by SEOmoz – Jen Lopez
Hi, SEOmoz fans. I’m Jen Lopez. I’m a community manager here at SEOmoz. Today I’m going to be talking about how we increased our Twitter followers by over 250% in the past year.
Now, I know the question is going to come up that we’re not supposed to care about the actual numbers. It is not about the numbers. It’s about the actual influencers and that sort of thing. That is true. It is very true. But you still, in order to get more influencers and in order to get more people retweeting your stuff, you need to get more followers. So, we’re looking at the percentage that we increased and not necessarily the exact numbers.
Before I really get started I should tell you that when I first started taking over the Twitter account, my biggest goal was simply to beat Rand in followers. We started and the SEOmoz account had something like 4,000 followers. That was maybe a year and a half year ago. Today we have almost 28,000. That was because I was bound and determined to beat Rand who had a good 15,000 more followers than we did. So let me tell you exactly how we did that.
The first thing is we engaged. I know you’re going to say, “Everybody says engage with your followers.” But what does that really mean, right? So, at SEOmoz, for us we use Twitter not only as a marketing tactic but as a customer service tactic. It is also a huge part of our community. Twitter for us is a little bit of everything. If somebody sends us a kudos like, “Oh, I just tested out the new web app. Seriously awesome. Thank you, SEOmoz,” we respond back and say, “High five!” or “Glad you love it.” Sometimes we retweet it, whatever. They get a response. That doesn’t happen 100% of the time, but it happens often.
The next thing that we do is if somebody complains, they get an error, they’re like, “Your latest post was horrible,” whatever the case may be, they also get a response. Sometimes the response is, “Whoa! Sorry you got that error. Can you send us a screenshot?” Or, “Make sure to have your third party cookies on.” Whatever the case may be, they get a response. Oftentimes, once they get a response, their tone changes. They change from being mad about something to all of a sudden being like, “Hey, it’s cool. You responded. You got me. I’m good.”
We also started, if you notice, every one of our blog posts get published on [Twitter]. Oftentimes it will go up in the middle of the night in the US plus in the afternoon. What we’re doing is we’re trying to make sure we have a huge following from essentially all over the world. We want to make sure that it is not just the West Coasters getting great content. We schedule it so that it goes out. There are definitely ways to schedule your content and schedule tweets so that you don’t look like a spammer. You’re actually going in and when you are around, you reply to people. You touch base with them. The biggest part of engaging is just making sure that you are talking to people whether it is they love you, they hate you, they have a question, whatever it is; talk to them. People really appreciate it. Simply by doing that, that alone in the first year that we started making these changes to the Twitter account increased our following by about 100%.
What really kicked us into over gear is we made sharing a whole lot easier on the site. I don’t know if you remember, but at least 6 months ago, it was really difficult to share any content on our site. If you wanted to share a post, you had to scroll down way at the bottom, there was a “share this” button, I believe. Then you click “share this” and you have like 500 options of what you’re to do next. Most users aren’t going to do that. They don’t want to have to think. I go to a website and I want to share something, I don’t want to think about it. I want to click a button that says “Tweet Me” and let it take me off to Twitter. So, that’s what we changed. When we redesigned the site, we made Twitter and Facebook very prominent on the site. So not only actually has our Twitter followers increased, but our Facebook fans have about tripled also, just by, again, making it easier for people to share your content.
Again, as I’m talking about this, these are the tactics that we have taken to increase our followers. It may not necessarily work with what you’re doing. You may not be in a business where you necessarily want to talk to people who are hating your product or whatever the case may be. But this has worked for us, and it has increased our reach by thousands and thousands. If you look at Klout and you look at where we were before and where we are now, the difference is actually amazing. The next step in this is actually to do a post that shows you some really distinct numbers and that sort of thing that I can show you the difference and what our reach is now as opposed to what it used to be.
Other than making sharing easier, we’ve also added it to emails. You get an email from the customer service team and we say, “Hey, did you get an awesome experience with customer service? Tweet about it.” We send an email about the webinar coming up. We’re like, “Don’t forget to tell your friends about it.” Whatever you do, make it really easy to share. I’ve received emails from my dentist that say, “Forward this to a friend,” or “Share this with your friend on Twitter.” Whatever you do, think about all the ways that you market or that you do customer service and figure out how you can add Twitter into that.
The last one is, we involved everyone. Even though we increased our talking from the actual Twitter account, where it is really Roger, so oftentimes, you know, Roger he really loves to get on Twitter and just chat it up with people. Sometimes he woots and whees and beeps a little bit. But it was really important actually to involve everyone. So we have asked everyone that if you see someone that has a question about a tool, someone who is asking about the best guide to SEO and we have that content, or if you just see anything out there where I can’t be on there 100%. I can’t be online at all times. Even though, if you know me well, you probably know that I’m mostly online all of the time. So, we involved. Rand, if Rand sees a question come through to SEOmoz, he’ll respond to it and he’ll CC the SEOmoz account so that we know it has been covered. Same with Joanna or SEOmom, they do the same thing. We have also involved our associates like Dr. Pete, the entire distilled staff, so the people that you see posting on the blog and that sort of thing. I’ve also asked them, if you see questions, whatever it is, talk to people. Remind them, hey, there’s this post over here or there’s this app over here or don’t forget you can send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org and they’ll be able to give you more information or help you with your problem.
Then, here we have Mozzers just in general. We have some of our great community members who have also helped us. They’ve taken it upon themselves to jump into conversations, involve people into the SEOmoz community through Twitter. For us, like I said before, Twitter is not just a marketing tactic to us. It is involving people in the community. It’s telling them about community events whether it is a meet-up or a webinar coming up or discounts to a conference, whatever the case may be. We use Twitter for everything talking to our community.
So, these are the main three tactics that we’ve used over the past about a year and a half to increase our followers. The other thing that we often look at is increasing our reach and taking a look at our influencers, because we want to make sure that not only are we gaining followers but we’re gaining followers who are the equivalent to the linkerati. We want the social linkerati. We want these people who like to retweet, who like to send your information out. We want those people to be following us and to be engaged with us. We will often jump into a conversation and be a part of it simply because we know that having that touch point with someone makes them feel more a part of the community. I’ve done it in person, too. I talk to people in person and mention Twitter, and the next thing you know, I see that they’re following us. It is just really important to get out, talk to your people, and engage them.
I would really love to hear what’s working for you. What do you do? What is your tactic to gaining followers, finding those influencers, and how do you use Twitter? I hope that you guys will forgive me that perhaps I am not as eloquent as Rand. I really loved doing the Whiteboard Friday today. Aaron who is back there taking the video is laughing at me at the moment. I would just like everyone to know that. Anyway, thank you everyone. I hope you have a great weekend. We’ll see you next week for another Whiteboard Friday.