Twitter is a tricky medium for small businesses. You will find a lot of people saying it’s a waste of time and enough people who swear by its benefits. You need to build your following, but when you start out you have to focus on following the right people.
Here is a quick guide on what kinds of people you should follow.
1. Customers – existing customers or people in your target customer group
You should follow your customers to see what they are talking about — what they are interested in, what products/service they like and what they are complaining about. Also this is a good way of letting them know that you are on Twitter. If they are interested in what you offer, they might even follow you back.
But don’t start selling to them on Twitter, not yet. Listen, engage and offer help but don’t be pushy.
2. Industry leaders and domain experts (including competitors)
You probably know a few people in your industry whose views are well respected. Follow them and learn from what they are talking about and look for opportunities to participate in conversations.
They will also provide you with good topics and content that you might want to share with your followers. Thank them when you find their tweets useful or ask a question they might be able to answer.
Apart from the actual message in their tweets, keep an eye on hashtags they are using, events they are attending or links they are sharing.
3. Influencers like bloggers, journalists or media outlets
These are people who may not be directly related to your business or industry but might be influential in the broader domain or local community. Just as for #2, follow what’s they are talking about, participate or just retweet content that might be interesting and relevant to your business.
Following these people will help you learn more about your customers and engaging with them will help build credibility. And down the line, they might be able to help you with that PR break you need.
4. Local celebrities and influencers
These people may not be related to your business but it’s good to engage in topics that are just important or interesting to your customers. This will help your brand get a more human face.
There could also be opportunities to associate with these individuals. Who knows, a mention or a retweet from lead drummer of a popular band might give just the visibility you need in your early days.
5. Friends and other personal connections
These are the people who will engage with you, and retweet or share your content in the initial days. Engage with them but be sure to not get carried away — the majority of your tweets and people you follow should still be those relevant to your business.
But don’t sweat it: go out and follow as many people as seem interesting and relevant. You can always unfollow them later if their tweets don’t work for you.
For more tips about using Twitter, get the Beginner’s Guide To Twitter for Business.