About a year ago I wrote a column for USA TODAY in which I advised small business owners to “not tweet.” My thinking was that spending a lot of time on Twitter was not the best use of your marketing efforts.
Blasphemy, I know.
Since then I learned that Twitter can in fact be a very useful tool for growing one’s business and building one’s brand. As such, I have been working steadily on my own tweets and growing my own number of followers. In a little less than a year I got almost 2,000. Not bad, but not great.
There had to be a better way, right? After all, the number of followers you have says something about you; it gives you street cred.
So I did some research and discovered some new strategies. Results? Whereas before I averaged about five new Twitter followers a day, in the past 24 hours alone I have increased my number of followers by more than 100.
The etiquette of Twitter is that when someone follows you, you should follow them back, and vice versa; not always of course, but generally speaking that’s the rule. It follows then that the more people you follow, the more people will follow you.
But where do you find the right people to follow? Try these two great tricks:
1. Use hashtags (#): Hashtags are a Twitter convention that allows you to follow conversations about topics of interest. For instance, I always find good info by searching #SmallBiz. And for adding followers purposes, I also find great people to follow there – people tweeting information that is useful to me. So I started going go to that conversation stream, and other similar ones, and finding great people to follow.
They follow me back.
2. Follow the leaders: You know who the important people in your industry or area of interest are. And if they are on Twitter, they likely have a lot of followers. Those followers are great people for you to follow because A) They are connected individuals and B) they have already have shown a propensity to follow people in your industry.
So what you do is this: Find those key people in your area who have a lot of followers, go to their Twitter homepage, and then click on their “followers” link. That will take you to a list of their followers. Follow the ones that appeal to you.
(One caveat: Do not just blindly follow all followers. Be discerning. Mass following will put you in violation of Twitter’s terms of service.)