The Immutable Law of REALationships: How to Build an Engaged Following on Twitter
As Facebook becomes more pay for play, I've really stepped up my game on Twitter. Previously, Twitter was the least important part of my social strategy. Turns out I was missing an opportunity. Not only is Twitter perfect for getting my articles out there and shared, but it's also a great "REALationship" building tool.
I've been actively engaged on Twitter for the last six months, and I've gained nearly 1,700 followers. This is pretty much a step-by-step guide to how I did it:
- Find great content that fits your target market and share it. Personally, I DO NOT use content curating tools like Buffer and Klout, (although I do love checking my Klout score). I only tweet articles that I actually read (or wrote).
- Consider building personas for your clients, then share information and articles that match those personas. In other words, know your target customer and either write or curate content with them in mind.
- Thank people for retweeting and/or mentioning you. I send "thanks for your RT" messages immediately after someone retweets a piece of my content. Lately I've been sending out an additional tweet with multiple "retweeters" mentioned. I've seen a few people sharing my "best RTs for today came from ... " messages and I've adopted that format. The benefit to this approach is it starts a chain of additional retweet action where you get mentioned. This always gains me a spurt of new followers.
- When someone follows you, send him or her a direct message with a thank you. Don't send a canned message; try something personal. I know this is time consuming, but you would be surprised the conversations and REALationships you can build this way. If you're so inclined, also include a link to engage that person in another channel. For instance, I include my Linkedin profile in my thank-you message to deepen the connection.
- Play along. Join Twitter "games" like Follow Friday. Pick people you follow and send out a tweet with the hashtag #FF (or #FollowFriday) and watch your followers grow. Hint: Pick high-value people with large quantities of highly engaged followers and you'll see even bigger rewards.
- Follow high-value hashtags in your industry. Tweet items that fit the hashtag's target market. The other day someone who came to hear one of my lectures found me from one of those hashtags. We reconnected and are looking into ways to work together.
- Is there a big event in your industry? Find out what hashtag it's using and retweet info from that event. You don't even have to be there. For instance, last week I couldn't make it to the Social Media Marketing World event in San Diego. The event's hashtag was #SMMW15. Not only did I share info from that hashtag with my followers, I also added my own value in response to those tweets. If a point was being made, I added to that point from my own experiences. From involving myself with that event — even from afar — I gained about 70 new followers.
Those are a few things I've done to grow my Twitter following in the last few months. What have you done? Comment below, or tweet me here (follow me too, OK).
Jim Gilbert has been creating direct marketing programs that drive superior ROI for almost 30 years. Fluent in consumer or B-to-B, creative, operations, and analytics, he marries the strategic and tactical sides of direct and social media marketing in a seamless fashion that gets results. He's CEO of a multidiscipline direct marketing agency, Gilbert Direct Marketing, Inc., which focuses on direct mail, catalogs, DRTV, telemarketing, print, alternative direct marketing media and social media marketing. Jim has been involved in start-ups, expansions and turnarounds, and is an expert in helping multichannel marketers get to the "next level." He's a former adjunct professor, teaching direct marketing at Miami International University, and is President of the Board of Directors of the Florida Direct Marketing Association. Jim loves to talk direct marketing, and has done many lectures on direct and social media marketing.