David Christopher wrote two posts on how NOT to get Twitter followers (here and here.) Most of his tips were focused on personal accounts. However, companies constantly face challenges getting Twitter followers themselves. Brands have a tougher mountain to climb because people are usually more willing to follow a person than a company. Some companies lack growth in their Twitter presence because they are committing one (or many) of the following mistakes:
- Only tweeting links – Sure, you want to appear like a thought leader in your industry by tweeting to blog posts, whitepapers, or other references that you publish on your site. But by only tweeting links and ignoring the “social” part of Twitter, you are simply a mass-media broadcaster. People want to interact, so you need to be willing to talk back.
- De-humanizing your brand – It’s clear that if you have a corporate Twitter account, it is part of an employee’s job to update that page. Just like I said above, people want to interact with a person. Introduce your followers to the people that operate the page. Some companies do this by having their picture as the avatar, some “tag” their tweets with initials (so ^AB would mean that I, Adam Britten, am tweeting), and some even link to their personal accounts. Southwest Airlines has this message in their bio: “Planes can’t type so @christimcneill is piloting the Twitterverse!”
- Not retweeting anyone – Chances are, you aren’t the only company in your industry who is on Twitter. Don’t be afraid to retweet content from your competitors from time to time. (Give appropriate credit to them, of course.) Twitter is a great way to build mutually-beneficial relationships between companies who previously were against interacting. Build your fan base together!
- Not following anyone – Companies can also be scared to follow people because they think that this is an “endorsement” of a person and that they can get into some sort of legal issue because of what their followers are tweeting. Start by identifying key influencers in your industry, already existing customers, and anyone else who your company has a relationship with OUTSIDE of Twitter, and then give them a follow. I’m personally ten times more likely to interact with a brand on Twitter that follows me back.
- Giving up quickly – Many companies try Twitter for a few weeks, or a few months, and then just stop. They haven’t seen enough growth in the early phase of joining the platform, so they immediately dismiss it as a waste of resources. Most companies (and people) with a lot of followers on Twitter have been on the network for a very long time. Especially with brands, it can take time to establish yourself and what you represent. Stick with it, and you’ll get better returns in the future. Twitter is NOT a quick-hit.