Twitter is a great way to communicate with customers but it’s just as useful for networking with other businesses, industry tastemakers and even potential investors. But how do you get their attention?
Connecting with new people on social media isn’t that different from meeting them in real life. It pays to make a good first impression by being polite, friendly and enthusiastic – without coming across as a stalker.
The difference is that you can’t simply walk across a room and introduce yourself on Twitter. Well, you can, but tweeting “Let’s do business YOLO” to someone you’ve never met is likely to evoke a negative response or, in the worst case scenario, get you blocked.
Your goal is to get that person interested enough to follow you. From that point on you’ve established a relationship and can approach them with a direct message (often referred to as a DM). Remember, it always pays to take sensitive conversations offline. Twitter is a public forum and people love to cyber-snoop on competitors and industry tastemakers.
So how do you get someone important to follow you? It’s perfectly acceptable to introduce yourself to someone on Twitter but asking for a follow is a no-no for anyone over 20. It could work but you will be left with egg on your face if the person declines and have ruined your chances of building a relationship organically.
Here are five simple ways to network on Twitter and get those key people or businesses to follow you:
1. Follow the person you want to connect with
It sounds self-explanatory but many social media newcomers are scared of clicking that follow button. Or wait to be followed first. That’s fine if you’re a heavyweight with 50,000 followers but isn’t going to get you far if you only have 25 people hanging on your every word.
Following someone automatically let’s them know you’re interested in them or their business. And trust me, they will check you out. It’s human nature. That’s where making a good first impression is essential.
If your account is a mess or your Twitter handle is Cat_Lurver, chances are you’re not getting followed back. But if the person recognises you or your business – or even spots that you’re in the same industry – they will take a closer look.
This is why you should have a clear and precise bio, preferably with a link to your website or blog. If the target thinks you could be a valuable contact, they will follow you.
3. Regularly update with relevant content
From the moment you open your Twitter account, you should update it regularly with relevant content. Discerning users want to know what they are in for before clicking the follow button.
It’s ok to express your personality and talk about your life occasionally – tweeting pictures of your pets or a particularly delicious meal can be endearing – but if it’s a professional account, then make sure you’re sharing more than photos of your last Laksa.
Links to articles or insightful comments on hot topics related to your industry are great conversation starters.
4. Interact, interact, interact
Don’t get me wrong. You don’t want to come across as a groupie but people are always flattered when you respond to their tweets. Keep it pleasant but don’t be scared to get express your own views. Once you engage that person in a conversation, you’re half-way there. Retweeting is another great way to let someone know you’re enjoying their commentary and get noticed.
5. Swap Twitter handles
If you meet someone at an event or conference, don’t be shy about asking if they’re on Twitter. It’s a conversation starter in itself and it’s always harder to ignore someone you’ve met in person. Chances are, they will follow you back immediately and, if they don’t, you should take the hint.