#1 Disclosure: I am not at all an expert on Twitter and Instagram, in fact, I didn’t have too much to do with these channels, but for a new project it was impossible to ignore it (and it is generally impossible to ignore these). So I opened my accounts and searched for expert tips which I followed – as much as I could.
#2 Disclosure: I am still not selling anything so I can not show how these followers convert to sales, at the moment I am just building an audience.
Follow the followers
I found it much easier to connect and socialise on Twitter and Instagram than on Facebook. One common advice is to see who follows some of the biggest influencers in your industry and follow them as you share the same interest. This proved to be amazingly effective, many of them followed back and even new people followed. In my case the affinity is travel, so it attracts a quite wide range of people.
Platforms that could be useful
I also found twiends.com that shows you Twitter people in the location or affinity you want, but basically, Twitter does this by itself anyway. Twiends is free but if you pay a weekly $9,95 you are featured to more people and will have even more followers, but I am not sure how relevant they are.
For another $19,99 per month at commun.it you can save time and engage your followers by thanking top followers, sending an automated reply to fresh fans, in which you can welcome them and ask them to follow tour Instagram/blog/Facebook. The platform has many other similar features. I tried both for free, and at this initial stage I didn’t see a dramatic benefit, but at a later stage – or for an other industry – these might be useful.
To grow Instagram followers I tried a few platforms – among them Influxsocial, this again increases visibility and proved to be great, however, I am not sure how many followers came from here, or from my own activity (looking for the followers of influencers). There are a lot of providers selling tonnes of fake followers who look real, but obviously, this is not an option if you want to do it seriously.
A general advice reads that you should look at who to follow, how active they are, what they post and react to their posts, like, comment, share. Sounds great, but I was overwhelmed by the social vibe, everybody sending automated/real messages, it is impossible to spend minutes with each profile – apart from running our usual business.
But I agree, in some niche and specific areas or at a later stage it could be good. Instead, I concentrated on a few selected ones and kept engaging with them, liking, re-tweeting, and this created a mutual relationship.
This is the million dollar tip that you can read everywhere and is quite obvious, but the fact is that there are thousands and thousands of unbelievably engaging content out there – especially in travel. So what I did is posting the photos that had a positive feedback earlier in my other channels, and I posted a lot. I tried to figure out what people like but the volume of likes was not enough to judge it. I also studied what others did and just went on my own posting as much as I could, and on Twitter re-tweeting with some own comments.
This is also a popular advice and makes all the sense. However just getting into it, messaging with people back and forth takes an enormous time, not to mention writing the piece itself, and eventually, it can easily get sunk in the threads. So what I did was asking for interviews, I just had to send a set of questions and I usually got back great content and pictures – and some good partnerships.
I admit it was a pain at the beginning, and for someone who loves writing, it is a struggle to talk in hashtags. The expert tip is to choose the right hashtag as these are your “keywords.” Well, easier said than done. Again I experimented with these, there were some I always used, some I selected from the suggestions twitter offered, and I also looked out for what others did. By the end, it was quite fun.
After all the best advice – that by the way, nobody gives – is that you should enjoy it and explore how the content, the people, the interactions from the thread.