories, and a whole lot more.
Tweet about topics your target audience wants to know about
This one can be more difficult than it seems. First, you’ll want to figure out who you want to target. Then figure out what they want to know about. Your goal is to be a resource for your target audience. The more they go to you, the more your brand will be engrained into their minds. Don’t just tweet advertisements… you can lose a lot of followers that way. Instead, tweet useful information. Here are some suggestions:
- How To’s and tutorials
- Answers to common questions
- Things to watch out for
Reach out to your followers and those you follow
Lots of businesses make the mistake of thinking that Twitter is simply an advertisement platform. You know… send tweets and your followers will get them. But Twitter is so much more than that. It can also be used as a networking platform. You should build relationships by reaching out to those who re-tweet your content. Take the time to say thanks and start up conversations.
You can easily build strong relationships by reaching out to people and striking up a conversation. This builds trust and will help you keep your followers. In my experience, simple networking and reaching out has landed me many paid jobs and thousands of dollars in profit.
Some other helpful tips
- Post about different things. Don’t always post the same thing just to have users see it again. That will more than likely lose you some followers.
- Use images in your tweets. Images have always converted better on Twitter. Lots of users judge whether or not to even read the title by the picture. No picture and your tweet will get passed up.
- Use the 80 / 20 theory. 80% of your tweets should be about things other than you. 20% should be self promotion.
- Use hashtags in your tweets. Hashtags are a great way to help your tweets get found. Google “How to use Twitter hashtags” to learn more.
Other ways to gain followers
Another way to gain followers is to hire a professional. Let’s face it, getting and keeping followers can be a ton of work. Some of you may want to simply hire someone to get followers and manage your Twitter account for you. If this sounds like you, you can always give $ocial $en$e a try.
With $ocial $en$e you get a professional that does all this for you and can save you many many hours of work. It’s not easy to gain a following… (Unless you’re famous…. Did you know that Ashton Kutcher has more Twitter followers than the entire population of Sweden?) $ocial $en$e can make gaining followers it easier.