This is not one of those blog posts that raves, “get thousands of Twitter followers in one day”. If you are in sales, and are using Twitter to build your brand and/or get sales leads, a bunch of unqualified followers does absolutely nothing for you. Instead, you must focus on quality and relevance, and know that a qualified Twitter following grows over time, not over night.
I have built and managed Twitter accounts for close to 10 different people/brands over the past few years and have learned from trial and error. Here are my top 5 tips for building a qualified Twitter following:
1) Optimize Your Twitter Profile For Search
Use the full 160 characters to describe you and your business, with familiar, search friendly language.
- Prospective followers use search engines, Twitter and directories like Twellow, to search profile language. The more relevant your profile language is, the higher you will appear in search results.
- Refer to the Google Adwords tool to identify the terms that most searchers use to describe your business. For example, you may want to put “sales guru” in your description, but “sales operations consultant” may be the phrase more prospects would use. Google Adwords will help direct you.
- Avoid abbreviations and made up punctuation for your most important words. For example, use the phrase “sales training” not “sales trng”. Use “sales blogger”, instead of “sales/blogger”.
2) Tweet Daily, Tweet Value
People will follow you if you consistently tweet valuable, relevant content. This means tweeting at least once per day and providing content that will appeal to your target audience.
- It is disappointing when I read an excellent Twitter profile and then see that the user’s tweets are all about topics like food, kids or sports games. An occasional personal tweet is good, but if you are tweeting for business, the 80/20 rule prevails: 80% business, 20% or less personal content.
- Another tweet content no-no, is consistently serving up self promoting tweets. These are the tweets that say things like “we help businesses sell more” followed by “sign up for our webinar Friday” followed by “excited about the deal we just closed with Hasbro”. It may be counter-intuitive, but if you provide value, it will lead to business leads/revenue while blatantly promoting your business on Twitter, will actually repel business.
- Try HootSuite or TweetDeck to schedule your tweets days or weeks ahead. Download the free apps on your mobile, to tweet from any location.
3) Follow Your Target Audience
Follow people who you want to follow you back.
- From my experience, 20-30% of the people you follow, will automatically follow you back. Others may follow you over time, as they see you publish consistent, relevant tweet content
- Find your target followers using Google, Twitter Search, Twellow (the Twitter Yellow Pages) or list sites like Twitaholic and Listorious.
4) Compliment Prospective Followers Via Retweets, Twitter Listing and #FF
When you retweet, list or @mention someone on Follow Friday (#FF), the target Twitter users will notice you, feel good (compliment), and be more likely to follow you back.
- If you also follow the steps 1-3 above, you should start seeing your content retweeted, your name added to Twitter lists and your Twitter handle listed on #FF. All of these things lead to other users noticing and following you. It is a vicious circle of activity.
- Bonus Twitter List Tips
- I recommend starting with some basic categories that align with your interests and/or areas of expertise. For example, if you are in sales, you may want to create lists called “sales superstars”, “sales training”, and “sales bloggers”.
- When possible, use list names that make other people feel good. “Marketing Thought Leaders” is a much better list name than “Marketing”.
- Using lists will also help you keep track of who you follow, as the number grows.
5) House Clean Your Twitter Followers
As you attract targeted followers, you will also attract some Twitter spammers that usually fall into these categories: porn, MLM, “build your wealth”, discounts and “get millions of Twitter followers”.
- Although they pump up your follower count, displaying these users in your Twitter follower list, which is public, does not help your business brand.
- Review your list weekly and use the block function to remove Twitter spammers. This cleans your list and sends them a message- go away!
I guarantee that if you leverage all five strategies consistently, you will build a growing, relevant Twitter following, which will help you build awareness about you and your brand, and indirectly generate sales leads and revenue for your business.
What do you think? Agree? Please add your comments…
6/14 addition: Just found a related blog post that you may like: Win Friends And Influence People On Twitter In Just 5 Seconds A Day by @tweetsmarter
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