This post was first published on the Banyan Branch blog.
For brands, amassing Twitter followers is one of the first goals to which metrics and benchmarks are set. The social media platform has passed 300 million users and has 9.2 new profiles being registered every second, according to Twopcharts. Also, according to the New York Times, people are more inclined to make a purchase from a business that has answered their question on Twitter. In fact, a study byChadwick Martin Bailey found that 79% of consumers are more likely to recommend the brands they follow on Twitter. 67% of respondents are more likely to buy from the brands they follow on Twitter.
Given all this information, it is easy to understand why marketers are looking for ways to gain more Twitter followers. The most important way to gain and keep followers is by consistently offering valuable, interesting, and original content. If you are already doing that with your brand’s Twitter account, here are three suggestions for how to grow your audience further.
One way for your company to gain more exposure, find new followers AND do good for a worthy cause is to participate in a ‘social good’ campaign. You could participate in an existing campaign or create your own. The campaign could raise awareness and funds for a particular charity, or even have followers suggest a deserving charity. For example, last year USA Today ran the #AmericaWants campaign. Twitter users suggested their favorite charity with the #AmericaWants hashtag. The charity with the most tweets received an ad in the newspaper.
Another way to get involved with a cause is to encourage Twitter users to spread the word. This worked well for Ben & Jerry’s earlier this year. The company created an application that put unused Twitter characters to use by adding a message about World Fair Trade Day. The site was simple for users; they typed their message as they normally would, and the World Fair Trade Day message would auto-populate and decrease depending on how many characters were available.
A ‘social good’ campaign can be a fantastic way to connect with new followers who care about the same issues. It is also a great way to give back to the community and worthy charities. A word of caution, the campaign must be sincere and fit with your company’s values. Otherwise, this can backfire and turn into a PR nightmare.
If your company is already using hashtags, you know they can be a great way for people with similar interests to find your Twitter account. Hashtags also allow people to follow a stream of conversation happening at a particular event, like a conference. Sometimes the conversations take place completely online. Twitter chats are becoming increasingly more popular, and they’re a great way to meet new people, engage with others and gain followers.
There are currently more than 500 established Twitter chats listed on the editable Google Doc started by @TwChat. Usually, chats are held for one hour once a week. They always happen at the same time and day. Be sure to check the list for topics of interest to your brand. It might make more sense for your brand to join and existing chat, instead of creating a new one.
However, if you find that there isn’t a chat out there that fits your needs, you can establish your own chat. Before you start a new chat, be clear about your purpose and your goals. For some companies, it might just be to grow brand awareness or show thought leadership. Your chat should be related to a topic of interested that is related to you brand. #u30pro, a chat for young professionals started by David Spinks, grew from seven people and about 150 tweets to about 150 people and more than 1,200 tweets. If your chat is consistent and fosters interesting discussion, you will grow an audience.
Last year Twitter launched Promoted Accounts, Promoted Tweets and Promoted Trends as part of its monetization model. These ad services have been refined and tested over the last several months, and many brands are finding great success with promotion.
Promoted Tweets show up in Twitter search results, as well as Google, HootSuite and TweetDeck. Promoted Tweets are priced on a cost-per-engagement model, so each time a user retweets, favorites, or clicks on the Promoted Tweet it will cost the company. On average, Promoted Tweets yield engagement rates between 3-10%. Considering the typical click-through rate for advertising is 0.1%, Promoted Tweets are hugely successful.
Appbackr ran a successful Promoted Tweets campaign targeted at Twitter users ages 20-26 who were looking for information about the LSAT and law school. In six weeks, appbackr increased traffic to its site from Twitter by 94% and increased it followers 140%.
Promoted Accounts appear in the “Who to Follow” column on Twitter. The ads target users based on the content they are tweeting and who they already follow. Companies pay per follow with Promoted Accounts.
Companies including Amtrak, Red Mango and McDonald’s Canada have found great success with Promoted Accounts. Amtrak doubled its Twitter followers in two months, and eight thousand of the new followers have been tracked to the Promoted Accounts ad placement. Red Mango went from 11,000 to 29,000 followers in one month of using Promoted Accounts. McDonald’s Canada targeted users via specific keywords and hashtags. The account, @McD_Canada, gained 9,501 new followers and drew 14,200 profile views.
If you are looking to grow your Twitter audience, consider using Promoted Tweets or a Promoted Account campaign. Promoted Tweets work best when used along with an event or specific campaign. Promoted accounts can be used alone and work best for long term growth.
Which strategies are best to help you gain more Twitter followers will depend on your brand and your budget. The important thing to remember is your marketing goals and brand voice. If you gain a lot of followers, but in a way that is not authentic to your brand, they won’t stick around. Make sure when you design your campaigns to grow your audience, you also plan for how you continue to engage your followers and keep them around.
What do you think is the best way to get more Twitter followers?