One of the most seductive aspects of online activity is the numbers game. It started 20 years ago with Web 1.0 ‘counters’ at the bottom of websites, and the game has never stopped. Blog followers, Facebook friends, Twitter followers, Google Analytics… and so many more ways of getting caught up in counting rather than connecting.
So when it comes to Twitter, are Tweeple (Twitter slang for people you connect with on Twitter) the same as people? If by people in business we are thinking possible and past customers, real fans of our businesses, suppliers, and authorities in our industry, the answer is no. People add value to your business, Tweeple add digits to your follower/following lists.
The real question is: can someone be both? And the answers is, not only can they, but that is the best possible outcome for a business. When you can mix the real-life engagement of a customer or fan with the ability of social media to sustain a relationship beyond the confines of a particular time or place, you have tremendous possibilities. You can take the time to build that shared story and mutual understanding that is almost impossible to do in any other way.
As in so many things, it is a question of the right mix. You need enough followers to maximize the reach of our message, and you need as many of them to be authentic ‘people’ as possible (they are the ones who will actually do everything from retweet you to getting out a credit card to make a purchase).
Here are a few tips to building your Twitter numbers, while keeping the quality/quantity people/tweeple mix in mind.
The best way to get people to follow you is to follow them (keeping in mind that following someone only until they follow you and then dumping them may be a violation of Twitter’s Terms of Service).
- Do periodic Twitter searches for key descriptors: the name of your city, the industry you are in, the industry of clients you are seeking. See who is posting content worth following.
- Scan the ‘Following’ lists of people you are already following. Friends of friends have a good likelihood of being valuable connections. Learn more about lists in my Twitter BootCamp.
- Check out people’s lists. If you are following someone who posts interesting content on social media for example, check out their list. Again, there will probably be some interesting people there to follow. You can scan and individually follow people on that list, or save their list and run it as a separate column in TweetDeck or HootSuite.
Increase Your ‘Follow-ability’
- Its all about voice and education. The quality of the information matters, but so does the individuality of the voice. The best way to build a solid, stable follower base is by posting educational pieces that have a clear unique voice. Don’t be afraid to have an opinion!
- Retweet key posts. Did you see something on Twitter that was interesting? Develop your instincts so the first thing you do is hit the retweet link or button!Tweet what you are reading online. Most websites and blogs now have Twitter or ‘Tweet This‘ buttons. Use them. That will post a link to that article to your Twitter feed, and allow others to see what you are reading. It will build your reputation as a source of quality information.
Use the Tools
- Promote your Twitter account on your other channels. Your blog or website, LinkedIn, Facebook, and your newsletter, should all prominently feature a link to your Twitter account.
- Use trending topics. One way to grow followers is to post on popular topics. This will get you noticed by others following the same topics. But don’t get carried away. If you are an accountant who writes a post about #ladygaga just to get lots of attention, you will pick up followers, but it will erode your credibility, and most of those new tweeple will not ever act as people.
- Use hashtags. To get noticed, pay attention to what others are using (or check the trending topics section of the Twitter site). Sometimes it can take a while to figure out the hashtag for a topic. The 2011 Canadian election hashtag was #elxn41. Logical, but arcane. A lot are just common sense. #facebook, #yyj, #bieber, etc. are pretty easy to figure out. Learn more about hashtags in my Twitter BootCamp.
Want to become a Twitter ‘Power User’? Can you see the value of harnessing Twitter to really fuel your social media marketing? Join me for my Twitter BootCamp. Only $30 for 6 in-depth lessons and direct coaching.