If you’re running a small or medium sized business on the internet, having a well-run social media presence is no longer an option – it’s an outright requirement. Several well-respected media outlets have noted the importance of having strong social media branding when it comes to developing trust and familiarity with potential customers, but how do you get there in the first place? The last thing you want a potential customer or client to see, as a new business, is that you have barely any followers at all? It tells everyone that you’re small fry, and will naturally breed suspicion in the very people you’re trying to impress.
One of the options that people have turned to in the past is paying for followers, but that’s a terrible idea for a variety of reasons. Firstly, having thousands of followers, but no interaction on your posts, is a dead giveaway that your followers aren’t real. Genuinely enthusiastic, engaged followers will like your comments, and post on them. If you have 100K followers and no comments, likes, or retweets, you’re obviously a fraud. Secondly, they’re liable to be deleted at any time as soon as the social media platform you’re using notices. Not even celebrities are immune to this, and if you’re a large-scale offender, you might even find your account is deleted.
The only way to truly build your brand is through old fashioned hard work, we’re afraid. Attracting followers the organic way takes time and effort, but it’s also rewarding, and should mean your followers are interested in what you do, which is a lot more useful in the long run. With a focus on Twitter, we’ve put together a few handy hints to help you out. No one of them will work on its own, and none of them is a guaranteed route to success – getting Twitter followers is a little like playing online casino games; you just have to stick at it and keep investing in the process until something good comes out of the other end. You may not get a jackpot the first time you spin the reels in a casino or it’s sister site, but if you keep playing, you should eventually get your reward. In the same way, if you keep doing the right things with your Twitter account, the followers will come. Have faith!
- Tag People Who Have More Followers Than You
Tweeting a major brand isn’t likely to get you a response – unless you’re making a complaint – but people with a few thousand followers are likely to be reading every message they get. Find a way to incorporate them in whatever you have to say. Find out who’s interested or active within the industry or interest area you operate within, and then think of a way to include them in a tweet. You could praise them for their work. You could cite them as an influence. You could even just retweet something they’ve already said, and add your own comment to it.
The aim of the game here is to get them to retweet your comment, thus exposing your account to their followers. If you manufacture a physical product, sending one to them and getting them to endorse it is the ultimate accolade, and some of the smaller ‘influencers’ are willing to do this without getting paid – just getting free stuff is reward enough for them. If they do retweet or respond to you, you should retweet their response and send them a message of thanks.
- Be Relevant
Living in the moment is what social media is all about. That’s why there’s a list of what’s ‘trending’ permanently positioned on the left-hand side of the screen. People click on those trending topics, and they scroll up and down to see what people are saying about them. That’s your chance to use one of these topics to promote yourself, and get involved in that conversation.
Don’t just stick the trending hashtag on the end of an unrelated comment about your business; make whatever you have to say relevant to the topic. Does the topic affect your business? Is it appropriate to express an opinion on it? Not every hashtag or topic will be suitable for you to post about, but three or four well-timed and targeted tweets a day should start getting you followers.
- Reply, Reply, Reply
Tweeting without followers is like screaming into a void. Even if you use hashtags, the chances of you being seen and picked up on when you don’t have any followers to like or retweet what you have to say are remote. It’s much easier to get in front of people’s eyes by posting a reply to a busy conversation; ideally, one that was started by someone with a vast number of followers.
Who’s the biggest name in your business or interest area? What are they talking about today? Do you agree or disagree with them? Can you add another perspective? If so, join in on the conversation. People scrolling through and seeing your reply might like or retweet it if they agree with you, or reply if they don’t. Either way, your profile is raised, and you should pick up some new followers.
- Use Images Where Possible
Think about the things that catch your eye when you’re scrolling through your Twitter feed. A very well-written Tweet might occasionally grab your attention, but it’s more likely that you’ll be drawn to visual content – and that means pictures and videos.
Pictures are preferable to videos on Twitter. People don’t often take the time to watch a video, but they will glance at an image. If it’s cute, funny, or informative, they might even retweet it to their own followers. If you’re good with graphic design, you should take to this like a duck to water. If you’re not, find someone who is, and get them to knock you up a few relevant images to post every week.
- Search Keywords
How do you know someone is looking for the product or service you’re offering? Often, they’ll outright ask for it on Twitter! People frequently ask for advice, information, and recommendations on Twitter, and when they do so, they’re inviting contact from you. Even if you can’t see an opportunity to make a sale, reply to people who just need information and advice. Giving them something for nothing reinforces the message that you have strong values, and you’re trustworthy. You’ll likely get a retweet and a reply out of gratitude, too, and so new people get to see your name. If there is a sales opportunity there, though, approach it gently and explain how you can help. People appreciate the personal touch, even in the public arena of social media.
The key to all of this, as we said earlier, is repetition. You should be spending a couple of hours on this each day, and you should have your keyword search open at all times so you can jump on new tweets as they appear. Getting your foot in the door first is half the battle! It might take a while for the ball to start rolling, but once it does, it’ll keep on going. Before you know it, you’ll have an online presence to be proud of.
To read more on topics like this, check out the business category.