How to Use Twitter to Attract Online Community Members

You can easily find people to follow your brand, especially if they like you as an online community manager. Twitter is a wonderful tool for driving traffic to your various communities.

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Use Twitter to share fun, pithy comments with your community. Some Twitter members are more into following a fun community manager than they are in following the brand itself.

To find followers, find the people who have the most in common with your brand. If you’re with a peanut butter brand, think about the kinds of people who would follow a peanut butter brand. Foodies might follow a peanut butter brand; people who blog about foods, review foods, and create recipes might follow the brand.

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Twitter search allows you to search for people, names, phrases, and more. If you type ice cream in Twitter search, you can see all the people who are talking about ice cream at that time. By seeing what they’re talking about, you can determine whether they’d be interested in your brand. If so, give them a follow; ideally, they’ll follow you back.

Twitter search can be a little frustrating, because Twitter practices rate limiting. If you search more than a couple of pages, Twitter cuts you off from any more searching by notifying you that you’ve been rate limited, which is Twitter’s way of deterring spammers.

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If you’re met with too many rate limit messages, it’s a good idea to employ the use of a Twitter app such as Hootsuite, Tweet Deck, or Seesmic.

When you have enough followers, you’re ready to tweet and drive traffic back to your community pages.

First and foremost, the last thing you want to do is spam. People who tweet nothing but links all the time are considered to be spammers, and if you’re reported for spam, Twitter will ban your account.

Use your account for fun things such as the following:

  • Start a Twitter chat. Have a hashtag chat to promote your community. Use the hashtag #peanutbutter, for example, to lead a different discussion every week or two. You can also use a Twitter chat to ask your community members what they think of the brand, the brand’s website, your online community, and anything else you want to solicit feedback on.

  • Have a conversation. Without linking, share facts, jokes, recipes (if you can stay within Twitter’s 140-character limit), and other fun-focus items related to your company’s product. Don’t make the conversation only related to your product, though.

  • Retweet. If you want to share someone else’s tweet, you can retweet it. To do so, click the Retweet button on your Twitter page. (It looks like two curved arrows forming a square.) From there, you’ll be asked if you’d like to retweet the tweet to your followers, and you just click Yes.

    Some Twitter apps allow commentary with your retweet, so you can add a few words letting folks know why you’re recommending that tweet.

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  • Share. Just because you shouldn’t be spammy doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t share. As long as everything you Tweet out isn’t a link, you’re fine. Also, it’s less spammy if you also share other relevant content with your community. So share links to discussion-worthy news articles and blog posts and fun links as well as your own stuff.

New members are never hard to find. If you’re active on the social networks, people tend to be curious and will follow you to see what you do and what your community is all about. Half the time, you don’t even have to ask.

Provide good content, relevant content, keep the conversation flowing, and throw in some fun stuff. If you build it, they certainly will come.

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