In part #1 of our Twitter series we showed you how to create your Twitter account, fill out your profile and send your first tweets. If you missed it, you can catch up here. In part #2 we are looking at how a gymnastics club can grow their audience on Twitter through easy engagement strategies and the creation of Twitter lists.
Lots of people want more followers and significant connections, but few people develop the practice and habits to implement these changes each day.
People will often refer to the number of followers a Twitter account may have. Our hope is over time, with the right strategies implemented, a number of these followers will turn into members (or at least their children will). And additionally, we’d anticipate that you’d grow your patterns and levels of engagement with these followers and members, using Twitter to help you do so.
If you were to spend your time following the guidance outlined in this post, you will find yourself
amongst a minority of clubs who are growing their accounts strategically without having to resort to guesswork.
Over time there have been so many unspoken Twitter rules that have grown up.
Here are 10 early ones you should employ, to prevent yourself from getting it wrong:
- Don’t ask anyone to Retweet something for you, unless they’re a close friend. It’s like saying to someone in a pub, ‘Can you buy me a drink?’. Their followers may have no interest in what you’re writing about, so therefore you’re putting others in an awkward position of having to ignore you (which is common) or say no to you.
- Don’t keep following and un-following someone hoping they will notice and then follow you back. If someone notices, they won’t be impressed by it, they’ll simply think you’re trying to spam or follow them in order to get your follower count up.
- Don’t follow people and then unfollow them once they have followed you. It just looks like you’re using them to increase your follower count. And, if you’re honest, that’s exactly what you’re doing.
- Different people use Twitter in different ways, and so therefore, there’s no set formula. If one of your goals is to grow an audience, you’ll simply succeed by providing tweets that people want to read (and implementing these other strategies). By focusing and delivering your content around a specific niche, this will help your audience know what tweets they can expect from you. Keep in mind what your audience wants to read. The days of ‘I’m about to have dinner’ as a regular tweet from accounts trying to grow a following are long gone. Unless you’re a celebrity and the product you’re offering is you, keep the dinner to yourself.
- Don’t forget to retweet other people’s content and don’t avoid referencing the source or person who tweeted it initially. It’s considered good etiquette to recognise those who’ve sourced content you like. Also, it’s a great way to build relationships with that person or organisation.
- Don’t over tweet (repeatedly more than 5 times an hour) or under tweet (less than 1 time each day).
- Get your links right. Don’t send out a Tweet if the link doesn’t work.
- Don’t click on DM’s that look spammy: eg ‘I saw this and was worried about you. Are you ok? http://linktospammersaccount.’ The rule here is, if it seems a little weird or bizarre that someone is sending you such a message then it probably is, especially if it has a link. Sadly, if you fall for this trick, you’ll find lots of your followers getting similar messages from your account. Quick way to lose respect.
- Don’t spend all your time trying to get a one-off interaction from a big superstar Twitter user. They either have a large number of followers because they’re already famous, or because they grew their account consistently and faithfully. One Tweet from them is not going to change your world. Tweets come and go within seconds. It’s more important for you to build your following from the ground up, albeit with influencers being a part of this strategy.
- Don’t forget to respond to people who send you @mentions. If you’re a company or an organisation, it’s considered bad practice not to respond to people. (It’s the equivalent of being kept on hold on the company phone). This is especially important from a customer service perspective. People feel permission led to moan in public about the service they may have received from an organisation, and if you don’t respond to messages quickly, it can damage your organisations reputation. As with email/ text messages/ any forms of communication; don’t leave people waiting.
And before you go any further, make sure you are familiar with Twitter’s terms and conditions. Twitter have set rules for the number of people you can follow each day and the number of tweets you can send. It’s important that you don’t break these as you’re in danger of having your account suspended if you did do so. You have been warned.
Growing Your Audience
Are you looking to have a large number of followers? Lots of people are and for good reason. The number of followers that someone has can be a quick indicator of credibility. The more people who are following you, the more apt you are technically and the more people consider you / your content to be of importance. Crowds attract crowds.
And that is why some people have felt disappointed by others buying followers. This is understandable, as it’s gaming the system and that trust metric disappears. Anyone in the know can look to see if you’ve bought your followers, and organisations are being ‘outed’ for this.
So here are a number of ways you can grow your follower base without buying them:
- Tweet out interesting and good content. It’s always good content that people are drawn to.
- Respond to people when they @mention you. It’s not one-way traffic, it’s conversational. Therefore if people only ever seeing you pumping out content then they are far less likely to want to follow you. If you’re an organisation, respond to every mention. If you’re a person, you’re allowed to be more selective.
- Tweet content to people that you think their audience will like. They’re likely to retweet things onto others if they’re having to do less work in sourcing the content.
- People enjoy people who like them and speak positively. So be warm and friendly with others, and draw people to you. Send us a friendly Tweet @GymnasticsMGR and we’ll be sure to send you the love.
- Join in days like #FF (Follow Friday) to reach out to new audiences.
- Use the advanced search tool in Twitter to search around keywords that are important to you and start interacting with people who have similar interests. Use Twellow and WeFollow.
- Tweet pictures out. These are now displayed with more prominence. Therefore these Tweets are more striking.
- Follow people who are in your niche and they are more likely to follow back. Be careful that you don’t churn your account (the process used where you aggressively follow and un-follow people).
- Get your Twitter name on Twitter directories like Twellow so that when people are looking for specific people in their niche, they can find you.
- Have more followers than the number of people you’re following. People are far more likely to want to follow you if it doesn’t seem like you’re following them just to get your numbers up. This is implied when you are following more than those following you.
Attracting new followers is one thing, but the deeper levels of interaction and engagement are where it gets far more exciting. We know that engaging with members is one of the major priorities for the clubs we work with. People want to feel like they’re important and being taken notice of.
But to start with, the problem you’ll initially face will be dealing with others ignoring you. Don’t let that put you off.
Here are 5 engagement strategies to build deeper connections with your members and followers (some of whom, we hope will convert to become members over time). Equally, it’s important to look to build a sense of community with your members. Therefore, think about how you can foster this community with these engagement strategies:
- Ask yourself what content someone would like to see and then seek it out for them. Provide them with value that benefits them and their followers.
- Make good quality introductions, introducing one party to another. Just as offline networking works on referrals, when you make introductions you’re not only helping both parties out, but you’re getting yourself known as someone who is generous with their contacts. By nature, you’re more likely to add more people to your contact list as a result.
- Respond to what other people are tweeting about and go out of your way to answer them, retweet them, support them, follow the link to their blog and leave a comment.
- Don’t just retweet their most recent tweet. Show them that you’re far more interested in them than that, and retweet past tweets they may have sent a few days ago.
- Intentionally, tweet regularly to a few superusers. It’s tempting to feel that you need to be all things to all people. And within a club, there will be those who are on Twitter a lot. You want to go deeper and tweet more regularly to those who can grow a sense of a wider community. By focusing on them, you give them the motivation and momentum to look after other followers, members and potential future customers. Set yourself weekly targets of people you want to reach. You may create a Twitter list for these people to enable quick access to others.
Adding Twitter Lists
Lists are vital for you to run an effective Twitter strategy. It’s a way for you to see a needle amongst the haystack and to group people effectively in order to prioritise your interaction with them.
There are two types of lists: public and private lists. When you add someone to a public list they are notified that they have been added. Other people can also subscribe to these lists. Not only are you providing yourself an effective list to track and engage with, you are also providing a service to others who don’t have to do the hard work of seeking such people out.
When you add someone to a private list, they are not notified of this and no one can see this list. This is helpful where you may have a client list or a list of people you want to keep confidential. eg may be a target list for of people you want to see become members.
Once you start using lists, you will quickly find it replaces your need to see all your followers tweets from your homepage. Why don’t you schedule 10 minutes interaction with people from a specific list once a week?
To find a good list, you’re normally finding good people and looking via their homepage to see what lists they have created. These could be people you already know or those you search for via Twellow or WeFollow. These sites allow you to search for people based on interests.
And that’s all for part #2 of our Twitter series. Once again if you missed part #1 you can read it here.
Post #3 will be published soon where we will talk about developing your content strategy and some of our favourite Twitter tools. Or click here to download our free Twitter eBook.
Until then, why not drop us a tweet with any questions or just to simply say hello: @GymnasticsMGR.