Five ways to increase your twitter following (and why you should care)

Social media marketing is one of the 21st century’s most potentially lucrative small business opportunities. Getting the word out through social networks such as Facebook, Twitter and Google+ is a great way to reach thousands of prospective customers, often with little financial outlay, so it’s well worth exploring if you’re looking to grow your business this year.

Social media marketing, however, will only prove successful for those with an existing following with whom to connect.

Do you know how many followers your company has on Twitter? Do you even particularly care? The more Twitter followers you have the more free exposure you’ll be able to enjoy, so take a look at our five failsafe techniques to increase your following and improve the effectiveness of your social media marketing campaigns this year…

Follow some people

Twitter, it has to be said, is not a one-way street. No-one is likely to follow you unless you start following them in return, so it’s worth putting in the graft and following the kind of people who are likely to appreciate your products and services. If you’re not sure where to start, take a look at some of your rival companies or related industry bodies and start following their followers. If your profile description is demonstrably clear and industry relevant, they’ll be more likely to start following you back.

Tweet more (but not too much more)

No-one will want to follow a Twitter user who doesn’t actually tweet. If you’re scarcely ever active on Twitter then then your presence won’t be appreciated, so it’s worth sending out frequent and engaging tweets into the world simply to remind your followers that you’re still there. Be warned, however: no-one likes a Twitter user who clogs up their feed with an incessant stream of drivel. There’s a balance to be struck so you should tweet often but not so frequently that your presence becomes intrusive.

Get engaged

One of the best ways to generate new Twitter followers is to get engaged with other users via the social network. Ask your followers to retweet important messages (competitions are a particularly effective means of doing so) and connect with relative topics using #hashtags. Talk to your followers, too – if people are talking about your company then respond using @TheirName and engage them in conversation. Twitter users and potential customers will often open up to those companies who don’t come across as too aloof online.

Stop navel-gazing

Many small businesses make the mistake of too often talking about themselves through the medium of social media. It’s very unlikely that anyone else is as interested in your business as you are, but they may well be interested in what else you have to say. Link to interesting articles, news stories or websites that are relevant to your industry and may be of use to your followers – Twitter users are far more likely to respond to such exercises than to a constant stream of ‘we did this’ and ‘we’re selling that.’

Make your links more obvious

Very few people are likely to follow you on Twitter spontaneously if they can’t find your username with ease. You need to make it as obvious as possible for them, including a ‘follow us on Twitter’ link on your company’s website, blog and newsletter. You can’t rely on the notion that potential customers will actively come looking for you, so make sure that they’re never more than a click away from your Twitter user account.

Social media marketing campaigns can be hugely successful, but they’re difficult to get off of the ground unless you’ve got adequate time and resources to devote to them.

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Ian is the founder of Opportunity Marketing marketing, with over 18 years of experience in successfully setting up marketing departments, creating marketing strategies and implementing these strategies across a wide number of SME companies in both the B2B and B2C sectors through a variety of channels.