Building a Twitter following can be quite confusing at first. When you first open an account at twitter.com you have no followers. You can add your first followers using the “Find People” menu setting on the top right. You can look for people you know, search popular email accounts like Hotmail, Yahoo, Gmail, AOL, or MSN. You can invite your friends by email or even select suggested users to get yourself started.

First off, trying to explain to someone the value of certain social media applications, like Twitter, can be difficult, especially when the person hasn’t actually used the service. People want results that mean more than non-converting traffic. Creating relationships on Twitter that lead to actual results can take time — possibly more time than a company is willing to devote. We now know it is of value, so how can you build a twitter following?

Building a Twitter Following Through Quantity

Now that you have some basic Twitter followers, it’s time to get serious about finding more followers. There are two basic strategies: quantity and quality.

The quantity strategy is the easiest. Click on your “following” below your profile name and you will see all of the people you have added and are now following. Click on the first one and then select either their “following” or their “followers” and you will get a list that you can immediately start selecting to follow. Click away and you have followers.

Now if you are lucky, these people that you are now following will start to follow you back. Click on enough of these and you will eventually build up a following of random followers. Perhaps you are wondering why you are doing this. Because you want easy followers. Well this is kind of easy …

Building a Quality Twitter Following

The alternative strategy is to find quality followers. Start by entering some search terms into the search box to the right underneath your direct messages. For example, if you like music type in “music” and see who is talking about it. If you like the posts (tweets) then click on their name and follow them. Return to the search and do this again, and again, and again.

You can use twittercounter.com to see how your following is growing, and it even has a nifty little badge counter that you can put on your website, blog ,or emails to recruit and advertise your growing popularity.

OK, your popularity is growing and now you need more automation. What’s next? tweetdeck.com is good for managing your tweets and conversations. Post good quality tweets, retweet other posts you like, and reply to others with valuable content and you will continue to build your following. Other applications include hootsuite.com or tweetlater.com that include tools for URL shortening, statistics, and scheduled tweets, all important for managing your tweets.

twitter followingMore Twitter Followers

Still need more Twitter followers? Search the web for various Twitter directories. Users can be found for accountants, business, engineers, or groups and interests. Search and you will find it on the Internet. Try twibes.com, twellow.com, or twitr.org to name a few.

There are many more applications for Twitter. As you join various groups, services, or directories, your following will grow almost automatically. Others will look you up using the same techniques and many will start following you too. At this stage you should focus on your quality tweets (posts) to justify the value of following you so you can keep your followers.

If you do it right, you should build a Twitter following that you can converse with, ask questions of, and even get leads and new business from. After all, social media can be a very effective business tool. (You can follow us at twitter.com/bizmanualz)

Followers Limit

There is some odd formula that limits you to following 2000 people until you get your followers up. In other words, you need a ratio of followers (those following you) to following (those you follow) that’s close to one-to-one. What do you do when you’re following too many people who aren’t following you?

First, though it may be hard, you can stop following those who were not following me. An alternative might be to wait until enough people follow you, so you can get your ratio back to one.

There are sites or applications that allow you to unfollow people. Try Twitter Karma for starters, or TwitIn. Among those you’re following, you can see who is — and isn’t — following you, and unfollow them all at once (in bulk). Also try Qwitter — it does not unfollow people, but it notifies you by email when someone unfollows you.

So, you cannot follow just anybody: it’s best to stick to people you’re interested in who have a reciprocal interest. That’s what Twitter is really for.

Useful Twitter Applications

Twitter Tools on WordPress

If your company’s blog is hosted on WordPress, I highly recommend installing this plugin. Once installed, each time you publish a blog post, it’s automatically fed into your Twitter feed. You can also opt to not Tweet the post by unchecking a box at the bottom of your WP posting form.

TweetStats

Simply enter your Twitter username, and the application graphs your account information and trends. Why is this helpful? If you’re new to Twitter, it’s important to know where you’re lacking.

How Do You Respond to a Twevolt Against Your Brand?

The ISO 9001 standard requires that you satisfy your customers by identifying customer requirements, meeting those requirements, and enhancing customer satisfaction. At Bizmanualz, we do this a number of ways, including offering customer feedback forms, surveying our customers, interviewing current and potential clients, documenting and correcting nonconformities, and capturing as much feedback data as possible. We call it analyzing the “voice of the customer.”

But be careful if you’re thinking that monitoring Twitter and other social media answers some of that requirement.

Twitter users react immediately and loudly to anything they see as a disruption of their consumer trust because they know the brands are “listening.” If you’re like our company, whose largest set of customers are CEOs of small-to-medium-sized businesses, Twitter users are most likely not your target buyer. Your target audience?

Should you listen? Absolutely. All information is helpful.