When setting up your social networks, you can simply “set it and forget it,” but your following will grow faster and you’ll see more of a return on them if you put extra effort into the process. Don’t get discouraged if it is slow-going at first. Growth on social networks is often exponential. You start out with a handful of followers who help you build to a few dozen, then a few hundred, and then a few thousand! Building up those early stages often leads people to become discouraged and focus elsewhere, but if you stick with it, over time you will reap the benefits.
Reply to your followers. People sign up to social media for the social aspect. If they wanted one-way communication from you, they can check your website or sign up for your newsletter. So when someone asks a question or makes a comment, make a point to reply. The response doesn’t need to be immediate. Make it a habit to check the site one to three times a day. It only takes a few minutes.
Return the favor. If someone retweets something you said or recommends you on a #FollowFriday, see if there is a way for you to do the same for them. If it doesn’t seem appropriate for your business, no problem! Another great way to return the favor is simply to reply with a “thank you.”
Use auto-reply setting with caution. People want to feel like they are interacting with a human being at the other end – not a robot. The auto-reply feature that many tools make available can be a great way to acknowledge people, but it can also piss people off. The best way to avoid angering your followers is to NOT use it as a sales tool. Instead you can say something like, “Thank you for following. I hope you enjoy our tweets.”
Provide new, useful, valuable, interesting information. It seems obvious, but many companies forget this because they become too concerned with “selling” to their following. Sometimes this results in a repetitive feed that is constantly informing you what the company does. Or it becomes a constant stream of product information. Who wants to pay attention to that?
Reward your followers. When it comes time to promote a new product or service, consider offering a special offer to your followers as a thanks for following. It can be a discount, the opportunity to order first, or a free bonus. Give them a reason to care about your promotion, and make them feel appreciated for following your feed.
Ask questions. One of the easiest ways to get people engaged with your Twitter feed is to pose a question. You may be surprised by how many people reply. This is also a great way to get direct feedback from your customers about what they want to see from your brand, your products, and even your Twitter feed. Wondering how you are doing with your tweets? Should you tweet more or less? Are you covering topics that are interesting? No need to wonder. Just ask.