How to Build Your Twitter TribeDo you want to build a loyal and engaged Twitter following (a tribe if you will)?
If so, this article is for you. It will show you how to find people and what to do to engage them.
Find the right people—build the right communityThis is a tricky headline. As if there’s something like the “right” community waiting for you out there. Yet focusing firmly on the people you want to interact with will pay off greatly. Following those who show a real connection to your niche is key to getting the return out of your Twitter conversations.
A fundamental question when creating your own tribe is to ask yourself, “Whom can I help on Twitter?”
That’s right, instead of saying “Who could help me?” or “What will I achieve?”, Twitter is a place to extend your reach by helping others. Stop thinking about yourself and start thinking about other people first. This is the most important lesson I ever learned.
You’ll be amazed how this will boost your influence on Twitter. For example, @MackCollier, a true Twitter pundit, covered this topic in more detail here.
Where to find the right peopleOver the course of Twitter’s 5 years of existence, many very helpful directories have been created. They are a great source to find new and interesting people.
A very detailed one is TweetDeck’s Directory of Twitter users, where you can easily navigate through your fields of interest and pick those you want to connect with.
Another great source is WeFollow, which again offers simple ways for you to find the right users in the right niche for you.
If you’re writing a blog, a very simple way to connect with new people is to take a look at who retweets your posts. Backtweets is a great tool to find this out. Put your post’s URL into Backtweets and get in touch with the folks retweeting your post.
Chances are high they’re exactly the people you’ve been looking for to extend your followership.
Be aware of Twitter etiquetteOne thing that can easily put you in a bind with someone on Twitter is if you ignore certain Twitter etiquette rules. If you’re an expert in your niche, but are not quite aware how best to interact with others on Twitter, it can turn out to be a real disaster.
A few rules are:
- Include the person’s username when retweeting their tweet—give them credit for the content they shared.
- Reply in a timely manner—Twitter is very spontaneous, so make sure to be there for @replies if you’re tweeting something. Particularly if you schedule a few tweets.
- Thank others for retweeting your tweets. Give them a quick note of appreciation that they found your content worth sharing with their community.
- If the above gets very time-consuming, you might want to try replying to those who edited the retweet and showed particular appreciation for your tweet.
- If you tweet articles, include the authors’ names. Give them credit for their work.
Create amazing content on TwitterIt has long become clear that Twitter is no longer a black hole we communicate to one-way; actually we get lots of user engagement out of it.
One technique I found very helpful is to think of tweets like small blog posts. It was the infamous @TweetSmarter that mastered this technique. For nearly every article they tweet, they create their own headline aligning it with their community’s interest. This became hugely successful, which made me pay close attention to every tweet posted.
You don’t need to dedicate the time to a tweet that you would give a full blog post. But there are a few simple things you can do to make your tweets achieve a better reach among your followers.
Whenever you tweet an article, try to link it with the interests of your community.
This means that sometimes the title of the article will fit this purpose very well, sometimes it won’t. Try finding a quote in the article that particularly relates to your community’s and followers’ interests.
Twitter is all about creating a personal connection; try to leverage what you know about your followers. I found that it pays off greatly with higher engagement.
Be time-efficientSpending hours and hours on Twitter can be a great deal of fun, yet it can also turn out to be a very dangerous waste of your time when you should be doing other things for your business.
So creating an efficient work pattern on Twitter is key to getting the most out of it.
One way to reduce the time spent without trading off your impact is tweet scheduling. A vital part of scheduling tweets is to get the right balance between spontaneous tweets and scheduled ones.
Another big timesaver for me is Twitter Lists. Especially if you reach a point when it becomes hard to keep track of your timeline.
One way I like to use lists is to create certain interest field lists—say, for example, “Marketers and Bloggers.”
I can now fill them up with people I follow who are great thought leaders in that area. Keeping track of them is super-simple and hassle-free.
Are you good at Twitter?Over to you now. Which steps are you taking to be successful on Twitter? Do you think the above-mentioned steps will work for you too? Let’s start a discussion. Leave your questions and comments below.
Leon Widrich is the co-founder of BufferApp.com (a Twitter app) and also publishes Twitter tips on the BufferApp blog, where he loves to connect and build relationships. Connect @leowid. Other posts by Leon Widrich »