Search for people in your industry

Twitter has excellent search function, though it’s not that easy to find so here’s a link.

Use it to search for people who have relevant keywords in their bios or for brands that you know to be competitors in your industry.

Follow anyone who is high profile in your sector and also look at who among their followers you might want to engage with.

By following all these people you can begin to work out the type of content that they are sharing, which solves two problems.

  1. It can inform your own content marketing strategy.
  2. You can begin sharing similar content and enter into conversations with influencers to increase your own exposure.

For more detailed information on this tactic, read my six step guide for using Twitter for competitor analysis.

Tweet a lot

Studies have shown that people who tweet frequently attract more followers. There’s no magic number you should be aiming for, but it makes sense that if you don’t say anything then nobody will notice you.

This doesn’t mean that you should just tweet mundane updates about your day just to ensure your feed stays active, but take the time to plan ahead and come up with a content strategy for the type of things you want to share with your audience.

Once you have a strategy in place you can throw in spontaneous tweets to make sure you retain some personality and relevance.

Be useful

This is easier said than done, but it ties into the previous point about looking at what your competitors are talking about.

By keeping an eye on what is driving conversation in your industry you can make sure you are sharing content that will be of interest and gain you attention.

Though a minority of brands can get away with having quirky feeds that are purely set up to entertain their followers, the general rule of thumb is that you have to provide useful, interesting content if you want to attract followers.

Have some personality

Ultimately people want to know that they’re following a person rather than a robot or an RSS feed, so don’t be afraid to inject some personality into your tweets.

Just because you’re tweeting from a business account that doesn’t mean you can’t have fun with it.

Alongside sharing Econsultancy blog content and product information, our head of social Matt Owen keeps the company’s followers entertained by tweeting about his own interests and what’s going on in the Econsultancy office.

As a result we’ve now got more than 166,000 followers and counting, which is pretty good for a B2B digital marketing company. 

Use a timesaving tool

It can be very difficult to find the time to tweet throughout the day, unless you want to churn out boring tweets about what you’re having for lunch.

But fear not, because help is at hand in the form of Hootsuite. This free tool allows you to schedule your tweets in advance, so you can allocate a few hours each week to coming up with ideas instead of doing it piecemeal throughout the day.

You obviously can’t solely rely on this tactic but it gives a good basis so you’re not constantly worrying about coming up with the next tweet.

Search for relevant topics

Presumably when starting your business you did some keyword research to find terms and topics to target for SEO? If not, then put it high on your to-do list.

Once you have a set of keywords that are relevant to your business, search for them on Twitter to identify people who might be having conversations that you can get involved with.

This requires a degree of delicacy as you don’t want to just go barging into private conversations all over Twitter, but use your best judgement and decide whether you can contribute something useful or amusing to an interaction.

And most importantly, do not just spam people with links to your website and product pages. Remember that Twitter is about soft sales and having conversations with people so don’t turn into a spammer.

Tweet when your audience is online

In order to maximise the chances of your tweets being seen and shared make sure to be active when your audience is online.

In general this means avoiding tweeting late at night or too early in the morning, which should be fairly obvious.

There have been numerous studies into the exact time of day that people are most active on Twitter, most of which can be found by doing a quick Google search, but this infographic gives a good overview of activity levels on all the main social networks.

Join a Twitter chat

Twitter chats seem to becoming more popular recently, certainly as far as celebrity Q&As are concerned.

But there are also a number of industry-specific Twitter chats that are worth tuning in to that will allow you to gain exposure among people in your sector.

Again, it’s about having an opinion and engaging in conversations rather than simply spamming these Twitter chats with promos for your own business.

If you happen to work in ecommerce then I recommend listening in to the #EcomChat Twitter conversations hosted each Monday by Dan Barker and James Gurd.

Tweet pictures

Visual content is king on social media as it’s eminently more shareable than text alone. And more shares means more exposure, which in turn helps to increase your follower count.

This is even more important now that Twitter automatically shows image previews as it allows you to grab extra space and attention.

Without wishing to open myself up to accusations of always focusing on major brands, look at Burberry’s Instagram feed for a good example of how to use images to increase engagement. 

Ignoring the glossy images of fashion shoots and celebrities, the attractive photos of London are the type of content that any brand could snap and share to add some personality to their Twitter feed.