If you look at the Twitter-Maturity-Lifecycle of an average Twitter business user, there are several stages and different paths one can walk through. I assume, that you as a reader of this article belong to this species.
Even though there are no official rules or statistics about the following theory, some investigations on Twitter accounts with twitter analytics tools like Socialbro will confirm the theory.
I highlight the word business, because Twitter business users typically want to achieve some benefits for their business when using Twitter. Thath is not the case with private users.
To identify a beginner, the profile of a twitter account will deliver some useful information like “Member since”, “Last Tweet”. “Followers”, “Following” and not to forget the Bio of an account.
Beginners typically have less followers than people they follow and the tweet count is typically far below 200 tweets. And you find a lot of beginners with an empty or non-descriptive Bio or an egghead-logo.
Typically, beginners do neither have a sophisticated strategy nor the knowledge about how to use Twitter to build a relevant community that can help to drive business.
After having understood the user interface of Twitter and after some initial posts, re-tweets and favorites most people get the impression, that follower-count is the KPI for relevance and importance on Twitter.
A proof is delivered by all those tweets that promise thousands of followers for some dollars affordable for most of the business users. And the most influential people on social networks have tons of followers, don’t they?
But the question a Twitter business user must ask himself is not one of follower-counts but WHY they are following. And a question that you should also ask yourself is: Why are you following a Twitter profile? And which of those you follow are of frequent interest to you?
Ok, now we are at the point where Twitter starts making sense for Twitter business users: The value of followers is NOT the pure amount of followers, but the amount of followers that have a good reason to follow you.
And what reason do you deliver for somebody to follow you?
Like teenagers, Twitter business users need some time to gain orientation and a true understanding of the relevant concepts to potentially drive business with Twitter. If you ask the right questions and start giving good answers, you can master the next step.
Back to the question: What reason do you deliver other Twitter users to follow you? Well, with 140 characters there is not much potential to deliver more than headers, hashtags, links and an eye-catching image.
So you need to deliver orientation, consistency and a clear message to attract a targeted audience that has the potential to convert and to spread your message.
Assuming that you have some core topics for your business: your hashtags, the content sources you link to and the posts of others you re-tweet and favor should relate to these core topics.
When Twitter business users start becoming content-managers on Twitter, they start creating value for their audience. And that is what attracts followers of the kind you want.
We recommend to start analyzing the success of your content. Success in means of response, re-tweets and favors. You should start measuring by now to better understand which content performs for your audience and topics.
Keep in mind, that all content creates effort and therefore cost on your side. Content that does not perform is wasted effort.
Now, after you deliver targeted content to your favorite audience, you must learn to understand what makes your audience follow, unfollow, favor, re-tweet or even engage with direct-messages to you.
By now, when reaching the maturity level of a content-manager, you will need some additional tools to be able to analyze, organize and manage your content, communications and contacts.
An audience manager should establish communication rules for Twitter users as it is also common in classical business scenarios. Be polite, be responsive, be helpful. Do not forget to engage with followers, ask relevant questions, be personal.
Keep in mind, that a successful strategy on Twitter might deliver a lot more followers than any other channel. It does not mean, that you will automatically increase your sales. It means, that you have to be effective and efficient with your audience without becoming an “automation freak”. Audience management is personal relationship management.
You did it. You are a mature Twitter business user by now. You understand, that following and unfollowing is a natural process indicating if your content and topics do match a follower’s need. You manage drop-offs of targeted users with a clever re-gain strategy. You engage with new and existing followers by delivering good content.
And at this stage at latest you start converting Twitter users to customers, evangelists and perhaps employees for your own business.
Congratulations for all those of you that mastered to read my article until the end. Creating content that makes people read the whole post is not easy today! I hope you found yourself at some maturity stage and have an orientation about the next steps now.
If you are a Twitter-Pro, you can think about becoming a Twitter-Advisor. Or you can follow us in upcoming articles about conversion, evangelization or clever engagement- and re-gain strategies.
As always, we appreciate engagement, recurring visitors and viral communicators.