You may be familiar with companies who offer a full suite of social media services, including the promise to get you “X number of Twitter followers for X dollars.” While I believe that this service can be done in a legitimate manner designed to genuinely grow your small business Twitter audience in a natural, organic way, this is likely what’s NOT being offered. Sites like Fiverr and other “paid task” sites are crawling with offers to boost your Twitter followers by the hundreds and even thousands for what may seem like a great price. (And many notable social media “agencies” are using the same exact tactics but are charging thousands of dollars.)
Here are some things you need to ask before buying, as failing to employ just the right strategy may, in fact, actually hurt your social media influence.
1. Why do I want more followers? This is the #1 question to ask before launching any Twitter-building campaign. If you just want to get thousands of Twitter followers and appear influential, then it probably doesn’t matter much how you go about it. If you want to get more Twitter followers so that you have many more qualified leads to share your brand messaging with, you’ll need to tread lightly with any follower campaign.
Take time to honestly assess why you feel the need to get more followers. If it’s just to keep up with others, you may find it to be an unwinnable battle.
2. Do I care about the company I keep? I’ve managed many social media accounts for small businesses, and I usually come on board after some “social media” company has pumped up the Twitter followers with an aggressive follow/follow back campaign. This can be ugly for many reasons, but mainly it’s because these companies don’t care who they follow. In an effort to get to 3,000 new followers, for example, companies will scout out any Twitter account that promises to follow back, and sometimes, the subject matter of these accounts is not compatible with your brand.
If you make custom baby onesies, for example, it might be counterproductive -- and offensive – to be following 100’s of affiliate spammers, porn stars, or Twitter update bots that reference sexual mood enhancers, for example. Be certain that the company you hire knows your values and how you feel about following shady accounts. You don’t want your customers to associate you with spam, or worse, something that goes against your brand messaging.
3. How will I handle being “unfollowed”? One of the perks to following those spammy accounts we mentioned earlier is that they will (at least initially) follow back with no questions asked. If you revisit these same accounts months later, however, you will find that many of them drop most, if not all, of their followers to create a more influential follower to followed ratio.
If you’re not monitoring these accounts carefully, you may find that you sold out your Twitter account for no benefit whatsoever. Be certain that you subscribe to a service like Twitter Qwitter so that you can be alerted to those who drop you and can unfollow them accordingly.
So what can a small business who wants to gain Twitter followers do to amass genuine, interested, and engaged Twitter contacts? Do so by hiring an agency or professional that truly understands the value of online community management and can promise you that they’ll build a following the old fashioned way: by being friendly, helpful, and sharing the heart and soul of your business.
Will it take months or even a year to get your next 3K followers this way? It’s possible.
I guarantee, however, that you’ll be rewarded with a social media conversation that counts, and the kind of warm leads that will translate directly into a healthier bottom line for your business.
*Photo by Andrea_44 via Flickr
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