We’ve covered lots of promotional topics here on HostPresto over the past few months but today we’re going to focus on Twitter and more importantly, how to grow a following or audience. Now, this isn’t going to be a step by step guide with guaranteed riches. In all honesty your potential following is going to be determined by a lot of unique factors surrounding you personally, the content of your account and the niche or sector you’re in as a whole. But, with that said pretty much all of the below can be applied to any account type, business or personal, product or service. The fundamental steps you need to take in order to grow a twitter following are pretty much the same across the board.
Gearing Up Your Profile
Before you do anything, if you want to be taken seriously on Twitter, you’re going to need to gear up your profile. Adding your name and leaving the egg because you’re too shy to show your face isn’t going to cut it unfortunately :-) - You need a profile image, this can be your company logo if that’s your angle and you need an attractive, attention grabbing header.
You should also make sure you colourise your page to match your style/brand and be sure to populate the info fields of your profile such as description, website address and location. Twitter gets a lot of people using it as a search engine and tweets aside, the information contained in your bio can yield to a lot of traffic if optimised correctly.
If you have a website, you want to make sure that you place a link to your twitter account in a prominent position on your site. Don’t just bury it in the footer where nobody will see it. Stick it in your header or sidebar – that will get the most eyes on it. There are lots of places online where you can find nice Twitter icons or “follow me” buttons. Utilising your own traffic is a great way to kick off your following and if your website gets any kind of significant traffic you’ll find it stacks up quickly. You should also make sure you include your Twitter link in any newsletters you send out or in your signature in any forums you frequent. The more the better.
One thing your twitter followers will like to see is regular posting. Nobody wants to follow dead accounts. If you’re a blogger, make sure you tweet out all your existing posts and updates to old ones. But don’t limit it to this, you’re going to need to do a lot more than post links to what you’ve written. But don’t overdo it. A few tweets a day should really be your maximum outside of interaction with third parties which we’ll cover below. If someone new follows you, they’re not going to want to see you appear on their timeline every 5 minutes.
You should also try to keep up with trending events, particularly if they’re in your niche as these get a lot of eyes on them and if you can voice a worthy opinion it should yield followers or if nothing else, interactions.
Hashtags, if used correctly are an immensely powerful outreach tool. With every tweet you do be it a personal tweet or linking to what you’ve just posted, you should try and include a relevant hashtag. It will help your status appear in the main search and will also yield access to the huge pool of board people who simply see a hashtag appear and click on it to see what it’s all about.
There are also a lot of bots out there who will retweet what you’ve written if you append a certain hashtag and like minded users also use hashtags as a way to find other people to follow in a given sector.
Regularly posting with hashtags along is enough to increase your following dramatically. Especially if you consciously choose to include particular tags which you know are popular enough to have an audience.
Who to Follow
You need to find a balance in the people you’d like to follow. The obvious targets are those who operate in your niche but you don’t want to waste time following celebrities or highly authoritative figures. They’re not going to like your status or retweet you and they’re certainly not going to follow you back. So it’s probably best to avoid them. Instead, follow your competitors, follow people interested in your competitors and you’ll often find that they follow you.
Lots of people in your industry are going to want to bolster their own following and it’s of little risk to them if they follow you back. It’s not as if they’re going to lose customers or readership. It’s all positive.
Interacting with people who like, retweet or even comment on your status is a great way to build a a following. The more interactions your tweet gets, the higher up the search it will appear and the more you encourage other third parties the comment the more chance one of their followers will see the interaction and perhaps join in themselves. It also goes a long way to showing how active your account is and even if the people reading are not interested in the conversation thread at hand they know if they comment on something else you’ve written that it’s likely to encourage a response.
Now we come to quality. If you’re just spouting nonsense you’re not going to gain followers and you’re at risk of losing the followers you’ve acquired already. You need to be careful, it’s a balancing act and you need to combine several different styles in order to create the “perfect” account. You can post links to content you’ve written, sure, but don’t overdo it. With that said you can’t possibly be producing that much content day to day to flood peoples timelines with so it’s probably a non-issue. But keep it in check.
You should also try and be funny. People spend time on social media to have fun for the most part. They don’t like serious updates and they don’t want to become more bored than they already are. So keep it light and entertaining.
Stick With It
Growing an audience on a platform like Twitter is certainly not easy, it’s going to take a lot of time and effort with countless hours spent in front of your computer performing tasks with little or no monetary reward. But, in the end, when your profile is boasting tens of thousands of followers who will enable you to instantly promote anything and everything – it’ll be worth it.
So stick with it, don’t become too disheartened if you’re publishing on a daily basis yet feel like you’re hitting a brick wall. Once the floodgates open and you see some reward for your efforts, it should encourage you to persevere. So don’t throw the towel in too easily. Good luck.