There are many smaller brands and individual marketers on Twitter that are doing an exceptional job building relationships, engaging and providing some real value to their target audience. I am continually coming across twitter accounts of companies that really seem to get it, which appears to be a dramatic improvement over the last few years.
Many of these brands are still struggling with building a targeted community of followers that is large enough to provide significant value and deliver returns. As a matter of fact, it is one of the more frequent questions I get surrounding this issue. I tend to hear that they need a highly targeted community, yet also need it to be sizable. This is something I completely agree with.
eMarketer recently came out with a report detailing that “Firms need more tools and technology“. Though the report is specific to BtoB companies, all social media marketers and brands should be listening. This is something I speak about frequently. There is only so much time in the day, therefore with proper tools you are able to do much more with far less.
For those of you that are now starting to squirm in your seats in hopes I don’t use the “A” word, you are about to get uncomfortable. Automated tools are a necessity in effective social media marketing, but lets clarify this a little bit. I am referring to anything that can improve your efficiency and effectiveness that does NOT automatically post, follow or engage with others in the social graph. Tools that help monitor, find and manage is imperative!
If you are going to be effective and achieve an ROI on your social media marketing efforts, efficiency is paramount. You need to ensure your have the time to engage and build relationships, all while providing value and helping your target audience. Oh and don’t forget you still need to grow that audience also…
So here are two things to help you quickly build a highly targeted following:
1) Tweetspinner – This is a micro-targeting tool for twitter. It helps you find your target audience based on geographic, demographic and keyword information. This is NOT an automated find/follow tool, but rather an incredibly complex targeting application for finding audience and manually queuing them to be followed by your twitter account. The software has a free version, but nothing short of the upgraded version is worthwhile.
Before using such software, be sure that you can clearly describe your target audience and have developed a strategy for content. Not delivering value in your stream will make growing a targeted audience difficult and useless.
2) Linkedin – Often overlooked as a community building tool, Linkedin is similar to Twitter in that unlike Facebook, you can search and find people by interest, location and other key indicators. But rather than making a connection with them on Linkedin, look through their profile to find their Twitter account and follow them.
I am amazed how often some Linkedin users will ignore someone on that platform, yet readily engage on Twitter. Use Linkedin to find your targeted audience and follow that person’s account to start a relationship. B to B companies can especially be effective following this suggestion.
If you want to build a highly engaged and effective following on social media you must provide selfless value to that audience and then use tools and applications that help you. Shovels and picks were invented so we don’t have to dig with our hands and can be much more effective. Don’t dig with your hands when there are picks available that will not cross the boundaries of authenticity, but will aid your social media marketing efforts.