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Your Twitter following — more than friends

You see it everywhere: “Follow us on Twitter!” For good reason, too. Businesses correctly recognise Twitter as a major marketing tool – a way to reach users who are increasingly active in social media. Companies and websites alike are constantly seeking new followers as a means to get out a specific message. However, the composition of your following, in many ways, is more important than the total number of followers you have. Below, read about some basic strategies used to attract the right kind of followers.

Lead by following

Since the dawn of Twitter – some six years ago – this method has been one of the simplest and most effective ways to boost your follower base without a major campaign. Simply put, you have to let people know you exist, and the most direct route is to let them see that you’re following them. By selecting who you follow, you can more effectively tailor an engaged following with interests that suit your purpose.

Seemingly useful applications exist that allow auto-following — SocialOomph, for example — but they oftentimes lead you down the slippery slope of spam. It’s recommended that you hand-pick who you follow. Make it personal by engaging with a greeting, and you’re more likely to get a follow-back.

Following followers and whom followers are following

Relevant followers won’t just appear before you. You have to dig. You have to be the instigator.

Choose who you follow carefully. To establish a base group of potential Twitter followers, try using Twitter’s search options and narrow down users with specific interests, like custom food packaging or leather work gloves, if that’s your business. This will give you a solid block of relevant Twitter users on which you can build.

Chances are good that at least some of the people you’re following have chosen to follow you back. Use these people and companies to grow. See the users they’re following, keeping an eye out for blogs or businesses similar to yours. From there, you can look at the people who follow those blogs.

Many times, you’ll get lucky and other users will post regular #Friday Follow (#FF) suggestions. Typically, #FF mentions are active users who can help you in your quest for more followers. Get on board, and return the favor by dropping a few #FF’s of your own.

The deeper you go, the more time consuming it can feel. Developing a relevant following takes some effort. But it’s worth it. Your reputation will grow as a relevant Twitter account. People using the same strategy you’ve employed will stumble onto you, and your following will only get stronger.

Give users a reason to follow you

You want to be useful to your followers. You can inform them, or you can entertain them. In some cases, you can even offer an incentive. Businesses often mention discounts and deals exclusively on their Twitter feeds, and this encourages users to stay tuned in. If you have the means, you can offer physical prizes for retweets and new followers.

Two-way Twitter

With Twitter, businesses and websites have been given access to a unique interaction tool. Take advantage of it. Obviously, you want to update your account regularly, but successful users go beyond that. Use your Twitter account to communicate directly with the people who make your business or website successful.

Retweets are a simple way of letting your followers know that you’re paying attention. If they post something germane to your own followers, help to disseminate that information and become a part of the conversation. The person you’ve retweeted will notice and might reciprocate by retweeting one of your future posts.

Respond to your followers. If they mention you in a tweet, or if they retweet your post, send a note of thanks. By keeping a regular dialogue, you can reinforce the bond with your followers. Active Twitter users gain stronger followings.

Beefing up your Twitter following requires dedication and maintenance. Keep these tips in mind and be creative. With some effort, you can significantly boost the profile of your business or website.

Author | Chris Peterson

Chris Peterson
Chris Peterson is a copywriter for Straight North, a Chicago Internet marketing firm. He specializes in B2B and B2C marketing, with experience in informational blog posts, press releases, and website content that emphasizes Search Engine Optimization. He is a graduate of Northwestern University, where he earned a Master’s degree... More

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