Twitter Followers: Quality vs. Quantity

Like any good social marketer, you faithfully tweet out content every day, carefully choosing the 140 characters that will best convey your message and leave your followers dying to read more. Ever wonder who you’re talking to?

A recent glimpse into Pardot’s Twitter analytics revealed some intriguing common interests amongst our followers: B2B, Marketing, CRM…and a small portion of our followers who consider themselves to be “Beliebers” (or, for the less pop-culture savvy, avid Justin Bieber fans). Translation: preteens who stumbled across a promoted tweet somewhere and decided to follow Pardot purely in hopes that the gesture would be returned. Not our target audience, and a rather humorous reminder that, when it comes to Twitter followers, how many is not nearly as important as who.

So how do you attract the right followers?

Promote your Twitter.
Make sure that your Twitter can be easily found by customers and prospects alike. This is the most obvious following you want to amass: those who are already interesting in and engaging with your product or content. Share buttons on your content, links on your website and email signature, notes in your monthly newsletter – make sure that your Twitter handle can be easily found and followed by the people most likely to start a conversation about your product.

Penetrate the industry.
Yes, including share buttons on your content can lead clients and prospects to your Twitter account, but what about the other way around? How can you use Twitter to attract followers who may have never heard of your content, product or brand? The answer lies in the small box on the left of your Twitter home page: “Who to Follow.” The first account listed in this box is always a Promoted Account (a great option for businesses with a few advertising dollars to spare), but the second two are chosen based purely on your followers and who they follow. The lesson here? Follow as many industry thought leaders as you can. If your Twitter handle pops up in that box with the subtext “Followed by [a name they recognize],” the social validation adds instant credibility to your brand and content.

Finally, keep an eye on your analytics.
If you do decide to invest in Promoted Tweets, Twitter Analytics will provide you with a breakdown of your followers and their interests. Yes, you might face the realization that some of the people you’re talking to would prefer to hear about Justin Bieber’s latest haircut. But as with any marketing initiative, the more you know about your audience, the better – who knows, maybe you’ll discover that your followers have another interest in common (aside from teen pop idols) that you can work into a blog post.

Above all, stop worrying about the numbers! You’re looking at a vanity metric – “2 million followers” means nothing if they’re not going to retweet your content or buy your product. Instead, focus on attracting the right people who have a true interest in your product and brand.