I recently published an emotional plea to small business to finally join Twitter. I mean, come on. It’s been 10 years already. Get with it. 🙂
Honestly, the plea wasn’t just emotional. There was a lot of hardcore data in there thanks to Twitter’s recent survey of 5,450 users who follow small and mid-sized businesses on the platform.
A few highlights:
- 31.1% of respondents to Twitter’s survey said they saw tweets from small businesses daily.
- 66.4% of respondents have discovered a new small business on Twitter
- 68.7% of respondents have already purchased based on a specific tweet.
It’s that second bullet that I’d like to dive deeper on. After all, small businesses are especially reliant on word-of-mouth discovery and nothing propels WOM today like social media.
Here are four ways to get more Twitter followers (according to Twitter).
1. Set Up Your Profile – for Reals This Time.
Key stat: 39.8% saw recommendations in the “who to follow” section.
First things first, make sure you fully set up your profile. That means profile photo, name, bio, location, and link. Don’t be lazy. No one wants to follow an egg and Twitter’s algorithm is more likely to recommend you to folks if it knows a little about you.
Another easy way to goose your “who to follow” exposure is to upload your email and telephone contacts to Twitter. This tells Twitter’s algorithm that you know these folks IRL. Here are step-by-step instructions.
2. Post Enough (But Not Too Much) Good Content.
- 37.5% saw a retweet of a small business’s tweet
- 35.0% saw a tweet in a #hashtag conversation
We talk a lot about social media content here at The DRIVE, so I won’t get too bogged down on this topic here.
However, here are a few quick tips for Twitter.
- Don’t spray your audience with Twittarrhea. Post often enough that your audience remembers you, but not so often – or in such extreme bursts – that they’re overwhelmed.
- Take it easy on the Jon Snow memes. Understand your brand, then build a connection with your audience based on who you are and not on a trendy and fleeting meme.
- Mix up your media. The occasional link to product pages on your ecommerce site is OK. Compelling text is good. Rich media like photos and graphics are better.
- Use hashtags. Just like on Instagram, hashtags help organize similar content intro conversations on Twitter. Use ‘em.
3. Play Well With Others.
- 36.0% saw a friend @reply to the small business
- 33.6% saw another business mention them
- 31.5% saw that the business followed a friend
There’s more to social media than bludgeoning your audience with a bunch of prescheduled tweets from Hootsuite. If you want to get more Twitter followers, you gotta get in there and engage!
Make sure that partner businesses and your best customers are easy to find in your feed. If your feed is a mess of news articles and irrelevant junk, unfollow these four people and then make a list of your most important followers. Once a day, scan the list and reply to a few interesting posts.
That’ll keep the conversation going.
4. Can’t Buy Me Love? Yeah Right!
Key stat: 35.7% saw a promoted (paid) tweet
Let’s get the requisite eye roll out of the way. A survey conducted by Twitter found that small businesses succeed by buying Twitter ads. Hmmmm…
Now let’s get real.
I firmly believe that social media platforms like Twitter offer low-cost highly-targeted ad units that simply cannot be beat by print ads in the local paper or even pay-per-click search ads on Google.
Are Twitter ads right for you? It’s hard to say.
If I ran a small online store, I wouldn’t buy my first online ad from Twitter. Instead, I’d focus on the first three tips for getting more Twitter followers and consider paying for followers later.
George Costanza said it best in reference to paid parking and prostitution, “Why should I pay, when if I apply myself, maybe I could get it for free?”