How to mass follow on Twitter without hurting your brand

Twitter is one of the top five social media vehicles, and your Dubai marketing team has probably already created an account for your company, but are they being held back by worries about mass following tools?

lorenz and geese

Dr Lorenz had geese following him, do you connect with your followers or are they just a number ?

Mass following on Twitter has its detractors because it was originally seen as a blackhat activity. However, if you do it properly it is an excellent way of growing your following on Twitter. This is because if you follow someone, a large percentage of them will follow you back. If you post interesting tweets, they will recommend others follow you as well.

For those who aren’t sure what mass following tools are, they come in a variety of guises, but the essential part of it is that you can create profiles of the type of people you want to follow and the software does the rest.

In simple terms, instead of searching manually for people who live in Dubai and are interested in your type of product, you type in the location, Dubai, the product, apartments, and off you go. The software will automatically find people who are in the region and mention the product.

By following people who have already shown an interest in the type of product you are selling, you are not being intrusive. The intrusive element is when you send people a tweet asking if they would be interested in your product. Twitter is not the place for aggressive sales tactics, it is a place for building brand awareness and talking directly with your customers if they mention you or approach you.

Depending on your budget, there are free tools and pay for tools. So you can pay anything from zero to $1,000s each month. Many follow packages are actually part of a larger Twitter management package, so research carefully before choosing which package is right for your company.

There are many tools out there, so if there isn’t a dedicated social media manager in your Dubai marketing team, appoint one person to research the different packages available. Here are three popular ones to start you off:

www.twellow.com – is a directory of public Twitter accounts and allows you to search people and interests. It’s very popular, free, but limited.

www.sproutsocial.com – From $9 to $899 a month, this is a full service package for using Twitter, rather than a simple follow software package.

www.tweepi.com – Another management package that includes bulk following, starts at $7.49 and the platinum version is $14.99 a month.

This link gives a comprehensive breakdown of different Twitter apps that may offer a different avenue for finding people to follow on Twitter, but also includes lots of different areas of Twitter use you may find useful:

http://www.squidoo.com/twitterapps

The one social media Twitter tool you really shouldn’t use are the unfollow tools. Some of these automatically send out a tweet to tell your follows who you have unfollowed. Because this tool mentions the name of the unfollowed, it is highly unsocial: how do you think you’d feel if you’d unfollowed someone and then they tell thousands of their followers? We unfollow for a variety of reasons so having it flagged up to people we don’t even know is highly unprofessional.

So next time your Dubai social media marketing team meets put mass following on the agenda: done properly, it’s a great way to boost your company’s profile online.

flamingo dubai

Birds of a feather #flock together.

Twitter has become one of the cornerstones of social media and, whether you live in downtown  Dubai or a farmstead in the Australian outback, you can talk to the world with a tap on the return key.

Since it’s birth in March 2006 (created by Jack Dorsey a software architecture named on of the top 35 innovators in the world by MIT’s Technology Review in 2008), Twitter has gone from zero to 300 million users in 2011.

So why so popular? Well, people like being sociable, and in the digital world so many people find themselves working in, taking out five minutes every hour or so makes you feel connected to the greater world.

And it’s turning out to be a great tool for businesses to talk directly to their customers. But you have to step lightly into this arena as a business, because one wrong, misdirected tweet can be a reputation spoiler.

For example, Habitat was left with a large dollop of egg on it’s face when it tried to piggy back the Iran elections with a dubious money saving offer tweet. The backlash was instant – Twitter leaves companies no place to hide. Even if you delete your tweet, someone, somewhere has already seen it and passed it on.

Now, this instantaneous passing on of information is awful if the message is wrong, however most companies believe that the re-tweeting of their message is the ultimate aim of being on Twitter. But that’s only a part of the story.

Twitter for business is a different game to personal tweeting. If you run a Dubai based business that is primarily a local service, getting re-tweeted by a guy in the USA to 30,000 followers will only be beneficial if some of his followers are based in Dubai.

Thinking local will really help when you start out on Twitter. Also, don’t just use twitter to talk only about your company, and what your company can do for others. Unless of course you are offering a free meal on a Thursday night, which may well get some interest going, there’s a fine balancing act to achieve.

Hash tags (#) are a wonderful way of localising your tweets. If you are in a particular street and something interesting is happening use a hash tag i.e.: guy juggling chainsaws on #alwasl #dubai! Which when accompanied by a picture will most likely get people looking, and maybe re-tweeting.

As a business you need to create a template for using Twitter. This way, whoever is in charge of the Twitter feed at any time keeps to a pre-set standard. Having a strong strategy before your very first tweet will enable you to keep on track and (hopefully) not commit a Habitat scale faux pas.

You also need to ensure that you are tweeting at a time when people are on twitter. Every industry will have it’s own optimum times, but as a general rule just after people have got to their desks, lunchtime and just before clocking off are good for the working day. You will find a natural rhythm over time and should test and test and test to see which Twitter times work best to reach your Dubai based customers and clients.

So here are few guidelines:

Don’t just tweet about your products.

  • Do talk about the wider business you’re in.
  • Be social, say hi to new followers.
  • Follow back those who choose to follow you – it’s good manners.
  • Re-tweet interesting and funny tweets you come across – but watch/listen/read all the way through just in case there is something highly offensive right at the end.
  • Use hash tags ‘#’ to localise your messages.
  • Tweet about your blog/new products/great service lightly.
  • Always thank people for re-tweeting your messages.

 

References:

 

@LinkedInQueen http://www.socialmediadelivered.com/

@Danzarella http:// http://danzarrella.com/