5 ways for brands to build a Twitter following

And remember that sheer numbers mean little if you’re not interacting with your audience.

So, your company is on Twitter.

That’s great, but unfortunately Twitter isn’t the “Field of Dreams,” and if you build it (or set up an account), followers won’t always come.

Don’t worry. Building an audience does take time, but if you have a strategy in place it doesn’t have to be a hassle.

What does it take to get some love from the Twitter-sphere?

Here are five best practices to build your company’s following:

1. Be consistent, and tweet throughout the day.

On Twitter, 75 million users generate 140 million tweets per day. Ninety-two percent of RTs on Twitter happen within the first hour, as do 97 percent of @mentions responding to a tweet.

The bottom line: There is a lot going on.

So how do you get noticed with the people who matter most to your company? Tweet interesting content, create tweets between 120 and 130 characters (or fewer, depending on your organization’s handle) to make it easy for your followers to RT, use links, @mention followers, and, most of all, be consistent.

2. Search hashtags related to your industry.

What’s a better way to connect with the 170 million users on Twitter than searching for a simple hashtag related to your industry? If you’re in the content marketing biz, searches for #content or #contentmarketing bring up some great conversations. As a bonus, you’ll probably find some smart people worth connecting with.

Look at what these people are tweeting, retweet or respond to their tweet, and then follow them. This is a great way to get in on the conversation with those talking about a particular topic that’s relevant to your industry.

3. Follow people interested in your content.

If you have a Twitter share button on your page, this tip is literally as easy as clicking your mouse. If people have shared your blog post, for example, there will be the number of people who shared it next to the Twitter button. Click on that number and, voilà, Twitter will open up a result page with everyone who has shared that particular URL. This will make it easy for you follow those who are already interested in what you have to say.

4. RT and thank people for sharing your content.

It’s one thing to follow people who like your content (and it probably is little bit of an ego boost), but don’t forget your manners. You can RT people who share your content, but you should also thank them for sharing it. A simple, “Thanks for sharing,” or, “Glad you liked the piece,” goes a long way.

You can also further the conversation on a particular piece a user tweets about, or ask them a question about what they thought. This may give that person the little nudge in the right direction that they need to follow you. If they do follow you, thank them and follow back if appropriate.

Also, a great way to promote your other social accounts is this: When you’re thanking them for the follow (this is better through DM, but don’t go overboard), direct the person to your Facebook page. Hey, if they like what you’re tweeting, they’ll probably like what you have to share on Facebook, too.

5. Some automation is OK, but don’t go crazy.

Some companies may be completely against automation. But there’s a trick here: Don’t automate more than five sources (a few more than five can be OK if the sites don’t post fresh content daily), have them update once or twice an hour, don’t rely strictly on it, and be very careful when selecting sources (e.g., make sure they are producing content acceptable to your company).

Unless you have a person or team dedicated solely to your social media, tweeting content around the clock may not be realistic. Even with scheduling tools like HootSuite or TweetDeck, sitting down every morning for 45 minutes to find and schedule content may not be an option. Having some automation along with some fresh content can help your company find that happy balance between getting a breather to work on other things and getting noticed on Twitter.

How does your company build its following?

Jackie Roy is a digital content associate at TMG Custom Media. A version of this article first appeared on Engage.

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