7 ways small businesses can get more followers on Twitter

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If it’s trending, it’s on Twitter! From politics to pop culture to product launch, Twitter is a mainstay for brands, big and small, across the globe. With more than 330 million monthly active users, Twitter is essential for brands to promote their products and services and to build a loyal community of followers on the platform.  

There are 23.6 million Twitter users in India which makes it an undeniably powerful platform for small business owners to increase their brand’s reach. It has been generally observed that the more followers a brand has on Twitter, the more influence it has on its industry and customers. Also, a higher follower count means that there is an established interest in a brand’s content from its followers and general Twitter users. 

Increasing your business’ follower count on Twitter is much more than simply trying to make your brand more popular and trendy. It helps in making your brand more trustworthy among your existing and potential customers. Higher number of followers can also establish you and your company as a thought leader within your industry. You can also leverage Twitter to promote your company’s vision outside of business, such as commitment to sustainability, social development, women empowerment, etc. 

💡FYI: Acc. to social media marketing expert Neil Schaffer, 206 million of Twitter’s monthly users log on every day and can be monetised.

In this step-by-step guide, we will help you with useful tips to increase your Twitter followers. This guide will work as a ready-reckoner for small business owners who are starting from scratch as well as those who might be struggling to grow on the platform.

Table of contents:

7 tips to get more followers on Twitter

  1. Create an intriguing profile
  2. Use interesting visuals 
  3. Keep your content short, simple and natural
  4. Tweet regularly and at the right time
  5. Build a community around your brand and engage with them regularly
  6. Run contests and campaigns
  7. Use Twitter analytics

7 ways small business owners can gain more followers on Twitter

1. Create an intriguing profile

Your brand’s profile is the entrypoint for users on Twitter. A proper profile not only helps followers to identify a business on the platform but also assures that the Twitter handle is legitimate. 

First and foremost, it is essential to choose a username that is easy for followers to remember and find on Twitter. The best way to do this is to use your business’ name as the handle. If that name is taken, you can modify the brand’s name a little and use it as the username. Apart from the profile handle, there are four components to ensuring the accuracy of a profile – a new header photo, profile photo, updated bio, and pinned Tweet

You should prefer using your company’s logo as the profile picture. For the header photo, you can use an image with the logo of your brand with text, such as a tagline, and other elements such as people and creative designs. The header photo can be changed from time to time and can even be used to represent the latest activities, such as ongoing campaigns, offers, etc.   

To write a good Twitter bio, first introduce yourself – tell them what your business does. You should add a brief description about your products/services and tell people why they should watch this space. You can use only 160 characters for the bio, so keep it short and simple. In the bio, you can also add a call-to-action, link other accounts, and use hashtags. When written properly, the bio makes it easy for your account to appear on search engines for better visibility.  

💡Pro Tip: It is recommended that you pin a tweet on the profile page. Using a pinned tweet, you can highlight the latest news about your company, ongoing sales or promotions, product launch, or any cause you support.

💡Pro Tip: You should get your Twitter account verified. All authentic Twitter accounts have a blue Verified badge. It helps your followers and general users to easily find your authentic account on the platform and distinguish it from fakes. Here are the steps and guidelines to get your account verified.

2. Use interesting visuals 

How many Tweets from various brands do you stop and read that don’t have images or videos? Very less, right? It is common knowledge that visuals capture attention much better than only text. Tweets containing photos or videos generally receive more likes, shares and retweets than those without them. Twitter itself states that 97% of people focus on visuals on the platform!

💡FYI: Tweets with videos get 10 times more engagement than those without. Also, users tweet images 361% more than they tweet videos.

Make sure the photos you use on Twitter are not more than 5MB in size, animated GIFs up to 5MB on mobile, and up to 15MB on the web. The platform allows GIF, JPEG, and PNG files only. For videos, Twitter accepts files up to 1 GB in size and they should be no longer than 140 seconds.

We’ve compiled a few dos and don’ts to help your Twitter visuals stand out –

DO: Try and use templates to save time. Use clear font styles and font sizes that are easily readable. Use descriptions for images to make them more accessible and graphics to incorporate your branding elements. You can use Twitter carousel ads to incorporate six swipeable, edge-to-edge images or videos in a single Tweet.

DON’T: Avoid using stock images. Don’t use the same image or video that is used on any other social media platform as it could lead to visuals being pixelated, blurry or cut off. Refrain from using bland colour schemes for your graphics.

3. Keep your content short, simple and natural

Twitter is a platform where people come to take part in conversations and become aware of trending topics. In order to gain more followers on Twitter,  make sure your content appeals to your audience, is to the point, easy to understand, and adds value. Always remember that the attention span on social media is very less, so it is important to communicate more in less time.

The purpose of your content should be to spark conversations with your followers. For this, you have to understand the personas of the people who follow your content on the platform. You have to make your followers feel like you’re speaking directly to them. Before planning your content, you must evaluate if your tweets inform, entertain, and educate the audience. Your content might not have the desired impact if it lacks these elements.

Here are some tips to write good Tweets:

  • Be specific and clear
  • Use numbers and data
  • Create urgency and curiosity
  • Ask questions
  • Make commitments
  • Induce call-to-action
  • Use hashtags judiciously

How to use hashtags?

  • Choose a phrase that is directly associated with your brand
  • It should read like a Call-to-Action
  • To ensure a hashtag is clear enough to understand, think like your followers
  • Use simple words so they are easy to remember
  • Try to tap into what’s trending but don’t unnecessarily piggyback on trends irrelevant to your brand
  • Try to add your name into the hashtags, specific to an activity. For eg. #TideTopTipTuesday
    • Avoid force-fitting the company name or brand slogan
  • Don’t overuse hashtags in a Tweet. Avoid making threads just to incorporate extra hashtags

💡Pro Tip: Remember, just because the character limit on Twitter is 280, doesn’t mean that you have to use all the characters. Prioritise quality over quantity.

4. Tweet regularly and at the right time

Every brand has its own unique peak posting time. However, there are some general good practices that small businesses can follow on Twitter. If you want to test Tweeting at new times, or expanding your reach to new audiences, or have a new account, we advise you to begin with the tried and tested  prime posting times. Based on our research, we have brought together best time slots from various studies. 

  • According to Social Pilot, the most popular time to post on Twitter is between 8-10 am and 6-9 pm. If you are looking for better engagement, then you should either post early in the morning (7-9 am) or late in the night (8-11 pm). 
  • An analysis done by Hootsuite states that the best time to post on Twitter is 8:00 AM on Mondays and Thursday.
  • As per Sprout Social, the best day to Tweet is Wednesday between 9 a.m.– 3 p.m., and Tuesday and Thursday at 9–11 a.m. It is advised to NOT tweet on Saturdays.

Source: Sprout Social

5. Build a community around your brand and engage regularly

It is always useful for brands to create a community of their followers to discuss everything about the brand. Much like Facebook groups, Twitter communities are designed for brands to touch base with their customers and fanbase. Every community on Twitter has a moderator who can add or remove people and allow or ban tweets. 

How to use Twitter communities for your small business?

Small business owners can use Twitter communities to build a legion of brand advocates who can strengthen your brand’s visibility, increase trust among potential customers and boost your sales. You can also use communities to advocate a cause or to offer advice and support to members. Try to AVOID using Twitter communities for only marketing and promotion. Instead, leverage them to humanise your brand. You can check more details about Twitter Communities here

💡Pro Tip: To create a Twitter community, you are required to apply by filling a form. The form can be found here. Once you have submitted the form, Twitter will assess the eligibility and update if you can create a community or not.

6. Run contests and campaigns

Twitter contests are one of the best ways to create buzz around your brand, attract new audiences and reward your loyal and long-time followers. However, a contest is not only about a few retweets and awarding the winners. You must think of contest ideas around your brand strategy and culminate the contest by driving more sales.

Let’s now take a look at what you need to do to organise a successful contest for your small business:

  • Have a clearly defined and measurable goal for your contest. For eg, are you looking for more sales, do you want to increase brand awareness, or are you creating buzz for a new product?
  • For the prize, have something valuable as a giveaway. Think about something that would entice your followers to participate. Apart from awarding the winners, you can also gratify some notable participants with useful goodies.
  • Identify the type of contest that would work best for your followers. According to Sprout Social, you can choose between four options – Q&As, retweet and follow, photo contests, and comment to enter. 
  • Clearly define the rules and guidelines of the contest to avoid bias, backchannel entry and disputes. Make sure you provide a link to the Terms & Conditions of the contest.
  • Use Twitter Analytics or third-party tools such as Sprout Social to measure the results of the contests and analyse the participation from your followers and general users.

7. Use Twitter analytics

Twitter Analytics can help you to track and view key metrics, such as gain or loss of followers, impressions, engagement rate, retweets, etc. The tool is available for both personal and business accounts. It can be useful for small businesses to make data-driven decisions about their social media strategy. You can access Twitter Analytics here.

Using the insights gained from Twitter Analytics, you can: 

  • Optimise your campaigns
  • Understand what your followers really want from your content
  • Track your growth
  • Understand the best time to post

What to track using Twitter analytics?

  • Top Tweet (text and with visuals)
  • Top mention
  • Top follower 
  • Summary of your Twitter profile’s activity for the month
  • Statistics for individual Tweet
  • Engagement rate – Retweets, Likes, Replies, Views on a video, etc
  • Link clicks
  • Completion rate (how many people watched the video till the end)
  • Total video minutes viewed
  • Retention rate
  • Data for Twitter Ads

💡Pro Tip: There is a Business Insights Dashboard which can be found in the Twitter for Business section under Advertising -> Analytics

Wrapping Up

Twitter is an essential social media platform for small businesses that can potentially provide access to millions of followers and customers. A business that leverages Twitter appropriately stands to gain a great amount of exposure. Twitter enables businesses to engage in meaningful and informative conversations with their followers. They can know their follower personas better instead of only promoting products and services. Twitter followers stand a strong chance to become potential brand ambassadors for your company. Besides gaining critical insights about followers, small business owners can use Twitter to build the personality of their brand. The platform can also be used effectively for providing customer support and gathering feedback. Lastly, it also helps in building a loyal community of customers.

GLOSSARY

  • Call-to-action (CTA): It is a prompt to get your audience to do something specific.It could be a button, a clickable image, or a link. Eg, create an account, join the group, etc
  • Peak posting time: This is the time at which the post/videos on social media platforms get the most likes, comments, views, and shares
  • Engagement Rate: It defines how actively users on social media interact with brands through likes, comments and sharing
  • Video Completion Rate: This is parameter which shows what percentage of viewers watch a video from start to finish.
  • Retention Rate: This is the percentage of people who continue to follow your social media profile over a given period of time (week, month, or quarter).

Prateek Joshi

Content & Social Media Manager at Tide

Tide Team

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