Rather than just waiting for Twitter followers (people who follow what you post) you can be pro-active in building up a large following over time.
There are several methods (some of them sneaky) to gain a local, national or international following and even “poach” followers from your competitors.
NOTE: There are services on the internet where you can “buy followers”. We do not advise using these types of services. This type of follower will never buy your products or services.
Lets get started building up your followers…
There are two main ways to get Twitter followers that might buy your products or services.
All our suggested techniques involve you following the type of person/business you would like to sell to, and relying on the “50% Rule”. Approximately 50% of the people you follow will follow you back out of courtesy. Everyone you follow will be exposed to your brand though, so 50% isn’t wasted. Accounts that follow you back are then reached as part of your target audience. You can then unfollow anyone who hasn’t followed you back after a period of time (a week or so).
All these techniques take time, so set aside 20 minutes a week, or whatever spare time you can afford to start building a new base of potential customers.
Poaching Followers from Your Competitors
Finding your competitors isn’t hard. You probably know most of them already, and searching for your own products and services in Google will find you dozens more, if not hundreds more.
Visit each of your competitors and see if they have a Twitter account linked to their website.
Click through to their Twitter page and then just above their tweets you will see a number with the word FOLLOWERS under it. Click on their FOLLOWERS link and take a look. You should find a lot of the exact type of people YOU are trying to sell to. Simply start following them. Chances are at least 50% will follow you back – but each of them will be exposed to your brand and see that you in THEIR followers list. The more targeted the follows you make, the higher percentage will follow you back.
We have found this technique to be extremely valuable for our business to business clients.
Twitter Advanced Search
The Twitter advanced search tool enables you to look for targeted Twitter users.
This technique works for both B2B and B2C companies. It also works for national, international or local businesses.
On the Twitter Advanced Search page you will see various text boxes that enable you to search all of Twitter (over 100 million people / accounts around the world).
You will need to think carefully about the PROFILE of the type of follower you are looking for. What would they have tweeted about? If you sell holiday insurance, then people tweeting about going on holiday soon would be perfect. If you sell golf equipment, then people mentioning they play golf AND are within a specific location within the area you sell to (or deliver to), you can enter this in the box labelled “Near this place”. If you are only looking for people near you, you don’t have to enter ANY search terms, you can just find local people.
By using the form carefully, following our suggestions, you can find hundreds or thousands of really targeted people/businesses. What is really clever is that you can also find people that are following your competitors, asking your competitors questions, or mentioning your competitors. These people could be perfect for you to follow, which introduces your business to a potential new client/customer.
Our suggestions on how to use this advanced search are below:
All of these words:
Anything you enter here will be searched for in any order (so you could enter golfing holiday if you sell golf equipment)
This exact phrase:
What it says, this will search for a specific phrase with the words in the order you put them.
Any of these words:
Useful for adding lots of keywords in one go (golf golfing putter)
None of these words:
Useful to exclude things so if you entered golf above you might want to exclude wii, xbox, playstation, tiger, PGA to try to avoid people playing a golf computer game.
Great if your competition has been using specific hashtags (eg. #welovegolfworld)
Mentioning these accounts:
Useful to find Followers that have mentioned (promoted) your competitors. Enter your competitors Twitter handle here with an “@” (eg. @HPUK)
Places Near this place:
Extremely useful to find consumers or businesses that are located near a specific location. If you JUST want local consumers you can enter your town name here without any of the other fields completed and you’ll get a list of ALL local Twitter users. Note: Twitter asks the users to complete this so it will search what the user has entered for their location. You won’t find everybody in the UK by typing UK. You can type your local town names in for individual searches, and you might find users there. If you are in a big town, you certainly will. If not, then a county search might yield better results.