How to Get Hundreds of Twitter Followers (or Improve Your Company’s Twitter Presence)

A view of the redesigned Twitter, as seen from my account.

This post is continued from Part I.

Part I explained how you can start to create a successful Facebook campaign for your business.  To recap, here are the three steps I outlined in that post:

  1. Create a Facebook advertisement drawing users to your page
  2. Update your Facebook page regularly and engage users
  3. Configure your Top Boxes on Facebook to separate your business

If these tips are followed, you can build a grass-roots movement with 4 hours of initial start-up time.  In fact, using these basic principles for a big firm I work with, I currently see a 2.4% daily increase in Facebook fans, or about 6,600 new followers in a 30-day span.

This the second set of recommendations to build a successful social media campaign for your business.  With a focus on Twitter, we’ll look at how you can further develop yourself (or your team) into a business social media rock star.

Why is Twitter So Important?

Twitter is a social media service that allows you to connect to clients in a similar fashion as Facebook.  However, Twitter has a more direct response method; a user can ask a question and you can @ reply to them, visible for everyone to see.  Twitter gives you an easy method to communicate with your current clients, potential clients, and get a taste of what the landscape is in your sector.  A few companies with excellent Twitter presence are below:

comcastcares – Run by Bill Gerth, Bill finds and responds to Comcast-related issues quickly.  Service outages, questions about billing–nothing is out of line, and Bill responds to users dozens of times per day.

wholefoods – Run by the kind folks at Whole Foods with an emphasis on responding to customers and exclusive news.  Wholefoods has great customer interaction on the page as well as pointed responses to questions about the company.

zappos – Although Tony (the CEO of the popular shoe reseller Zappos) doesn’t often directly respond to user questions, he does post exclusive scoop on Zappos and industry happenings.

JetBlue – About 10 minutes before writing this sentence, I browsed to the official Jet Blue Twitter page.  The team is so active that looking at the page now there are four new tweets to view.  Jet Blue does a great job of responding to pleas of help from customers and passing along problems to their co-workers when the Twitter team can’t solve an issue.

40 Minutes: Set Up and Configure TweetDeck

TweetDeck is a tiny application that installs on OSX or Windows and allows you an easier way to track what’s going on in the Twitterverse.  If you’re a larger company with multiple accounts, you can track them inside of TweetDeck.  Or, perhaps you need to schedule a tweet to post in the future at a specific time (like, say, announcing a product for or website redesign)?  Do it in TweetDeck.  Do you have searches you want to see real-time updates for?  Maybe your company name or hashtags (#) that relate to your industry?  Yup, follow that in TweetDeck as well.  Although outside of the scope of this post, TweetDeck can also achieve similar things for Facebook, MySpace, LinkedIn, Google Buzz, and Foursquare.

TweetDeck is a more effective way to keep track of what your customers say about you and interest future clients.

40 Minutes Per Day: Re-Tweet the Coolest Links You Find and Respond to Twitter Followers

Lonely Planet is great at this; they re-tweet the best travel tweets out there (and they do so by looking for the tags “#lp” or “#travel” among others.).  The key to a successful Twitter strategy is similar to engage the users.  However, it’s vital not to overdue the posting: similar to eating too many calories and getting fat, your Twitter page can get “fat” and your updates can fill up a follower’s main page.  Therefore, unless you’re part of a Twitter team responding to people’s issues for a Fortune 500 company, you shouldn’t be posting more than 10 times a day per average day.

However, when tweeting, you don’t want to post things that a user can easily find on your “About Us” page, you want to engage the user and a great way to do that is re-tweet interesting links.  This is beneficial for a couple reasons: first, because you’re being active on Twitter and second, because you’re posting interesting information.

A great tip I use when advising companies is to take “Twitter breaks.”  Similar to the traditional smoke break, once every couple hours take 15-20 minutes to update your status or see if anyone is talking about your company/industry.

Bonus: Offer Incentive to Follow

This is another great tip to attract Twitter followers, one that I don’t see many companies use but that is extremely effective.  After a purchase, tell clients if they follow you on Twitter, and tweet at you their order number within 5 days, you’ll give them a coupon for $1 off their next purchase.  If you happen to be a larger company with pricier items or services, perhaps you can up the percentage: 5, or even 10%.  In a later article I’ll discuss the benefit of doing this for newsletters (get a user’s email address, sign them up for a newsletter with their permission, offer them incentive to stay on the list).

Stack of money
After improving your online presence, you'll attract new customers which mean more of this!

How do you use Twitter?

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