Growing Your Twitter Followers, As Easy As 1-2-3

Accessible Twitter website icon

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

You finally leaped over the legal team, juked past the IT group and came up with the perfect Twitter handle. Your transportation agency is now part of the mobile/social web. Your agency has a Twitter feed.  Congratulations!

Now, all you need are people to know you exist.

We can argue at length about the best Twitter metrics, but for most in our business, “followers” matter. And we all need them.

So how do you go from brand new to the newest “thing?” Here are three easy steps that should help grow your audience.

1. Research: Check out who is important in your area of interest, either geographically or by subject expert. Follow them. Pay attention to what the conversations are about. Notice what hashtags they use. Are there reporters already using Twitter who you care to connect with? Note that, too.

2. Have a take: Now that you know what matters to your new community, begin to share information that is interesting and unique. Content is king in nearly all contexts and Twitter is no different. Remember, this is not Shakespeare. You will not win a Pulitzer for this stuff. But give your updates some thought and share news and details that people will come back for.

3. Engage: Here is the rubber meeting the road. As you deliver outstanding information, you also must connect with others. Use hashtags that matter to your audience. Send messages to those reporters you care about. Re-tweet influential people in your space. Be real and have personality. Share information regularly and at times when most of your audience has the opportunity to see if. Use humor, and consider thanking others for re-tweets and mentions. You are joining a community, act like you enjoy being there.

I recommend establishing a realistic monthly goal for your Twitter feed based on your anticipated audience and your anticipated level of engagement. Go ahead and keep track of whether you are on target. If you see that certain topics build followers – or better yet re-tweets, mentions or other signs of engagement – make a note. That might be good material to return to later, or good information to share more regularly.

Building a Twitter following is much like living in a neighborhood. You have to know your neighbors. You have to know what people care about. And, if you want to build your network, you have to carry on a conversation.

Do those things and you will be surprised at how far your Twitter list will grow.

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About Lloyd Brown

I am the director of communications for the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials. I enjoy running marathons and triathlons, playing guitar and spending time with family. My professional interest is in how social media and new technology shapes the communication relationship between government and the general public. I have a Master’s degree in Communications and Leadership from Gonzaga University in Spokane and a bachelor’s degree in Communications from Washington State University.
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