Building a quality audience on Twitter

Reaching a large audience is fantastic, but it’s even better if your audience is interested in what you have to say.

Obviously what you say and how you say it will have a massive effect on retaining your audience (and, we hope, converting a number of them into loyal customers!) But how do you find your audience in the first place?

Before you can find your audience you have to know who they are. I recently did some work for a hair salon and, much as she may have done with any other pr or marketing consultants, we spent quite some time establishing the characteristics of the bulk of her current clients to build a picture of possible new ones. As it is one salon, not a chain, one of the key points for her is, of course, geography.

Having decided that her main clients are professional women between the ages of 25 – 60 that live in the Ipswich locality I could then begin searching for people who matched this description and extend the hand of friendship to them.

The way to search for people who fall into your ‘ideal client’ category varies depending on the channel you are using, twitter is different to facebook and LinkedIn is different to both! Today I’ll just look at Twitter, but it is important on all sites not to limit yourself to just your ‘ideal client’. At the end of the day none of us know what wonderful things can come from a chance meeting whether real or virtual so keep the doors to opportunity open!

The most important thing you can do to gain followers on twitter is to follow people yourself! Twitter tries to help you find people to follow, on your home page is a link called ‘who to follow’ which will generally list twitter accounts based on who you follow, it also has a tab marked ‘browse interests’ where you will find suggestions based on the interests/categories of tweeters – these are usually big hitters though and most of them won’t follow you back! The third tab on the page is marked ‘find friends’ and this is where you will find the links for you to search for people you already know through your email account and through LinkedIn etc
Also, on your profile page is a link called ‘similar to you’, which, as you may expect, lists people that are like you in some way.

I’m not a fan of twitter’s search facility, but despite it’s failings there are still ways to use it to your advantage. Whatever your speciality is set up searches that point to people who you can help. For example, a few days ago I saw a tweet asking how to find the # symbol on a Mac. If I sold Mac’s, fixed them, or ran computer-training courses for a living I would have that term as one of my searches so I could reply straight away and solve the tweeters problem. I would not try to sell to them at all. I would just solve their problem, hopefully this would begin a relationship where they felt they could ask me for help again in the future, and eventually when they are in the Market for my services I would be the first person they would think of.

Adding yourself to a twitter directory such as We Follow or Twellow is easy, and as long as you consider the terms you want to be searchable for it can be effective. The key here is to put yourself into that SEO mindset, ask yourself “if I was my ideal client and I wanted to find me what would I type into Google?” But remember, they may be looking at you as a potential customer not as a potential service provider! As we often like to do business with our neighbours I strongly recommend that one of the keywords you use is the county you live in!

Here’s a list of twitter directories for you if you want to list yourself. And may you find many followers through them!


About GemLThompson

Gemma Thompson is the author of the best-selling “The British Book of Social Media Marketing”. She is a full time social media consultant and loves helping businesses grow. When she’s not working she can often be found watching Dr Who with her teenage daughter or indulging in a spot of inept D.I.Y (but no, she still hasn’t managed to make her house bigger on the inside than it is on the outside!)
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