Sunday, March 8, 2009

5 Simple Ways to Get the Right Followers

A lot of people write to Twibs, asking for pointer on how they can find the "right" followers, meaning the people or businesses they can potentially engage with, and generate business from.

We compiled a brief list of methods we have observed to be successful, as well as practices we have employed in our own twittering that have helped us to meet the right people on twitter.

1. Share Good, Honest Information
Twitter is an open conversation and like real-world conversations, the most interesting people at the table are the ones talking about interesting, pertinent, topics that may or may not be about them. Moreover, these people divulge information that interested listeners will want to re-tell at the next opportunity. It does not have to mean that you have "top secret" information about how the space shuttle works, it just has to be nice fact, figure, or tid-bit that most people might not know about.

2. Show Your Passion
A big part of having only 140 characters to express a thought is that you have no room for "marketing speak", meaning this is not the place to use big words and overwhelm readers. Twitter is a place to be direct and conversational. Think of your followers as your friends and you have something important to tell them. It would be easy to just say it. The same is true for twitter.

3. Create Compelling Promotions
If you are going to try and sell something, make it worth someones time and energy to engage with you. For example, 5% off today only isn't going to really excite many people. Twitter is all about igniting the fire of users and getting the crowd to help you. Maggianos Italian Food recently offered a chance to win a $100 gift certificate to new followers and they had a lot of success. More importantly, unless you are a daily-discount site, you can't overload your users with a variety of sales and promotions. You have to know you have their attention and when you do make it an offer they can't refuse. You will get back every penny in marketing you miss out on at the register and will surely gain more long-term value with followers.

4. Be Active
Twibs did a study of the businesses we currently have in our index (at this time, we have over 6,000), and we took their total number of tweets divided by the number of followers they have. We found a very simple result: Over time, every tweet you send will get you 1 follower. Of course there are extremes and services that tweet A LOT of information, so the ratio does not apply, but for your typical business if you send 1,000 tweets over the next year, you will get 1,000 new followers.

5. Listen
Like any conversation, no one likes a person who just can't wait to talk and doesn't want to listen. The most successful entities on twitter are those who can listen to what people are saying at them and around them and can respond or share valuable information with the group. Twitter is an extremely valuable information loop. People will tell you everything you need to know about you, your competitors, your industry, and themselves. On Twitter, you have to be in the habit of digesting information, using it, and sharing it.

We hope that new businesses on twitter can use these techniques to be more successful on twitter. Twitter is a place to have fun, experiment, and learn from your actions. Twitter is a rapidly growing phenomenon and the sooner you learn what works for you, the greater success your business all achieve in the long-term.

Do you have success stories of your own? Send them to and we'll publish them here!