When it comes to creating a dominant presence on Twitter, it can be difficult to know how to grow your Twitter following.
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While advertising is an option to gain more followers, it is often quite expensive. In fact, I have found it often costs around a few dollars per follower versus Facebook where I have seen "Like" campaigns generate likes for a few cents.
First off, having a low twitter follower count is normal in today's Twitter world of 255 million monthly active users. In fact, the average user on Twitter has only 208 followers.
However, you want to make Twitter work for your small business. With only 208 followers, it may be difficult to do that.
So how DO you organically grow your Twitter following to gain a notable presence?
It can be done, but it is going to take time. It comes down to two main factors: quality and quantity. Bottom line, on Twitter you need both.
Follow these tips for growing your Twitter following:
Tweet often. Quantity is a necessity on Twitter. The top 100 brands on Twitter tweet, on average, 12 times a day. I am going to recommend that if you really want to grow your Twitter following, you tweet at least 5 to 10 times a day.
Repeat the same content. There are 500 million tweets sent out a day. Guess what that means? The lifespan of your tweet is not very long. I've seen some reports say an average tweet's lifespan is 2 hours while others have estimated about 18 minutes. Your content is only fresh for so long. This means you can schedule out older content, as long as it is still relevant. However, try to vary the tweet's verbiage so that you're not just repeating the same exact tweet over and over again.
Share quality content. While quantity is a necessity on Twitter, so too is quality if you want people to actually engage with you. Share your own content as well as other relevant industry content that expresses a certain level of depth and expertise.
Share engaging content. Not every tweet has to be accompanied with a link to an engaging article or blog post. Remember that quotes and photos get high levels of retweets and favorites as well. Always keeping your tweets inline with your brand is necessary, but don't be afraid to share something that is funny, inspirational and/or sentimental.
Engage with social influencers. Find folks similar to you on Twitter that seem to have a large following and engaging fan base. Retweet their content, reach out to them, get creative. For example, you could feature them in a blog post that you then share on Twitter while tagging them in it. Chances are they will share that content with their large fan base as well.
Retweet relevant content. If you are going to tweet 5 to 10 times a day, chances are it's going to be difficult to find a lot of content to share. That's fine! Retweet other's tweets when you get stumped. This only takes a few seconds. When possible, try to include your own comments and, again, make sure you are retweeting content that is inline with your brand.
Include links for sharing tweets in your blog posts. Include stats, quotes, etc. in your blog post with easy access to links that tweet those one-liners. Click-to-tweet is a great tool. You can generate the tweet you want your readers to share. Make sure you have your username in the generated tweet copy.
Show off your Twitter handle. Place a link to your Twitter profile anywhere you can think of: your website, your email signature, etc. BonusTIP: Put your Twitter handle on your business card. At a networking event I went to a while back we had a great discussion on how your Twitter profile was the new business card, so why not put your Twitter handle on your card and cut to the chase?!
Follow people back. One of my biggest pet peeves on Twitter is those arrogant twitter users who refuse to follow fans back. If someone is a fan of your content, don't be a snob, follow them back! Often times when you follow a fan back they will urge their followers to follow you as well.
Engage with people. In addition to following fans back, you should also be continuously engaging with your fans and relevant Twitter users. When you engage with people on Twitter and mention their @username, frequently people will favorite and rewteet that tweet if not reply as well. This instantly gets your name in front of their followers.
Utilize email alerts. Make sure you get notifications on suggestions on who to follow and what tweets to engage with. Twitter's algorithm is great at delivering relevant suggestions to your inbox. Take advantage of this.
Use hashtags. Don't go overboard and keep it simple but hashtags are still the greatest tool for categorizing content on Twitter. Stumped on what hashtags to use? Hashtagify.me is a great tool for finding relevant ones.
Don't start a tweet with "@." When you simply start at tweet with "@" only people who follow yourself and that user you are mentioning will see the tweet. Instead start the tweet with ".@" or include the @username somewhere in the middle of the tweet.
Find the ideal time to post. While many say the best time to Tweet is on weekends and between 1pm and 3pm, the ideal tweet time is going to be different for everyone. Test your tweets. When do you get the most engagement? Stick to those times.