I recently read that Twitter still has twice as many users as does LinkedIn. With the plethora of Twitter apps and integration, the ease with which tweets are amplified is also much much greater. As a B2B Twitter user myself, I'm always working my Twitter strategy to continue to build a following and attract the most relevant audience. Here are some strategies that I deploy:
- Identify target audiences to follow. I accomplish this two different ways… first by searching profile data for keywords that are relevant to my audience and second, by following the followers of those in the same industry that I'm in. Both of these processes are relatively easy using tools like TweetAdder. In fact, I haven't found a better tool for it! (Yes, that's an affiliate link).
- Rather than throwing out general questions to my followers, I ask direct questions to people I want to follow or want to build a relationship with. Some accounts aren't my target audience, but they have authority in the industry and so I engage them. If I'm worthy, they'll talk to and even promote me… that lends authority and builds my following.
- I utilize social media monitoring to identify opportunities to help others. When you help others, it often leads to building business relationships which can ultimately lead to monetary engagements. Don't think of it as helping someone for free… by publicly assisting others in your field of expertise, the world is watching you help others. As they see you help, they'll remember… and will call you when they need help.
- I utilize Twitter applications to help manage searches, following, tweeting, and shortening links. Twitter.com, the site, is terrible for this. But applications like TweetDeck, Seesmic and Hootsuite are fantastic. They allow you to manage the conversations much more efficiently.
- I pay to promote my profile on sites like TwitterCounter. Rather than buying followers, which is a terrible approach that results in tons of spammy followers who leave days later, sites like TwitterCounter attract serious users who will connect with me if they find me relevant.
- I often engage in controversial conversation and respectfully debate my opposition. Everyone loves a good debate… especially on a really touchy topic. Rather than worrying about offending people, I look at it as filtering out those folks I probably wouldn't want to do business with anyway! Don't be afraid to jump into a disagreement, just do it with respect (no matter how ugly they get).
- I promote… everyone. Even the competition of my clients and my own competition get attention from me. The fact is that they do put out some amazing advice and information that's applicable to my audience. By sharing that information with my audience, I'm increasing the value of my Tweeting with my followers… never a bad thing.
- I try to never talk about myself. No one cares about you and what you're doing. They care about the value that you bring to them. If I'm going offline for a while, I may tell folks why. If I'm going to an event that could be popular, I may tweet it… but that's so that I can meet up with my followers. I'll be honest that I quickly dismiss folks who announce what they had for breakfast, etc. No one cares… especially folks that are looking to build a valuable business network online. That crap is for Facebook. 🙂
- I use hashtags as much as possible. Effectively using hashtags that others are looking for can build the number of people finding your content and build your following. Don't underestimate the power of the # sign!
- If I don't have anything good to Tweet, I twut the heck up! Sometimes a day or two will go by without a worthy tweet from me. I'm okay with that… the last thing I want to do is fill my followers' streams with useless content!
If you own a business, you understand that waiting for the phone to ring is probably the quickest way to bankruptcy. If you want to be in the conversation, you need to be proactive in driving, answering, leading, and engaging in the conversation that's happening right now.
Businesses are on Twitter. Businesses are researching you and your competitors. Businesses are looking for a solution. If you're not there to help them, don't expect them to seek you out. You need to be in front of them constantly… with the right answers at the right time.