Part 1 of 2: How to Use Twitter As Your Greatest Community Builder

Community can help your brand. Twitter can help you build that community.

Business owners are constantly trying to keep a handle on where to place their efforts. They post… and post… and post. They give all they have and wonder why their effort isn’t reciprocated by their followers. After months (or years) of this, they start looking at what other great brands are doing to find success on social media. And then they find the answer: a community builder.

On Twitter, it’s all about community! Creating a brand customers feel they belong to, that understands them is key. Click To Tweet

How to Use Twitter as a community builder

Twitter is one of the best social media platforms to build a community on, and we’re about to peel back the layers on exactly how this can look for your brand.
Note: This is part 1 of 2 because all of this goodness couldn’t fit into one blog post.

1. Reply to Everyone

The Twitter feed goes fast, so if you want it to be your #1 community builder, it’s important to acknowledge those who take the time to comment, share and/or favorite your posts. This acknowledgment will slowly create a bond and an atmosphere of shared gratitude between you and your followers.

Note: Thanking each and every person who favorites your post might seem overwhelming if you have a lot of traffic. If that’s the case, use this technique sparingly, and focus on those who have shown continuous support.

Let’s check out some great examples of this:

Squatty Potty tweet

Did this one give you a chuckle? It did for me! What a fun banter back-and-forth between Squatty Potty and Kyle Cristian Hatch. A customer comfortable enough to have this vulnerable exchange and generous enough to take the time to tweet a company shows that some great community building is in action.

Galvanize tweet

Duane Baker took the time to reply to Galvanize‘s retweet, and Galvanize added more to the convo. Seems so simple, right? Why don’t more of us extend a simple “thank you” to our followers and supporters?

2. Strike Up a Conversation

One of the best aspects of Twitter is that you can talk to anyone at any time without feeling awkward. It doesn’t matter if you know them or if they know you. What matters is that you take an interest in them and/or in their interests. Twitter users expect to chat with complete strangers. It’s part of the fun!

One way to strike up a conversation with someone you hope to bring into your community is to add a positive and thoughtful comment or inquiry to one of their tweets that encourages a reply. You can also strike up a conversation with them about a photo on their profile, a hobby mentioned in their bio, or something to do with your industry. This is not the time for a sales pitch! Sales-y comments will cause Tweeters to run for the hills. If you’re really interested in creating a relationship with a specific person, show them you care about them. Oh, and remember: a one-time interaction won’t do it. Just as is true in “real life” interactions, consistent and authentic exchanges between two Tweeters will build a trusting Twitter friendship.

Time to see who’s doing it right:

Whole Food Nanny tweet

Laura Clark (a.k.a. Whole Food Nanny) tweeted a thank you to a leader in her industry, Colleen Patrick-Goudreau (a.k.a. Joyful Vegan). What a great way to reach out to someone you admire. Looks like Joyful Vegan already popped into one of Laura’s Periscope broadcasts. Perhaps this gracious follow-up tweet will encourage her to watch more often.

Peg Fitzpatrick tweet

Ahna Hendrix made herself known to social media guru Peg Fitzpatrick by showing her personality when retweeting. Peg took hold and focused on nurturing her community member by sending her love and asking her a follow-on question. This is community-building at its finest!

3. Extend a Hand

Reach out to those in a complimentary business within your industry. The relationships and bonds formed on Twitter might not only lead to partnerships and other opportunities for yourself and your business but can also enhance your community. The camaraderie with other great businesses will show their followers that you exist, and show your followers that you aren’t afraid to make connections with other companies similar to yours. Oh, and no one is too lofty to reach out to. Who is your mentor from afar? If they’re on Twitter, they’ve already opened the door to communication with you.

For example, a baby clothing company might reach out to companies who sell baby clothing accessories, baby shoes, baby hats, or really… anything baby!

A virtual assistant company might create community with social media scheduling companies, social media experts, and virtual organizational tools like Pocket, Evernote, Trello, and Slack.

Here are some great ones:

Paul Mitchell Tweet

Kinky Curls LA is all about hair and style. They reached out to Paul Mitchell, a leader in hair, and made a great connection. Look at that! Paul Mitchell replied.

Evernote Tweet

Look at these two great companies together! Evernote did the legwork of not only sharing The Minimalists’ post but also adding in a really thoughtful comment to go along with it. Creating a connection? I think so!

4. Twitter Chats: Take Part or Take the Lead

Unless you already have a pretty great community on Twitter, starting a grandiose chat might be a little out of reach. Take the time to build up a community via other chats! Participate, lend your advice connect with other chatters one-on-one during and after the chat (and then… hint, hint… follow them on Twitter so you can stay in touch!)

Take a look at Brian Fanzo of iSocialFanz’ list of the 16 Top Twitter Chats – displayed in SlideShare. (Oh, and guess where I met Brian… You got it — Twitter!)

Let’s check out some of the greatest chatters on Twitter:

Gary Rock worked in Federal Marketing at Dell. He also takes part in the fun and random nature of #NostalgiaChat. Check out the picture he posted. That will surely get some profile views! If a Dell lover comes across him in #NostalgiaChat, they might just click “Follow” and there starts a beautiful relationship!

twitter chat examples

Check this out! These writers (Lauren Salkin and sherry smith gray), the moderator (Atomic Reach), and this business owner (Terry Lo) all joined together to chat about one specific topic. The remarks are all thoughtful and respectful. Perhaps they’ll end up following one another and even joining each other’s communities when the chat is over.

5. Retweet with Intention

It’s great to give the ol’ “RT”, but what if you took the care to add at least a little comment to each one? Perhaps these 5 seconds of effort will allow you to stand out above the crowd of other RTs and link you and the Twitter user you are supporting. Now, think about if you did this consistently to the same Tweeters. They’d get to know your name, and they’d associate your name with feelings of being supported, appreciated, and noticed.

Adding in a nugget of extra information to let them know you thought about their tweet and/or read their blog post will mean so much more to them than if you simply passed it along. The bond you’re creating here is, in turn, enhancing your community.

Screen shot of a Wicked Good Cupcakes retweet

Here’s a stellar retweet by Wicked Good Cupcakes. They went above and beyond by not only retweeting a really complimentary comment by a customer, but they also added a fun comment to let Angel know he was heard and is appreciated. Think Angel will continue to be a WGC community member? I do!

Alright! Now we have a few points to work on until next time. Master the tips above so that when I return with the next five ways to use Twitter as your greatest community builder, you already have a solid foundation to build upon.

What tips do you have for using Twitter as a community builder? Perhaps I’ll add it into Part 2!

Thoughts or Questions?

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