Why Twitter Marketing Is More Than Building Followers And Tweeting

We recently worked on a marketing project, which included generating traffic from Twitter to a Website. To get the best impact, we used a mix of tweets from our own Twitter accounts and an account run by the client.

Analyzing Twitter Marketing Activity

The Twitter account run by the client had a fair number of followers, still, a short analysis revealed, that the client would not see great results from this account. Why? For several reasons.

1. Most of the followers were inactive accounts.

If you grow your Twitter account over a long time, some of the accounts you connect to will drop out of the circle of active accounts. That is totally natural. You can unfollow these yourself, and you have to be aware of the number of inactive accounts before you can make any assumptions on the results you might be able to achieve with your Twitter Marketing on these accounts.

To attract an active tribe on Twitter, you need to have a clear Twitter Marketing Strategy. The content you tweet is crucial for keeping your audience active and build a following.

(More on the analysis of friends and followers on a Twitter account in this article: Why Even 100,000 Twitter Followers Can Be Worthless)

2. The Tweets

The activity on the Twitter account consisted mainly out of resharing the Posts shared on Facebook and asking some intelligent and mind probing questions – without getting any reaction to them.

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No sharing of information, content or helpful links. That wasn’t enough!

Do not get me wrong, there is nothing against resharing posts from Facebook and asking questions on Twitter is a nice way of starting a conversation. Which should be part of any Twitter Marketing strategy. But if your audience does not respond and the questions do not inspire conversation, there is something amiss! In most cases Facebook updates and questions should be only a small part of your Twitter Marketing activity. If you want to start a discussion, you need to be willing to take an active part and respond to comments and answers.

My point of view: Using Twitter for business without sharing useful information is basically impossible or at least very hard. Why the hell should people listen to you if they don’t get anything useful from you in the first place? And before you can expect a reaction from your followers to your questions, you will have to build interest, trust and a reputation. You need to show who you are, what you are interested in and what you have to give. Why should anyone respond to your questions? Especially if they do not know who you are, why you are asking and what they will get from you in return.

In this special case, this is sad, since there was some cool content on the client’s website, not enough for an extensive Twitter marketing strategy but enough for a great start. Tweeting this content would also have given their website additional exposure.

3. Unclear goals/strategy

Looking at the activity on the Twitter account I admit, I was at a total loss, what the goals were for the account – or at least, what the goals were for the tweets used on the account. There are several goals that I could instantly think of that would have made sense to the client. In this case, the two most important goals should probably be building a reputation/brand for the site owner and getting some traffic to the website.

As it stood, the tweets were mainly kind of anonymous and seemingly unconnected to the account, the account owner and the website. While the goals of an account do not necessarily have to be obvious to an out-stander, usually it is fairly easy to see, what they achieve or what the owner of the account wants to achieve.

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My suggestions for optimizing the Twitter Marketing activity:

1. Clean up followers

Start with unfollowing all the inactive accounts, accounts without profile picture and the accounts that are not tweeting in English.

You do not necessarily have to force these accounts to unfollow you (there are tools to help you do this if you want to, though), just be aware that your real (active) audience is much smaller than what your follower number might imply.

2. Define a strategy for your Twitter Marketing

Make sure you know what it is you want to achieve with your Twitter Marketing efforts:

  • Identify your target audience
  • Set goals
  • Identify interests of your target audience
  • Set up tweets according to your goals
  • Create a schedule

Do not forget to measure results and, if necessary, adjust your Twitter Marketing strategy!

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3. Tweet useful information

Content that speaks to your target audience is key to building an active and responsive audience on Twitter. If you tweet boring and uninteresting stuff, people will not listen and certainly not do whatever it is; you want them to do.To be successful with Twitter Marketing your need more than followers and sending out tweets: A clear strategy, goals and focusing on your target audience.

With the content you share, you will also build your reputation as a helpful and knowledgeable person.

You should have at least some content you can use on your website. But you can add other people’s content to the mix to make your Twitter feed even more interesting. The more own (great!) content you have, the better the results for yourself will be.

4. Build an active audience

Tweeting helpful/useful information is fundamental to building an audience on Twitter. But you can do more; you can actively get on people’s radar simply by following them.

To push the account growth, you can use the follow-unfollow-strategy (See Still Missing Out?! The Simple Twitter Growth Approach All Influencers Use). Be careful to target active, English-speaking accounts from your target audience (presuming you are tweeting in English of course).

Do not get frustrated, building a Twitter tribe that listens to you and interacts takes time and patience. And only then, when you have an active, interested audience, can you expect results, like traffic to your website or even sign ups or sales – if this is the goal of your Twitter marketing strategy.

(I passed these tips to the client, I am looking forward to seeing changes on the Twitter account).

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This article was proofread and edited by myself with the help of Grammarly. If you are blogging in English and cannot afford a professional editor, Try Grammarly Now! It rocks.

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  • http://davetheprofessional.com/ David Hughes

    Amazing read! So much of this are thoughts I hope we all have, but have a difficult time putting into words.

    Thanks for this. Definitely bookmark worthy.

    • Ann Hotchkiss


  • Steve Sisko

    Good info…except for the “follow-unfollow-strategy” – which is an inorganic, asinine and very irritating way to gain followers. Bad advice on that one

    • Ann Hotchkiss


  • Ann Hotchkiss

    yes well written

  • Sergey Yatsenko

    With the content you share, you will also build your own reputation as a helpful and knowledgable person. – */S.Y

    Law of Social Media. POSITIVE SOCIAL INTERACTIONS give the Growth of Your Social Media. A Permanent Creativity born Real Interest & New Connections of Users in Network.

  • http://willshane.com/ Bill Carroll

    Great tips! I go through “follow spurts” where I follow everyone AND their brother. Then I go back on a regular basis and sift through the noise to get to the influencers in my industry. Working well thus far.

  • https://www.manufacturingnetwork.com/ Ashley Pearce

    Hey Susanna, I like this article because it really highlights the fact that a lot of businesses have taken on Twitter with a lot of enthusiasm, but not a lot of strategy. The fact that the platform is so accessible is fantastic, but it also causes people to only put as much thought into their approach as it takes to come up with a username and password.
    As a result I see a number of businesses in my Market giving up on Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and all the rest believing “they just don’t work, as they didn’t work for us when we tried them”
    The truth is it takes a lot of work to manage, optimise and refine your system – as well as keeping your knowledge up to date. And then there’s the subject of content – if you haven’t got it, social media is really hard (I’m tempted to say impossible) especially for Small to Medium sized businesses.

    I’m a believer that Twitter for B2B use has to take a slightly different approach – and really temper their expectations on follower numbers and levels of interaction (SME businesses that is) – what’s your experience with the contrast of B2B with B2C Markets?

  • https://twitter.com/i_anic Ines Anić

    I appreciate you writing out this article – thank you for that. You presented a lot of very good tactics to growing a healthy follower base but there is also something that troubles me about this post.

    You suggest the “follow-unfollow” tactic as a valid Twitter marketing strategy.

    Following people just to unfollow them later if they do not follow you back is against Twitter terms of service. I don’t think it’s appropriate for a marketer to suggest their clients, or readers, follow this strategy. It can (and does) result in Twitter deactivating and banning accounts once this type of activity is noticed by their algorithms. Please find different tactics to grow followers on Twitter. You don’t want to gamble all of your hard work away, do you?

    • TheSocialMarketers

      Hi Ines,

      Thank you for your concern. However, let me ask you a question:
      Take a look at the Twitter accounts of the Forbes Top Social Media Influencers:
      Do you know, why these people follow such an insane amount of people? Make a guess. And some of them openly admit to doing so.

      You are right that Twitter rules forbid AGGRESSIVE following and unfollowing. And you are right that if you do so AGGRESSIVELY your account may get banned, locked or suspended.

      You are also right that the follow-unfollow routine should be executed with great care: what Twitter counts as AGGRESSIVE following varies and changes. Sometimes even the use of one tool can result in a locked account. And it all depends on what else you do on Twitter. Spammy tactics are never welcome.

      I strongly recommend to handle the follow-unfollow routine with care, but I do not think it right to recommend to people to miss out on the one simple strategy that millions of people use to build their Twitter accounts (including many of the social media influencers).

      – Susanna

      • https://twitter.com/i_anic Ines Anić

        Hey Susanna!

        I’ve, of course, taken a good look into Twitter ToS, and you are correct when you stress out the word ‘aggressive’. However, Twitter never clarified what they feel is aggressive following and unfollowing, and I believe they have done so purposely.

        Still, I’ll have to agree to disagree with you on this one, as I do not think that just because everyone else is doing something the wrong (or forbidden) way means YOU should do the same thing. Many of the people handling the major accounts you mention haven’t read the ToS in it’s entirety. Some have and don’t take them seriously. I can’t get into why people knowingly break these rules, but an educated guess would be that they feel the risk is worth the reward.

        In the end it comes to ‘each to his own’. I simply think it is good practice to inform your clients and followers so that they can make an informed and educated decision as to whether or not they will grow their audience through this particular tactic.

        Again, I really enjoyed your post. Have a nice day!

  • Ademola Abimbola

    Twitter for B2B is a lot more difficult than for B2C. But the first step is to prune your followers to have an active community.