Thanks to @ianteamspirit for suggesting this blog post, he wanted to understand how to find relevant followers on Twitter and which hashtags to use. Before I get started, a word of caution: Twitter is pretty limited, certainly compared to the opportunities offered by Facebook and some other social media platforms.
Personally I use Twitter to get my name out there amongst local businesses – I lived abroad for 6 years so I am not well known here. My secondary goal is lead generation but I only expect it to generate three or four enquiries a month, leading to perhaps one new contract every two months. Make sure you clearly define what you want to get out of Twitter and focus on that. It is very easy to get distracted and to feel that you are making progress by collecting hundreds of followers and having meaningful discussions however, if your goals are not being achieved then focus your energies on another channel.
How to find relevant Twitter followers
I use, and recommend, Followerwonk from Moz – it has a limited free service that should be enough to get you started. Using Ian’s business as an example, I am looking for twitter profiles that are relevant for a business that provides team building and event activities. I will start of with people in the Oldham area with HR in their title – assuming that it is the HR department that are normally the decision makers for this.
This immediately gives me 12 people to potentially follow, and because it is already linked to Twitter, it is easy to follow them with the click of a button. Before moving to the next search term I then go through each of the selected profiles and make a note of the hashtags they’re using that appear to be relevant as well as a skim through their followers and the profile they are following.
Once you have repeated this task four or five times you should have added a couple of dozen very relevant profiles to follow as well as noting a number of useful hashtags. Make sure you are including competitors in your search so you can learn from them.
Which hashtags to use
This is a matter of research followed by trial and error. Using the hashtags you have identified from the relevant profile finder activity, search for each one and go through the results in detail. This will show you how often the hashtag is used and by whom. When you find tweets that you think are particularly relevant then go through that profile and see what other hashtags you can find.
Now you have found the right people and the best hashtags
Now all you have to do is join in conversations on the hashtags, strike up your own discussions or start relevant conversations with the new profiles you have found. Don’t simply tweet at someone (unless you know them), make sure your conversation is meaningful. If you don’t know the person you want to reach out to, spend a little time reading their blog or website and share your views on a topic they are interested in or share a blog post of your own that you think would benefit them.
This basic guide should be enough to get you underway and to help you get a feel for Twitter’s usefulness. If you have found it useful please share it.