How to build a Twitter following from scratch

Are you charged with launching a new Twitter feed for a brand? Don’t fret; apply what you already know to build a loyal following.

If you’re a public relations pro, you’re probably familiar with a lot of the ins and outs of Twitter. So how can you use what you already know to get the most out of Twitter when you’re getting a new account up and running? Check out these tips to get started, and add your own in the comments below.

Monitor the competition.

Using a program like HootSuite or TweetDeck, set up a stream to keep tabs on your competitors. This can also help you monitor their news coverage and see which journalists on Twitter are covering your industry. And if a direct competitor has built a following of people interested in their product or service, it wouldn’t hurt to follow a few of them.

Prepare your responses.

You don’t want to sound like a broken record, but you should keep some standard responses to common questions in your back pocket. Is any information about your company off limits when it comes to responding to your followers? How should you answer the person who just asked about getting a job with your company?

Track your links.

Use a URL shortener like or to keep track of which types of content are seeing the most interaction, and adjust your future tweets accordingly. Also set up a stream for key industry terms so you can stay on top of the hot topics.

Follow people who create lists.

If you’re a “list person” on Twitter, and let’s face it, not all of us are, create and promote thorough lists of journalists, thought leaders, and companies in your industry. If you want your account to be listed for increased exposure, follow the creators of the lists your competitors and others in the industry are on.

Follow people who follow similar accounts.

If you’re a photo-sharing startup in Seattle, which Twitter users are the most likely to follow you? More than likely, it’s those who already follow photo-sharing startups and startups in Seattle. Find established accounts similar to yours and follow their followers; you’ll see your own follower count jump.

Andrew Cross is a Chicago-based public relations professional with Walker Sands Communications and a contributing writer for PR Daily. Follow him on Twitter at @Andrew_R_Cross.

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