Beating the Bots: How to Build an Authentic Twitter Following
We spend a lot of time talking about social media around here and that talk generally focuses around Facebook – because it holds the dominate market share and offers the most features to market and advertise your business. But the social media landscape is broad and you shouldn’t limit yourself to any single channel.
Twitter is a great place to grow your brand awareness and build customer loyalty, but it brings with it a host of unique challenges. For Twitter marketing, the biggest obstacle to overcome is cutting through the bot- and spam-accounts and reaching real users. It isn’t an easy task, but breaking through to real Twitter users can have a huge impact on your brand by increasing engagement and loyalty.
Why Does Twitter Matter?
Twitter is unique among social media outlets. It offers its own challenges, but with those challenges come the potential to reach customers in ways impossible on other networks. Twitter, while smaller than Facebook still boasts a large user base – other in the United States and internationally. The most recent estimates put the number of active US users around 67 million (with worldwide users topping 310 million).
That’s a huge pool of potential customers just waiting to be reached on Twitter. And the benefits of having an active presence on the social media network are worth pursuing. Recent studies have shown that 85% of Twitter users feel more connected to a brand after following their account, and there is a 19% increase in customer satisfaction for brands that are willing to resolve issues through Twitter.
Those are powerful increases in brand loyalty and satisfaction – and they go hand-in-hand with increased engagement, exposure, and loyalty. Maintaining a Twitter account takes work and attention, but the results are a well-managed presence are worth it!
Twitter Marketing Challenges
After looking at the benefits of Twitter, it is important to also consider its unique challenges. The main difficulty in building an audience on Twitter is cutting through the overly prevalent bots, spam-accounts, and trolls. While there may be 67 million active users in the United States, there is no way to determine how many of those accounts are flesh-and-blood users.
A significant portion of Twitter accounts belong to one of four non-human entities:
- Businesses: Just like you, there’s a myriad of other businesses using Twitter to reach customers. Business followers aren’t all bad – as there are often mutually-beneficial relationships to be built. However, they are unlikely to be converted to customers and so they are not the primary focus.
- Bots: Twitter bots are fascinating – they are often on the forefront of machine learning and artificial intelligence. But beyond my personal interest, bots are not your target audience either as they are notoriously tight with their robo-wallets. Beyond looking good for your follower count, bots aren’t bringing you any real value.
- Spam: Twitter spam accounts are the much-less-fascinating cousins of the bots. They are there to push click-bait and questionable websites, and they are the bottom-feeders of the Twitter world. Spam accounts are to be avoided – even as nothing more than followers.
- Trolls: While troll accounts might have a pulse behind the avatar, trolls are just a step above spam-bots. Their sole reason for existing is to cause trouble, and that’s not something your brand needs. Like spam accounts, trolls should be avoided, blocked, and reported before they can drag down your image.
Reaching Real Twitter Users
Getting through to real, flesh-and-blood users isn’t as easy as it seems; and a lot of Twitter marketing advice will get you a lot of bot and business followers. So, what can a business do to reach real people? Here’s our three favorite steps to cutting through the bots and getting to the customers that matter:
1. Don’t Overuse Hashtags
I understand that temptation to throw five industry hashtags on every post. Overstuffing hashtags will usually get you a few extra likes, maybe even a re-tweet or two, but those increases in engagement are just an illusion. Bot accounts are robo-liking those hashtag-crazy posts, but real people are skipping over them. Overusing hashtags make your account look fake – and that’s bad for reaching real users.
2. Engage with Others
If you want to reach real people, you need to use Twitter for more than just promotion. And the best way to do that is through engaging with others – both influencers and customers. For engaging with influencers, this means contributing to discussions and interacting with their ideas. For customers, this means thanking them for their engagement and addressing questions and concerns.
3. Be Real
This one sounds simple, but it is the most important part of building an authentic Twitter following. Be real. There are thousands of brands tweeting links to their products and services, if you want engagement and reach you need to stand out. Let your personality shine through and use Twitter for more than just self-promotion. As with all social media, the key is to be social (imagine that!). If you want real, be real.
Social Media Marketing
Fusion Group USA provides social media management services across a wide spectrum of platforms. We can help you build a following that is real, engagement, and convertible. Let us help you harness the power of Twitter to grow your business! Contact us today and we can set up a free, no-commitment social media consultation.