Twitter logoIf you’ve started using Twitter – or are yet to post your first tweet – and are worried about how to attract a following, I’ve put together my top 10 tips to help you along the way…

1. Be visible
It’s an obvious point to make, but make sure you add links to your Twitter account on your website, your blog, LinkedIn, Facebook and any other social media you use. And a really quick win – don’t forget to add it to your email signature and business cards too.

2. Show who you are and what you’re about
Adding an appropriate photo of yourself (don’t groan!) can help convince people to follow you. We’re all human and knowing just who we are interacting with really helps. Give people a reason to follow you by explaining your particular area of expertise in your profile. And it’s also useful to include where you’re based, especially if you tweet about local issues or events. People often like to do business with other local businesses too.

3. Be selective
There is a common belief that the more people you follow, the more people will follow you in return. It would be very easy to randomly follow hundreds of people, but just think how time consuming it would be to read their tweets, let alone respond to any, and what’s the point of following people who simply aren’t relevant to you? Be selective, avoid junk Twitter users and choose instead to follow people who have a relevance to your business. It may be slow to build, but you are far more likely to attract followers who will respect you. The old adage of quality over quantity is equally true on Twitter.

4. Keep your tweets focused
Unless you’re a celebrity it’s wise to avoid meaningless tweets – or to at least limit them. Some ‘small talk’ can help to convey your genuine personality, but be aware that very few people will interested whether that cup of coffee perked you up or if you’re stuck on a train – small talk will not win followers and is more than likely to lose the interest of anyone who has chosen to follow you.

5. Think about how you can add value
Closely connected with number 4, try to think business as much as possible in order to build your reputation. So think carefully about the content of your tweets and how they can provide information, advice and insight that will be valued by your followers.

6. Use the hashtag (#)
Hashtags are a bit like SEO key words and phrases. Think about the words people might use to search for Twitter users writing on your particular subject and turn them into hashtags e.g. I would use ‘#marketing’ in some of my tweets and anyone searching for that term will find me.

7. Be aware of hashtag trends
In the right hand pane of your Twitter page you’ll see a list called Trends – it means lots of people are tweeting with particular terms. Clicking on any of them will enable you to see what all Twitter users are posting with that particular hashtag. If you spot anyone that fits with your particular business interests it’s worth adding a comment – other people will then see your Tweet and hopefully be interested in what else you have to say.

8. Search for relevant tweets
Be strategic and search for people who are relevant to you – you can do this by looking for hashtags or searching generally. The more common ground you can create by following relevant people, the more likely they will want to also follow you. It’s also well worth looking at friends of friends of those you follow (or even those who follow you) – many will probably also share an interest in your theme.

9. Use @s
Engage with other users. You can use @s to ask questions, add comments to others’ opinions or offer answers to questions that have been posted. Creating a dialogue will often prompt people to follow you, particularly if you demonstrate sincerity in what you say.

10. Be nice!
Being sincere will stand you in good stead, as will being complimentary. Show people that you appreciate what they say, it makes the whole Twitter experience worthwhile and is likely to transform those you engage with into followers.

If you want to follow me I’m @SarahOrchardOMA – ‘see’ you on Twitter!