So you're company, brand, or even yourself has joined Twitter, but it's frustrating because all you want is hundreds of followers and you've noticed that you've only gained a few in the last month. What do you do? How can you get your number of followers to grow without paying for sponsored posts, or putting money behind advertising your page?
Here's my 5 tips that will help grow your Twitter following organically. Remember, if you are committed to your platfom, and have patience, eventually your community will grow. The key tip of advice is don't give up or lose hope. It's taken my personal Twitter page years to get where it is today.
1. Follow people but don't follow everyone
One of the biggest mistakes people make is that they feel like they should follow everyone and anyone who follows them, or just go through a list of people and follow everyone even if they aren't relevant to you what so ever. Yes this is a way to get more followers but they are 9 times out of 10 going to be irrelevant. Not to mention you can categorize this under lazy marketing.
So who should you be following? Follow back those that are relevence to your brand, company or yourself professionally. If you're a small local restaurant based out of northern Ontario, maybe following someone back from China isn't the most practical thing to do. Seek out those in your community, who's tweeting about your city, town, business, or relevant products etc. Follow other people in your community, for example: if I'm a small restaurant in northern Ontario, perhaps I'll follow other small businesses in town as well.
2. Join in on conversations
Many people are on social media listening/reading conversations that are happening around them but they don't ever think to jump in on the conversation. Seek out conversations that are happening that may be of relevence to your company and join in on them. Personally I find Twitter chats that are happening weekly on Twitter based around marketing, PR or social media and join in on them whenever I get a chance. It's been a great way to network, and it's really grown my following. Remember though, try not to sound to much like a sales pitch when joining in on conversations. You don't want to be that annoying person who jumps in during a conversation about computers with "Hey did you know we sell computers in Toronto? Come buy from us!!". Keep your conversations personable.
3. Tweet regularly, and relevent information
Don't just tweet for the sake of tweeting, only tweet when you have something valuable to say or share with your audience. There's nothing worse then a Twitter account that is clearly just spamming you, in fact no matter how much I love a brand, if they tweet the same thing over and over again, I'm going to unfollow them. With each 140 character tweet think about "Why would someone want to read this?", "What value is this adding?", "What is the objective of this tweet?". This leads to my next point, the common myth is "the more you Tweet the better." This is not true in any way, shape or form. Yes it's important to regularly tweet. You don't want to be a company that posts once a week, but tweeting every minute, hour, second, is not necessary. Unless for whichever reason you have a valuable information to deliver that frequently (which is unlikely).
4. Spread the word about your Twitter page
Not everyone is just going to find you online or go out of their way to seek out your page. So let's go back to the old fashion way of spreading the word about your Twitter page. Let your Facebook fans, LinkedIn followers etc. know that you're on Twitter. Include in your email signature that you're on Twitter as well, and link your customers to your page. Promote your page in-store and encourage your customers to tweet you or share their experience with you (see my next point).
5. Encourage engagement
It may take a while for your customers to catch on to regularly sharing and engaging with you, so try and think outside the box to encourage them to interact with you online, even when they're in-store. For example: This weekend I went to a hot dog restaurant. Normally I would have no reason to go visit their Twitter page, but while I was in-store they had a post that said; "share a photo of you eating your hot dog today to @LetsBeFrankTO and you could win your next meal on us." Who wouldn't want free hot dogs? Next thing I knew I was tweeting them and following them on Twitter. Another example of this is using an exclusive hashtag for your brand or event that you're hosting and making sure all your staff are on board and encouraging people to engage with you. Soon enough your followers will naturally engage with you without even the need of incentives.
My last piece of advice for you that I can't stress enough (that's why I'm mentioning it again in one post), be patient and do not give up hope! Just because you may only have 20 followers, doesn't mean that won't eventually grow. Organic growth takes time and commitment.