It’s Twitter Tip Tuesday — every Tuesday we’ll focus on one Twitter Tip and show you how to integrate it into your social media strategy. This week we remind you not to worry about your Twitter follower count; concentrate on building a core audience and the followers will take care of themselves.

Are you concerned about the number of followers you have on Twitter? Do you compare how many followers you have with other Twitter accounts? More importantly, have you asked yourself why you feel that having lots of followers, or getting more of them, is such a big deal? This article will help put these questions in perspective and provide you with a more strategic way to build a following on Twitter.

Connections Matter — Numbers Don’t

Connections Matter  - Numbers Don't

In an irrational quest for more followers, sometimes new (and even experienced) Twitter users will frantically follow every account they come across in the hope that these accounts will reciprocate and follow back. Worse still, some people still fall for the “Get 10,000 new Twitter followers” scams or software platforms that promise thousands of new Twitter followers at the click of a mouse — all conveniently automated so that don’t have to do any of the work yourself.

The truth is, follower numbers, and especially artificially inflated numbers, are meaningless if you haven’t put in the time and personal effort required to connect with the people you really should be connecting with. So, who are the people you should be connecting with?

“Organic” connections: These are the people who you connect with on Twitter simply because they’re interesting, informative, entertaining, or whom you consider to be friends. Typically, you’ll have lots of interaction and conversations with these folks. This, in turn, tends to be attractive to other people when they’re deciding whether or not to follow you. In other words, just by having genuine conversations, and forming real relationships with people on Twitter, you’ll attract people who will be interested in following you.

Target Audience:: You can be more strategic in shaping the type of people who are likely to follow you by building connections with a target audience that’s relevant to your business. For example, if you sell gardening supplies, use Twitter tools like Monitter or Twellow to follow people who talk about gardening in their tweets, or who have gardening related keywords in their Twitter bios. Once you start to build relationships with people who are interested in the products and services you provide, who really cares how many followers you have? Each conversation you have with any member of your target audience is worth so much more than simply having lots of untargeted followers.

Influencers: A third important group of people to connect with are the people who influence your target audience. These people are not necessarily your friends, and they’re not necessarily your customers. Continuing with the example of selling gardening supplies, it might be a good idea to connect with gardening magazines, or gardening bloggers and join some of their conversations already in progress. When people see that you have the attention of influencers in your industry, they are more likely to pay attention and follow you too.

When it comes to social media, quality trumps quantity every time. Don’t be tempted to “boost your numbers” at the expense of building an audience that’s relevant, interactive, and engaged.

[Image Credit: Dario Tagliabue]