Twitter – Build your brand and watch your follower count grow (Part Two)

Twitter 3In part one of our Twitter promotion guide we focused on the plus points waiting for any business that learns how to use Twitter to its advantage. All companies are a brand in their own right and any individual who promotes themselves and engages publicly through social media is also harnessing their own brand. In this part of the feature the focus shifts towards personal use of Twitter and how you can maximise interaction, follower count and social presence.

Boosting your follower count organically

You might be looking to use Twitter in a personal capacity as a springboard for your career or you may just simply want to get the most from it in terms of enjoyment, social networking and interaction. Whatever the reasons it is possible to attract a higher number of followers if the way you use Twitter is enticing and inviting. There are many professional writers and independent bloggers who have built up a large following so if you post articles or even videos then make sure you link back to your Twitter and vice versa. The thinking here is that if people like the content you have posted they can pursue further insight about you via your Twitter page. Your bio is a way to draw people in so keep it factual and up-to-date while including your key interests within the 160 characters you have.

Make yourself visible

There are over 9,000 tweets a second so by the law of averages there will be plenty of fairly worthless posts produced. However, those who tweet interesting and varied content and do it regularly tend to stand out to a certain degree. Firstly, make sure that your tweets are public opposed to private and start interacting with people. The connections are there to be made so find users within your areas of interest to tweet frequently to. It is easy to find them through a search of your chosen subject area or by clicking on the relevant hashtags. Not everyone will want to follow you back but don’t take it personally, there are so many who will not only follow you but enrich your whole Twitter experience.

Connect and then connect some more

Talk about your shared interests with people and then expand beyond this. It could be through giving advice or just by sharing experiences. Use hashtags when you tweet about certain subject areas and your tweets can be picked up and retweeted. Take notice of who other people in your timeline are retweeting and giving credence to because they could be of real value to you on Twitter if you choose to follow them too. Before long you will start to build up your own network and community and the reach of your posts will expand as others mention or retweet you.

Twitter chats are also useful. For example, if you have an interest in ‘women’s football’, it is adequately popular to have a substantial number of participants but still exclusive enough for anyone to join in and be heard.

Professional women’s footballers Yael Averbuch and Ella Masar running a discussion on the game using #wsoccerchat:

twitter chat












What are you bringing to the table?

One of the worst things you can do on Twitter is bore your followers by tweeting without anything of any worth to contribute. No one really wants to scroll down their timeline to read that you’ve just woken up or got out of bed so before you post think about whether you are bringing something ‘noteworthy’ to the party. The key is to convince people that your posts should be part of their daily Twitter consumption. A mix of humorous tweets and sincerity is good but keep negativity to a minimum. The best Twitter accounts are the ones that make its followers feel good about themselves. It is also extremely useful to recognise the value of variation so try to provide a blend of standard tweets, images, links to articles (your own or from other sources), worthy retweets of others and videos.

Don’t be too proud to ask

If you have something that is genuinely worthy of being seen by many people then you should never hesitate to ask for help in getting it out there. Tweets that actually ask people to retweet are said to have a retweet rate that is 12 times higher than those that don’t.

From my own experience of producing interview features with footballers and other personalities for my website Beats & Rhymes FC I have seen how much of a difference retweets make in spreading the reach of the content.

It can sometimes feel like a bit of an uphill struggle to start the ball rolling with promoting your work on Twitter. You may be anxious that no-one will respond when you ask for retweets, but thankfully many people do. The important detail to remember when asking for retweets is to personalise the message to the recipient and make reference to or emphasise why it has relevance to them.

Here is an example:

retweet request

After I wrote an article about Sheffield Wednesday Football Club the first profile I looked to in order to retweet it was that of the supporter group Wednesdayite, who have well over 12,000 followers. In this case I described the article in short and added that I hoped to hear some feedback on it. The retweet ensured that a large number of the club’s supporters will have come across the tweet in their timeline and the intention is then for those who open the link to be suitably engaged by the article. This hopefully leads to them retweeting the link from their own accounts and also tweeting me to tell me what they thought and possibly following me from that point.

It is a cycle of interaction and if the content is good enough or provokes reaction it will be passed on further, in the best cases going viral. The most success I have had with something like this came when I wrote an emotionally-charged article on Sheffield Wednesday after the club won promotion to the Championship in May 2012. The piece struck a chord with a lot of people who then shared it on Twitter and I had over 100 new followers as a result.

If you look at Twitter as a community and take it upon yourself to promote worthwhile content from others then the likelihood is they will do the same for you.