Twitter as a personal marketing platform

By Fouad Alaa
@fouad_aka_fox

 

CREATING a Twitter account never crossed my mind until two months ago. I had never been a fan of social media, and I didn’t even know what a hashtag was. Today, however, I am an active Twitter user with a little over 2,000 followers on Twitter.

 

So how did I come from knowing nothing to having 2,000 followers? Simple, personal marketing.

 

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When I first started writing the advice column I needed to have a Twitter account in case future readers wanted to connect. Since I barely checked my Facebook I thought a Twitter account would be useless.

 

The first few things I saw after creating an account was ‘0’ right next to Tweets, a ‘7’ right next to Following , and ‘3’ right next to ‘Followers’ (was a bit disappointed that Metallica didn’t follow back, but my dad and girlfriend did).

 

After asking my loyal followers I was told that the first step was to follow people with the same interests. Once the followers’ numbers hit the triple digits I thought that it was time to try and see how it would be if I used Twitter as a marketing platform for my articles.

 

Here is how I did it and what I learned along the way.

 

The Jumpstart

 

The first thing I did to jumpstart my Twitter account into a marketing platform was to acquire a targeted audience. For me, if someone had ‘author’, ‘blogger’ or any connection to reading in general in their profiles, I would follow them.

 

So, if you are looking for an audience for your band you should follow musicians; if you are looking to market your small business, you should follow people who have the keyword of your product in their profiles. Keep in mind that there are a lot of people who are looking for mutual support or products.

 

When you follow someone on Twitter usually they follow back. I found that a welcome Tweet or a small spark of conversation would establish a connection and show support that would eventually lead them to be active followers.

Gaining audience

 

Have some content … all the time!

 

Now that I had established an audience and had their attention, it was time to get their interest.

 

Regular Twitter users have tons of mostly meaningless Tweets on their feeds which lessens the chance of them seeing my Tweets, the solution to that was in the form of frequent Tweets that would create a high probability of my Tweets being spotted.

 

I use Hootsuite, a very useful (free!) application that can schedule tweets, to post a Tweet twice an hour. They didn’t necessarily have to be new all the time and I shuffle between old and new contents as long as they were relevant and full of content. The current of Tweets maximized the exposure of my articles and regulated my audience’s interest, turning them into a fanbase. 

 

In the ‘Discover’ section of Twitter, users can search for tweets that contain a desired keyword. Hashtagging the keywords of Tweets would expand the possible audience to include random people worldwide.

Lists (the mother-lode)

 

Twitter allows you to create and add specific people from your followers to lists. Those lists can be used in 2 main marketing strategies: audience expansion and classifications of followers.

 

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Over time I noticed that some followers were more responsive than others towards my tweets. Adding them to my list allowed me easier access to them when the followers came in great numbers and also generated faster responses and quick surveys from a regular audience.

 

On the other hand, being added by one of your followers to a list saved me the hassle of searching for new followers and provided me a chance to expand my current audience.

 

Chances are you will be added to a list full of people who share the same interests and all you have to do is follow them all and you will gain more followers.

Creating meaningful engagement

 

At this point, after having 1K+ followers, I noticed something very interesting. If I tweeted a content of mine and it got re-tweeted by a user with 10K+ followers, more people would see my content. However, I would get more comments and feedback from users who have 5K or less followers. I concluded that the best way to improve my content was to create a list of loyal followers who have been supportive of my work, I call it My A-List (an idea I got from @LaceyDearie, a mystery author).

 

From then on when any of my articles are out, I send a tweet to my followers in the A-List. Since it is hard to keep track of 2000+ followers feeds, I only follow theirs.

Maintenance

 

Although most people would follow back, not all of them did, and though most people who follow back are active, some were non-responsive. The best way to maintain a healthy audience is to un-follow people who don’t follow back and people who are not very active. I use unfollowers.me, a (free!) application that allows to know who doesn’t follow back and un-follow them.

 

Sometimes I would un-follow as many as 100 people a day, the reason being that after reaching the 2,000 followers Twitter policy to avoid spamming is to maintain a 90% followers rate. Meaning that to be able to follow more than 2,000 you have to have more than 1,800 followers. The same case happens when you reach 10,000, you must have more than 9,000 followers to be able to follow more people.

 

Just like you are looking to have an audience to support your content, most of your followers do too. Re-tweeting and favoriting your followers’ tweets would show your appreciation for their support and maintain it. 

 

Analyse

 

A Twitter marketing platform doesn’t only provide channeling interest to current content but would also help the improvement of future ones by analysing reactions such as re-tweets and favorites. Keeping track of re-tweets and comments from my followers allowed me to improve as a writer and helped me understand negative and positive aspects of my writing style.

 

The one thing that should be kept in mind when creating a personal marketing platform is to not expect miracles; it takes effort, patience and perseverance.

 

After 2 months of working on my Twitter platform I have over 2,000 followers, mostly established authors and bloggers, my article has more than 4,000 pageviews, I have been offered to contribute to several other websites like manshaped.com and goodmenproject.com.

 

Using Twitter is an excellent way to have your own platform, just like a snowball effect, the more followers you have, the more you tweet, the faster your following will grow.

 

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