I’ve always been a fan of Twitter, but admittedly, I’ve often used it more on an ad hoc, semi-personal basis, rather than for any professional benefit.
When I started Leighton back in November, however, I had a chat with my team about how we could improve the presence of the Leighton brand online. Known as a company based on establishing long-term partnerships, we wanted to take this to the next level, showcasing exactly how great Leighton are outside of our immediate circle.
When we began talking about this and how social media would play a key part, I began thinking about my own accounts and how beneficial they could be to both me as an individual and the Leighton brand.
As such, we set about creating a strategy for all social activity that after just a couple of weeks, began to see us receiving dozens of followers every day - and the whole strategy was based around five separate points.
NB - I feel it’s important to be honest and point out here that there’s nothing revolutionary in this post in the style of hints, tips or tricks. I so often find time and time again that the most successful strategies are those based on information we already know, but just simply need reiterating or presenting in a different way.
1. Craft a Bio That Reflects What You Do
For longer than I can think, I always started my Twitter bio with “SEO Specialist at…” followed by the company I was working at. Although this was a good introduction to me as a professional, there were two problems.
Firstly, it didn’t really do what I do justice. So many people think of SEO as an outdated practice whereby you input a few keywords onto a page and build links from any website possible, pointing back to yours. Whilst that may have once been the case, it’s so much more than that today, to the extent that in my eyes, it’s almost another term for the wider ‘digital marketing’ phrase.
Secondly, I felt using the term ‘SEO’ was putting people off following me. If the first thing you saw in my bio was about SEO, and you weren’t interested in it, why would you follow me? I without doubt wanted fellow SEOers to follow me – but I also wanted people from every other digital disciplines to engage.
And so, taking both of these points into account, I started thinking of other opening lines, settling on my current bio: “Doing all things digital at @Leighton.” Simple, straight to the point, and importantly, all encompassing.
2. Publish Consistent, Regular Content
If I had to give one piece of advice when it comes to increasing followers, it would be this: the more updates you can publish, generally speaking the better it will be.
There is of course the need to deliver quantity, but on the assumption you’re doing this as standard, increasing the quantity of your posts will result in increased followers.
Think of it on the most basic of levels. If you’re posting one update per day, you’re relying on people seeing it at the exact moment it goes live (or a couple of seconds after), before it gets pushed down their feed.
If you publish two tweets per day, you increase the likelihood of your account being seen. Publish three tweets and you increase it further still, and so on.
I’m fully aware it can be anything other than straightforward to publish regular messaging in between your normal working day, so I’d recommend using a social media scheduling tool – I use Buffer to schedule eight updates per day to go live at various points between 9am and 5pm Monday to Friday, then supplement this with any ‘live’ activity I feel necessary or suitable.
3. Engage Others
What so many people forget about social media is that it’s just that – social. It’s not a sales channel or a marketing platform (at least not first and foremost). It’s a channel upon which you can chat, discuss and share thoughts with us. It’s about engagement.
So many people use it as a way to distribute their messaging, but forget to do the one thing it was set up for - to talk to others, not at
When you’re sharing an update, tag the author in it and thank them. When you read something you like and have retweeted it, reach out to the original tweeter and thank them for sharing it.
You can even go down the route of thanking people for following you, but I tend to restrict this to when I genuinely mean it. I hate getting DMs when I follow someone, or what is clearly an automated tweet. What I do like, however, is when someone tweets me after I follow them, thanking me for the follow – and mentioning something specific.
To me, this shows they genuinely appreciate the follow. Whether the specific comment they’ve made (“loved your post on X recently”) is an actual belief or not, they’ve taken the time to research my digital activity. That’s good enough for me.
4. Proactively Follow Potential Community Members
I can’t help but think this is one of those processes everyone knows works, but no one does, either because they don’t think it works, or it’s considered cheating in a way (similar to asking for a ‘reciprocal backlink’ in traditional SEO).
The problem is, no one owes you anything on Twitter, and unless you’re already a famous (either generally or in your niche), your follower numbers are just going to increase sporadically unless you go out there and become involved in your industry.
Now of course, publishing regular updates and tweeting to others is going to be part of this involvement, but what if your peers don’t see these updates? Perhaps they’re not checking a hashtag or the retweet doesn’t show up in their feed. How can you expect them to start following you, tweeting to you and furthering the reach of your updates?
It’s important to understand I’m not saying you should be one of those people who follows hundreds upon hundreds of people every day, but do be someone who follows people they respect and want to see more tweets from.
Chances are, when you follow someone else, they’ll at least check out your bio – and assuming this showcases exactly what you’re about and is of interest to them, you’ll soon get a follow back.
5. Don't Be Afraid To Go Off Topic
As I mentioned above, I schedule eight tweets per day. This gives me a base level of activity every single day and takes the strain away of being active on the platform. If I don’t get chance to check Twitter, I don’t have to worry that my account is going to look dormant, the positive improvements I’ve seen are going to stop or be affected, etc.
With that said, I do try to jump in at least a couple of times a day to make ‘live’ tweets. Now sometimes these tweets are on the topic of SEO / customer engagement / digital experiences, but other times they’re on completely irrelevant topics – sometimes music or sport, other times just random ramblings.
Not only do these updates add to the level of engagement on the network, but they also bring with them a number of surprising benefits – you often find people sharing the same non-work related hobbies as you, giving you an extra channel for communication, information sharing and, ultimately, audience reach.
I genuinely see social media as a tool that has a multitude of benefits on both an individual and a brand level. From helping to improve the awareness of your brand through to acting as a clear sales channel, the level of success all comes back to the audience you’re engaging with – and by increasing your Twitter followers naturally, organically and easily, you’ll have a fantastic audience ready and waiting for every update you make.
Have any of these strategies worked for you? Let us know in the comments!