How to Be Successful with Twitter – 33 Required Steps
(This is Chapter 14 from my newly released eGuide, “Trajectory: The Ultimate Guide to Building a Successful Business with Twitter”.)
Any business owner, entrepreneur or internal Social Media strategist that chooses Twitter for business needs to take it seriously.
It’s not an avocation, it is a vocation.
To build a successful Twitter following is relatively simple, but it definitely isn’t easy.
Unless you are prepared to devote yourself to a period of sustained effort, your Twitter account will be a hobby, not a valuable business asset.
Beyond the obvious – that you must carefully target the audience you plan to build, actively engage with them, provide them with a steady diet of valuable and pertinent information, and treat them with the respect they deserve – there are a series of defined steps that are useful and efficient.
Presumably, you are looking for practical advice, not generalizations, so I will avoid discussions of engagement, authenticity and professionalism and simply provide the steps used for my own business, Jericho Technology, Inc., to build a highly targeted, engaged and rewarding Twitter following of 75,000 in 24 months.
Of course, there are many approaches that have been used by businesses during Twitter’s infancy, and I do not profess to have all the answers. The most I can do is provide you with an informed opinion.
33 Required Steps
1. Social Media-Enabled Website/Blog
If you are using Twitter for business exposure, you must have a website/blog that is Social Media-enabled, compelling and useful to your audience. After all, if you are going to exert substantial effort to build a following, it is only logical to create and maintain a web presence that commands their attention when they arrive.
2. Don’t Advertise
I recommend not advertising on your website. Unless your following – and the resulting web traffic to your site – is enormous, the pennies you will earn from display ads is hardly worth it. Especially since this will give the impression to your followers upon their first visit that you are trying to monetize them. Many formidable Social Media experts would disagree with this point, so use your best judgment and get feedback from your following before you advertise.
3. Use WordPress for Your Website
I recommend WordPress as a web platform as it is the most usable, flexible and Social Media-friendly web development software. Also, importantly, it is best to house your website on your own domain location, not on WordPress.com.
4. Compelling Web Presences
To take full advantage of Social Media, as a minimum you should have a compelling web presence on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Google + and Tumblr. These are called Outposts. In many instances Pinterest is also useful.
Guy Kawasaki, always an innovator, created Alltop as one of the first aggregators of online content. It is a tremendous source of relevant information for most target markets that you will use every day.
Tweepi will be a mainstay of your Twitter development activity. It is indispensable as a tool for identifying, locating and accumulating targeted followers.
This tool solves the problem of scheduling Twitter updates, so that your tweets will not overwhelm your followers’ Twitter streams. It also provides exceptional analysis of how well your tweets are received and who you should be engaging with.
This highly regarded tool will be central to your engagement activity. It provides much of the same functionality as Buffer, so it is question of preference.
This website will be a very useful resource for articles targeted to your audience. When you set up the account initially you will specify the areas you find useful by category and then by using a button you will attach to your Chrome browser you will have quick and convenient access.
One of the side benefits of sending dozens of tweeted articles daily is that you will often find information that will increase your professional knowledge base. You will not have the available time to fully digest the article when you first run across it, so Evernote.com is a convenient way for you to clip and save the article for later. I often collect as many as 1,500 articles before I devote a weekend to reading them.
Tumblr is a Social Media outpost where you will brand a location to attract followers and customers. It has a very loyal following and will be well worth your time.
12. Google Plus
Google Plus will be a major outpost for your efforts. To use it properly will require study, effort and diligence – but it will become hugely beneficial to your business over time.
Crowdbooster is a robust Social Media dashboard that analyzes your Twitter activity. It is particularly valuable for purposes of your engagement with influential Twitter followers. It will become a useful component of your Twitter growth.
As you are building these tactical tools, keep in mind that everything you do will be judged by your audience. Each web venue will either add to your credibility or detract from it.
Using the Twitter page as an example, it should have a memorable appearance, and a visible promise of the quality of information you are going to deliver to your followers. In my case, the Twitter promise on the page can be seen in the accompanying image.
16. Never Buy Followers
Never fall for the clueless suggestion that you should “buy” followers, or automate your Twitter growth from mindless software that merely collects untargeted bots and useless Twitter accounts. If your Twitter account is to be effective in building your business, remember that your followers should be carefully chosen from your target market, should have needs that your services can satisfy, and that will find your Tweets worthwhile.
Before you can build a useful Social Media following, you first must have a carefully prepared strategy. Without a well-conceived plan, your efforts will be wasted.
Klout remains a powerhouse in the influence arena, despite the fact that it has come under intense criticism recently for opaque changes in its algorithm. You should follow your score and make every effort to increase it, but avoid making it a bothersome center of your attention.
PeerIndex is another influence score; however its grading algorithm is more predictable and less prone to wild changes. It also has garnered a solid reputation, particularly outside the U.S.
ReTweetRank.com is a website that will help you keep track of whether or not your tweets are being retweeted. This factor is hugely important for a variety of reasons and with the help of this website you will eventually learn what types of articles and subjects are appreciated by your audience.
21. Twitter Grader
Twitter Grader is another influence-building tool that once you have achieved a 100% score for your Twitter influence will make a valuable addition to your website real estate.
22. Target Market
Determine and then find followers within your target market. Ask yourself who your targeted followers are likely to be following today. For example, my targeted market is entrepreneurial. As just one example, by definition entrepreneurs are likely to be following the Twitter account @IncMagazine which currently has 209,393 followers. By using Tweepi.com I located a significant number of these individuals. I then further refined the Tweepi results by looking for those with higher Klout scores, and recent Tweets of their own. At the least, I never follow anyone that has not tweeted within the last seven days. 72 hours is actually a better choice if you can find a sufficient number of followers with that criterion in your target market. If the purpose of Twitter is to engage with likely customers, if they are not tweeting they are not likely to engage.
23. Don’t Sell
It goes without saying, or should – especially at the beginning — never try to sell anything in your tweets. Your only job is to build a large group of targeted followers, who want to hear what you have to say.
Once you have achieved Critical Mass and you are targeting Active Users, it is acceptable to use 8% or less of your tweets to invite your followers to sales landing pages on your website.
24. Early Links
Before Critical Mass is reached, limit links to your blog or website to 10%. 90% of the time, you should tweet links to articles written by other thought leaders that should appeal to your followers. Once you have gained credibility and trust among your followers, they will want to become patrons of your website, and will be open to becoming your customer.
25. Daily Activity
Every day I Tweet between 35 and 75 articles. I make it clear to my followers that I am hand-selecting these articles with an understanding of their needs and interests. This may seem like a lot, but in the last year I have had only one follower complain that I was smothering his Twitter stream. The actual result has been that the more I Tweet, the more Re-tweets I receive and the higher my Klout and PeerIndex scores rise.
Of course, I also retweet articles from my followers that seem newsworthy, but I don’t count those retweets as part of my daily total.
27. Chrome Add-ons & Extensions
For efficiency reasons, I use the StumbleUpon, HootSuite, Google Plus, Tumblr and Buffer add-ons or extensions to Chrome to organize my daily tweeting. Since my target market is entrepreneurial, and they tend to be interested in “Marketing,” I use the Marketing category in StumbleUpon to find likely articles. I then use Hootlet or Buffer to tweet the resulting articles to my three Twitter accounts, my business and personal Facebook pages and LinkedIn. I use the Google Plus and Tumblr add-ons to reach my followers on those Outposts as well.
28. Retweets, @mentions and DMs
I pay close attention, (within my main Twitter account), to my tweets that are retweeted, my @mentions and Direct Messages. This is an important monitor of progress.
Also, I watch the articles that are retweeted and occasionally after several days I will tweet the same popular article a second time.
29. Follow Back
As a matter of course, I follow back many followers who follow me, provided that they are not bots or spammers and that their subject matter is appropriate to my follower base and target market.
30. Twitter Rules
Since I have been above the 2,000 follower threshold, where Twitter is most stringent and concerned about formulas, I follow 750 to 1,000 new individuals per day (including follow backs), or .095% of my current follower base, whichever is lower.
31. Daily Execution Cycle
I follow a Twitter regimen, based upon empirical results, of placing the greatest activity on days and times recommended by my SocialBro account. This recommendation will change with the characteristics of my Twitter account so I reassess the Best Time to Tweet every few days. Each day, I unfollow followers who are not following me back, and then begin looking for new followers. You can find more information on my daily cycle in Chapter 21.
32. Be Respectful
I am always respectful of my followers; value their time and attention, and show appreciation when they engage with me.
33. Expand Your Knowledge
The upshot of all of these tools and tactics is that my following grows; and as an ancillary advantage of sending quality tweets, I am always learning from the same articles I tweet to others.
(This is Chapter 14 from
my newly released eGuide “Trajectory“.)
If you found this post useful, you will love my eGuide — Trajectory: The Ultimate Guide to Building a Successful Business with Twitter