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Twitter Marketing — How to Get Followers and Interact with Them

Is Twitter the real deal or just a fad? I heard this question repeatedly in public forums. People want to know if twitter marketing is potentially effective or just another hype.

It just makes sense. With the growing number of Twitterers, and people twittering about every topic you can possibly imagine, there are rooms for marketers to get their messages out there if they do it the right way.

Here’s a shocking truth. It’s shocking mostly because it comes from a social media evangelist.

Like with any new marketing technology, it is not a surprise that Twitter marketing is more of a hype-up phenomenon than reality. I’ve seen a few of them and I bet there will be more to come in near future. Very aggressive marketers will sell products that claim to teach how to make an insane amount of money with Twitter easily.

Twitter will be seen as a way to “chat” while make money.

A lot of new Twitterers will jump on the bandwagon and find the fact out the hard way. Some of them will eventually believe that if they could not do it, then it is a fad.

The truth is somewhere in the middle.

Again, we’ve seen it with blogs. We’ve seen it with podcasts. Now is the turn for Twitter wave.

Getting Unfair Advantages as an Early Adopter of Twitter

Experience has told us that early adopters to a marketing technology that works is going to give an unfair advantage over others who come in much later.

Bloggers who got started a few years back can easily create a blog, posted short updates a few times a day and grew their traffic to a few hundreds or even thousands in a few short months.

Try that approach today. I’ll save you time to do that. It doesn’t work.

As competitions get stiffer, quality of content is compulsory if you want to stand out in the crowd.

Problem is, early adopters always have to figure things out by themselves. Often through trial and error.

You don’t have to do it if you don’t want to. There is a way to get such advantage and at the same time enjoy the advantage not available to your competitors (yet).

If you monitor the twittosphere and blogosphere closely, right now you’ll be able to see early results using specific strategies by social media marketers. Study how that works and adopt it to your business.

It requires work, but if you do it right, you will still be able to penetrate your market quite easily in this relatively new medium.

The Best Advice I Could Give…

This is the best advice I could give about integrating Twitter into your marketing mix at this moment.

Just do it.

No, not that kind of slogan but more about taking action and move toward your goal with the right plan and expectation.

For an example of setting the right expectation is that you may find people are talking about everything in Twitter but that doesn’t mean you will be able to grow massive amount of followers and buyers with Twitter alone but at least you can start building relationship and interacting with your audience.

So, the first thing to start with is a plan. Understand your (future) followers and plan on what you are going to do with Twitter. Here are some ideas:

  • Broadcast news.
  • Ask questions and get feedback / advice.
  • Run a poll.
  • Point to useful resources.
  • Promote your content.
  • Tell others about a new job or event.

Of course, the plan means nothing without followers, but in order to attract the right followers you must know what you are trying to aim with it. Here is a more complete guide on how to create a plan for using Twitter.

How to Increase Your Twitter Followers (and Following)

In Twitter, there are people who you follow and those who follow you. Obviously if you want to build an audience, you need to have more followers.

However, you also need to be following influencers and experts in your niche. If nothing else, you need to know what they tweet and how they do it. Establishing relationships with key people in the industry can only bring good things to your business.

You may start by following bloggers who showcase their Twitter profiles on their sites or blogs or use Twitter Search. In my Twitter tutorial, I listed five ways to find the right people to follow.

“But now, how could I get followers?” I hear you ask.

Instead of focusing on getting followers, you should put your effort on building value. Even as the result the number of followers grow slowly, if you do it the right way, most likely they will be much more responsive than if you mass follow everyone hoping that some of them will follow you back.

Think about building a small community instead of large followers who don’t even know you.

Twitter is about karma. The more you help others — or make your Twitter as a useful resource — the more you receive. It takes time to build followers and establish relationships with followers and influencers.

If you are interested in getting more followers for Twitter account, here are a few ideas you could use:

  • Promote, promote, promote. Put your Twitter ID in the signature of every email. Mention it in your blog. Whenever you have a chance to drop a hint about your Twitter, do it. Of course, that presumes you are communicating with the right audience.
  • Organize a contest through your Twitter profile. This is effective only if you are able to get participants who will in turn talk about the contest. Assuming they also have followers, soon you will be able to grow your followers.
  • Guest blogging. Writing for other blogs is very close to stealing other people’s traffic. You provide content while they drive you some traffic in return. If you target the right blogs, you are going to build your Twitter folowers in no time.
  • Cross promotion. Explicitly ask a Twitterer to mention about you or your content and in return you do the same for them. This may happen automatically if you promote other people’s content but a little self promotion doesn’t hurt either.
  • Create linkbait. Superb quality content gets its share of publicity through social media, links from blogs and web sites and people tend to pass it via email or Twitter. Certainly many people are wiling to follow you if you are able to create such an interesting and useful piece of content.

General Tips for Interacting with Twitter Followers / Following

Getting followers to your Twitter account is just half of the battle for twitter marketing. You need to interact and cultivate relationships with your followers. Each tweet is an opportunity to reach out and get in touch with them. Make them know you better. It is a process, but definitely something worth doing.

Here are a few suggestions when it comes to interacting with Twitter followers / following:

  • Use your personal brand as Twitter ID. If you are known as the traffic expert, you can use that, but generally a name is good enough for personal brand. Just remember that Twitter ID should not be too long. It saves some characters when people reply or refer to you in their tweets.
  • Join the conversations. Follow the right people and join in the conversations to start expanding your network. Twitter is not a one way broadcast medium so you should not use it as such. If someone @reply to you, make sure you answer if answer is necessary.
  • Share valuable information. Don’t be hesitant to promote your findings, even if it is your competitor’s content. Twitter is about giving away valuable stuff and make following your account enjoyable, so people pay more attention to your tweets. They will appreciate the fact that you are follower-centric.
  • Find out who follows you. At the very least, read his/her bio. If you are involved in other marketing activities like blogging, knowing who is doing what will open up new opportunities. Guest blogging in other people’s blogs, for instance, not only drive you traffic, but also increase your Twitter followers. But first of all, it is a conversation starter.
  • Know who reply to you. If you are not using an advanced Twitter client, consider grabbing RSS feed to your personal brand search onto your favorite news reader.

Twittosphere is an entirely different social media world that you should be listening to besides the blogosphere. If you omit either one of then, you are only getting a part of the equation.


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Tweeting for Companies 101

Why Twitter?

Twitter can be an amazingly powerful platform for connecting to your community as well as driving traffic to the various properties you want people to go. Having an event? Tweet it out! Launched a new bag? Tweet it out!

The key to Twitter is the level of listening you do as well as talking. It is definitely supposed to be an interactive program. And, in fact, this is where you build the majority of your Whuffie (aka social capital). The more you interact on Twitter, the more people will interact with you, which attracts others to you as well.

One of my favorite quotes about the benefits of Twitter is from Tony Hsieh at Zappos:

You send an SMS text message to Twitter with your note, and your message will be automatically broadcast (like CB radio) to whoever is choosing to follow you (your friends). If people don’t care what you’re doing, they won’t follow you, so don’t worry about sending out trivial messages.

At first, it will seem really weird and unnatural for you to do this, but just trust me on this one. You will find that it’s actually a really good way to stay in touch with all your friends and know what’s going on in their lives.

…I was flying in to the Vegas airport, and I twittered “Just landed in Vegas airport.” I would have never texted anyone that message, but in the Twitter culture, that’s exactly what you’re supposed to do. It just so happened that someone on my Twitter network was about to fly out of Vegas, so we met up at the airport bar and had a drink. I would have never known otherwise that this person was at the airport, nor would I have ever sent him a text message or called him that I had just landed. Source

I love that story because it is exactly what Twitter does for us all of the time: it accelerates serendipity.

What are Some Good Examples of Corporate Tweeters?

What kinds of interactions are beneficial? Well, take two very popular Tweeters: Zappos and JetBlue. Here are a few examples:


Some photos of our company picnic are up now at: - I think we had 1000 people show up!

I want to meet more customers. On Monday, I will select a random @zappos follower for free trip for 2 to Vegas for office tour & lunch w/ me

At Vegas airport now, waiting a couple of hours until my flight to San Jose, CA.

@wisekaren I’m wearing Donald Pliner shoes to the wedding.

Finished photo shoot w/ Forbes. 4 hours & they choose 1 photo. Behind the scenes:…

@bryanbartlett now says he can’t make it. Anyone else want 1 ticket to van halen at 830 tonight at mandalay in Vegas?

Just landed in Vegas. Got lots of twitters about our new beta site Thx for all the feedback, keep it coming!



@laughingsquid Thanks! Just wait until our new terminal at JFK opens! (Hope you had a great time in NYC)

@BookingBuddy We’re happy to support Runner’s World, but don’t worry, you can still channel surf and eat blue chips if you want!

Two days left to win two trips on JetBlue to “The Simpsons Movie” premiere in LA. Enter now!×6ql3

The term ‘Interwebular Chronicle’ makes me laugh.

View this month’s selection of first-run movies from Fox InFlight Premium Entertainment:

To all of our Twitter friends: enjoy your weekend!

As you can see from these selections, both companies are really great at balancing promotional tweets (”View this month’s selection of first-run movies from Fox InFlight Premium Entertainment” and “Got lots of twitters about our new beta site”) with personal tweets (”The term ‘Interwebular Chronicle makes me laugh.” and “At Vegas airport now, waiting a couple of hourse until my flight to San Jose, CA.”) with conversational tweets (”@laughingsquid Thanks! Just wait until our new terminal at JFK opens!” and “@wisekaren I’m wearing Donald Pliner shoes to the wedding”). They also have fun contests (”I want to meet more customers. On Monday, I will select a random @zappos follower for free trip for 2 to Vegas” and “Two days left to win two trip on JetBlue to “The Simpsons Movie” premiere in LA.”) to help increase their follower numbers and keep people reading.

Stuff to Tweet About

There are no rules about what you should tweet out, here are a few suggestions for you. It is important that you balance the ‘outbound’ with the ‘inbound’. In otherwords, the announcements with the conversations:

  1. Personal thoughts and reflections that suit your brand - this helps people feel more trust towards you and your brand and strikes up conversations
  2. Events (both your own and other events your audience may find interesting) - this makes things interesting and, perhaps, gives you a way to meet your followers
  3. Contests (”The first three people who answer this trivia question get….”) - they drive more followers and interest in what you tweet
  4. Replies (@twittername) - this comes from listening to your followers (you have to follow back to see their tweets). The more personal the reply, the higher the impact.
  5. Direct replies (d twittername) - this isn’t in the public timeline, but it helps build deeper bonds to talk directly to someone like this. This is helpful to answer people when it is a private matter or when you want to show concern (i.e. someone reports an accident, etc.)
  6. New blog posts - you should keep these to one per day at the very most and you should also promote other people’s blog posts that are of interest
  7. Announcements - if it is interesting, tweet it
  8. OH’s (overheard) - someone say something in the office or when you are out and about that cracks you up? Type OH: “well, if you don’t mind, im trying to work on my love life” or something else funny (sometimes used to offset potentially racy comments…if you didn’t say it, but are just REPEATING IT, then it’s okay)
  9. Rickrolls or other fun internet games - this shows you are a bunch of fun and has people trying to do the same for you. Spreading as many internet memes as possible is good.
  10. Lyrics and quotes - especially fun are the lyrics: ?Never give the game away | Try to keep me entertained, baby | Don’t make it too easy | Leave something for me and my imagination? as the musical notes make for lots of questions
  11. Links to media you create - video is fun, podcasts, perhaps interviews that are posted online about you, etc.
  12. Shout outs - @twittername rocks! Thanks for the great link: These make people feel great, too.

Tweets that make people laugh are awesome, but tweets that make people think are even better.

How to Tweet Without Losing Your Soul

So, before you even ask. Yes. Twitter takes time. It takes a bunch of attention and love and care. There ARE ways to minimize the work and keep up to date, though:

  1. Run a twitter client on your desktop and connect it to Growl. For desktop clients see: My favorites are: Twhirl, Snitter and Twitterific
  2. Take twitter on the road! If you have an iPhone there are great sites like Pockettweets or the twitter mobile site. You can also just send your text messages to 40404. That’s pretty simple. Check out the apps page again for more options on other phones like Blackberries.
  3. Keep a good track of who is talking about you, so you can reply back! With Tweetscan you can track all sorts of keywords there as well as watch who is replying to you (there is also a tab on the main website for your replies). You can always plug the results into your RSS feeds…
  4. Put a twitter widget on your blog!
  5. Hook it up to your Facebook page! Only update your status in one place at a time and have it show in multiple places! Details here:

There is also a great listing of fun apps to use with Twitter here. Watch out, though. It’s totally addictive!

How to Talk Twitter

There is a glossary of terms over here where you will find that MOST terms used on Twitter start, not surprisingly, with ‘Tw’. Like tweet, meaning one post on twitter, and TweetUp, which is a Twitter Meetup. But the basic terms you need to know are the commands to put in front of what you are saying. Like:

D twittername - direct message (not public, goes right to the Tweeter in question)
@twittername - public reply
Follow twittername - start following someone
Leave twittername - stop following someone
on - turns your notifications on (on your phone or however you are receiving tweets)
off - turns notifications off
help - accesses the other commands as you may need them

there is more here:

There are also some things that have come out of the community like:

hashtags or # - put a hashtag in front of a ‘tag’ for easier tracking (i.e. This speaker is really nailing it. I think her slides are brilliant! #web2expo). This is really useful for conferences, events and specific topics of interest. You can read a little more about the history here You can track hashtags at Twemes.

A Couple of Extra Things

Before I wrap this up, there are a few other ‘Tweet like a pro’ ideas:

  1. Shorten your URLs at Tweetburner where you can also track stats on these links!
  2. The mother of all places to find everything awesome Twitter is:
  3. Want to set up a ‘group’ tweet? This is way cool: Grouptweet (have multiple employees send messages to d companyname with a message that you can aggregate at @companyname)
  4. Give people beer for good deeds with Foamee

Now you are ready to tweet like a pro!


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