Well I usually write a lot about airports and travel. But I thought I’d shake things up today and write about marketing.
It’s something I do a lot of thinking about, especially this strange yet trendy thing called “growth hacking.” As if marketers were feeling left out of the developer nerd-circle, so we needed have a form of hacking associated with us too.
In any case, today I wanted to talk about building up a Twitter following, and how I’ve been going about it lately.
There are really 3 ways:
- The old fashioned way. Use it. A lot. Oh yeah, and write useful content that people want to read and engage around. It’s harder than it sounds. It takes a lot of time to learn the rules of engagement, the syntax, and the tacit behaviors that your customer base expects. It also takes time to learn how to write succinct messages that are also engaging, how to stay relevant with things that are trending, and how to constantly uplift to new Twitter hashtags and conversations to continuously expand your audience.
- Be smarter than the average bear and employ a number of free Twitter management and analytics tools. Of course there are many paid versions too, which have extra/unlocked features etc., and do some of the work for you. I’ll talk about a few of these in a separate post, but some of my favorites lately are: Manage Flitter, FollowGen, JustUnfollow, and the free version of SimplyMeasured. Of course a lot of this still involves manual labor because you have to constantly monitor your following and play the “follow/unfollow” game so that you are continually pruning the less-than-active Tweeps that you follow in order to follow more active Tweeps (currently Twitter has my upper-follow limit at 2,001; at the time of this post I have around 1,075 followers).
- Outsource it. Seriously, you can. This could be to people on Fiverr (more on the later), to an intern, or to some guy overseas that you’re paying a few hundred dollars a month. You can also outsource it to a “bot” like TweetAdder. Of course most of these things cost you money, but they save you time. Be careful though, because they can also get you in trouble with Twitter. More on this in a future blog, too.
In the past 3 months, I’ve basically grown my tripchi twitter handle by 10% a month, adding roughly 100 followers each month. I spend roughly 30-60 minutes/day (usually not including weekend) finding and crafting interesting content to share on Twitter. Therefore, my Cost to Acquire is around 3.15 minutes/follower. If my hourly rate is $50/hour, that means my Cost to Acquire is $2.625. This doesn’t seem so great when it comes to bang for the buck. And of course acquisitions just means “follows” in this context and not actually transactions or customers.
But actually, it’s right in the normal distribution of the “cost per follower” bell curve for what a paid, “promoted” tweet will garner. (If you’re interested to see how Twitter compares to Facebook, check out this post and infographic).
In fact, it means I’m doing better than I thought; not only am I on the lower end of the Cost per Follower (CPF) spectrum, but I’m also generating unique content that has a higher degree of relevancy.
Let me unpack this a little more. To obtain my CPF metric, I’m tweeting 5-10 times per day, typically around hashtags related to:
- My product
- My customers
This is the Golden Rule. The Trifecta.
Think of it as a Venn diagram. When these three things align, you are able to generate some really good content that is appealing to your audience, relevant to your product, and authentic to who you are (and therefore more entertaining, engaging, and passionate).
When you do this right – and you find the intersection of these three circles – it’s like the “A-Ha” moment for good content marketing. And you immediately know if you’re doing it right or not because the “invisible hand” of the Twittersphere real-time market will tell you.
Mainly it comes down to putting out content that you are genuinely interested in (therefore it’s not spammy and sounds human), around the topics your customers care about (which are hopefully in a high degree of alignment with the topics you care about), and oh by the way your product is mentioned a few times because it has a high degree of relevancy, or, at the very least, people start associating your product by default with the overlap of the other two. Which is exactly what we want, because this is brand building.
The hashtags, aka conversations, I have found that are a good overlap of these three things, for me, are:
I have also discovered several Twitter chats that similar share my interests, my target audience, and my product relevancy.
What’s great is that when I’m out there “marketing” on Twitter for tripchi, it doesn’t feel like marketing because I really stand behind what I’m posting and would post it anyways, regardless of the fact that I’m trying to build my tripchi brand and following. Thank God I love traveling, startups, technology, and marketing–it makes writing about tripchi so easy!
I call this all authentic marketing, and I think it’s the most effective type of marketing there is.