I wouldn’t say I was an early adapter to Twitter, as a matter of fact, I started on twitter kicking and screaming. At first I really didn’t get “it”.

So for those that still don’t get what Twitter is all about let me give a brief overview. Twitter is an online news and social networking platform. Think about it as a giant networking event where everyone has to move on to someone or something else after 280 characters (or less).

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What Makes Twitter Interesting?

Use Twitter to grow your network

Twitter is a great social networking tool to grow your influence

What makes Twitter truly interesting is the fact you have to communicate in short messages. You have to be focused and to get noticed your content needs to be interesting or at least funny. People use Twitter all the time to find interesting people, topics, trends, even companies.

In my opinion there are a lot of Tweets that everyone but the sender could do without, but that’s just me. You definitely can scan through those that are not of interest or stop following people that don’t post anything of interest to you. I am amazed when I see people basically Tweeting continuously. They really aren’t that interesting!

Key to Twitter is Who you Follow and Who Follows you

Now, if you want to really aspire to greatness you need to be thinking about millions of followers (yes millions). Katy Perry topped the list for 2017 with 108 million followers with Justin Bieber close behind at 105 million.

Now, unless you really are going for famous, you don’t need to aspire to millions, but targeted thousands is a good goal.

I am on Twitter for business. It’s rare I post something personal. I try to post content that I find interesting and I think my followers will find interesting.  It could be something I have written, someone I know has written or just something I find useful or something trending or that I feel may be a trend developing.

Build Twitter followers by being engaged in many groups and sharing content

Gaining followers is not a quick and easy process. It takes commitment, time, patience and a strategy. Some like to look at easy online platforms that guarantee you followers (sometimes for a fee, sometimes not). The problem with going this route is that you may get a lot of followers quickly but their engagement will be limited. And are they the people you are looking for? Saying you have 50000 followers may sound good, but if they aren’t engaged they do you no good.

Using Twitter as Part of Marketing Mix

If you are going to use Twitter as part of your company marketing mix then you really need to go back to your business audience fundamentals. You want to Tweet content that will be of interest to your basic customer demographic.

And yes, you can use Twitter to promote your business just not all the time. It’s not supposed to be advertisements only. You will lose what followers you may have if you do that. But you can occasionally promote an event, special pricing promotion or a new product introduction.

One of the key elements in building your followers on Twitter (if you are not a celebrity) is providing compelling content. I am sure you’ve heard it over and over. Your content needs to be interesting and shareable. Now, I’m not saying that your content has to appeal to everyone. It’s just your content should appeal to the audience you are trying to attract.

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Hashtags Key in Searches

#Hashtags are important to include in your Twitter posts so you can be found in searches

Within your content it is also good to use hashtags on key words. Hashtags (#) help to categorize Tweets and make topics easier to search. When a hashtagged word is clicked it will show other Tweets that include that hashtag.

So if someone is looking for marketing and you sell marketing services then you want to be there if they search for it!

That’s why you hear about “Trending Topics”. The hashtagged word is being clicked, retweeted and shared. As that word gains momentum it is noted as “trending”. Now, if you are Tweeting mostly for business getting to a trending position will be more difficult. Look at trending topics as a way to be a value to your followers by sharing those upcoming trends.

Another key to gaining Twitter followers is being a good follower yourself. Are you sharing Tweets regularly? Are you being interactive regularly with the people you follow? This will help as you will gain more followers from those you follow. For example, say you have 5000 followers and one person you follow has 25000 followers, well if their followers see you interacting and sharing then you will probably pick up some of their 25000 followers.

Engagement is Necessary for Twitter Success

Think about that networking event again. You are engaging a few people and want to introduce someone to a possible business lead. When you find that person they are talking to others. You get the opportunity to introduce your person and in return are introduced to a whole new group of people. It truly is the basics of networking.

Building your Twitter community of followers requires engagement and interaction

Don’t think about it so much as what you can get out of it, think about what you can help others get out of it (interesting content, people or experiences) and your following will grow. Remember, you have to be an engaged participant to be considered a good “guest”.  The same holds true for Twitter.

But with all the thousands of Tweets a day/hour how do you stand out? Well, you won’t really. The key is timing. When do you Tweet? As I mentioned before, some people tweet inane content constantly. I ignore or unfollow them.

There is no rule of thumb. Some people will only tweet once a day or maybe a couple of times a day. And that’s okay. Others may Tweet hourly. I started out that way – actually I would Tweet three times an hour. Now, keep in mind that these are not all “new” Tweets because the same people are not typically seeing your Tweet each time.

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Consistency of Tweets

You do want to mix up your content, but you can repeat it many times of over the day and week or weeks.  But consistency is the key.

Again, depending on the audience you are trying to reach you may want to tailor the timing of your Tweets accordingly. Some people swear that late night or early morning are best because more people are on, others feel that 8:30am is best because you are catching people before they start their day. One recent source I saw swears the best time is 3pm Monday – Friday.

For you, I recommend you test your audience. When you post at specific times which times are getting more likes or shares? If you are posting at night and getting no shares or likes, maybe it’s not the right time for you to be posting.

And no, I’m not on constantly Tweeting myself. There are a number of platforms that you can use to schedule your tweets. I highly recommend you find the one that works best for you. I typically go on daily but schedule my Tweets a week in advance. When I go on each day I try to supplement my scheduled Tweets by sharing content from those I follow.

Great content, consistency, engagement and being a good follower over time will grow your followers. Develop a plan and stick with it!

Danette Gossett

Danette brings more than 30 years of experience developing advertising campaigns, direct marketing programs and sales promotions to her clients. Prior to starting her companies, she worked for New York advertising agencies including Saatchi & Saatchi & Lowe Marschalk.

Her corporate marketing experience included National Advertising Director for Avis Rent a Car Systems, Inc., and Director of Marketing Services for Royal Caribbean Cruise Line. Read More