6 steps to growing your Twitter following

Have you ever wondered how some people seem to be able to grow their following on Twitter rapidly? I’m not talking about the latest celebrity craze here. I’m talking about business owners like you and me. You probably think it’s because they spend loads of money on Twitter ads or they bought the followers from some dodgy ‘follow’ factory. Well I went from 0 to 1000 followers in around 14 weeks (including two weeks holiday) at zero extra cost. And in today’s blog post I’m going to tell you how.

 

Step 1 Content

This is not difficult but it does require some work. If you are already marketing your business properly and have some great content to share, the extra work to grow a Twitter following is relatively small. If you are starting from scratch or need to create content then there will be more work. But creating great content to share with your prospects and clients is something every business should be doing anyway.

I post a blog article every week. They are about LinkedIn, social media and online marketing or general business good practice. When I started my new Twitter account (@allenruddock by the way) in May 2015 I hadn’t created any content so I have been building that content as I go along. I did have 1 lead magnet – an e-book (The 9 Key Points to Creating a Powerful Personal Profile – click the link and get a free copy). If you already have content it means you can accelerate the process.

You need somewhere to host your content and I’m going to assume you have a website for that. You could post all your articles to LinkedIn and tweet links to them but I prefer to own the platform my content is hosted on. That way nobody can decide to take it away or exclude me from accessing it.

 

Step 2 Who to tweet to

If you don’t have any followers, there is no one to read your tweets. But where do you start? Aside from celebrities, if you follow someone, there’s a good chance they will follow you back. So you need to start following the sort of people you want to follow you.

How do you find them?  If you have done what most marketing experts tell you to do and created your customer avatar(s) – the profiles of your ideal clients – you know the sort of person or company you are trying to follow. So searching for keywords relevant to your avatars in their bios is the first option. The second option is to look at the twitter page of someone your ideal client would follow. On their homepage you can see three statistics: The number of tweets they’ve made, the number of id’s they are following and the number of followers they have. And guess what – if you click on the word followers under that last number you can see all the accounts that are following them. Next to each is a follow button. Click on it and you will now be following that person or account.

Want to see how – sign-up and watch my “how to” video now:

6 steps to grow your twitter following video screen

To kickstart getting followers, I searched for local business networking groups and over two days, for each of my two 45 minute or so commutes into London, I sat following accounts. I managed around 1500 in those two 45 minute slots. Over 25% followed me back. Not all immediately – not everyone looks at their Twitter messages every day – but over a period of a couple of weeks.

Why didn’t I just keep following accounts to increase the follow-backs? Because Twitter has limits. You cannot follow more than 2000 accounts unless you have at least 2000 followers. It’s a system limit and can’t be got round. Once you get above 2000 followers there’s a degree of leeway – around 10%. So having got close to my follow limit, it was time to grow followers organically.

 

Step 3 Tweet automation

You grow followers organically by tweeting about interesting things – like your blog posts. Your followers see them and favourite them or retweet them to their followers. More people see them and start to follow you. Now I tend to look at my new organic followers and if they fit one of my avatars I will follow them back (that’s why I kept a bit of headroom in the number of people I followed initially). Now tweeting links to your blog posts can be time-consuming and not a good use of that time. Also, if you do it manually your tweets get sent when you send them and then nothing when you don’t. You need a scheduling tool.

There are a number of excellent tools around but the one I use is SocialOomph. It’s brilliant. I use it to schedule all my content tweets – but NEVER my engagement tweets. I send out tweets every hour of every day, mostly with images as they get a far higher level of engagement. Yes – I have a paid account – around £20§ per month. I was already paying for this for my project management business so there was no extra cost for my new venture. If you are starting out you will face the cost.

Want to see how – sign-up and watch my “how to” video now:

6 steps to grow your twitter following video screen

Don’t be worried about sending too many tweets. They will appear in people’s timelines when they get sent. Most people follow quite a few accounts so your latest tweet will soon disappear down their timeline and may not get seen because most people only check their accounts occasionally. That’s why you keep sending so that there is a chance one of your tweets will be visible in their recent timeline when they do look at it.

 

Step 4 Growing your followers

I mentioned the 2000 following limit earlier. After a while, if someone hasn’t followed you back or they did initially but then decided to un-follow you, you need to start unfollowing them so that you can follow new potential followers. That’s where the second tool I recommend comes in – ManageFlitter. This tool allows you to login to your twitter account and it will then present back to you the list of accounts you are following that are not following you back. And it shows them in order of when you followed them. So you can start to un-follow the earliest accounts you followed to free up headroom in your following capacity. There is a free version which allows a set number of unfollows per day and you can increase the number by doing a couple of simple actions. There is also a paid version. I’ve survived so far on the free service.

Want to see how – sign-up and watch my “how to” video now:

6 steps to grow your twitter following video screen

Step 5 Continuing engagement

Once you start to get a following you need to engage with them. Comment on their tweets. Thank them if they retweet a lot of your content. If they look like good prospective clients so if there are other ways to broaden the engagement, maybe through LinkedIn or Facebook

 

Step 6 Getting your followers onto you e-mail list

One or more of your content pieces that you need to tweet about frequently are your lead magnets. If they like your blog content, there is a good chance your followers will sign-up for one of your lead magnets. The other way to get sign-ups is to ensure there is  an image and sign up form for your lead magnet on all your blog post pages. On my project management site I also have a pop-up sign-up form appear after the visitor has bee reading the article for a round a minute. It has a good conversion rate.

 

So there you have it – 6 simple steps to growing your Twitter following and with it your e-mail list. Sign up to my blog and watch the how to video I created to go with this post – see below:

Want to see how – sign-up and watch my how to video now:

6 steps to grow your twitter following video screen

The Fosbury Flop and your marketing

Back in the 1960’s Dick Fosbury was a 21-year-old senior at Oregon State University with a major in civil engineering, two bad feet and a worn-out body. He was unable to get on the college track or field team until he perfected an unorthodox way to clear the high jump bar higher than anyone else. You see Dick was tired of getting the same old results from the same old methods. He realised he needed to be different. To try something new to get different results. Better results. To get a gold medal at the 1968 Olympics!

Is your marketing a bit like Dick before his Flop? The same old results from the same old methods. Given that in any particular market the bottom 20% of businesses are failing and the next 60% are just getting by, how do you make sure you are in the top 20%? Well the first thing is stop behaving like the 80%.

 

Don’t do what they do….

The 80% do the standard stuff because they always have. They place the same ad in Yellow Pages but have no way of knowing if it drives any customers to them because it goes straight to the single business number they have. They do leaflet drops because they always have, with that same single number on it. They have a website, but very little traffic and no way of tracking who has been there (more in a future blog on tracking your marketing). They get excited when they get a call out of the blue offering them an 80% discount on a newspaper ad because they sense an opportunity. (they were right by the way – it was an opportunity for the sales guy to offload worthless space).

 

Be different

So take some tips from the top 20% and do things differently from the majority of your market. Know who your competitors are and sign up with the good ones. Get their marketing, learn from it then swipe and deploy in your own business. No – not copy and deploy. Swipe the ideas, adapt to your own style and message, then deploy. Look at other markets, sectors and industries to identify ways they market to their prospects and see if they can be adapted to your market. With a little imagination and ingenuity you’d be surprised what can be deployed to fantastic effect.

The owner of a car leasing company spotted an opportunity when she noticed a key contact was hiring a number of senior people that would all need company cars. To get the contact’s attention they sent him a large parcel – it got his attention!. In it was a remote controlled mini and a well-crafted sales letter. Net result – they now supply all that contact’s company cars.

Somebody else swiped and deployed the idea, send key people they wanted to have conversations with a remote control helicopter but without the remote. To get the remote they had to book an appointment when the sales guy would turn up with the remote and a nicely targeted sales pitch.

It’s about being different, being innovative, about standing out from the crown. Being in the top 205 not the bottom 80%

 

Even some of the smart guys are not doing this….

Marketing is a three stage process. Identify your target Market. Tailor your Message so that it speaks directly to their pain. Then chose the most appropriate Media to get to them. Market, Message, Media. Marketing 101.

Well what if you had a tool that could identify specific people in your target market. A tool that could get your message direct to them. A tool that allowed you to use messages, files and video media to get that message across. Wouldn’t you want that tool? How about if you could use it for free? Well you can and probably already do use it, but not for marketing. It’s LinkedIn!

With LinkedIn you can find and engage with your ideal prospects. If you have a powerful personal profile that enables you to be found, demonstrates your credibility and delivers value to the reader connecting with your prospects is a breeze. Once engaged you can explore their issues and demonstrate how you’ve helped numerous clients resolve similar situations.

Most people think that LinkedIn is on online cv to attract recruiters or a way of keeping in touch with old colleagues. Only a few switched on business owners and sale people have cottoned on to the huge sales potential in LinkedIn. It all starts with that powerful personal profile and finding and making the right connections. If you want to join that elite group some along to my LinkedIn bootcamp. It’s an exciting journey – be part of it. LinkedIn Bootcamp.

The Line – do you operate above it or below it

The line exists for everyone. It is the line of choice. It’s called that because you can choose whether you operate above the line or below the line. Nobody forces you to do either – it is your choice. Sometimes the line can seem a bit fuzzy. Sometimes it can be hard to find. But it is there.

 

But what is this line? Well in life and in business everything that happens is down to you. You can’t control everything that happens to you, but you can control how you react to it. The line is the dividing point between the two ways of reacting. There are only two ways of reacting.

 

The losers

Many business owners operate below the line. When something goes wrong in their business they look for someone to blame. It’s all the government red tape. It’s the unfair advantage that big companies have with their marketing budget. They undercut me to ‘buy’ the business. I’m sure you’ve heard plenty such rants at networking events. They make excuses for why they didn’t win the business, why they didn’t get the marketing campaign out, why they didn’t make those calls. They cite the reasons why it happened. Well reasons are just another way of describing excuses. They then go into denial – it wasn’t their fault, they couldn’t do anything about it.

 

Tiresome isn’t it. Well with their Blame, Excuses and Denial, they have made their BED and can lie in it. Me? I want to move on and deal with things, not lie around and moan. How about you?

 

Successful business owners

Successful business owners operate above the line. They recognise they have a choice, They know they can control their reaction to events and they do so. They take ownership of the situation. They will own the problem, not be owned or defined by it. They accept accountability for dealing with it. It is their responsibility. They accept the challenge and rise to it. By taking Ownership, Accountability and Responsibility they have a powerful OAR – one they can use to steer in any direction they need to to resolve the problem and power onwards from it.

 

Successful business owners use their OAR to empower themselves, to liberate them from the negativity of operating below the line. In adversity they look for opportunity.

The line explained

 

We all dip

All of us have bad days. Days when nothing seems to go right. And so we dip below the line. We have a rant at the faceless bureaucrats, the weather, the air traffic controllers. I say that because I’m writing this on a delayed flight. In fact I’m on a later flight than planned because mine was cancelled and the replacement was delayed. My reaction was frustration and annoyance – it was everyone else’s fault. But my reaction was pointless – I couldn’t do anything about the flight delays. I was below the line.

 

I recognised my behaviour and chose to come back above the line. Let’s use the time positively by writing this blog and even using the situation as an example. I chose how to react, how to deal with the situation and how to turn it into a positive.

 

So it’s OK to dip below the line occasionally – it can even be cathartic – so long as you recognise it and move swiftly back above the line.

 

One more example

A friend of a friend has a large pebble with a line scratched across it. He’s divorced so only sees his young son on set days. He explained the line to his son so they could both try and operate above the line and get the most out of their limited time together. The deal is that if one of them drops below the line, rather than debate or argue about it, the other party can put the pebble under the offending party’s pillow. So when they went to bed they would get a reminder they had dipped below the line. And because they slept on it they could have a calm discussion the following morning about what they had done. I think that’s a great way to diffuse potential arguments and teach your son about taking ownership, accountability and responsibility.

 

Do you operate above the line?

The money is in your list

Do you have a list? That is a list of clients and prospects that have shown some form of interest in your business. Every time a prospect comes in to contact with your business your first objective should be to capture their details. Most people that come in to contact with your business won’t be ready to buy. Your job as a business owner or marketer is to know who they are and keep reminding that you are there so that when they are ready to buy, your business is at the front of their mind.

Your marketing should be designed to keep in touch with your list. To keep delivering little nuggets of value to your list, developing a relationship of trust with them. Then when they are ready to buy, they will turn to you first. You can even prompt the purchase by sending them great offers.

 

The importance of the list

To emphasise the importance of your list to your business I’ll give you an example. A very successful American businessman took his eye off the ball and ended up with a huge tax bill. The one agency you don’t mess with in the US is the IRS. Remember – they finally put Al Capone behind bars for tax evasion! Anyhow, in negotiating his way through his financial meltdown, the IRS stripped him of all his assets, including his corporate jet, but they let him keep his list. They didn’t realise the value of his list. With his list safely in his pocket he was able to restart his business career and become the huge success he is today. That is how valuable your list becomes once you work at filling it with your ideal prospects.

 

Your business, your list

So you have a great product or service. You’ve created a website and maybe you have started to run some Google Adwords campaigns to try and sell it. But things are slow and you are not getting much traffic to your website and even fewer sales. You’ve heard of e-mail marketing and you are sending messages to everyone who has contacted you but it’s a small list…. Your never going to emulate Dan Kennedy or Nigel Botterill with that size list.

So how do you grow your list? I started out by saying every time a prospect comes in to contact with your business your first objective should be to capture their details. This is a two part problem: firstly how do you get prospects to come into contact with your business and secondly, how do you persuade them to part with their contact details.

 

Getting traffic

Another thing I said in the opening of this post was to keep delivering little nuggets of value to your list. Well those same nuggets can be used to create your list. In my businesses my nuggets come in several forms but the key for driving traffic to my site is my blog.

Access to my blog is free and all posts deliver a piece of key advice or guidance that my ideal prospect would find useful. But I don ‘t just publish and hope that people will find them. For every post I create at least 4 different tweets to tempt people to read it. I post one of these tweets every three hours on a randomly recurring basis to my twitter followers. The tweets get retweeted and favourited which grows my following and followers click through to the posts to read them. There is a separate blog post describing how I grow my Twitter followers.

I also post a link to each post on my Facebook pages, my linkedIn timeline and into relevant LinkedIn Groups so I get as wide coverage as I can with paying anything.

 

Getting sign-ups

Getting traffic is one thing, but I still don’t have the contact details of the site visitors. I could just ask people to sign up for my blog e-mails but these days few people would. So I offer them something in return for their contact details. That’s where the other two key forms of nuggets come in – my e-books and videos. In return for receiving an e-book or getting access to a video, I ask for a name and e-mail address. Hey presto, they are on my list.

I also tweet and post direct links to sign-up forms offering the e-books and videos without people needing to come to the site. It just cuts out a step.

You can use Twitter or Facebook ads and Google Adwords to drive traffic to your site to get sign-ups. You need to have a really good understanding of the value of a customer and your conversion rates from clicks, to leads to clients to do this profitably. Otherwise you are simply lining Google et al’s pockets.

 

Moving from prospect to client

The next stage is to continually feed your list useful information, building a level of familiarity and trust. When the time is right, make them an offer. To grow your list effectively and send regular e-mails to it you need an e-mail marketing system. The system will automate capture of contact details and enable you to send bulk e-mails to hundred or even thousands of prospects and clients without getting your e-mail address marked as spam. These come in all shapes and sizes and cost from little or nothing right up to hundreds of $s per month depending on sophistication and the number of e-mails you want to send. I started with Aweber at the lower end of the spectrum. Similar systems include Constant Contact and Mailchimp. The higher end systems include Infusionsoft, the system I use now.

List building and e-mail marketing can be a long game. Depending on the product or service you are selling it may take time to establish the right level of trust. It also depends on the buying cycle and how you attract people to your list. If you have a good handle on the conversion rates and costs per click the buying cycle for paid traffic can be quite short.

Some people look to leverage the sign-up for an e-book or video by making an immediate offer for a high value product but at a low price compared to the normal selling price. It’s a one time opportunity to get the product at that price. This technique is called a tripwire or welcome mat. More on that in a future post.

 

Targeted client acquisition using LinkedIn

List building is a great strategy and really works. But as I mentioned above, it can be a bit of a long game. For prospects that join your list and show a good level of engagement, one of the best ways to accelerate them through the buying cycle is to connect with them on LinkedIn. They already know you through your list building so the connection is easy. It is then also much easier to build rapport and trust and gauge their readiness to buy.

LinkedIn is also a ready-made platform for referrals or recommendations so you can use it to provide social proof and credibility. I have links to my key e-books and videos as well as all my new blog posts on my linkedIn profile. Connect with me on LinkedIn if you want to know more: http://uk.linkedin.com/in/allenruddock

I Know……..but it won’t work for me

People have opinions about pretty much everything and preconceived ideas about most. They are based on their own behaviours and habits. Those behaviours and habits have been developed over years of working and are conditioned by the environment they operate in and the people surrounding them. They’ve become ingrained so when you suggest they try something new or different you get the response “I know, but that won’t work for me because….”

The top 20%
In any particular type of business, how those businesses are doing breaks down as follows:

  • 20% are failing
  • 60% are getting by
  • 15% are on the up and getting there
  • 4% are getting it right
  • 1% are super successful

The people that say “I know….” are typically in that first 80%. They are failing or struggling. Either that, or they’ve never plucked up the courage to leave corporate life and start a business. They are not open to new ideas or trying to do things differently. But the problem is that if you keep doing the same old stuff, you’ll get the same old results. If you want to make a step change in your business’ performance, you need to make a step change in how you run your business. You need to be open to new ideas, to different approaches, to trying things that you haven’t done before.

The average of 5
If you are in the top 20% and aspire to be in the top 5% or even that elite 1%, then you need to avoid the “I knows”. You need to surround yourself with successful people because it is said you become the average of the 5 people you spend the most time with. You need to learn from experts. People that have been there, done it and have cupboards full of t-shirts.

I know, but LinkedIn won’t work for me….
I encounter a lot of “I knows” when I talk to people about LinkedIn – even with otherwise successful business owners. They think LinkedIn won’t work for them because of their preconceived ideas about LinkedIn:

  • It’s an online cv.
  • It’s for keeping in touch with old colleagues.
  • Only recruiters use it for business.
  • I don’t use it because I just get spammed with sales messages.

The reality is that LinkedIn is the hidden gem in social media marketing.

  • Because people load their cv’s (with job titles et al) you can find your ideal business prospects very easily using the advanced search facility.
  • And because people keep in touch with colleagues in the same line of business, finding one ideal prospect often leads to a bunch more.
  • Because people want to be found easily by recruiters they stuff their profiles with key words – the very keywords you need to find your target prospects.
  • Yes, you will get some spam messages, but no more than you get in your e-mail inbox. And they are just as easy to delete and it’s much easier to report people as spammers and block them from messaging you again.

Smart business owners use LinkedIn to promote themselves and their businesses. They use it to find and connect with their ideal prospects. They use it to bypass gatekeepers and get direct conversations with decision makers. They’re in the top 20% heading for the top 5% – if they are not already there.

If you want to use LinkedIn to propel you towards the top 5%, connect with me on LinkedIn – uk.linkedin.com/in/allenruddock – and send me a message with “I want to be in the top 5%” as the subject.