It’s no secret that Twitter has become a powerful advertising tool. Whether it’s for upcoming films, highly-anticipated video games, must-read novels, major brands, startups or organizations, Twitter is an platform for building an online following. While it is admittedly easier to gain a Twitter following if you are already a part of an established brand, here’s how to build your fan base from the bottom up.
1. Act like a human, not as a business
Decide whether you’ll be tweeting as your brand, as yourself, or both. If you’re tweeting as the brand, read “8 Steps for Developing Your Brand’s Social Media Voice.” If you’re tweeting as yourself, be yourself. As quick and impersonal as twitter can seem, it’s a powerful social network and lets not forget, the basis of social media is built on being social. You get out of Twitter what you put in. Engage your audience in conversation, talk about things other than your product, let them know a bit about you, be human. If your audience feels a personal connection to your product then they are more likely to stick with you through the long, arduous process of creating a following. Maybe you can’t talk to all of the people on your account every day, but even personally reaching out to 5 out of every 100 people can go a long way towards building loyalty.
2. Follow those that Follow
No matter the product you are selling there will more than likely be a similar, but sufficiently different, product already on the market. After all, Facebook is to Twitter as Instagram is to Cinemagram; they all appeal to specific audiences yet remain their own separate entities. Use the success of others to your advantage, advertise to their fans, follow their followers, engage. If both parties are selling a unique product then neither side should feel threatened about losing fans. For example both Cinemagram and Instagram follow similar formulas: take a picture, select a filter, and share it with friends. The main difference being Cinemagram’s use of gifs; both are similar yet bring something new to the table and are therefore likely to appeal to similar audiences. Everyone appreciates a new follower and by following them you make them aware of your product.
3. Hashtags #everywhere
Twitter’s use of hashtags is ingenious, and has the power to connect every user through a single pound symbol. Keep up with Twitter’s live feed of “Trending Topics,” keep up with the news and sports, get political, stay one-step ahead of trends and pop culture. Aim to be the first to tweet about a topic. Be warned though! Do not try to needlessly plug your product where it doesn’t belong. If you use hashtags, make sure to remain relevant to the topic at hand. Few things instill more hatred than people that spam hashtags. Simply being in a conversation, on any topic, will help spread your name and product throughout the Twitter-verse.
4. Aim to go viral
If your product is aiming to entertain, inform or educate your audience via branded entertainment or content marketing, then your Twitter account should do the same. Aim to go viral by posting original pictures, memes, memorable jokes, and video clips. Make sure to tweet anything related to your topic that would make a person remember your product in a positive light. Update your account often and stay involved. The chances of one of your posts trending increases if you have several posts for your audience to choose from. Remember to keep your entertainment entertaining. Avoid posting anything slanderous because, contrary to popular belief, not all publicity is good publicity. Always credit the author if you decide to re-post or re-tweet, often making a friend in the process, and don’t modify (with hashtags or altered wording) someone else’s tweet without proper permission. That’s just bad form.
Depending on the time and focus you put in, being authentic, following back, hashtagging and creating great content will help you develop a strong and loyal Twitter following for your brand, startup or organization in no time.