Twitter for Business Step-By-Step Guide: How to Grow your Following on Twitter

social media 2The number one rule of growing your following on Twitter – one that nobody seems to talk about – is this:  If you want quality followers, follow quality people.  And don’t just follow…Interact.

What hooks people is conversations – interesting comments and fascinating, wise, witty or provocative responses.  No matter how excellent your content, if your feed is nothing but a one-way tweet, with you posting and never bothering to respond to people who reply to your posts or retweet them, you will make the very people who are trying to engage with you feel invisible (and slightly silly, if they’re very sensitive).

Nothing turns people off more than being ignored (it can be embarrassing and annoying).

Granted, we’re all so used to Twitter feeds now that we’re not exactly crushed if someone misses one of our responses.  In fact, if we’re honest, most of us will admit to forgetting our own tweets to the point where we have to view the “conversation” to remember what our follower is replying to.  But here’s a tried-and-true rule of thumb:

  • The newer followers are to the web or to a niche, the more likely they are to be put off by being ignored

Another one for you:

  • If you have tweeted about an emotionally-charged issue (emotionally-charged for your follower, that is) and ignore their response, the more likely you will alienate them

And even the most confident person on the planet isn’t going to waste their valuable time if they respond to your tweets and all they get back is…empty air.


Actively initiating, joining and maintaining conversations is the best way to get started in growing a valuable, active following.


Step 1.  Decide on Your Objectives

But don’t just fire off shots at random:  First make some conscious decisions.

  • What do you want your Twitter feed and profile to do for you?  For your followers?
  • How can Twitter improve your branding?
  • What is your “identity”?  Your unique persona and “voice”?


  • What do you want your followers to do?  (E.g. visit your website, buy a product, listen to your talk radio show, etc.)
  • What can you do for your followers?  How can you help them?
  • What do you love about your business?  Your followers?  Your niche?
  • What do your followers love about your niche?  Your business?  You?
  • What do your followers care about?  Have problems with?
  • What makes them sign up?
  • What makes them share and retweet?
  • What makes them buy?

Taking time to answer these questions carefully and thoughtfully will automatically help focus your own Twitter posts, retweets and responses.


Step 2. Top Ten ElevenTwitter Mistakes

Before we look at ways to grow your following, it’s important to know what mistakes to avoid.  The reason?

Most people make them.  It’s as simple as that, so let’s start with the biggie that we’ve just discussed…

  1. Not acknowledging mentions, replies, tweets addressed directly to you or retweets. (It’s called “self-absorbed tweeting” when you consistently never respond.)
  2. Posting too many tweets in one day (or even in one hour) so that you jam up your followers’ feeds.
  3. Making inconsistentappearances – People soon give up on tweeters who are there one day and absent for several weeks.
  4. Going dormant.  When you disappear off the Twitter grid, people simply forget you.
  5. Not realizing that a portion of your audience most likely prefers Twitter to the point of not using other social networks (especially if they are mobile addicts)


  1. Retweeting the first vaguely acceptable tweet or link you come across, usually just for the sake of posting something
  2. Auto-posting 100% of the time via a social media manager or app
  3. Not remaining on Twitter for at least ten minutes after you post something, retweet or reply to something
  4. Not varying your tweet types or media.  For example, always posting links to blog posts.  Never posting photographs or infographics
  5. Not leaving room in your tweets for retweets and comments
  6. Not making your posts interactive enough.  (That includes using calls-to-action.)

In order to capture a follower’s attention and make them want to respond (or at least check out your profile), it has to trigger that follower to respond.

In the next step, we’ll talk about effective ways to motivate them in engaging.


Step 3. Top Ten Twitter Tactics for Making Friends

As a famous starship captain once said: “Engage!”  That’s a word that’s become somewhat overused in the last couple of years, but it doesn’t make the principle any less true.

We’ve spoken about the importance of taking part in the conversation and being present on a consistent basis in the Twitter stream:  Now let’s look at some specific techniques to increase follows.

  1. Vary your tweet media, types and content.  Your Twitter feed will feel more natural if you mix photos with the odd blog post link with the odd question or offer.
  2. Decide in advance what response you want from viewers.  Then actively invite it.
  3. Ask irresistible questions.
  4. Always answer questions.  This is one of the most effective steps you can take – and it really will set you apart from the Twitter horde.
  5. Share information your followers will find priceless generously.

And do it for free.

  1. Make it social and friendly.


  1. Never swear or use coarse language.  That includes giving yourself permission to have a day “off” from always being polite – after all, the person saying “#$(%*” is you, right?
  2. Use events to generate extra interest in your Twitter profile even while you are using Twitter to generate extra interest in your event.  (But remember to seamlessly keep up the connection after the event is over!)
  3. Use tools like Social Oomph to track keywords, create an extended Twitter profile, create a personal Tweet stream in either RSS, XML or JavaScript format, and more


  1. Be positive.  Negativity leads to self-absorption (or vice-versa).  Either way, negativity kills engagement and triggers Unfollows.


Step 4.  Spread the Word

11-megaphoneHere’s another point that’s frequently missed: Who do you want to spread the word to?  Potential customers or clients, right?

If that’s your objective, make sure you follow:

  • Potential customers and clients
  • Positive, enthusiastic competitors (they will share your tweets, if you share theirs)
  • Focused, relevant peers
  • Industry or niche experts
  • Fun, fascinating people
  • Accredited authority sources

The old maxim is true:  Like attracts like.

Once you have everyone in the same room, actively encourage them to spread the word about you to their friends, clients, customers and peers.

Do this by:

  • Being irresistibly re-tweetable. 

If it’s a tip you’re sharing, make sure it’s one they won’t be able to resist passing on (and gaining glory for sharing)

  • Make your followers look like heroes.

Recognize and applaud their accomplishments.  Give them credit, when credit is due.  Thank them for tips or services. Recommend them (and say why) on #FF (“Follow Friday” – a Twitter tradition of giving shout-outs about your favorite Twitter people, to help each other grow traffic).


  • Write for the press.

News media people are more active on Twitter than you might think.  (Just look at some of your own radio or TV news channels and take note of how often they lift news from Twitter accounts).

So at least once in every six tweets, sit down and ask yourself the same question you ask whenever you write a press release:  “Is it newsworthy?”

No, you may not get your profile promoted on the national news:  But you could get your tweet shared on an authority blog or online magazine.

  • Integrate and share your content.

Another way to attract followers and spread the word:  Ensure they see your Twitter tweets (and know you’re available to follow) by integrating your twitter badges, icons, buttons and widgets on other site profiles and especially on your blog or website itself.

  • Use graphic media to increase shares

Twitter has noted the advantage Pinterest and Facebook provided with their graphics-sharing capabilities, and has gone out of its way to ensure that Twitter users can now easily share graphics and even video too.


Graphics catch attention and create more engagement, so make sure you include a healthy dose of graphic media in your Twitter feed.

  • Find more followers using apps and online tools

Using tools like Twtrland and ManageFlitter can streamline and fast-track finding targeted peopled to follow – and potential followers.


Don’t rush finding more followers.  And above all, don’t blindly follow or encourage spammers.  Twitter is not about the numbers, and the only people who really care about how many followers you actually have are statisticians and spammers.

Go for quality, post quality tweets, share and use tools wisely – and your following will grow at a healthy pace.

Top 10 Benefits to Integrating Your Social Media

social_media_integrationIf you’re serious about social media, you need to be using social media integration tools. If you’re not using these tools, you’ll be wasting a lot of time while inefficiently managing your social media. You’ll have a harder time connecting with your followers and won’t be able to build your connections as easily.

The reality is, using the default settings on tools like Twitter and Facebook work for the majority of social media users, but aren’t terribly effective for a business with a strong social media strategy.

For example, Twitter and Google’s tools won’t natively allow you to schedule your posts. Instead, you can only post only the moment you post a status update. That makes it impossible to “pre-send” your messages for the next few days at one time.

Still not convinced? Here are the top 10 benefits to integrating your social media.

Benefit #1: Post across Multiple Social Sites at Once

Instead of having to log into your various Twitter accounts, your Facebook pages, your Facebook accounts, your LinkedIn accounts and so on to post status updates individually, with social media integration you can just post to all of them in one place.

This can literally save you dozens or even hundreds of hours over the course of a year.

With social media integration, posting one status update to 5 different social media sites takes just 30 seconds. Without integration, just loading up and posting that update to 5 different sites will take a few minutes. However, if you have to log out of Twitter and into a different account every time, it could easily result in 5 to 15 minutes wasted per update.

If you’re updating several times a day, or even just several times a week, this very quickly turns into a lot of time saved.


Benefit #2: See Your @Replies, Direct Messages and FB Messages in One Place

With social media management, you get to see all your messages in one place. You can then reply to all your messages in one place as well.

If you had all your messages scattered over numerous Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn accounts, chances are responding to all the messages would simply take far too long.

Furthermore, they would weigh on you psychologically. You won’t ever really know if your inboxes are empty, because it’s too much effort to log into all your accounts to check.

With an integrated social media strategy however, you’ll know exactly how many messages you have at any given time. They’ll be visible from your feeds.

You’ll be able to respond to messages faster, which creates more of the impression that you really care about the people who communicate with you.


Benefit #3: Schedule Posts

With just about every social media website, you can’t schedule posts. You can’t tell Twitter to post tweets every two hours. Instead, you have to log into the site and post your tweets exactly when they want to go out.

This is fine for the casual user, but terrible for a serious social media marketer with a lot on his plate. One strategy you’ll often want to use is to sit down for 30 minutes and hammer out all your posts for the next few days.

With an integrated social media strategy, all you need to do is go into your tools and create the new posts. You can drip-feed your content at any rate you choose. You can schedule posts for multiple social media accounts all at once.

This capability alone is really enough for any serious social media marketer to use social media integration.


Benefit #4: Integrate Blogging and Email Marketing

Your social media strategy should be integrated with your blogging and email marketing strategies.

That means that whenever you post a new blog post, you should send out a tweet about it. Whenever you send out a new email, if there’s high quality content in that email, you should probably post a status update or send out a tweet as well.

This also works as a two-way street. If you regularly post valuable content to your social media communities, you should try to find a way to bring that content to your blog. For example, you might use widgets to put your Twitter feed on your website so your website visitors can see your latest 10 tweets.

Treat your whole social media, blogging and email marketing audience as one whole community, rather than segregated marketing tactics. Using social media integration will allow you to integrate blogging, email marketing and social media into one seamless strategy.

Benefit #5: Manage Social Media as a Team

Trying to manage social media as a team and execute a complex, multi-tiered strategy without social media integration is extremely difficult.

With integration tools, you can easily all stay on the same page about your social media strategies.

Various team members can schedule posts ahead of time and other team members can see what’s going to be posted in the future and adjust accordingly. Reports and analytics can inform a whole team’s decisions and the team can work as a whole to respond to follower inquiries.

Without social media integration, the time wasted on logging in and out of various sites is compounded. Each team member wastes a few minutes here and there logging in, which at the end of the day translates to massive wasted time for the company.

Furthermore, there’s no inherent way to work together in native social media platforms. Facebook isn’t really built for a team to execute a strategy together; but most social media integration tools are.

Benefit #6: Competitive Research & Feed Management

Social media integration tools will allow you to track a number of different feeds in a very simple manner. This is a fantastic way to stay on top of what’s going on in an industry.

For example, let’s say you’re in the electronics industry. You might want to regularly follow a couple different feeds about the latest electronics discoveries. You also want to follow feeds from your competitors to see what they’re offering.

You want to follow these feeds across Twitter and Facebook. If you had to use just Twitter and Facebook, you’d have to visit the individual pages or hashtags every time you wanted to check up on these companies or technologies.

That takes a lot of time. Chances are, you just won’t be able to keep up that level of research on a regular basis.

On the other hand, with social media integration tools, you’ll be able to keep those feeds all on a dashboard for easy viewing. You can easily observe new trends and see when new big topics are being discussed.

Social media integration makes competitive research and staying on top of an industry much, much easier.

Benefit #7: Unique Analytics and Reporting Capabilities

Different social media integration tools offer different reporting capabilities. These reporting tools can often report cross platform, giving you unique data that none of the sites couple independently give you.

For example, let’s say you wanted to explore the clickthrough data from your Facebook page. You want to know what kind of posts and what kind of media generates the highest clickthrough.

That’s something that Facebook’s insights can give you. However, what Facebook’s insights can’t give you is data on how those customers then behave once they’re on your website. They can’t tell you if they stay for longer or shorter than the typical browser.

Social media integration tools can give you this kind of data and more.

Furthermore, if you’re managing social media for clients, you can even brand the reports so it looks like it was generated internally rather than through external tools.

Benefit #8: Share Relevant News and Breakthroughs Quickly

Sometimes getting the edge in business truly is time sensitive. If you run a financial advisory firm and Google’s stock suddenly takes a 10% nosedive, the very first firm to be able to put out a comprehensive analysis is probably going to get a whole lot of traffic and backlinks.

With something like this, the difference of just 30 minutes can be worth hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Often time’s responding to big news can be crucial to your business. If you’re in the music business, Michael Jackson’s death should have been considered big news that you should have responded to. It would have generated a lot of discussion and connection with your audience.

Sharing these kinds of news responses and big breakthroughs is extremely difficult if you had to log into and post manually to all your social media connections. On the other hand, if you’ve integrated your social media platforms, you’ll be able to quickly and easily respond to urgent situations all in one place.

Benefit #9: Discover New People to Follow

Using social media integration is a great way to find new people to follow. There are both formal and informal ways to do this.

Some tools, such as Sprout Social, actually have deliberate tools designed to help you find new people to follow. They’ll explore feeds of people who you’ve interacted with in the past, as well as feeds of influencers. Then they’ll determine what kind of topics you tend to be interested in and make recommendations if there’s a match.

This is great for finding new sources of advice, news and interaction. It’s also a great way to find new influencers to reach out to, in order to see if there’s a way you can work together.

Even if you don’t use these deliberate tools, social media integration can still help you find new people to follow. By integrating your feeds, you’ll be able to spot “super fans” who’re interacting with you across multiple media.

You’ll also start to recognize names that are showing up across different feeds frequently. For example, if people are regularly talking about the ideas of Joe Smith, you might want to check out Joe Smith’s feed to see what he has to offer.

Benefit #10: Updates by Email

What if you don’t want to spend ages on social media? What if social media is only part of your overall business plan and you don’t want to dedicate too much time to it?

Social media integration can definitely help there. Instead of having to log into your various social media platforms to make sure your networks are alive and healthy, you can use email updates instead.

Tools like Nutshell Mail will mail you reports about how your social media networks are performing. If problems arise or if your engagement levels are trending downwards rather than upwards, you’ll be able to quickly spot it. If they’re going up however, you don’t need to spend too much time checking on it. Instead, you just receive a quick email daily.

These are some of the many benefits of integrating your social media. The message is clear: If you run a business and plan on using social media as part of your strategy, you’ll probably want to seriously think about integrating your social media. There are immense benefits and very few drawbacks.