Having a strong Twitter presence is essential for your online business strategy. It allows you to quickly respond to real time events, make announcements that people pay attention to, distribute content, build trust and put out fires. Also, the larger your Twitter following, the better your chances are of creating content that can “go viral.”
Growing a Twitter following from scratch can be intimidating. How do you go from zero followers to hundreds to thousands to tens and hundreds of thousands? These are ten of the top ways to grow your Twitter following. Use these to kickstart your Twitter account or help it reach the next level.
#1 – Search Your Databases
People often under estimate the amount of contacts they already have. Searching your databases and adding followers is a fantastic way to get new followers.
Start with your shopping cart buyer list. Since you’ll always have their first name, last name and email address, you’ll often be able to find people’s Twitter usernames. Also, check out their website and look for a Twitter contact if they provided a website during their checkout process.
Follow anyone who has already bought from you. Since they already know and trust you, there’s a very good chance they’ll follow you back.
Next, go to your autoresponder contacts. Again, search by names and emails.
Finally, search through your existing email contacts. Import your Gmail, Yahoo! Mail and other contact databases and look for people who know you. Follow them. Most likely, they’ll follow you.
#2 – Search Your Brand Name and Add Followers
Look for people who’re already talking about you. Since they’re discussing you, there’s a good chance they’ll be interested in following you.
Search for your brand name, your product name and any other relevant keywords using Twitter’s search function. Then follow them. You can also @reply them to increase the chances that they’ll follow you.
#3 – Follow Leaders and Join Conversations
Use tools like WeFollow.com, Klout.com and PeerIndex.com to find influential people in your industry. Follow these people and look for interesting conversations.
When people talk about something interesting, join in the conversation. Post insightful @replies and comment on popular relevant hashtags.
This allows you to leverage other people’s brands and other people’s influence to help you build your follower base.
#4 – Blog Commenting
Find high quality blogs in your industry. Leave high quality comments that offer value to other readers. Provide tips in your comments that other people would appreciate.
At the bottom of your post, sign off with your Twitter handle. People who appreciated your post will come and find you. Some blogs even have a plugin that allows you to include your Twitter name or you may be able to log into Twitter to post.
Note: Don’t spam. Provide real value and only mention your Twitter name.
#5 – Add Social Media Buttons
If you have a strong web presence, use it to promote your Twitter following. Add social media buttons at the bottom of each post and in the sidebar of your website.
Make it easy for people to retweet your content. You should have not only a “Follow” button on your site, but an easy button people can click to instantly retweet posts they liked.
#6 – Host a Twitter Contest
Contests have a tendency to go viral, especially if retweeting is a part of that contest.
Create a prize that people would want to fight for. Then create a contest that revolves around people retweeting your contest. You can also add other elements to the contest, like video submissions or getting their friends to vote.
Announce your contest on Twitter, on Facebook, to your email list and to your blog or website.
#7 – Retweet Often
Retweet other people’s content as often as possible. Of course, you want to make sure that you’re only retweeting high quality, relevant information. If you see a piece of content on the web that you think your user base would like, retweet it. Don’t be stingy with retweets.
Whenever you retweet someone else’s message, you generate goodwill. If you do it regularly, people will take notice. You can then start to build a relationship with them.
Then, if you post something that you think would benefit their audience, you’ll have enough clout to ask them for a retweet. More often than not, they’ll say yes.
#8 – Add Twitter to All Your Promotional Materials
Add your Twitter name to all your promotional materials. Put it on your business cards, your posters, your letterheads, your pens, your website and anywhere else.
#9 – Use Sponsored Tweets
Sponsored Tweets (http://www.sponsoredtweets.com) is a tweet marketplace where you can buy tweets from people who have major followings. Prices for putting out a tweet can cost anywhere between a few dollars to several thousand dollars.
Sponsored Tweets lets you sort feeds by price, by follower numbers and by category. If you only want to target authors for example, you can filter your list so that you only see authors who want to get paid to put out a tweet.
Paying for a sponsored tweet on other feeds in your industry is a fantastic way to gain more exposure. Make sure you check out their user base and level of engagement before paying for a tweet.
#10 – Use Promoted Tweets
Promoted tweets are paid tweets that show up prominently on people’s Twitter feeds. At the time of this writing, Twitter doesn’t have a self-serve advertising platform. Instead, you fill out a form to get in contact with Twitter’s internal advertising team.
If you have a significant marketing budget, this is a fantastic way to skyrocket your influence. You’ll get your message in front of people who may not have otherwise heard about your brand.
These are ten powerful ways you can build your Twitter influence and gain more followers. If you have money to spend, you can use paid tactics like sponsored tweets or promoted tweets to boost your influence rapidly. Otherwise, you can use organic tactics to steadily yet quickly grow and expand your follower base.