Twitter – home to 284 million active users (Twitter), 63% of all brands (Jeff Bullas) and accounts for a platform where users commit 170 minutes every month (Rocket Post). All of which shows the benefits of being on Twitter, and making it work for you. So, here are 10 industry-insider hacks and short cuts to help you in building relationships and building your follower count.

  1. First of all – Work out why you’re on Twitter in the first place

Are you looking to establish yourself as a thought-leader, an industry-expert or source of news and views? Are you hoping to connect with influencers, local people, and local businesses? Perhaps you’re hoping to use Twitter to give exceptional customer service (just as these brands are doing). Working out why you want to be on Twitter will help shape any marketing strategy that you should be building around your goals.

  1. Engage with the platform yourself – Follow brands and people of interest

Twitter is a two-way street – follow active consumers or businesses in your target market. This is also a great way to gather some market research. What’s more, following your competitors can inform your own Tweeting approach.

  1. Opt for reciprocal following in your early days

Reciprocal following (where you follow people who sometimes choose to follow back) can be effective to build an initial following – so check in on your competitors’ followers.

A word of caution however – don’t do this on-mass, Twitter has strict policies on aggressive following and your account could get banned.

  1. Advertise your Twitter presence EVERYWHERE

Let people know they can connect with you on Twitter. Put it on your website, your email signature and onto every piece of printed material your business uses.

  1. Uncover conversations

Discover what people are talking about in relation to your industry by searching hashtags and key terms surrounded by quotation marks.

  1. Capitalise upon others’ content by re-tweeting updates your followers will find interesting

This tip is a quick-fire way to build a follower based – but don’t overdo it! Make sure you’re posting you own thoughts and content too.

  1. Get involved in the conversation and use hashtags

You know those hashtags you see pop up at the beginning of tv programmes? That’s for you to use when giving your thoughts on the tv programme on social media.  Twitter is ALL about the conversation.  So see what hashtags are trending, and join in with your thoughts. Tweet about what you’re watching on tv. Don’t forget to add your own hashtags to your posts too!

  1. Analyse what’s working, what isn’t and what needs a little work

In your twitter account you’ll find analytics. Take a look at these and see what types of tweets are working best for you, what time of day your tweets get the most engagement and tweak your tweets (easy to say!) so you get the most from the platform. The importance of comprehensive analysis of your social media efforts is not to be underestimated – platforms such as Hootsuite,  Agorapulse or SocialPilot will provide insight into how each Tweet is performing – and even extends to the types of Tweets in relation to the action your visitors take on your website.

  1. Schedule your activity

Managing your social media is time consuming. You can use Hootsuite,  Agorapulse or SocialPilot  to streamline your efforts and keep you tweeting even when you’re too busy. Just remember however, that you still need to directly reply to anyone who tweets you!

  1. Don’t just tweet about work. Tweet personal things too!

It’s tempting when you just want to grow your business to only show your professional side on social media. But remember you’re a person with other interests and your potential patients like seeing what you like and do in your spare time. I’d suggest doing 80% professional tweets about your practice, your job, testimonials etc, but use the other 20% to talk about you and what you’re up to.