Why Your Small Business Needs to Grow Twitter Followers

If you’ve been thinking that Twitter is only for news, politics and celebrity gossip, then think again.  Some of the first Twitter users were marketers and small business owners and even though Twitter lags behind Facebook with “only” 330 million monthly active users (and 1.3 billion accounts), you may NOT have known that:

  • 65.8% of US companies with 100+ employees use Twitter for marketing
  • 77% of Twitter users feel more positive about a brand when their Tweet has been replied to
  • 58% of top brands have over 100,000 followers on Twitter
  • 92% of companies Tweet more than once a day, 42% Tweet 1-5 times a day, and 19% Tweet 6-10 times a day
  • The average Twitter user follows five businesses
  • 80% of Twitter users have mentioned a brand in a Tweet
  • 54% of users surveyed by Twitter reported that they had taken action after seeing a brand mentioned in Tweets (including visiting their website, searching for the brand, or retweeting content)
  • The last two years have seen a 2.5x increase in customer service conversations on Twitter
  • 60% of consumers expect brands to respond to their query within the hour, but the average is 1 hour 24 minutes.
  • 76% of consumers are likely to recommend the brand following friendly service
  • Companies using Twitter for customer service see a 19% lift in customer satisfaction

(source: 44 Incredible and Interesting Twitter Statistics, via @BrandWatch)

At a time when Facebook has been having its challenges and LinkedIn has been deluged with spammy sales messages, Twitter is a social media platform that has been largely ignored by small businesses as a place to meet and connect with new customers.

Think of Twitter as a 24/7 Virtual Happy Hour

I know that this article is about finding prospects, leads and customers on Twitter — but don’t let that be the sole focus of your Twitter strategy.  Here’s my favorite social media analogy;

  • LinkedIn is like an industry conference.  You dress professionally and you share professional information.
  • Facebook is like a backyard picnic.  You might see people from work and you might also have your family, friends and neighbors there.  More casual and a mix of business and personal.  But all of the people at the picnic are invited and connected.
  • Twitter is like your neighborhood bar.  You don’t have to be invited or connected to share a conversation.  The conversations are diverse; spanning personal, business, current events, news and entertainment.

As you set about growing your Twitter following and engagement with folks on Twitter, imagine yourself walking into a restaurant or a bar.  You hear a group of folks talking about the latest sporting event.  You see or hear the conversation and you walk up to that group of people.

The act of listening to the conversation and walking up to those people on Twitter – would be translated as a FOLLOW.  You heard what they were saying and you wanted to be in on the conversation, and so you followed them.

They invite you to the conversation (follow you back) and what do you say?  In real life, you’d probably say something about the sport they are talking about.  And you should do the same thing on Twitter.  When someone engages with you, follows you or mentions you regarding a conversation about sports, you would NOT talk to them about container gardening and send them a link to your ebook.

How to Grow Your Twitter Following

Now that you’ve got the basics of Twitter down, it’s time to get yourself dressed up to go socializing on Twitter.

Following are 5 ways to grow your Twitter following.  One thing you’re going to notice is that each of these strategies involves YOU following someone else.  Which begs the question “WAIT – how do I get people to follow ME?”

The overall strategy to grow your Twitter following is to do what’s called follow/unfollow.  You get the ball rolling by following appropriate people and after a few days, they will follow you back.  If they don’t follow you back, you can choose to keep following them or unfollow them.  If you repeat this process over time, your Twitter following will grow.

1.Set up a keyword rich profile.

It’s easy to feel overwhelmed by Twitter.  With millions of people to choose from, where do you begin?

The first step to grow your Twitter following is to set up your Twitter profile.  Use your company name as the Twitter handle and then list your name there as well. Write a keyword-rich bio that clearly describes who you are and what your business does.

Here is another example – Bre Mountaintop Boutique

It’s key to use your own image and describe yourself as the founder, owner or CEO of your business.  This makes your business brand accessible and approachable.

Larger companies typically use their logos and have an account just for their business.  This is understandable if you have a team managing the account.  But I’m going to assume that you’re not quite that large.

I mean look at Buffer — they are a large global company who is doing everything in their power to make their Twitter brand personable —

Notice the background picture with their employees making hearts with their hands — and take a look at the Tweet in this picture.  Look closely.  You can see that “Jess” has signed her name to the tweet – even though she’s using the @Buffer Twitter handle.

The whole purpose of Twitter is to connect and have conversations with people who may be otherwise inaccessible and a personable, real person Twitter profile is the first step.

2. Use Advanced Search to Find Followers

Finding targeted people to follow isn’t as overwhelming or hard as you might think.  Twitter has an Advanced Search function that rivals any paid app and it’s a great place to start.

In the address bar, type search.twitter.com.  You’ll get this simple search page and right underneath the search field, you’ll see advanced search.

Let’s say that I sell signage for gift shops.  I simply search for the words “gift, shop, store” and at the bottom where it says “Places” I select Ohio, USA.  Then I simply click on search —

And I’ll get a list of Tweets — the click on the PEOPLE tab and voila! Here are a bunch of gift shop accounts I could follow.

Remember, you can tweak search parameters and filters.  This will help you to identify people who are talking about or interested in your niche. Then you can start a conversation with them, by writing a tweet to them, by clicking on the Tweet To button on their profile, or by scrolling down their timeline to find content to respond to.

3. Create Targeted Twitter Lists of Prospects

Another thing I can do as I follow people is place them in a Twitter List called “Awesome Gift Shop Owners”.

 

Twitter lists are the best way to segment your Twitter followers so that you can engage with smaller groups without being overwhelmed.

4. Find and Follow Hashtags

Like Twitter lists, hashtags are another way to segment and group Twitter conversations.  If you’ve watched a TV show and seen the hashtag at the bottom of the screen — that is a segmented LIVE conversation about a specific topic.  To follow our “Gift Shop” example – you can search Twitter for the hashtag #Giftshop — and find

Notice that #giftshop is used with a series of other hashtags — you can now bounce around and see who to follow or what conversations you want to jump in to.

Become a Hashtag Power User

5. Grab Other People’s Twitter Followers

The next way to grow your Twitter followers is to look and see who other people in your market or industry are following.  To do that, you can simply go to a Twitter profile, click on Followers and look through those Twitter followers and follow anyone you feel should be a member of your online Twitter following.

Most business owners or experts usually have created public Twitter lists and are members of Twitter lists.  This is a fantastic way to grab more followers.

You can see who all the people are on specific Twitter lists by simply click on the list name and then in the left hand margin, select “members” and you’ll see a list of folks who are on that list.

WAIT — I How Long Does This Take?

All of this sounds incredibly time consuming and it can be.  But so is driving to a networking event, going out to lunch with people and cold calling.  Only this Twitter strategy is something that you can do while watching TV or when you have a quick 15 minutes in between appointments.

I believe it’s critically important to run through these 5 steps yourself for about 30 days.  It will give you the experience with Twitter that you need and give you the key words and phrases that your target market is using while they are having their conversations on Twitter.

After you’ve spent about 30 days and accumulated at least 500 followers — you can now hand this process over to an automated platform to help you out.

socedo grow twitter followers

Socedo Review: How to Grow Your Twitter Following and Your Customers

If you’re ready to jump on Twitter and want to put all your energy into engaging followers and building relationships and then turning those Twitter relationships into paying customers, then you should take a close look at Socedo.

What is Socedo

Socedo is Twitter engagement platform the seeks and finds your ideal Twitter followers, follows them and can even engage with them for you.

How is Socedo Different

What sets Socedo apart from other platforms is their platform analytics that shows you exactly which keywords are most effective in engaging your ideal customer.

There are several platforms at a variety of price points that can help you manage this process.  Here is a quick review of the ones that I’ve used.

SocialQuant: For $25 per month per Twitter Handle, you give SocialQuant a series of keywords and Twitter handles and they will follow and unfollow people to build your profile.  The growth in followers is outstanding for the money.  One thing I wasn’t nuts about is that the platform is a little clunky and analytics are very thin.  It’s hard to know how to tweak your keywords. But it’s a great way to go for the price.

ManageFlitter: You can do some basic following and unfollowing for free and for $12 per month you get some additional perks.  They will also do the work for you when you purchase “credits”.  ManageFlitter is more focused on making engagement easy, so it’s a good choice if you want some good stuff to Tweet that’s a conversation starter.

Both of these platforms will help you grow followers and start talking to them, but none of them really give you the deeper analytics that you need to better focus on exactly the right people to follow and have conversations with.  The other thing these platforms don’t offer is a way to use Twitter as a sort of Top of the Funnel lead generator.  Once you get the conversation started — how do you keep it going?

This is where Socedo comes in handy.

Socedo Puts Prospects Into Your Funnel

Socedo was designed primarily for B2B marketers.  Socedo easily integrates with sales and marketing CRM platforms such as Hubspot, SalesForce and Marketo. Socedo will collect your leads email contact information and funnel it straight into your CRM platform so that you can move your conversation from Twitter to email.

The DM Dilemma – Great Feature, Often Abused

Twitter has a feature called Direct Message (DM for short).  Direct messaging only works between people who are following each other.  Originally, this feature was used when people who were “friends” on Twitter wanted to exchange private information such as email or a phone number so that it wasn’t shared publicly.

This was a fantastic feature — until automated Twitter tools started offering something called “auto DM” where a platform that was following people would send an automated direct message as soon as a person followed you back.  At first, this wasn’t a problem, but as more and more people started using automated direct messages — you guessed it — your direct message inbox started to look like a spam folder.  Here’s a look at mine

In short, most engaged Twitter users HATE automated DMs and and no matter how well they are written, the Direct Message is simply too intimate a space say ANYTHING to a stranger right after they have followed you — especially something generic.

Now, Socedo uses automated direct messages as a method to drive traffic.  I suppose people wouldn’t use it if it didn’t work.  But most people simply don’t like it.

Here is what I’d recommend instead:

Create a Listening List:  You don’t have to FOLLOW people right away, you can simply put them on a Twitter List.  In fact, they may follow you after seeing that you’ve put them on a list.

Engage via replies @Handle: People who don’t follow each other can have a conversation.  All you have to do is write a tweet mentioning their Twitter handle.  “Hey @DIYMarketers, do you really hate auto DMs?” That person will see this Tweet and will often respond to a reply way more often than a Direct Message.  Remember direct messages are spam.

Use DMs for real transactions: Only send DMs to people you have already engaged with.  Use DMs to exchange phone numbers and emails to transfer conversations from Twitter to your sales and marketing funnel and CRM.  You can absolutely send links via Direct Message, but the link has to be relevant, based on a conversation that you’ve had with the person and you’re not going to be able to automate that.

Is Socedo Right For You?

Socedo’s biggest strength in this space has to be its analytics and reporting feature.  It’s the only platform that will not only allow you to adjust your search criteria for prospects, it will show you data that will help you focus in on the most relevant keywords for key people.