Obtaining and retaining ‘genuine’ Twitter followers is the name of the game. Ignore those spruiking followers for cash – I have never heard of this working in the long term or in the short term for that matter. You need to be strategic. There is no point promoting a High AB demographic brand only available in Melbourne to a whole lot of penniless students in New Zealand. It’s all about the quality of followers, not the quantity – just like on Facebook.
Who should I follow and how do I find them?
I believe, unless you are well known and attracting people in droves, the best way to attract followers is to follow relevant people. You can start by following and engaging the thought leaders or experts in your area. You can usually find them by typing their names into search or go to their websites and see if they have a Twitter link.
If you were selling fitness equipment you might want to follow the top personal trainers, health magazines and gyms. These people reach a lot of your customer base. Introduce yourself to these people, retweet them, and generally make it easy for them to try and talk about your product. Then start following the people following them as you can only assume that those people are already interested in health and fitness.
Things to check before following:
- Last time they posted – if they haven’t posted in past 2 months they may be inactive accounts.
- Do they have a profile pic? If they just have an egg as their profile pic it’s highly likely they are either a spammer or a newbie.
- Unusually low ratio of followers. If only 10 people follow them but they follow 2000, steer clear – there will be a reason for that.
- Unusually high ratio of followers – this probably means they are a celebrity of some kind. Whilst they may be worthwhile following because they have great relevant content they probably won’t follow you back. You need to weigh up whether this is what you want and consider the fact that they probably have great material to RT.
- Check their tweets – are they relevant to you? If this person is tweeting about smoking and drinking there may be a disconnect between your brand values and their values.
- Check they are in the geographic area you want – most people do put this in their profile. No point in following someone in Sweden if they can’t purchase your product.
It’s important to note that Twitter has a follow limit of 2000 people to stop spammers etc. So once you reach 2000, until your follower/following is acceptable to twitter (they decide) you may need to start culling people who haven’t, after a reasonable amount of time, followed you back. There are various apps available for you to easily identify who isn’t following you back. The one I use is www.friendorfollow.com.
How do I get people to follow me back?
To make yourself attractive to followers chat to them and engage them in relevant conversations – building relationships like you would in the non-virtual world. You need to build trust, not speaking to them about your brand but about themselves. Be interested and interesting.
Add relevant hashtags to your tweets – see 7 uses for the Twitter Hashtag # for a post on this. Use event hashtags etc to attract a new audience. Also set up search columns (I use tweetdeck) for your brand, and any variations people might have of your spelling, to see if anyone mentions it. Have search columns for other core keywords to find relevant people to follow. Without being au fait with exercise equipment and the lingo these could be #exercise #health #treadmill #gym etc. You can then join in people’s conversations and start a relationship that way.
Retweet (RT) people – it is the biggest compliment you can give and it builds rapport. Be careful not to over RT as it can start looking insincere and lose it’s power.
Use humour – people love a good laugh. You are more likely to have your tweets retweeted if your tweets are original and funny.
Become an expert. Pick one or two topics you are most knowledgeable about and be consistent in talking about these so that you become the ‘go to’ person on these topics. It is easy to source articles on the net or write your own blog.
DO NOT TRY AND SELL! I know it’s hard especially when your brand is the best on the market etc, but people run a mile as soon as they smell a sales pitch. I could write a blog post on this alone as it is a huge no-no and yet so many people still do it. Have great content and add value, and people will engage with your brand and trust. Believe me when it comes time for them to make a buying decision about what you are selling you will probably be the first they ask.
Let us know what has worked or not worked for you.
Relevant posts: 8.5 reasons that Twitter rocks – personal perspective