So you realized (a bit late compared to your competitors) that Twitter can not only be a great tool to maintain a connection between your brand and its customers but also a great source of leads? By this point we will assume that you already know how to set up a Twitter account, a profile and a banner picture as well as tweeting. Follow these extra steps in order to boost your engagement on Twitter as well as getting prospects to your website. These comments and ideas are valid whether you are addressing your target audience in English, in Vietnamese or any other language (Spanish, French etc.).
Twitter cards are not only for authority websites
A “Large Image Summary” type of Twitter card.
Twitter cards are rich snippets that show a preview of the content (links or videos for instance) that you are tweeting. Twitter cards provide a great value to your followers as they can get a glimpse of your content, which is why it must be optimized as well as possible. This include a great title and description but also a sharp high quality pictures or a great thumbnail if it is a video. If you are using WordPress, we definitely recommend using the SEO plugin SEO Ultimate as it allows you to set up Open Graph and Twitter cards on every pages/posts of your site. Twitter cards can be set up and authorized (you have to authorize your site with every type of card you are using) through here. This can also be a great place to test your new post before actually sharing it on Twitter. For more information on the different types of cards as well as 5 steps tutorials, check out this great documentation made by Twitter itself.
Twitter Analytic (see picture above) is a great and free tool that measures your engagement, whether it is clicks, favorites or retweets as well as analyze your followers. Indeed Twitter Analytic will provide you with the main location of your following base as well as their main interest. This is extremely useful as you want your followers to have their main interests linked with your product or service if you want them to actually click on your links and buy said product/service. Indeed offering SEO services with a main base of followers that are interested in Hip Hop would be pretty useless. Twitter Analytic will also show you what your most popular tweets (hence most popular content) were, as well as who your main influencers are, who’s sharing your content.
Getting your first followers as well as growing your Twitter account
So now you have set up and tested your Twitter cards, you got a great profile and banner picture as well, It is time to grow your account. Please note that we absolutely do not recommend buying Twitter, Facebook, Instagram or any other social media fake followers. These followers will cost you money for no engagement (whether they are clicks, retweets or comments) and will only hurt you more than anything in the long run. What do real users think when they see a Twitter account with a hundred thousand followers but absolutely no engagement? They unfollow it. Period. There’s always this mentality of “If I buy my first thousand followers, then my second thousand will come much faster”, which simply does not work. In fact we even saw a Vietnamese motorbike tours blog that bought a thousand followers with almost no engagement and only 931 followers ( as of March 3rd 2015). We believe that around 130 of these followers are real users, while the 800 are fake one (no tweets, Russian profiles with no pictures). So not only this account lost 200 fake followers, it only gained 130 real ones in 4 months. That’s not what we would call a successful Twitter strategy.
So how do you get followers on Twitter? Our strategy works in two steps. Please note that this is quite a passive strategy that will allow you to grow your Twitter account, perhaps not at the fastest speed but will allow you to not stay on the network 24/7.
Step 1: Follow popular accounts
When setting up your Twitter account, the social media will recommend you popular accounts to follow, celebrities, brands and organizations. Follow all of them, even the ones that are not related to your company (yes, even Justin Bieber). The reason why we recommend you to follow popular accounts is that it will help you gain more visibility online as you will now appear in the huge list of followers of celebrities and famous persons. Now you’re thinking that your Twitter home feed will be filled with things you don’t care about and you don’t want to see. Not to worry, Twitter actually has a “mute” option on every account, which means you can follow someone, but their tweets will never appear in your feed. We recommend using Manage Flitter as it is one of the best free tools to mute and unfollow in bulk. Please note that Twitter limits the number of accounts you can follow based on how many followers you currently have, which means that if you don’t have almost any followers at the time you will have a limit of 2000 followings. Regardless we’re not asking you to follow 2000 persons at the moment, 200 to 300 popular accounts (celebrities, newspaper, organizations and brands) are enough. The purpose here to gain your first followers, to grow your account. This will definitely help you getting up to 200, 250 followers (with unfortunately quite a lot of Twitter bots and fake accounts) in a couple of days. And the best part of it? It’s free. You are now getting followers and it is up to you to unfollow all of the unrelated popular accounts after an extended period of time or not. If you’re ready to spend an hour unfollowing and following back this 200 to 300 accounts, we recommend you doing that after a few months, you might get another 100 to 200 followers again.
Step 2: Follow (back) users that are only related to your brand or product
This step should happen once you’ve started tweeting (don’t worry, we will explain it right after that) daily. Your tweets will receive engagements (favourites, replies, retweets) and you will get new followers. But this time you’re not following back everyone, you should only follow accounts that are related to your brand, product or service. For instance if like us you are an online marketing and SEO agency in Vietnam specializing in social media in Vietnam, you will therefore only follow users that tweet about SEO, Social Media, or Marketing and the more related they are to Vietnam, the better. This step will allow you to gain a more targeted userbase, as you will only follow and follow back users related to your offering, you will get in return more followers based on said offering. This will definitely help you get more engagement as people that are interested in the same niche as you will see your tweets. You should also follow users that are sharing your content (or at least thanking them) as well as following top influencers in your niche (Neil Patel for SEO for instance).
How and what should I tweet?
Remember in the step 2 above we recommended you to follow only people related to your offering. You’re going to do the same here but not only for your product or service: indeed if you were tweeting about your amazing new product every few hours or so people are just going to think you are a spammer. We at Golden Speed SEO believe in the 80/20 rule, which means that 80% of the content you share on Twitter should be related to your your niche or your industry, while the 20% left should be your own content. Let’s take our example used above again: You’re a new SEO agency in Vietnam, you have just set up your Twitter account and you want to start tweeting. Following the 80/20 rule, 80% of your tweets should be about SEO, Online Marketing or Social Media (articles from SEJ, Moz or Quicksprout are an excellent and daily source of content) while the 20% left should be your own content, your own infographics, or blog articles. We recommend tweeting 5 times a day (4 tweets related to your niche, and 1 tweet to your content), with one tweet every 2 to 3 hours. Now you don’t want to come back to Twitter every 2/3 hours and think about what content should you share. We definitely recommend you to schedule your tweets in advance, you should plan 5 tweets for the day and start again tomorrow. Many tools are offering Tweets scheduling (Buffer notably). We recommend using the free tool Tweetdeck as there are no limits on how many Tweets you can schedule or how many accounts can be used with this Twitter-made tool as well. Tweetdeck can also be used to check the feeds,notifications, mentions or direct messages (DM) of multiple accounts too, pretty useful if you’re an SEO agency like us with 10 Twitter accounts to manage.
TweetDeck notifications feed for our Goldenspeed_SEO Twitter account.
Regarding the content you share (remember the 80/20 rule) we advise you to use Buzzsumo, another tool that will help you find fresh and trending content based on keywords. Signing up for a free account will allow you to get the most shared content in the last given period (24h, a week, a month or a year) on the main social networks based on your keywords (SEO, social media or marketing for the example above), definitely enough for your 5 tweets a day.
Buzzsumo free plan allows you to find the most SEO related content shared on Twitter in the last 24 hours.
Hashtags, one or two is enough
We obviously recommend you to use hashtags related to your niche in your tweets (in our example we would use the hashtags #SEO, #Socialmedia or even #OnlineMarketing #SEOVietnam) but we do not recommend you to fill your tweets with hashtags. In fact this infographic by Quicksprout mentioned that tweets with more than 2 hashtags have seen their engagement drop by an average 17% (Quicksprout 2015)
A tweet that include 7 hashtags and 2 links. Who’s going to click that?
You’re ready, start Tweeting!
You now know how to gain free and relevant followers as well as getting engagement. Following this strategy allows us to gain SEO leads by the end of January (our account was created early November). Our client (a Vietnamese motorbike street-food tour agency) got several bookings made by visitors coming through Twitter, because A) we followed every Travel related and Vietnam news accounts on Twitter and B) We constantly tweet about travel and exotic Vietnamese food. Remember to check your Twitter analytic often to see any improvements in your followers main interests as well as engagement (impressions, favorites and so on).