For new businesses, the idea of starting from scratch building any community on social media can be intimidating.
In fact, sometimes it seems like the first one hundred or so followers will never come!
While some would argue that the numbers don’t matter as long as the followers are targeted, I think all would agree that a large TARGETED following is ideal.
Why exactly is a large following important?
You can talk about “vanity metrics” until you’re blue in the face, but there’s no denying that the higher your follower count, the more people assume you’re an expert, or at the very least that you produce interesting content.
More followers mean a larger influence.
The more people you have in your Twitter community, the larger your reach and your influence will be. Period.
More followers lead to more sales.
Again, you need targeted followers for this to work, but assuming this is the case, a large targeted community is going to result in more sales than a small one.
Whether you are promoting a product, service or even a cause, more followers provide the chance to generate more leads and get more conversions.
So how can a new small business get more followers on Twitter?
Create a following strategy.
You need to be following new people most days of the week so you can be continuously growing your community. You also need to be following the right people or all of your efforts will be a waste.
You essentially have two choices: you can grow your following manually or you can use a service to handle the process of getting more Twitter followers.
If you choose to follow manually, you can use the advanced keyword search to target Twitter users who are using certain keywords or hashtags. Create an entire list of keywords that you can use daily to search for new people. You can also follow the people who follow your competitors or who follow key influencers in your niche.
And make sure that you have a plan for unfollowing as well.
Believe it or not, unfollowing accounts is just as important as following accounts if you’re trying to grow a large community. While you definitely don’t want to churn through followers (the process of rapidly following and unfollowing which can get you in trouble with Twitter), if you don’t unfollow the accounts that don’t follow you back over time, you’ll hit a massive wall at 2,000 followers.
Twitter requires you to maintain a balanced ratio of followers to following, which means you need to unfollow people in order to free up valuable spots to follow more people.
Have a great bio.
Typically when someone is going to determine if they want to follow you or not the first place they look is at your bio. It baffles me when people still don’t take the time to fill in their Twitter bio and let their community know who they are and what type of content they should expect from the account.
Be very specific about who you are and what you do. And don’t be afraid to show that, even though you’re a business, you have a human side too! What do you value? What makes you laugh?
Remember, people do business with PEOPLE they like, know and trust. Use your bio as one means of humanizing your brand.
Also, don’t forget to optimize your bio for keywords.
What keywords will your audience be using if they’re searching for someone with your products or services?
Those are the types of keywords you want to include in your Twitter bio.
Engage your audience.
If you’re just getting started, you may notice that you don’t have a lot of engagement. That’s completely okay! We all have to start somewhere.
Engage influencers by referencing them in your blog posts and then tweeting the links to them.
As long as their communities aren’t so active that they miss the posts altogether, chances are they will show you some love in return by retweeting them to their own audience, getting you extra exposure and followers.
Do keyword searches to find out what conversations are happening online in your niche and jump into those conversations, providing additional value. To find keywords or the Hashtags being use, consider using the free tool Hashtagify.
And don’t forget your manners. When people do engage with or share your content, especially the ones who took the time to read your content to begin with, thank them! But don’t just stop there…use it as an opening to start a conversation and begin building relationships with them.
Provide valuable content.
Researchers at Rutgers University found that only 20% of us are using social media to share useful, informative content. The other 80% are posting content that is primarily about themselves and their brand.
Let’s be honest. Unless you’re a celebrity, people aren’t following you on Twitter to hear about you ALL THE TIME. Granted, you definitely want to include SOME promotional content (20% is a number to shoot for) and it’s never bad to let people behind the scenes so they can get to see the human side of your business.
BUT you should be focused on providing value above all else. Come up with different buckets of the type of content your audience would be interested in: motivational quotes, industry-related tips, productivity tips, humor, questions about them and their interests, opinion polls, etc.
Get more visual.
Visual doesn’t have to mean all graphics.
It could be videos as well, or even GIFS if they’re appropriate for your business. The bottom line, however, is that tweets with images receive 18% more clickthroughs, 89% more favorites, and 150% more retweets.
The more engagement you receive for your content, the more people are going to see it and the more rapidly you will increase your following.
Post frequently…but don’t flood the newsfeed!
Statistics show that the average lifespan of a tweet is 30 seconds, which means that if you aren’t posting very often, chances that are most of your audience will miss your tweets.
I recommend posting a variety of content hourly during the time that your audience is online. You can use a tool like Hootsuite or Socialoomph for this.
You don’t have to post all of your own content, either!
Using lists to curate content from influencers in your niche is a simple way to produce content for your own Twitter account and ensures that you’re still providing great content for your audience.
Just make sure that if you’re doing this that you’re using a tool in order to evenly distribute the curated content like either of the 2 mentioned above.
You definitely don’t want to flood the newsfeed by rapidly retweeting influencers.
So following the above tips is exactly how to get more followers on Twitter who’ll want to engage with your new business.
While there are a lot of different strategies you can use to grow a following, I think it comes down to three key ingredients: a following/unfollowing strategy, great content, and regular engagement.
At the end of the day those are the three pieces that matter the most and if you make those part of your normal routine, a large, targeted, and engaged community will follow.
Mike Kawula is the CEO at Social Quant (Social Media Startup tool used for Twitter) ★ Entrepreneur ★ Author ★ Inc. 500 Alum ★ Marketing Nut
Want to learn how to grow your twitter followers? Social Quant will grow your followers rapidly and the quality of followers will increase dramatically. More quality followers equals more retweets, engagement and ultimately more business.