People often ask, “Why isn’t anyone listening to me on Twitter?”
The reality is that unless you have a huge personal brand elsewhere—because you’re a celebrity, politician or spokesperson for something important—no one is waiting for your tweets. Not even your mother.
You need to build your Twitter following and get people to listen to you. Here are 15 recommendations to help you build your following:
1. Have a photograph. Show that you’re a real person that people want to connect with—not an egghead.
2. Provide biographical information. Let others know who you are and what you’re interested in. Add a quirky personal fact.
3. Listen to the conversation. Spend some time watching how people engage on Twitter and what people respond to. Avoid trivial, banal chatter—what you had for breakfast—and updates, such as the places you go. Avoid anything else that’s focused on you.
4. Learn the Twitter lingo. Twitter’s biggest challenge is that it has a language of its own. This means don’t auto-dm people that follow you.
5. Follow influential people and thought leaders in your areas of interest. These are people whom you want to learn from. Include people you’re curious about.
6. Respond to other people’s queries. Answer people when you have knowledge to add to the conversation. Provide useful commentary.
7. Share the Twitter love. Retweet other people’s tweets and content.
8. Participate in Twitter chats. Once you’ve been part of a Twitter chat, connect with people you talked with by following them.
9. Recommend others in Twitter memes like #FollowFriday. Pay it forward and share the people you love to follow.
10. Provide useful information on a specific topic. This doesn’t mean talking about yourself. Read widely to curate useful information, or tweet blog posts and columns you find interesting. Don’t forget to reference the author’s Twitter handle. Tweet buttons don’t always include this information, but it’s important if you want to build a connection with the author.
11. Tweet blog posts you commented on. This shows you’re an involved member of the social media community.
12. Be a featured guest on a Twitter chat. This puts you at the center of the conversation. Another option is to sponsor a Twitter chat. For example, #BlogChat has sponsors, especially for their live events.
13. Use Twitter hashtags. Hashtags enable you to broaden the conversation.
14. Promote your Twitter handle across social media platforms. This means putting your Twitter handle in your profile. Some active social media users connect their messaging across platforms.
15. Incorporate your Twitter handle on other forms of marketing. Include it on your website, blog, business cards, email and presentations.
The bottom line is that it’s not about you. It’s about building a social media community and engaging with your audience members as people.
Twitter isn’t just another promotional channel. Consistently offer quality information either directly or via curation. Be the kind of person that people want to partner with because your brand stands for quality.
How do you build your Twitter following?
Heidi Cohen is president of Riverside Marketing Strategies. Follow her on Twitter @heidicohen.