As of September 2015 there were 320 million active Twitter users bringing in over 1 billion website visits via embedded Tweets.
Hashtags are becoming standard parts of marketing campaigns, and even people who don’t have active Twitter accounts encounter mentions of the network in the news on a near daily basis.
These numbers are encouraging if you’re hoping to spread your marketing message via Twitter, but they’re also more than a little intimidating.
How are we supposed to figure out who to follow, tag, reweet, and generally bother with in such a massive universe?
To help guide your Twitter marketing efforts, we’ve identified three primary Twitter archetypes: Heavy Hitters, Twitter Mavens, and Your Customers. We’ll take a look at how to find, engage, and market to all these groups for the best possible Tweet ROI.
Twitter Archetype: The Heavy Hitters
These are well known names in your field that are immediately recognizable to your target audience.
Engagement from Heavy Hitters provides legitimacy to your brand, your Twitter handle, and by extension the content that you share there.
It may be tempting for a technology startup to try for a retweet from Apple, but you don’t want to go too broad or high level; the chances of that brand actually engaging with you via a retweet or a favorite are slim.
Instead come up with names that are recognizable but not unattainable.
It’s also important to distinguish between Heavy Hitter brands and Heavy Hitter individuals; sometimes there’s crossover, but the two are likely to behave very differently.
A company’s CEO may have her own Twitter account separate from the brand, and you may or may not have better luck getting her to engage you through that handle. Some executives and marketers prefer to keep their personal account purely personal, so make sure you investigate the type of content individuals share before pursuing this kind of relationship.
When in doubt, focus on the brand itself.
Why You Need Them
Basically these users will be your megaphone. They can amplify your message and drastically expand the impact of your Twitter marketing message.
Why would they do this? The answer is simple: they need content to populate their Twitter feed just like you do. Everybody is looking for content to curate in their social media, and why not yours?
Just make sure all of your tweets are valuable and worth sharing.
How to Find Them:
You probably already know who they are if they are really a heavy hitter in your field.
Choose the top 5-10 to target initially, depending on how much time you can devote to Twitter marketing in general, and focus your efforts on a daily basis.
If you can’t think of any, a simple search for your chosen topics or hashtags on Twitter should bring them up at the top of the results.
Looking for new Heavy Hitters to go after? Try doing a Google search for topics that perform well in your content marketing or social media efforts, then check out the authors and brands who are responsible for the top ten or twenty results.
How to Get Them:
You basically want to scratch their back so they’ll scratch yours. Reciprocity is a big part of Twitter marketing.
- Tag them in posts that link back to their content that you’ve referenced.
- Retweet and favorite their posts, adding some commentary as appropriate.
- Attend their webinars and use the hashtag they select to comment in real time on the subject or content.
- Attend any live chats they host on Twitter, and announce your attendance using their hashtag.
- Be a good Twitter citizen. These major accounts will be more careful than most about who they engage with, so be on your best behavior.
Don’t be disappointed if you follow these and all the other influencer marketing best practices and don’t get any followers. Heavy Hitters can be exceedingly choosy about who they legitimize with a follow.
It’s likely that you’ll need to content yourself with the occasional Retweet or Favorite from a Heavy Hitter, particularly until you have proven your value as a connection.
To speed the process along you can engage outside of the Twitterverse too. Subscribe to their email newsletters, follow their brand on Facebook, and like content that they share on LinkedIn to help your message stand out in a crowded field of suitors looking for their seal of approval.
Twitter Archetype: Twitter Mavens
These are the stars of the Twitterverse. They’re users who you may not have heard of in “the real world,” but who are killing it on Twitter.
They have lots of followers, their tweets get shared, and they can dramatically expand your message’s reach.
Keep in mind that they’re probably generally skilled at “doing the internet,” meaning they have a substantial reach outside of Twitter too. As with the Heavy Hitters, spreading your courtship to email and other social networks will give it more weight.
Why You Need Them
They have established themselves as experts on a topic, and they’ve proven to their followers over time that they can provide value.
As with the Heavy Hitters, a retweet or favorite from them can skyrocket your followers and engagement.
But Mavens generally have a well trained sense of who is legit and who’s just looking for a marketing boost. Remember, they get approached constantly by folks looking to trade on all their hard work who are offering very little in return.
Be different by being genuinely interested in what they have to say and offering real value to them.
How to Find Them
Use a tool like SocialBro to search for a particular term, then filter the results using the “Influence” slider. This will allow you to see only users who have a particular level of influence.
You can also further narrow your search by language, tweet frequency, location, and other metrics to further hone your maven list.
How to Get Them
As with Heavy Hitters, you’re going to need to invest some time to get the Mavens’ attention.
Tag them in your posts if you reference them on your site; retweet, and favorite their posts regularly and authentically. These people are probably used to being courted on Twitter, and you’re going to have to prove you’re the real deal to get a Retweet or Favorite in return.
These people are often highly interested in forging connections online, so you’ve got a better chance at getting a reciprocal follow from them than from the Heavy Hitters.
Twitter Archetype: Your Customers
These are the people you’re on Twitter to reach. Maybe they are potential blog subscribers or people who may eventually purchase your product.
Either way, these are the folks you want clicking the links to your site and actively hanging on your every tweet.
Before you start reaching out to Heavy Hitters and/or Mavens, make sure you know as much as possible about who your customers are. The point of connecting with the other two Twitter archetypes is to reach your customers, so you need to spend time figuring out which Heavy Hitters and Mavens already have access to your customers. Those are the people you should go after.
Why You Need Them
To pay your bills.
Seriously, these are the folks that should matter to you in the Twitterverse.
Without real people to click your links and buy your goods and services, all the retweets and favorites in the world will not create any ROI for your Twitter marketing.
How to Find Them
Pull out your persona list and figure out what terms each one would be likely to include in his or her Twitter profile. Search for those terms on SocialBro or another similar tool, and start judiciously following users who seem like they fall within your target demographic.
I don’t recommend doing a whole lot of “auto-following” or batch following hundreds of people at a time. Remember, we’re shooting for a well-targeted audience who actually wants to hear what we’re saying, and a huge list of people we followed without reading their profiles isn’t going to meet that description.
If you can devote 30 minutes a day to growing your Twitter list authentically it will serve you better than one that was auto-generated in fifteen minutes.
Finally, note that Twitter currently puts a cap on your following count once you hit 5,000. You won’t be able to follow anyone else until you get more than 5,000 followers yourself. This limit is supposed to keep a check on automated accounts, but it can also act as a good check for real human marketers who are getting too follow-happy.
How to Get Them
Unlike Heavy Hitters and Mavens, you probably can’t realistically tag these users in your posts and hope for a follow. Many individuals, however, will be flattered by a follow from a brand or company and will readily reciprocate.
But they’re likely to first check out your existing list of users that you follow, and if it’s full of questionable profiles they will be much less likely to follow you back.
Once you’re in their Twitter feed it will hopefully just be a matter of time before you can entice them down into your sales funnel with your fabulous content.
Deliberate Twitter Marketing Performs Best
Before you get out there and start tweeting madly, make sure you have a plan and strategy in place.
Twitter’s ultimate purpose for marketers is to allow us to spread our message to an engaged and valuable audience. It’s not going to ever be effective if your audience is huge but poorly qualified.
Figure out who wants to hear what you’ve got to say, and then go find them.