How to build your Twitter audience

How to build your Twitter audience

If you read our last social blog, you know that Twitter isn’t dead and remains a unique and valuable platform for organisations to achieve their marketing and communications goals. But even the greatest content creators and curators won’t get far on Twitter if no one is following their account.

No one wants to tweet into the void – active engagement with other users is one of Twitter’s greatest strengths as a social platform – and struggling to build an audience is a common early hurdle that can lead people to give up on Twitter prematurely. So in order to avoid that fate for your organisation and to get the most out of Twitter, here are a few tips to build your followers and increase your audience.

Search for relevant people

Twitter has a powerful advanced search function that allows you to set specific parameters down to things like sentiment. It can be a bit tricky to locate so here’s a link. It’s a great tool to search for key figures in your industry via relevant keywords, as well as identify competitors.

It’s a good idea to follow anyone who is high profile in your sector in order to see the type of content they are sharing and who is following them. You can get ideas from this information to inform your own content strategy, which then allows you to begin to engage their followers by joining conversations and increasing your exposure.

Tweet! A lot!

Basic rule of thumb with Twitter – the more active you are, the more likely people will start to follow you. When someone discovers your profile, one of the first things they’ll do is read your timeline and see when you tweeted last. So it’s important to look active, which means being active and tweeting regularly.

Of course, that doesn’t mean you should be tweeting anything or everything just to give the appearance of activity. Irrelevant and uninteresting tweets are much worse for your following in the long run. This just means that you need to plan ahead and work on a content strategy on the types of things you want to share with your audience. This should be a combination of original content and carefully selected retweets that you think will add value for your followers.

Being funny is good. Being helpful is gold.

Everyone wants to be the entertaining Twitter account with the jokes that get thousands of retweets but that requires serious talent and investment that probably is at odds with everything else you need to accomplish your communications schedule. Not to mention, there are thousands of comedians and full time Twitter users competing to be funny so it’s hard to stand out there.

Instead, work on helping your audience out by answering questions and posting content that is useful to their needs. If you’re keeping a close eye on what is driving conversations and trends relevant to your desired follower base, you can make sure that your content reflects what your audience is looking for on Twitter and actively position your account as a useful presence in their feeds. The best accounts make themselves indispensable to their followers.

Don’t be a bot – inject some personality into the account

Twitter is full of boring accounts that are dry and plain – there’s no signs of life behind the tweets. This is especially true for organisations where it’s not clear if one person or a team is managing the account. If your audience can’t tell if you’re human/s or a bot set to generate content mindlessly, you have a major problem.

Injecting personality into your account is a great way to break up your timeline and show the real humans behind your brand. Featuring your staff in the workplace is an easy way to separate a lifeless logo into an active company. Even something as simple as having each person on your team use their initials at the end of responses to follower questions is a good step towards reinforcing that there’s a real human being behind the digital wheel. Those are really basic first steps but you’re really only limited by how creative you’re willing to be.

Optimising your Tweets 101

Good fundamentals never go to waste on Twitter. So be sure that you’re scheduling your tweets for when your audience is most active online to maximise your reach and engagement. The half-life of a tweet is considerably shorter than other social networks so be sure to check Twitter Analytics to review your posting performance and to identify when the best times to tweet are.

Don’t forget to add pictures to your tweets! Yes, you’re going to sacrifice some of the precious 140 characters you have to work with but visual content remains king on social media. More people will stop and engage with your tweet and your content is much more sharable when there’s a visual attached.

Speaking of character limits, just because you have 140 to work with, doesn’t mean you should use them all. Tweets that are comprised of under 100 characters have a significantly higher rate of engagement than their maxed out counterparts so don’t be afraid to keep it short and snappy. After all, that’s what Twitter is all about!

These are relatively basic tips but they’re invaluable when your starting out on Twitter and trying to build some initial momentum with a follower base. Once you’ve got some time and experience using Twitter under your belt, you’ll gain confidence and start identifying opportunities and ideas to appeal to and expand your audience. But even the best accounts all had to start somewhere and invest the time into creating accounts that users actively want to follow. With that in mind, there’s no time like the present to dive in and get started!

For further digital & social media advice, please contact Campaign Capital.

CGM Communications influences and inspires action through connection and the sharing of stories. We support strategic communication with the community, government and media.