Twitter marketing: A Follow Strategy That Works

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This is a continuation of my other article in Twitter marketing strategies…

Instead of autofollowing a ton of people and rinsing them out to get mutual followers who are either not interested or very poorly interested in you, go for ultra-relevant Twitter users.

There are two types of twitter users you can target: people who have the power to help your business grow and the average user who is a potential customer. Whichever type you choose depends on your goals and what you want to get from Twitter.

Generally I’m more in favor in targeting twitter users who can best promote my business interests so you can get customers/buyers/readers through their efforts instead of your own. Potential end-users/customers are equally important although you’ll have a tougher time trying to determine their level of interest in your website/product.

Yes, you can use keywords to track tweets and find prospects on Twitter directories but interacting with each and every prospect (there are thousands out there) takes a lot of time and energy. I would prefer networking with influencers who can promote my site/brand in and outside of Twitter because they have a built-in audience and a platform.

Mass following can get you followers. But it doesn’t drastically improve your reputation, no matter how attractive a high follower count looks. A mass follower tweeting out a link is very different from an authority in the field endorsing a link by putting it in a tweet. The influencer is followed by a targeted list of other taste-makers.

The core of influence will spiral outwards based on the initial endorsement. This is more powerful than a link sent out to an auto-follow audience. Sure, you can easily get traffic but your tweets are not as effective as a voice that is respected by your target market.

So who should you network with? Not just end-users with your keyword in their bio. But bloggers, webmasters, publishers, journalists and business owners. People who work in your field and own web sites that can send you links and traffic. You can focus on networking with the superstars in your field but don’t ever forget about less famous people. This article by Brett Borders offers a good explanation of why you shouldn’t ignore the average Twitter user.

So in essence, you should use Twitter as a relationship building tool to extract benefits from a core group of influencers who are relevant to your business/website. Network actively with the right Twitter users, talk to them, spread their links, give them feedback, support their content. Be a participant in their Twitter experience.

If you do this long enough, you will eventually make them comfortable with helping you or promoting your stuff either on Twitter or away from it.

If someone talks to me very often on Twitter, shares my content or points me to good resources, I’m more than willing to retweet their stuff. Especially if its great content. I wouldn’t think twice about it. The desire to reciprocate is a very powerful instinct.

And if you want to talk about ‘going viral’, just a few retweets from several users with responsive audiences and your link will get all the momentum it needs. You don’t need to build up an account with tens of thousands of users only to send your message out to people who aren’t even half-interested in your content.

You will gradually grow your business or website by getting more readers, clients or buyers through the help of that core group. And after you’ve achieved some success, people will naturally start to follow you on Twitter. And these are the best kinds of Twitter followers to have, people who opt-in because they are interested in you or your work.

Then you can concentrate on these new batch of followers and by interacting with them, turn them into people who will actively support your content or initiatives. Many of them might be site owners or bloggers as well so this is a great way to network and learn if you’re looking for some help to improve your core business offerings.

In terms of making money indirectly or directly through Twitter, I’ve realized that the no. of Twitter followers you have is not always proportional to the income you’ll make.

It’s not necessary to inflate your Twitter follow count through an automated game of mass following. But I understand why people do it. It’s the same old strategy used on Myspace, Facebook and pretty much any social site where people can ‘friend’ each other and capture attention. The mentality is go for maximum volume and hook the few that will listen.

You can go down that route if you want but I think you can easily achieve the same results and more by cultivating a high quality list of followers and networking smartly with the right people. Marketing on Twitter does not just involve getting as many followers as you can.

Think beyond that. If you want followers, you should get them to come to you. You don’t have to chase after them. It’s devastatingly easy once you learn how to leverage other users with established audiences and create bait that entices people to opt-in because of interest.

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