Three years ago, I had 73 followers on Twitter and used it to basically curate social media and fashion news. Today, I have nearly 170K followers because of the time and effort I’ve put into joining relevant conversations and sharing valuable tidbits of information about the things I love.
While more and more new social media networks try to force Twitter to the back burner, I still find it to be one of the most influential places to build a strong community around a brand and/or cause. It's effortless to reach people no matter what their job title or what country they live in. You can have conversations that include people around the world within a matter of minutes and it's a beautiful thing to see.
Here are seven tips I’ve discovered along the way that can grow your Twitter community, whether you are a person or a brand:
Know What Audience You're Looking For
How can you build an audience when you don't even know who you're looking for out there? The first thing you need to do is narrow down exactly who you are looking for to follow you. If you go after everyone, you are more likely to keep no one. While people will follow you initially, they will quickly unfollow you if what you are sharing is irrelevant to them. By going after a specific audience, you allow yourself to build a stronger, focused community. At the end of the day, it's better to have a smaller audience that's listening, than a huge audience that doesn't care about what you have to say. Organically Target
Twitter is by far the best social media network to organically target on. You are able to search exactly for what you want through user accounts and tweets, and then reach out to those people directly. I started a successful Twitter chat last year that we were investing quite a bit of money into, and then cut funding for it to see what we could do organically. Guess what? Through organic-only targeting we had a more relevant crowd attend the chat and broke our records for the quality of participants and the types of questions being asked. No automating targeting can compare to organically searching out exactly what you are looking for on Twitter.
Follow Similar Audiences
This is a great strategy for building your following and community on Twitter. Look for people that are similar to you and follow a few of the people following them. This will help you attract an audience that is looking for someone like you, and lead to more engaging conversations between similar minds.
Keep Your Account Clean
Twitter hygiene is imperative with the number of SPAM accounts out there these days. There are numerous tools out there to help you unfollow SPAM accounts and see what SPAM accounts are following you. I recently discovered a great SPAM filtering feature I love through ManageFlitter.
Some people think hashtags are irrelevant now that Twitter has ramped up its search tool. This is not true. While hashtags can be less important when searching for generic terms, they are an excellent tool when you want to find very specific communities to join the conversation in on Twitter. Many communities use unique hashtags to identify their conversations. A great way to find out what unique-hashtag conversations are happening around a generic hashtag is to search a generic hashtag on Hashtagify.me and see what pops up for relevant hashtags.
According to Buffer, it’s best to use two hashtags per tweet → no more, no less. I have found this to be true in my own tweets going out.
Join Third-Party Conversations
I cannot stress this enough. Do not wait for people to come to you on Twitter → GO TO THEM. Find conversations that are relevant to you, or your industry, and provide some valuable insight. Not only will this help you gain followers, it will also help to establish you as a thought leader in your industry.
Share Valuable Information
This is such a crucial piece of social media, especially on Twitter. You have 140 characters to share something incredibly valuable to the world. It's a test of intelligence and of whether you truly do have anything valuable to say. It's common sense, but when you have something valuable to share, the people who find it valuable will then share it to their audience and suddenly you are growing and growing. For tips on writing valuable content, check out this post --> How To Produce VALUABLE Content In Social Media.
Twitter is my favorite social media network because it is truly a network where everyone starts at zero and has to build their brand from the ground up. You can’t request friends and you can’t force people to follow you. You absolutely have to work for what you get, and I love that.
Have other tips that have worked for you on Twitter? Leave them in the comments below!
- Marji J. Sherman