One of the undisputed kings of social media, the mighty Twitter has been embraced by companies the world over, keen to utilise this powerful tool to connect with consumers and grow their business. And SMEs are no exception.
In fact, research conducted last year by global consumer and media specialists, Nielsen, highlights the popularity and extensive use of Twitter amongst SMEs here in the UK with a resounding 83% of business respondents stating they would recommend Twitter to other SMEs, while 72% agreed that Twitter is important to their marketing strategy and has had a positive effect on their overall profit.
So, why is growing a Twitter following so important to the SME? Twitter search tool, Twilert, found that 72% of consumers are more likely to make a purchase from a smaller business after they have interacted with them on Twitter and 85% admitted they feel more emotionally connected to a business when following them. Having a large following drives sales, recommendations and ultimately, helps you to reach more prospects than ever before whilst maintaining and strengthening a relationship with current customers.
But how do you go about securing those all-important clicks? Here are some top tips for a small business to grow a large following on Twitter:
1. Sign up to IFTTT
Adding users to a Twitter list demonstrates that their tweets are important to you. IFTTT is an online website which you can connect to your Twitter account in order to automatically create your lists, drastically reducing the amount of time this takes manually. All you need to do is create a recipe that adds users to your list when a new comment is posted featuring the hashtag of your choice. This allows you to easily connect with the people on your list and you’ll find that people will follow you in reciprocation.
2. Respond to industry giants
Staying active and responding to comments from the larger accounts in your industry is an excellent way to get noticed and increase brand awareness. Once you have responded, all the people following the large account can view you and your response. Well thought-out tweets will therefore have a much stronger chance of gaining interest.
3. Be appreciative
Part of the joy of Twitter is that it allows you to show the human side to your business. So, don’t let that focus slip. If a follower or fellow user engages with you, whether it’s a retweet, a response or they give you a shout-out with a tweet of their own, thank them. This will ensure you not only grow your followers but secure loyalty and engagement too.
4. Embed tweets in your blog posts
Utilise your blog to gain more followers by embedding related tweets into your most popular posts. Click the three small dots underneath your tweet, followed by the ‘Embed tweet’ button. This way, those that read your posts will be able to gain a sneak preview of your tweets on a topic of interest – making it an easy decision to hit ‘follow’.
5. Install a clear Twitter button on your website
Make it easy for people who visit your website to find you on Twitter by installing a large, clear follow button in a key position on key pages. There should always be an option to join your social media ranks on your home page, but adding one to your thank you page, displayed after a visitor has signed up to an email subscription or completed a purchase, is also highly recommended.
6. Be consistent
Consistent, regular tweeting is essential to keep your business prominent in the Twittersphere – the greater your visibility, the more likely you are to attract followers. Tweeting several times a day means that you are more likely to capture the attention of users that might be active at different times of the day. However, bear in mind that Internet Live Stats estimate there are over 9,500 tweets posted every second – be sure to make your content count.
7. Share and share alike
One way to ensure you never run out of creative content is to share posts from other users. Choose valuable, relevant posts and ensure you tag the author, promoting their account. This should stimulate the cycle of reciprocity and you might well receive a mention yourself, have some of your own content shared and gain a few followers along the way.
Twitter is all about engagement and this is your arena to be as creative as possible. Stay consistent, connect, reciprocate, and watch those followers grow.