Getting on the Twitter bandwagon is easy enough, it takes only a few minutes to set up an account! However, getting the visibility you want is not as easy. In fact, a lot of people like using Twitter for its user-friendliness, but are struggling to get relevant & targeted followers. We all see these accounts having tens of thousands of followers and wonder how they did it. Well, the first thing we want to stress is that having 100 quality followers is a gazillion times better than 1000 random ones. It’s easy to get untargeted followers by enabling the “auto-follow” feature and using 3rd party [blackhat] applications to mass-follow hundreds of people every day. This strategy will not generate any quality traffic to your site and in the long run it could get your account suspended. For our clients, we focus on quality over quantity and we have had great success so far. Here are some of the tips we use to obtain targeted followers for our clients…
Tip #1: Optimize Your Profile!
Unlike Facebook, Twitter profiles are quite simplistic. You only have 3 things to focus on: your username, your profile photo and your bio. Your username should ideally contain a keyword or two about your industry. This will help you come up high in relevant search results. If you’re a lawyer in Toronto, a username like @TorontoLawyer or @TorontoAttorney would be great to have. However, we understand that most good usernames on Twitter have already been taken, so if you can’t find the username you want, just use your full name or anything that your followers might find catchy and easy to remember. Your profile picture should either be a nice photo of you or your company’s logo. Lastly, your bio should contain important info about what you do and why your profile is worth following.
Tip #2: Deliver Quality Content!
Quality Content is Retweeted. Poor Content is ignored and could get you unfollowed. We have been stressing for years that Content is the most important element in any form of online marketing. It’s not any different on Twitter. Also, many people are making the deadly mistake of being too self-promotional on Twitter. Talking only about your company/products/services will bore your followers and will make you sound like a spammer. If done repeatedly, this will make you lose all your quality followers. Research your niche, find out what your followers like to hear about and post content that they will like. You might also want to participate in hashtag topics (known as Twitter’s trending topics) in your industry. Go to Hashtags.org and search for keywords relevant to your industry. You will discover a bunch of trending topics you can participate in. You can also start your own hashtag. If it’s interesting and catchy enough, it might go viral and bring you tons of followers!
Tip #3: Find Them, Follow Them.
Don’t wait for people to find your profile, follow the people that you want to follow you back. When you follow someone, they get an email notification. If they find your profile interesting, they will follow you back! It’s that simple. In the email notification they will see your profile image, username and bio, so you need to make sure you have all those fields filled out and optimized. Use applications like TweetDeck or HootSuite to help you find relevant followers to follow. In HootSuite, you can create a “custom stream“, which means a column displaying tweets that fit specific criteria. For instance, if you are a Wedding Photographer in New York, you can create a custom stream that displays every tweet that contains the words: Wedding, Marriage, Newlywed, Bride, Groom, Engaged, Engagement, etc… AND that is located in New York within a 25 miles radius (optionally). This will give you a list of quality profiles you can follow and interact with!
Tip #4: Organize Contests.
There are mainly 2 types of contests that you can organize on Twitter: ReTweet and Hashtag Contests. Both of them can be very successful if done the right way. First, decide on a prize you want to give away. Ideally you should give one of your products away (if possible). If not, what tends to work best is electronic equipment such as iPads, iPods, Cameras or even gift certificates for major online shops such as Amazon or BestBuy. You then need to create a page on your website to describe the contest rules. For a ReTweet contest, you want people to ReTweet a specific phrase while mentioning you. For example: “Hey all! I just joined Johnny’s Retweet for Cash Contest. To join, simply follow @yourusername and retweet this message. You could win an iPad2! Details @ http://bit.ly/4GSDFG”. Make sure you read the Twitter Guidelines for Contests too.
Tip #5: List Your Profile Everywhere.
This sounds simple yet a lot of people forget to do it. Your profile link should be clearly displayed on your homepage (sitewide!), along with any other social network you’re participating in. Also, add a line in your email signatures and business cards encouraging people to follow you. If you are doing any form of offline advertising (TV, radio, banners) make sure you include a link to your Twitter profile. Tell people when you’re speaking at seminars or conferences. Also, list your profile in the most popular Twitter directories, such as Twellow, WeFollow, TwitterPacks, Just Tweet It. These directories can also help you find interesting followers to follow.