Twitter started out as a novelty. Its concept: Share your thoughts in 140 characters or less. No flashy profile. No “likes” or sections to list your interests or catchy quotes. Just your picture and a status update tweet.
Many saw nothing more in it than a way to share what you were doing at that moment — such as what you might be eating for lunch, what you thought about the day’s news story, or what you were thinking of doing that evening. But it soon became obvious that this simple medium had the potential to have a powerful influence.
Now businesses everywhere are incorporating Twitter into their marketing strategy and learning that the site plays a critical role in helping connect with customers. Here’s why Twitter matters to your business:
Twitter trails just behind Facebook and Pinterest for social-media traffic referral. It is responsible for sending millions of visitors to new sites every day. The more traffic you get to your site, the more conversions you are likely to get for your advertising, affiliate marketing, or your own products and services. The more followers you have on Twitter, the more people are likely to see your links and to follow them.
Every time someone follows you on Twitter — or likes you on Facebook or adds you on Google+ — they are sending Google an endorsement of your page. They do the same thing every time they share content from your site. Therefore, the more fans and followers you have on social media, the more authority Google is going to give your page and the higher it will ultimately rank you in search results.
Social media allows you to build stronger relationships with your customers and to start new relationships with potential customers. Twitter’s simple format encourages more communication. Posts are pared down and conversations can take place almost like instant messages.
Fortunately, building a strong presence on Twitter is relatively simple. There are many ways that you can build your followers quickly — actual followers in your niche not just bots that you can purchase to inflate your numbers. Here are a few ideas:
Follow Other Users
Twitter is very follow-friendly, meaning that if you follow a user, that person is likely to follow you back. Not everyone follows this protocol, but you are likely to see a great number of followers just by following others.
Be sure to follow people who are in your niche to ensure that you are gaining targeted followers. You don’t want to just grow your numbers; you want to build an audience who may actually be interested in your products or services.
Use Keyword Hashtags
Keyword hashtags are like SEO for Twitter. When you use the ‘#’ symbol in front of a word, it allows users to find you when they search for that word. Using keyword hashtags often will help other users in your niche find you more easily.
Every tweet you send out should have at least one or two hashtags. However, you shouldn’t overuse hashtags or else your tweets will read like spam.
Engage in Conversations with Influential Users
Whenever you reply to a user, your comment appears in that person’s Twitter feed. Therefore, if you engage in conversations with influential users (those who have many followers), you will instantly get more exposure for your brand.
Choose users who are dominant in your niche so you can be sure you are getting exposure with your target audience. Also be sure that your comments are adding something of value. If you are just echoing what others are saying, you won’t stand out, and you won’t give other users a reason to learn more about you.
If you’re already on Facebook (which you should be) or Google+ (which you probably should be also) or another social network, go ahead and promote your Twitter presence there, as well. Most social media users maintain profiles on several sites, and they are likely to follow your other profiles, as well.
Make sure you aren’t posting the same content on all of your profiles. Users need to have a reason to follow you on more than one site, and if you’re giving them the same information, they don’t have that incentive.
Everyone likes to win something for free. Hosting a contest or giveaway is a great way to get noticed — as well as a great way to attract new followers on Twitter.
Offer up a great prize and then ask your visitors to follow you on Twitter as an “entry.” You’ll see the number of your followers soar! Just be sure to follow up your contest with a lot of great content so that you encourage your new followers to stick around.
Offer Exclusive Deals
Give your visitors a reason to follow you on Twitter by offering exclusive discounts and promotions on the site. Send out a code that only Twitter followers can use to get a discount, free shipping, or something other freebie.
If your visitors know they can snag exclusive deals like this, they are more likely to become your follower and to stay a follower. Then you can take advantage of that captive audience to promote your products and services.
Make Sharing Easy
Finally, make it easy for users to follow you and to share your content by adding social buttons to your website. Don’t make followers search for you on Twitter. Include a link to your profile directly on your site. Add buttons allowing users to tweet your blog posts and pages, as well, giving you free publicity for your brand. The more Twitter users see your content, the more likely they are to visit your site and to become your Twitter followers.
Growing your Twitter presence is important for marketing your business, as the site is responsible for a great deal of referral traffic and can help you boost your site’s search engine rankings. It can also help you build better relationships with your customers, helping you to create loyal fans.
Increasing your Twitter followers is not difficult. Incorporate some of these strategies and you will see your numbers soar. Then you will have hundreds (or even thousands) of leads each time you are ready to promote your products or services.
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