1. Create an Umbrella Account
The first step in building a responsive Twitter community is creating an umbrella account for your business or organization. A quick search on Twitter will reveal some of the areas and subjects that people talk or share about. Ideally, your umbrella account should be a “melting-point” of some sort. It should attract like-minded people and give them a chance to start and carry on a conversation around subjects or topics, or issues of common interest. To encourage interaction, follow people who can create conversation, not people who drop links and say nothing.
2. Cultivate Good Relationships
If you want your Twitter community to thrive, you have to nurture good relationships with followers. Just as a farmer sows seeds and tends to them till they grow and flourish as crops in a farm, so does your Twitter community depend on your input to flourish. You have to cultivate the seeds of good relationships within your community and water them with trust so that you can deepen the roots of followers.
Sadly, many people don’t have the patience to nurture relationships in Twitter; they want their communities to flourish overnight without some input. The truth is; you cannot build a Twitter community in a week or two, it’ll take you a long time to build a robust community. It could even take you several years. You just need to be patient, genuine, and honest in your conversations and intents and everything will fall into place at the right time.
3. Retweet Interesting Stuff
To keep the conversation going in your Twitter community, you should also re-tweet all interesting and relevant items that you come across in your network. Re-tweeting creates a coherent stream of content that also helps visitors see what you’re up to and what you’re following. The more you re-tweet, the greater the chance of drawing more people into a conversation under your umbrella account. People will be tempted to respond by asking questions or seeking clarification and in the process, start a though-provoking discussion within your community. The good thing about re-tweeting is that it attracts new people into your network. This gives them a chance to learn and to discover interesting things in your community as well.
4. Use HashTags to Promote Events
If you are planning an event and you want to promote it vigorously, then you should use specific hash tags (#) for that purpose. Hash tags can really be useful in promoting face-to-face Twitter community events and drawing people to your cause. I know you are wondering, why are they necessary? The reason is simple; hash tags are easy to find in Twitter search and this makes them good for promotional purposes. The other reason is that tweeting with hash tags is more like likely to trend especially if you have a significant following. Also, it’s much easier to promote your events using hash tags than setting up a new account and starting from zero.
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5. Join Interesting Conversations
As your Twitter community grows so does the need to talk with people. Don’t just be the initiator of conversations; give others room to initiate conversations and then use that chance to interact with them. Look for fun, interesting, or witty conversations then jump in by replying to followers or people that you have never chatted with before. While some people will ignore you, the majority of people are gregarious, open, and conversational. Look at this as an opportunity to meet new people and build connections with them.
6. Focus on Quality of Conversation, not Followers
While Twitter is a great platform, overally, it is increasingly becoming a haven for spammers and auto-follow bots. It shouldn’t come as a surprise that some of the Twitter lists have inflated numbers. It’s very easy for anyone to turn a Twitter campaign into a “link feeding campaign” (so as to acquire more followers). This is not the best approach to building a Twitter community. In fact, it defeats the very purpose of staring your community.
Instead of focusing on activities that will increase followers, focus on activities that’ll make your Twitter community as participatory and open as possible. Don’t go for numbers, focus on creating a community that attracts people to join in their volition. In short, give followers reason to join and stick to your community.
7. Share Great stuff
It’s not enough to encourage followers to converse; you have to encourage them to share useful materials and resources as they converse back and forth. Sharing is the key to starting and growing the affinity that followers have towards your Twitter community. You can set the pace by sharing links to great articles, videos, thought-provoking blogs, or captivating infographics. If you blog weekly, then make every effort to share links to your latest blog posts with your community, or any witty or interesting links.
Communities that encourage members to share resources have more followers and higher response rates than communities that revolve around hum-drum conversation. Don’t kill the conversation by talking day-in-day out, give followers a reason to throng your Twitter community because they’ll find great and inspirational stuff that’ll make them talk.
8. Measure and Evaluate Your Efforts
When you have done all these things, you should sit down and reflect on your efforts and the results. Don’t just assume that you’ll create a Twitter community automatically; you have to continually measure your progress. Metrics such as number of followers, links re-tweeted, and the number of people who register for your events are good indications of your engagement and response level. Make good use of all the nifty Twitter apps to bench mark and measure the effectiveness of your Twitter campaigns.
Conversation is the life-blood of any Twitter community. A strong community thrives because of steady and responsive conversation. To build a strong community, you have to encourage followers to converse back and forth. You have to be genuine, gracious, and friendly to all your followers. Don’t treat people indifferently because they can easily tell whether you are real or not. Finally, provide stimulus through sharing and you’ll see your Twitter community coalesce and thrive around your personality or your business.