Twitter recently solidified its standing as one of the largest social media sites on the planet by announcing it had surpassed 300 million users worldwide. That staggering number puts Twitter in fourth place behind Facebook, LinkedIn and Instagram in the battle for social media supremacy.
With that many users, it’s no surprise that Twitter is one of the go-to social media sites for business. The problem? Gaining enough of a following to make the time it takes to Tweet worthwhile. Many small to medium sized businesses (especially B2B businesses) often give up on Twitter after just a few short weeks of little to no reach. What they don’t realize is that it can take months of time, effort and engagement to earn any kind of Following on Twitter. My advice – don’t give up! Stick around for more than a month or two and use these 5 effective strategies on Twitter for your business.
1. Follow like-minded businesses and individuals.
“Gee, thanks Sebastian. Your first strategy is a strategy I’ve seen everywhere.” You are correct reader, but there’s a difference to mine. Most “Twitter strategy” blog posts suggest you Follow like-minded businesses, however they usually suggest that because their thought process is that those businesses will Follow you back. That’s completely backwards thinking. The reason you should Follow like-minded businesses and individuals is so that you can engage with them in conversation. @mention them in your Tweets or reply to or ReTweet something they’ve Tweeted. Twitter is all about conversation, if you’re only talking to yourself, what good is it?
2. Create or make use of already created #hashtags related to your business.
Before Twitter, the “#” symbol was known as a number sign and the “pound key” you pushed on your phone when you were done entering an extension. Now the “#” is a hashtag and it’s used as a way to search and categorize topics on many social media sites. If your business is hosting an event, hiring, blogging etc. attach a searchable #hashtag. For example, when I post this blog on Twitter in a few minutes, I’m going to #hashtag it with #TwitterStrategies. Now, anytime someone searches #TwitterStrategies on Twitter, my Tweet may appear.
When it comes to using already created #hashtags, use ones that are common in your industry or have some fun and use one that’s Trending. Smart businesses use their creativity to take part in worldwide Trending topics such as: #5WordsToRuinADate or #LittleWhiteLiesITold (Fair warning, some of those results can be NSFW).
3. Add Twitter content & icons to your website.
It has become common practice to include social media icons at the top and bottom of your website. It’s also become common for social media share widgets to be included in blog posts. What hasn’t become common is making those share icons noticeable and embedding Tweets within blog content.
If you’re on a desktop computer, you’ll notice our social media share icons on the left side of this content. You’ll also notice they follow you down the page. This ensures that anyone who is interested in sharing this post has quick and easy access to those buttons. Rather than forcing users to scroll to the top or bottom of the content to share, they can do it as they read.
Another neat option Twitter has available is easily embedding Tweets within content. Here’s an example:
— Experience DMG (@experiencedmg) April 17, 2015
Pretty cool, right? For a full tutorial on how to do this, check out Twitter’s guide.
4. Tweet a lot. Just make sure it’s almost always unique content.
When I say “Tweet a lot”, I’m not suggesting you jump on Twitter right now and Tweet your last 25 blog posts in quick succession. What I’m suggesting is that you Tweet 10 to 35 times throughout the day by engaging with other people’s Tweets, ReTweeting, using #hashtags and yes, posting your own blog content. Similar to the first strategy, you don’t want every Tweet you post to be about your business. In fact, do your best to strike a balance of 75% not about your business and 25% about your business. Let your Followers, customers and potential customers know that your Twitter feed isn’t there solely for self-promotion, it’s there because you truly want to have conversations.
5. Let people know there’s a person behind your Twitter business account.
This one is the one that bothers me quite a bit. The LAST thing I want on Twitter as a customer is the feel like I’m following “a business”. I want to Follow and engage with people, not a business. If your Twitter account is run by “Tina”, tell people that within your Twitter bio. If it’s run by multiple people at different times throughout the day, sign off each Tweet with the initials of the person who Tweeted it. Here’s an example:
Hi Members, we had a short network glitch this AM. But, we’re back up and running full stream ahead! ♥ ^jd
— Virgin Mobile Care (@VMCcare) April 30, 2015
The Virgin Mobile customer support account on Twitter does a perfect job of making their Followers feel like they’re talking to a person, in the case above a person named “JD”.
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Gaining a Following on Twitter as a business isn’t easy. It takes time, patience and commitment but by implementing some (or all) of these 5 strategies, you’ll be well on your way from going to 0 to 100 Followers – real quick.