This post is part of a series on growth hacking (How our startup is growth hacking its way to success… and how you can copy us!)
In this article I’ll show you some simple but effective methods to:
- Find and target the right Twitter influencers;
- Connect with them;
- And get them to share your message.
Why you should target the right people on Twitter
It’s common knowledge that Twitter has become a very powerful platform, and its popularity continues to rise. However, like anything else in marketing, you have to know how to target the right people.
When you launch a SaaS like ours or e-commerce website one of the main challenge is to draw traffic to your site, and most importantly to get the ‘right’ people.
So, referring to Twitter, if you have (say) 200,000 followers that certainly looks impressive, but how would you feel about having just a fraction of that number with the same level of engagement, taking a fraction of the time to nurture and build?
As we know – time is money!
What’s in it for you? Well, by using the tools and strategies mentioned in this article, you’ll get more links/mentions, more social shares and more traffic; resulting in more business leads.
How to Target the Right Influencers on Twitter
When thinking about your Twitter account and methods for targeting users, you must venture outside the normal methods of looking at your ideal audience.
The market you’re involved in has a demographic of customer you’re aiming to reach. When you’re just getting started – meaning you have no audience or following – it means you’ve got some serious work to do in order to get your business to where it must ultimately be in order to be successful in the market place.
Fortunately for you, there are other blogs and businesses that currently have an established base of users that your target customer falls into, so this is the place for you to begin. Using these people, you can create an active and strong following that will be happy to share your content and assist in generating more leads.
We’ll divide these blogs and businesses into the separate types of users you’ll be targeting; remembering there is bound to be some crossover amongst them.
Who are your industry influencers? They’re the companies and people who carry the most weight in your industry, and it’s these who must be your first and top-priority.
What you want to do is find who they are and follow them on Twitter.
Industry influencers will typically have all the following –
- An impressive following on social media;
- Lots of social media engagement, through Facebook comments, retweets, and so on; and
- Active engagement on their blog, such as comments and shares.
In your industry, whose opinion do you value, and which blogs are you subscribed to?
This will give you a pretty clear idea of who you believe is an industry influencer. If you have faith in someone’s opinion, it’s highly likely other people do too.
A great and simple way to discover and compile a list of top blogs in your industry is to use Alltop
The majority of these blogs will have an associated Twitter account. Simply visit each and every blog and look for the author’s Twitter account.
I recommend you find a way to organise the people you’ll follow. I like to use Twitter lists to organise the people I follow. Here is a great article on how to use Twitter lists)
Now go deeper, and expand your list as much as you can. You’ll have a much better chance of your brand name, share, or content going viral when you actually connect with these influencers on Twitter, and your brand or business will soon be perceived as an authority in your industry.
Of course the better you understand your industry the easier this is, but it’s important that you don’t just list the first few names; these are what are known as trophy influencers. Yes, of course you’d love these people to mention your business or share your content, but in fact you need a much more extensive list to work with.
Don’t assume that because someone has only (say) 100 Twitter followers they don’t influence other people, because that would be a mistake.
What is an Amplifier? An Amplifier is a Twitter power user and it’s important that you target them because they’re –
- 86% more likely to tweet;
- Twice as likely to be following more than 20 brands;
- 54% more likely to follow Twitter on their mobile phone; and
- Most likely to share or retweet your content or status updates.
(For anyone interested, these statistics are taken from a Twitter and Compete survey completed last year)
It’s certainly true that it would be difficult to put these Twitter users into a demographic, however there is a tactic that can be used to determine exactly who these amplifiers are in your industry:
Get the URL of a blog post from an influential blog in your specific industry and head to http://topsy.com.
You’ll be able to see exactly who shared the post and most importantly Topsy also notes which users will be influential.
You should understand at this point that there will almost always be a crossover between influencers and amplifiers.
Now that you know who could amplify what you have to say. Follow these users and add them to one of your lists.
Connecting, and Getting People to Share Your Content
You are now following a number of influential people and amplifiers.
That’s a great start but these people don’t know about you so you need to connect with them. Here are some handy tips on how to connect with amplifiers, influencers and other members of your target audience.
Basically, your first step should be to engage in conversation. Then, you can use this to refer content directly to people you believe will enjoy it. It’s best to avoid using direct messages for this because they’re widely used by spammers: many people just focus on @mention; and of course the main benefit is that they show you’re real.
Retweet Their Updates
This is the perfect way to get yourself on a Twitter user’s radar; at the same time sharing quality content with your own followers.
Comment on Something They Tweeted
It can make a huge difference if you write a post about something a Twitter user has said: of course it must be something that portrays them in a positive light. You only have 140 characters, so if they ask a question that you can’t answer in that many characters then you should go for a blog post. Remember to let them know about it by embedding their tweet and @mention them.
Share Blog Posts and @mention Them in the Tweet
Everyone is happy when someone likes their content enough to share it, but if you forget to @mention them in the tweet it’s highly likely they’ll never even know that you shared it. You just become a number on the Tweet counter, and that’s of no use.
Link to Their Blog Posts: Tell Them About It: Ask Them to Share
Outsourcing link building is very time consuming and can often become quite costly. People are going to be pleased and appreciative that you link out to them, and if the link ultimately generates traffic that’s even better because your site will show up under referrals in their analytics. This, in turn, offers the incentive for that person to continue promoting a social relationship with you. So, it’s important then that, when you link to them and ask them to share, you tell people.
We know that some people always share posts they’re mentioned in because they know the impression it gives when their followers see that other people value their opinion, however, unfortunately most people don’t instinctively share, so you must ask! You’ll probably get 20 – 30% more shares if you include a Call to Action and ask the user to share.
Perhaps They’d Like You to Guest-Post on Their Blog?
Do you have an idea or opinion, or know how to do something that you believe will help your target audience, including the audience of an influencer’s blog? Why not suggest you write for them? This will put all the attention directly onto you and your content, and even better, its way more valuable than a tweet.
Connect with Twitter Users on Other Social Networks
If you use different social networks to connect with Twitter users, there’s every chance they will recognize you, particularly when you keep your branding consistent and you use the same profile picture. This gives you an even greater opportunity for generating more traffic and having your content shared. Importantly, you’re building relationships and creating even more channels for promoting your content.
Twitter Tools I use to Save Time and Get the Job Done Right
In terms of time required, it can be very demanding maintaining a Twitter account, and it can be even more time consuming carrying out research to locate your industry amplifiers, influencers and target audience if you don’t have the right tools.
Hootsuite.com is a dashboard that allows us to follow and interact with a number of different streams. Streams can be lists of your influencers but also specific mention of hashtags of keywords.
BufferApp lets us schedule posts in advance.
The tools listed will assist in gathering important information, learning who the amplifiers and influencers in your industry are, and save you much effort and time in maintaining your Twitter account.
In Summing Up
When using Twitter, always remember this –
The real power of Twitter is to reach the followers of influencers in your industry, not necessarily to reach your own followers.
Continue creating top-quality content for your blog; share what you believe is great content, and connect with amplifiers and influencers using the tools and strategies as discussed above.
It’s true that marketing is a science, but you need to create followers that will help you take your brand or product to the market. Creating and maintaining strong relationships with amplifiers, influencers, and your target audience is the perfect and effective way to do just that.
You’ll see that, in time, your business will continue generating the leads and traffic it requires to prosper, and most of your marketing will be done for you!
What’s your experience? Please comment and let others know.