Explosive Twitter Growth for Small Businesses in 5 Easy Steps

small business twitter growth

Grow your small business Twitter account in 30 minutes a day

Last fall, I wrote a guest post at the Exodus Digital Marketing blog about how I had managed to grow LinkNow Media’s Twitter account from the 50-60 followers we’d had since the account was created in 2011 to over 900 followers in about nine months.

small business twitter follower growth

Those five followers per day add up quickly.

You might think that this isn’t any great achievement – 900 followers isn’t exactly a huge number when compared to some other brands out there. But when you consider that I’m the only person managing our company’s social media and I’m only able to spend, at most, 30 minutes each day working on our Twitter account, growing our follower count by 1500% is actually pretty huge.

Since then, our growth has accelerated. In just over four months, we’ve added another 750+ followers, and there’s been no sign of slowing down. With that in mind, it’s a good time to revisit our social media strategy and take another look at what you can do to promote growth for your small business Twitter account, even if you don’t have the budget for a full time social media manager.

1. Build relationships

I don’t have time to sit on Twitter all day, but I take a few minutes every day to go through my feed and like and comment on tweets that I think are useful or entertaining. This means that, over time, I’ve started to build relationships with people and other brands (or at least those brands’ social media managers).

recognize your brand on twitter

"Yes, I'm the guy who made all those great tweets."

They recognize me when I’m commenting on and liking their tweets, and that recognition carries over to when they see my tweets pop up in their newsfeeds. A large percentage of the likes and retweets we get here come from people who have engaged with our tweets in some way before – this is because people feel like they know us because of all the interaction.

I also make a point to follow back any account that follows us that isn’t an obvious bot or spam account. Since my goal is to build relationships with other people on Twitter, I give people the chance to prove that they want to build a relationship with my brand. All of this costs me just a few minutes, scattered throughout my working day, and the rewards are huge.

2. Share and promote great content

It should go without saying that if you’re trying to promote a small business of any kind online, you should be creating lots of content. Originally, we were only sharing each blog post we created one time, usually on the day it was created. Sometimes we’d get a good response, and sometimes we wouldn’t, but then we would just move on.

These days, I’m a lot more proactive about sharing our content on Twitter, especially our best-performing stuff. When I write a new blog post, I share it when it’s published and several times over the next week. Each tweet is phrased differently and might use different hashtags so I can see what kind of promotion of the content gets the best response.

Twitter engagement

You can refine your tweets until you get the kinds of engagement stats you want to see.

Every day, I also share several of our older posts – usually ones that have gotten a lot of engagement in the past. You should never be afraid to share your posts multiple times. After all, nobody is sitting on Twitter 24 hours/day. It’s likely that any time you share something, a huge number of people who would appreciate it are missing out on it.

But I also don’t only share our own content! I find and share great stuff created by some of the smartest people in online marketing. Every morning, I spend 10-15 minutes scanning a Feedly list of great digital marketing content for things that would be relevant to our audience, and I pick the best of it to share from our Twitter account.

This way, people come to see our Twitter as a source for useful information, and not just a way for us to promote our own website. Some of our tweets that have received the most engagement have been these kinds of posts, because the grateful content creators will often retweet them to their own followers. In turn, this is a great way to build relationships with other people in your industry, and we’ve had people turn around and share our content after we’ve shared theirs.

3. Schedule your tweets

Buffer queue

I add links, compose tweets, and Buffer automatically schedules them for me.

Doing all this tweeting probably makes it sound like I spend my whole day sitting on Twitter, but the ability to schedule your tweets makes this totally unnecessary. I use Buffer, simply because it’s easy and free to use, but there are a lot of other scheduling tools – from Hootsuite to Twitter’s own scheduling functionality.

Every morning, I spend a few minutes deciding on what I’m going to post that day, and write the posts in Buffer. Buffer makes this easy by setting up specific times where you’ll post every day, so that any time you add a tweet, it is scheduled in the next available slot. If you’re not using a tool like this, just make sure that you schedule your tweets throughout the day.

Here at LinkNow Media, we’ve actually looked at the times when we tend to get the most engagement and scheduled our tweets to go out at those times. There are lots of tools you can use to do this, including Twitter analytics, or you can just wing it based on your gut feeling. But either way the goal is to ensure that the maximum number of people get to see at least one of your tweets.

The best part is that once you have this set up, you can schedule a day’s worth of tweets in about five minutes, and feel confident that your work has a good chance of reaching an audience.

4. Use lots of hashtags

Social media experts have been insisting for years now that the more hashtags you use in a tweet, the less engagement you’ll get, but I simply haven’t found this to be true. In every tweet I make from our business account, I use as many hashtags as I can reasonably get away with. It seems like the more I use, the more engagement we get.

hashtag jimmy fallon

If it can work for Jimmy Fallon and Justin Timberlake, it can work for your brand.

But you should be careful not to be spammy! Don’t just fill your tweets with trending hashtags in an attempt to get your content in front of more people. Only include a hashtag if it’s relevant and if it’s a natural fit for your content.

Hashtags are one of the primary ways that people discover tweets from people they aren’t already following. If you’re not spamming, and the hashtags you use are actually relevant to what you’re tweeting about, they’ll help expose your tweets (and your Twitter account) to a much wider array of people than would ever see it otherwise. Some of these will like or retweet you, and some will follow you.

5. Participate in Twitter chats

Bufferchat screen shot

Twitter chats give you access to conversations with all kinds of interesting people.

This one may not be relevant to everyone because it requires a bit more of a time investment. But if you can manage it, Twitter chats are an excellent way to network with other professionals in your field, gain followers, and expose your brand to a large number of people.

A Twitter chat is simply a group of people all talking about the same subject, and using a hashtag to organize the tweets. Usually, the people organizing it will structure the discussion as a series of questions that participants can answer, and then the conversation expands as participants comment on each other’s answers.

Twitter chats are an excellent way for small business brands on Twitter to connect with potential customers and influencers. There are weekly or monthly Twitter chats themed around nearly any industry, but there are also generic small business chats, or social media or marketing related chats that anyone can participate in.

We often jump into #bufferchat on Wednesdays, and participants range from marketing companies like us, to brands in other industries, to individual entrepreneurs, to people who are simply interested in the topic. It’s hard to beat the amount of exposure you can get for such a small amount of effort.

There’s so much more you can do

These are all meant to be quick and easy ways to boost your Twitter growth without devoting hours every day to managing your small business’s social media accounts. However, there are a huge amount of other areas for Twitter growth that I haven’t touched on, from promoted tweets to creating funny, meme-worthy content.

Has your small business brand had success on Twitter? Did you use tactics similar to these, or did you try something else? Let us know in the comments or drop us a line (where else?) on at LinkNow Media’s Twitter account.

Lauchlin MacDonald

Author: Lauchlin MacDonald

About Lauchlin MacDonald

Lauchlin is part of the content and marketing team at LinkNow Media. He has nearly a decade of experience in copywriting and editing, and spends way too much time on the Internet. He can be reached at lmacdonald@linknowmedia.com and @Lauchlin on Twitter.