Getting your first 100 Twitter followers is not easy. We learned some techniques that work to get new accounts off of the ground!
In today’s world, maintaining an online presence is necessary for your business. This is true even for brick and mortar industries! When we started AnalyticsBox to help small businesses grow their online presence, we knew social media was a critical component of that. A large, active social media presence builds your brand and allows you to interact with customers and target audiences directly. But a strong social media presence also contributes in so many more ways than that! Social media can become a key traffic funnel in your customer pipeline. It is also a factor in Google’s search algorithm. A strong social media presence will help your website’s average placement on Google searches. In other words, social media helps grow your online presence in many ways.
Because our goal is to help businesses grow their online presence, social media optimization is a necessary offering for us. For our business, it would be uniquely important to demonstrate our value by having a strong presence on a variety of platforms.
Generally, we leverage analytics to generate insights that help small businesses grow. We can tell you what topics your posts should address, which customers you should target, and even which hashtags you should use in your content! But these insights grow more powerful with scale. We learned quickly that sophisticated algorithms are best once you have the size to leverage them to their fullest. An optimized social media strategy is better equipped to get you from 1,000 to 10,000 followers than 0 to 100. Everyone starts somewhere, and our account started off with 0 followers just like everybody else.
For us personally, Twitter has been a uniquely difficult platform for us to grow our reach quickly. Even with analytics at our disposal, it was a struggle to get our first 100 followers. After trying for ourselves as well as studying successful accounts, we learned a lot about what is required to gain traction early on Twitter. In this article, we are going to explore which strategies did and did not work on the road to our first 100 followers.
We initially created our Twitter account on April 24th, 2021. Our initial strategy on Twitter was pretty simple. We set up a profile that included a link to our website. There was a basic slogan in our description. We tweeted 2–3 times per week, usually sharing a blog post or promoting a new platform feature. Sometimes, we posted a poll question. On an average post, we were lucky to get 2–3 interactions from other accounts.
For a few months, we continued this strategy with no success. We made minor adjustments. We tweeted a bit more frequently. Occasionally, we commented on other accounts’ posts. We also tried to leverage our own data by using the hashtags that our algorithms recommended. Nothing was working. As of mid-September, all of the time we invested amounted to 13 total followers. We were not generating any website traffic from Twitter either. Our efforts up until that point had essentially been in vain.
Despite the lack of success, we did manage to make a few critical observations during this stretch of time:
- The followers that we did get came from when we directly commented on their content. These followers came from accounts where we gave our most direct, customized engagement. Giving basic comments such as “great post” or “very interesting” did not cut it. Only giving a relevant, thoughtful reply to a tweet encouraged a response from the user.
- Successful accounts seemed to post a lot more than we did. Accounts with 1,000+ followers in similar verticals were posting original tweets at least once per day. Perhaps more importantly, they were also retweeting a minimum of 10+ posts per day from other accounts. The retweets were relevant to their account, and for them it was simply a numbers game.
- Tagging other users directly on our tweets actually increased the likelihood that those users would interact with our account.
- Unlike other social media platforms, Twitter seemed uniquely informal. Using a “corporate” tone came off as inauthentic. Lowering the veil and being honest with our Twitter peers seemed to generate a positive reaction. The tweet below, for example, ended up getting us a couple of new followers. This was because we put our cards out on the table. We are a new business just trying to make it and we appreciate every user we have!
Finally Gaining Momentum
After regrouping and identifying the lessons we had learned, we started a shift in strategy. Within 2 weeks, we had our first 100 followers. The following were the primary components of our strategy:
- Increased Direct Engagement– For every tweet of our own, we had 15–20 retweets or comments on other posts. If it was a comment, it was specifically written with the intent of getting a response. If it was a retweet, it was relevant to our brand and industry.
- Followed Accounts First– For most of these retweets and comments, we would also “follow” the account. When we directly interacted with and followed an account, they were far more likely to follow us back.
- Targeted Large, Active Accounts– While we targeted a fair share of smaller businesses with less established presences, we did not shy away from large, active accounts. If we saw a large account that regularly engaged with other accounts, we targeted them every time.
- Monitored Follower Ratio– There is a perception that a business account with fewer followers than follows is less reputable or less respected. In order to avoid this label, we would routinely ensure the ratio stayed relatively balanced. Warning: Unfollowing too many other accounts at once is something that Twitter will penalize. We had to use this strategy carefully!
We immediately started gaining followers, but we also got a couple of larger short-term wins. For one, we got tagged in posts from a couple of the larger accounts we targeted. This gave us increased short-term exposure to their followers. Additionally, one of our own tweets ended up taking off and getting a few hundred interactions. We even acquired our first customer from Twitter! Now that is how you grow your presence online!
We still have a long way to go! We wasted no time focusing our attention on our next Twitter goal of 1,000 followers. Moving forward, we plan to continue our current strategy while we slowly begin to reintroduce analytics. This will help us determine topics we discuss, hashtags we use, and accounts we target. We are not losing sight of our goal of helping businesses grow their online presence. Check out our guide to learn some more strategies about acquiring more Twitter followers!