Small businesses use Twitter for several reasons but the most important is generally to reach out to customers – both existing and prospective.
It may seem a bit daunting if you are just starting out on Twitter. You may be asking, what is the point of getting people to ‘follow’ me and why would they want to? How can I start getting followers?
It’s important that you have followers on Twitter so they can see what you have to share and so that they can interact with you, and you with them. The aim should be to make these followers your customers.
To help you get started here are five simple tried and tested methods that you can implement right now to get yourself some followers.
1. Share your Twitter handle in your social media profiles
It might seem really obvious but first and foremost, share and link to your Twitter handle (your username) on your website and in all of your social media profiles.
On Facebook, if your fans have already liked your page it’s likely that they will be interested enough to follow your business on Twitter as well, if they have their own account.
It’s important to cross-link between all of your social media profiles but be weary of sharing the exact same content across each platform. They are each different so your content should be different, or at the very least tweaked slightly for that platform’s style and audience.
2. Use the advanced search function
Did you know that Twitter has a very effective search function? You can search for people (or handles that you know), and also keywords and terms within Twitter which are relevant to your business. Another bonus of the search function is that you can even set specific search parameters, such as location.
For example, if you are a restaurant in Sydney you could search for Twitter users who used the word “food” or “restaurant” in one or more of their tweets and who are located within 15 kilometres of Sydney. You could then message or direct a tweet to them (using their Twitter handle), referencing their tweet or mentioning your restaurant.
This method can apply to all types of businesses and industries. Just think of specific words that your prospective customers might tweet.
Note – if you do use this method don’t spam! Be creative and genuine in your approach.
3. Follow prospective customers
Some users on Twitter may feel that you are spamming them if you mention them in your own tweets or message them directly out of the blue. This is why it’s usually better to follow them first.
Depending on the settings within their Twitter account they may get notified that they have a new follower. They’ll see that you followed them and if they’re interested in what you have to offer, they’ll follow you back. Be sure to have recently tweeted if you do use this method as there is nothing worse than an inactive Twitter feed from someone who has just followed you. Reply to their tweets or retweet their tweets – start getting engaged with your prospective customers!
4. Run a Twitter contest
Your followers can potentially increase from a dozen to a few hundred just by running a Twitter contest. An example of a contest could require your followers to tweet a set message and the winner decided by a random draw.
You can set the message to be tweeted to include your website, a promotion and your Twitter handle. Make sure you let people know that they need to follow your Twitter profile in order to qualify for the competition!
Ideally, your existing followers will tweet about the competition to their followers who will then follow you, before they tweet the competition message to their own followers. The aim is to make the competition prize so appealing (and the competition so easy) that it goes viral!
5. Spread the word in your marketing materials
A lot of businesses still rely on traditional marketing materials like brochures and posters. Make sure you include your Twitter username, and other social media profile names, in these materials so that social media users can follow your business. You can even include a QR code in the materials so that prospective customers can easily go to your Twitter profile.
Hopefully these simple but often overlooked tips will help you in gaining prospective customers on Twitter. Importantly, once you get followers you then need to keep them interested and engaged.
Share relevant content with them through tweets, but don’t bombard them all day every day. Create a community and communicate with your followers; ask questions, answer their questions, tweet content that your customers want and can relate to, retweet other people’s tweet, comment on tweets – the list goes on!
The all important aim is to turn these prospective customers into customers, not just followers, and Twitter can help you do this if you approach it proactively and strategically.