Twitter: it’s generally informal, fast-paced, and full of brief snapshots of information. For many associations, capitalizing on this platform can seem daunting, even though social media is increasingly becoming a useful tool in association marketing.
When you think about it, increasing your Twitter followers is a lot like growing a garden. While it may take hard work at first, your end result will be worth the effort. Just like with your garden, it's important to continually cultivate your Twitter presence in order to reach new audiences and expand your visibility.
Have no fear! Thankfully, there are a variety of best practices that will help you increase your organization’s followers, become more confident on social media, and better interact with the Twitter community as a whole.
How to Increase Your Twitter Followers
1) Plant the seed
To launch your organic Twitter growth, you’ll actually start by increasing the number of people your organization is following, rather than your number of followers. When your organization is “following” an account, its tweets will show up in your feed and you can view any new information they send via Twitter. “Followers” refer to the people who want to see the content you are posting. Each new tweet you post will show up in your followers’ feeds and provide them the option to like, retweet, or comment on it.
Begin with those people who are already your followers. Is your association following them back? This is a common courtesy on Twitter as well as a way to interact with those you know are already engaging with your content.
Leverage Existing Membership
Are your members on Twitter? Let’s find out! Twitter allows you to upload your association’s contacts from either Gmail or Outlook email platforms. It then searches to see whether these email addresses are linked to current Twitter accounts and allows you to immediately follow them. You can upload your contacts from LinkedIn for an added boost. This is a great way to engage your members as well as track what your members are talking about.
Twitter also provides a suggested list of accounts for your organization to follow. Be sure to check out these suggestions and see if they will be helpful contacts for your association. One thing to note is that Twitter does not allow you to follow hundreds of people all at once because this can look like spamming activity, so make sure to spread it out as you begin following new people.
2) Face your petals toward the sun
An important part of association marketing is to put your organization’s best face forward. Is every section of your Twitter account filled out? Must-haves include your Twitter name, bio, location, website link, profile picture, and header image. If these sections are incomplete, your association’s account will look sloppy and unprofessional.
Plus, potential members can learn more about what your organization does and how it can help them if these fields are specific and well-written. Be sure to include keywords that can help potential members find you as easily as possible. You can also pin a tweet to the top of your stream so that it’s the first thing people see when they come to your profile. This is great if there’s a topic or event you want your followers and potential members to see right off the bat.
3) Keep your flowers watered
Make your Twitter worth it for your followers. You’ve planted the seeds, but how can you keep your Twitter relationships alive? Tweet interesting, relevant content to keep them coming back. Research shows that news articles are the most commonly retweeted forms of content, and including videos, links, and pictures ups your engagement even further. Hashtags are also an important way for people to find your tweets.
Specialists suggest using 1-2 relevant hashtags in every tweet, and you should also keep tweets under 110 characters. Although Twitter’s character limit is 140, the extra space allows people who retweet you to insert a comment of their own or answer a question you’ve posed. Your frequency of tweets will depend on your organization, but sending 1-4 tweets a day, spread out over your target location’s daytime hours, can help you stay engaged in the Twittersphere and reach the maximum amount of Twitter users.
4) Cultivate the community garden
Many asociations who have online communities understand the importance of cultivating and engaging online communities in association marketing. Your engagement within the Twitter community can be another important way for your association to interact with your members and get their input.
Follow, like, retweet, and comment on other Twitter users’ tweets. When you show interest in others, they’re more likely to give your association a chance and see what you have to say. You can also use the “@” feature to mention other Twitter users specifically. This is a great way to grab the attention of relevant Twitter accounts in your industry.
5) Become a florist
To further promote your own Twitter account, do a little cross-pollination marketing. Link to your Twitter on your website, landing pages, and any other existing social media channels. If your organization has a blog, make sure there is a button next to each post allowing readers to tweet the link. You can also send an email to your members letting them know about your Twitter and the types of discussions, topics, and content they can expect to see from your account. One tactic is to advertise the release of previously gated content once you reach a certain number of followers.
6) Let your garden flourish
With these steps, your organization’s number of followers should increase naturally and organically. Take care to continue these practices to keep new followers engaged in your content and invested in what your association is doing.
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