The Comprehensive Guide to Building an Audience on Twitter
Twitter is one of the longest standing social media platforms on the internet. You can use it to meet influencers and develop your professional network. The conversation never ends on Twitter, so it’s easy to keep engaging when you have a few spare minutes in your schedule.
Think of Twitter as an open communication channel between your personal brand and the world at large. It’s a way to communicate down to your target audience and up to your favorite influencers. The best part is that you don’t need to invest a lot of time to make this platform work for you.
Here’s how you can build a consistent audience on Twitter.
Twitter Basics: How to Start
The first step is to open your Twitter account. All you need is a profile picture, a banner image (similar to Facebook), and a desired username. It’s up to you if you want to use your real name or a pseudonym.
Follow at least 300 accounts right after you open your account. The best way to get comfortable with any new social media platform is to actually use it, and that starts with following other people. Pay attention to the way that they tweet and how conversations play out in this ecosystem.
Share your Twitter page on all of your other social media platforms. Link it from Facebook, LinkedIn, and Instagram. This is a quick way to pick up your first 50-100 followers and will improve your initial experience.
Posting Your First Tweets
Don’t think too hard about your first few tweets. There is no need to make them perfect or generate any kind of large reaction. In fact, the majority of your early tweets will get little to no attention since Twitter is such a noisy environment.
Instead, have some fun with your first posts. Experiment with the different features of tweeting, such as embedding photos and even live-streaming. Get your curiosity out of the way while nobody is watching and spend at least a week just playing around. Try using mobile and desktop to see which interface works best for you.
After the first week of experimentation, it’s time to get to work. You will need to execute on a specific strategy to build your Twitter audience.
Setting Goals on Twitter
What are your goals with Twitter? It’s important to slow down and think about this before you put any more work into the platform. There’s nothing worse than working hard without a clear destination in mind.
Some people use Twitter to connect with a small number of highly valuable influencers. For this strategy, you don’t need to worry about going viral or other growth hacking tactics. On the flip side, some brands want to build a large Twitter audience so that they can reach a lot of fans at once with their posts. This is a different kind of goal with different tactics to consider.
Along with your goals, consider your availability. Are you a scrappy start-up with a digital marketer who will spend 4 hours a night tweeting and searching hashtags for new opportunities? Or are you an experienced executive with only a few minutes to spare on a new platform? Your personal circumstance will play into your Twitter strategy.
Building Your Followers
The most basic goal for most people on Twitter is to build your audience. You can do this internally or externally.
The internal method is to engage with a lot of different users on Twitter and to slowly accrue followers as people see you in conversations. This is a slow-and-steady approach which can lead to tremendous engagement on your posts. Start by responding to any interesting tweets in your feed, checking for opportunities a few times per day.
You can go beyond your feed by using hashtags to find interesting content. Look at the trending topics of the minute and find conversations that you want to be a part of. Keep in mind that Twitter is like a cocktail party where you can join and leave conversations at any time. Talk to new people and you’ll make friends in the process.
The external method is to market your Twitter page through your other social media outlets. If you have an active email list, you could include information about your Twitter account there and ask subscribers to follow you. Post weekly reminders on your Facebook and Instagram pages too. These kinds of tactics are useful in small doses, but don’t overdo it or you will annoy your fans.
Growing Your Network
The other side of Twitter is to connect with influencers. Influencers are busy and they get too many requests for their attention. How can you cut through the noise?
Twitter is so fast and easy that it makes it a lot simpler to talk to busy people. They might not want to engage with an email, but a tweet? Why not? It only takes ten seconds to read and respond to a question via Twitter. The fact that the platform limits the length of your interaction is a big bonus for influencers.
Don’t be too pushy, but you do want to tweet at influencers all the time. Respond to any of their tweets that you have something to say about. Tag them when you enjoy their work, saying something like “I really enjoyed @john’s new post on his blog: (link).” Influencers do see this content and it can get your name and image embedded into their minds.
View influencer marketing as a long-term goal. Engage with people whenever you can and don’t try to cash in on these relationships too quickly. Eventually, you’ll make real friends with the kinds of people you used to think were impossible to reach.
Using Twitter For Digital Influence Development
Use this article’s tactics consistently for a year or two and you may find yourself becoming a legitimate digital influencer. Your own audience will engage with your tweets and other people will fight for your attention. This is the way to turn Twitter into a valuable resource for your personal brand.
Twitter is not for everybody. The best candidates for microblogging are those who like to engage in a constant 24/7 conversation with an endless group of strangers and acquaintances. If that sounds appealing to you, get to work. The sooner you start tweeting, the sooner you’ll build a valuable network on this platform.
Twitter Tips for Increased ROI
If you are a brand builder utilizing Twitter to connect with your target audience, tracking your ROI (return on investment) is critical. Networking on Twitter can be a powerful audience builder, but you must be judicious in your approach to audience engagement. Far too many brands spew content onto Twitter without a defined game plan in place for strategic growth. If you want to ensure you are using Twitter to grow your digital brand strategically, following are six Twitter tips that should be an integral part of your social media marketing strategy.
1) Use the power of influencer Twitter list analysis to grow your brand on Twitter. Social media influencers tend to have multiple lists on Twitter that they have created to help organize their engagement activity. Find social media marketing influencers in your business’ market sector (use Buzzstream idb.buzzstream.com/search) and then check the lists they have created to streamline their tweeting activity. Once you start engaging with the Twitter users on an influencer’s Twitter lists, you’ll be surprised at how quickly an influencer’s fans become your fans too.
2) Time your tweets to your target audience. Attempting to build your B2B (business to business) company on Twitter? Your brand should be tweeting during typical business hours Monday – Friday. Want more consumers to discover your brand on Twitter? Post content in the evenings and on weekends for maximum reach. When you track engagement on your tweets, you will soon learn when your target audience is online.
3) Hashtag analysis is essential for increased Twitter ROI. Monitor the hashtags your target customers use on a regular basis and include those hashtags in your tweets. Developing tweets around your target hashtags will increase your Twitter ROI and improve your audience engagement rates.
4) Visual marketing on Twitter is absolutely crucial. Create image graphics for your tweets to exponentially increase their potential. Tools like Canva make it easy to create Tweet images. Be sure to include your Twitter handle or your website URL on every Twitter image your brand creates.
5) Twitter usage spikes during commute times. Include tweets relating to commuting, e.g. funny commuting jokes or quotes, and you’ll see increased likes and shares of your content. If you create an image featuring your funny commuting quote/tip/joke and include your business’ URL at the bottom of your image, your chances of having your tweet shared by others increases. Can you say free advertising?
6) One of the fastest ways to spread your brand’s posts on Twitter is to @ mention a thought leader in your niche in your tweet or tag them in the image you attach to your tweet. Industry thought leaders love it when others help build their reputation, so they are likely to share your post(s) with their audience. If you want to get your business in front of a specific target market, find out who the thought leaders are in that industry and make @ mentioning them part of your social media marketing strategy.
Mastering Twitter takes time and consistent effort. You won’t magically garner a following overnight and your follower counts will fluctuate over time. If you make a habit of engaging with your target audience and sharing content relevant to their needs, you will find your Twitter ROI increases. Social media marketing isn’t a panacea for sales, but it can definitely help your business grow if you are consistent in your outreach efforts.