If you’ve been on Twitter for more than about 5 minutes, you’ve probably been solicited by somebody swearing that they can help you build your following – and fast. And they probably can, by having you follow a ridiculous number of accounts, mostly spammers and bots, just to get them to follow you back. Does that mean that anybody is going to be listening to you, retweeting you, or recommending you to their followers – not on your life!
Twitter is an information network, which means in order for you to build an engaged following, you’ve got to provide information that they are going to be interested in receiving and sharing. If you can do that, you’ll be very popular in the twitterverse!
So, that being said, there are two important steps in building an engaged Twitter following:
- Getting them to listen in the first place and
- Giving them information that will keep them coming back for more!
Spreading The Word
- Make sure all of your current supporters know that you’re on Twitter. Utilize every channel that you have: email, Facebook, word of mouth, mailings, advertisements, message boards, etc. Leave no stone unturned.
- Add your Twitter handle to your email signature and the front page of your website(s).
- Follow and use relevant hashtags. Definition: A hashtag is a word or phrase preceded by a “#” that is used to link together similar content in Twitter. They are often used at events, in Twitter chats, or just when there’s a big topic being discussed by a lot of different people.
- While you don’t want to follow random users just to get them to follow you back, you should follow other people who are producing quality content that interests you. Some will follow you back, some won’t, but all will add to your twitter experience.
- Follow your follower’s followers.
Creating Content That Your Target Audience Will Appreciate
- Ask your audience what they are interested in. Polls are a great tool and are really easy to setup with services like SurveyMonkey.com.
- Pay close attention to what your followers are already retweeting.
- It’s a two-way street. Make sure that you are retweeting, complimenting, and giving feedback on your followers’ tweets.
- Cross-post all new content that you create. If you write a blog post, make sure to publicize it on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, etc. Likewise, if you send a good tweet, post it to your other profiles and include your Twitter handle.
- Recruit advocates. Find influential people who share your interests. Engage them directly, and occasionally ask them to share your content with their audience and/or guest post for you.
As with any community, it can take a while to build, but building your following in an authentic and genuine way will create be much more productive than getting a large number of followers who are just spammers, bots, or users who have no interest in your topic of choice. Social media is just that, it’s social. Get out there and communicate and your audience will follow.