This and other deep philosophical questions are what we here at SEO Boy think about on a day to day basis, because lets face it, these issues are constantly asked by others in the industry. On a more serious note, I am sure you have heard of the importance of Social Media on SEO rankings, if not, check this out This post is specifically about how to start a Twitter account, and gain followers, as opposed to managing an account. These are two different things entirely, and require different strategies, otherwise you may find yourself Tweeting to a handful of followers as opposed to a legion (i.e. Charlie Sheen). So, to start, there will be a brief introduction of a few good strategies to employ when looking to get followers, followed by more down-the-road type strategies to continue your surge of followers.
To start, you need to warm up. That is, don’t immediately plunge into trying to sell something—people catch on to that. Just like how you shouldn’t start running (or yogging) before stretching or you’ll come to a screeching halt, you shouldn’t just jump into trying to sell your brand. This is the most difficult part of the strategy to build a Twitter base—patience. And this is also the most vague—create good content! Basically, add to the conversation! If a topic is trending, hashtag it with a witty or original comment or content. Think about ways to be interesting without being commercial. People can tell when you are trying to sell them something, trust us. The car salesman we’ve all encountered from time to time definitely is a turn off, and one fast way to turn a potential follower/customer into a negative detractor.
So, speaking of content, one good way to generate content people want to see is through giveaways. Now, yes, this probably isn’t the best business model to just give things away to get some Twitter followers, but think more long term—if you give away something that you can afford to give away free, and you can gain a long term follower of your company in the process, you can end up making back the money you lose giving away the free product. But, to ensure you get followers, make sure you make one of the conditions to be entered in the giveaway either a retweet or you have to follow your company. This goes without saying. Usually, a retweet may be more successful, as a follower may unfollow you as soon as the giveaway is over.
Next thing to consider is that people enjoy interaction. Nobody enjoys logging on to Twitter and not having mentions—so interact with your fan base! This is definitely a beginning strategy, because when you are starting, it is much easier to interact with your followers, as the number won’t be that large. But once you start picking up a following (in the mid range), start targeting influential followers for mentions. Use Klout (or many other free tools to measure Twitter influence) to find those users who are deemed “influential.” Then, mention them in Tweets. Any interaction is beneficial to your follower count, especially positive interaction. And, if you get one of the “influential” Twitter uses to Retweet you, all the better.
Next, be sure to be a member of #TeamFollowBack. This means that for anyone who follows you, you follow them back. This is good in the initial stages of your Twitter development, as people are more likely to follow you if they know they can get a follow back. This plays a bit on people’s pride (more Twitter followers? Yes please!) but it is a very good way to get an initial spike of Twitter followers. But, be sure you discontinue this practice after you get a good following, as your follower to following ratio, in order to look like a legitimate (and not spammy) Twitter account of a business, needs to be more than 1:1. Otherwise, people may not follow you, because you can’t get people to follow you with a a follow back.
Finally, try to be patient, as simple as this may sound. Keep normal standards of ROI away from your Twitter account. Don’t get me wrong—you need to know if your time and money is going towards a worthy cause. And you need to establish some sort of breaking point for your business, tailored to your individual company’s needs and goals. But, you need to give it time. Don’t let your standard calculations of ROI keep you from establishing a formidable Twitter following. Because the returns on investment may be slow at first, but given enough time and effort (and with these starting tips utilized) the business you can generate from a successful Twitter account can be massive.
So, to conclude, the beginning stages of your Twitter account can be the most difficult, and trying to your patience. But you must be patient—create good content first. Then, think about giveaways as well as interaction with your followers in general. Especially with your influential followers. And then, let people know initially you are a member of #TeamFollowBack, which should help your follower numbers as well. And through all of this, be patient, because if you aren’t, you will find yourself Tweeting to nobody, without making a sound.
Bryan is an Assistant Account Executive at Hanapin Marketing, a search engine marketing firm focused on generating results through PPC and SEO.