Although you probably know Twitter could have a great impact on your business, how can you grow your following and enhance your engagement without spending most of the day glued to your laptop or mobile phone?
Well, if you have a Twitter account lying dormant with a handful of followers, now is the time to turn it around. These tips will motivate you into taking control of that account and transforming it into a powerful tool for your company.
You can do it all without having to stay on Twitter for hours every day.
Phase one: grow a following
You may have seen tweets floating about promising to get you 5,000 followers for $20 or so.
While it's tempting to boost your follower numbers without any legwork, this is certainly not the way to go. A fake following is worse than a small following because it has no impact on your engagement and may put off genuine followers.
There is no quick win when it comes to growing a legitimate following. You need to follow new people each day, monitor the people who follow you back and stop following those who choose not to follow back.
You can use a tool like Friend or Follow to identify people who are not following back.
Finding the 'right' followers
People often focus on quantity of followers over quality. Although achieiving both is the ideal result of your social efforts, gaining a relevant following is key for the second phase of your strategy.
There are many ways to find potential followers with a genuine interest in your brand.
The first step is to identify your key demographic and research the key influencers within it. For instance, if you are a retailer of electric guitars then you might look at icons of rock music. Let's take lead singer of Guns N' Roses, Axl Rose as an example.
Axl has a following of over half a million people. A high proportion of his following will be fans of his music - and potentially, fans of electric guitars. Tapping into a key influencer's following can significantly increase your number in a very legitimate way
Phase two: enhance your engagement
A legitimate and relevant following is essential for your engagement efforts, no matter how many followers you have.
It means you have a group of people in place who are warm to your brand and interested in your industry. Now you can tailor your content for these people.
Let's go back to the electric guitars example. You might consider running a competition to win one. This will increase your retweets, interaction and brand awareness, simply because you are offering a desirable prize to the right demographic.
You might also tweet facts about the music industry, create blog posts offering tips for people learning to play guitar, tweet images of unusual electric guitars and make videos of your team playing difficult or popular riffs.
Stick to a routine through hell or high water. Don't allow yourself to say "I'll tweet twice tomorrow instead" as this often results in the account falling by the wayside.
Make a schedule and stick to it. For instance, Monday is a retweet, Tuesday is an open question to your followers, Wednesday is an image, Thursday a blog post and Friday a video. Mix it up so it's different for your followers and easier for you to find or create content for.
Endless overtly salesy messages have no place on Twitter. If you go down this route, your engagement rates are likely to plummet. Occasional tweets about your products or services are fine (especially special offers), but it's best to stick to content that plays to your audience's hobbies and interests without forcing them down the sales funnel.
Just 15 minutes a day
Twitter can seem daunting and time consuming at first, so to begin with set aside 15 minutes a day to see what a difference this time can make. Add the Twitter app to your smart phone so you can check it easily.
Just once a week, set aside an hour to create a piece of content for your website that you can link to on Twitter. It might be a blog post on a current topic in your industry.
You will soon see that having a set routine and a clear understanding of your following can lead to a fantastic social campaign.
John Norton is owner of No Worry Web, a company that creates and manages small business web sites and social media presence, for an all-inclusive monthly fee. Follow them on Twitter: @NoWorryWeb.