Twitter is one of the social media networks that is most frequently used by businesses. Twitter is also one of the most misunderstood social media networks - especially by businesses. Businesses often find it a challenge to work out how to derive obvious tangible value from Twitter marketing.
It could be that even Twitter doesn’t know - it’s business-facing revenue stream (Twitter Ads) struggles, it’s leadership is in a constant state of flux, and no one is sure exactly how many active users there are on Twitter.
Despite all of this, many businesses are still finding value through the social network, particularly those who engage in targeted, customer-centric use cases:
- Social Influencer Marketing:
Engaging with influential Twitter users to co-promote products, news and events.
- Social Selling / Social Sales:
Engaging with potential customers directly through Twitter.
- Social Customer Service:
Providing support through Twitter.
In fact, according to some sources, more than 70% of US small businesses have a Twitter account.
The problem is, many of these companies with a Twitter account are stuck in Twitter limbo land.
The vast majority of businesses have no more than a few dozen followers on the company Twitter account. Some organisations may have managed to cross over the first hundred follower threshold, but still growth is non-existent. Even years of posting Tweets yields little in the way of follower growth.
First, let’s dive briefly into why this is the case. Then we’ll look at a proven strategy for overcoming the first 100 followers.
The Curse of the 100-Follower Wall
You know how Millennials are constantly accused of being brought up to believe they’re each special, as uniquely interesting as a snowflake? And how the world is a rude awakening for the wise, and Millennials need to learn fast?
The same has been happening for business.
You’ve heard it before: “just post more content and make it engaging” is what everyone says when asked how to grow followers. I guarantee you, if that’s all they’re doing, they don’t have very many followers.
Followers matter: 79% of Twitter users are more likely to recommend businesses they follow. 85% of Twitter users “feel more connected” to a small or medium business after following them.
One of the main causes of the 100-Follower Wall is that most businesses aren’t really interesting. It’s not that they need to become more interesting, it’s that they need to realize there are so many different businesses vying for customer/consumer attention.
Stop talking about your product, and start talking about your customer. In fancy business terms, this is “product-centricity” (bad) vs. “customer-centricity” (good).
- Product-Centric Example of a Twitter Bio:
“Home of the Acme Brand of Haircare Products. Visit our website to see our new line!”
- Customer-Centric Example of a Twitter Bio:
“Home of those who Truly Care About Hair. Find articles you’ll love on our website.”
This is important for growing an audience (or community, if you prefer) on Twitter because it frees your business up to be truly appealing to your customer’s life.
Paula’s Choice Skincare, for example, launched an entire content hub called Beautypedia, reviewing their own products and competitor products. They have over 10,000 followers.
But customer-centricity alone does not get you followers.
If You Build It...
...they won’t come.
Unless you invite them.
Creating a Twitter account and Tweeting content into vacuous cyberspace is an activity that only brings business value if the Twitter account has a good number of targeted followers. This problem is present on every social network, but Twitter is designed in a way that highlights the need for followers, much more than other social networks.
Your Tweets are only seen by your followers, unless someone is searching a hashtag. But this is not a commonly reliable way of getting visibility (speaking from experience). Followers will retweet Tweets sometimes, which does add a viral component to growth, but this requires a certain number of followers to have any real momentum.
How to Climb the 100-Follower Wall in
a Handful of Days
Getting over the first 100 followers can be painfully slow, unless you take advantage of these __ steps:
- Search for targeted Twitter accounts.
This is best accomplished with ManageFlitter’s Account Search, because you want small Twitter accounts (no more than 250 followers) who will most likely notice your follow despite your account’s small following. Use industry keywords and topics to begin.
Example: “haircare” or “stylist”
- Add all results to a list.
This is also best accomplished using ManageFlitter’s search, so that you can select all results (with “Batch Select” toggled on) and add them all to a list quickly.
- Follow ~30-50 a day.
Again, really truly, this is best accomplished with ManageFlitter, so that you can add a lot of results (hundreds, thousands) to the “Process Later” queue, and click to follow just the right amount to stick with Twitter’s Terms of Service.
- Repeat every day.
You can make as many lists as you like, but be careful how many people you follow every day.
- Unfollow those who haven’t followed you back in a few days.
This is only possible with ManageFlitter’s renowned Unfollow tool, which allows you to filter to exclude those you’ve followed in the past X days, making it possible to only remove old follows and not the new ones you’re going through.
It could take a week, or it could take just a couple days, but your followers will grow. Almost every single industry can use this tactic for follower growth.
This method for growing followers on social media is used by plenty of influential Twitter accounts and businesses. In fact, whenever you see Twitter accounts that are following as many people as follow them, it is pretty safe to assume this is part of their follower growth strategy.
Now to Influence: Monetize Twitter Beyond Follower Growth
Social selling and influencer marketing are largely untapped business opportunities. Twitter provides a great opportunity for brands to connect directly with customers and industry influencers in a matter of seconds.
Social selling and influencer marketing on Twitter are very similar, but with different objectives. Social selling involves building relationships with potential customers, while influencer marketing focuses on building relationships with sizable Twitter accounts in your industry.
Quick-Start Guide to Social Selling and Influencer Marketing
Social selling and influencer marketing on Twitter can be broken down into four steps:
- Find target accounts:
You can find target accounts through searching topical tweets or by searching the bio information of Twitter accounts. My preferred method is to use account/bio searches for titles/keywords, such as "CMO" or "VP Marketing" or “analytics” or others. Look for active accounts (ones that have Tweeted in the last 30 days).
- Add to curated lists:
The benefit of adding target users to Twitter lists is that you can save them to engage multiple times later. You can have public lists titled flattering things like “Influential Marketers” or private lists titled “Marketing Targets” for example. ManageFlitter’s “Update List” feature makes adding dozens of target users to lists incredibly quick.
- Engage their content:
Once your targets are on a list, you can scroll through the Tweets from that list and engage with their content. Using Twitter's hotkeys on a list, this is very quick. Start up conversations by asking questions about content or thoughts shared by your audience.
- Engage directly:
At some point, it may make sense to engage them directly. The recommended method is to select a piece of content (blog, whitepaper, etc.) that you can share as something you think they’d find valuable. Begin these Tweets with something like “Hi John, because of your bio we thought you’d like…” You can be adding great value to someone by sending them content they'd like or inviting them to coffee or a call.
For a more detailed walkthrough of social selling through Twitter, check out From Twitter to Close: A Repeatable Social Sales Funnel.
A Note About Twitter Etiquette
These tactics are legitimate, meaningful ways of interacting with your audience on Twitter. They’re focused on building relationships.
Once you become focused on peddling products at massive speeds and scale, then your activity becomes spam. Note that business relationships happen through a lot of different channels - email, phone calls, texting, in-person, LinkedIn, Xing and Facebook (in many parts of the world). Twitter is also on that list, and I can personally attest to many fantastic relationships I developed on Twitter, both business and personal.
At the end of the day, the most important thing is to remember you’re building relationships. Using ManageFlitter with Twitter enables you to build business relationships quickly enough to more than justify the time spent.
Now climb that 100-follower wall and seize the Twitter-for-business opportunity!