Twitter Tip TuesdayTwitter Tip Tuesday is a new weekly blog series from Sprout Social: Insights.

Every Tuesday we’ll focus on just one (1) Twitter Tip and show you how to integrate it into your social media strategy.

Today’s Twitter Tuesday Tip: Follow, then Follow Up

Last week, we talked about the importance of Introducing People on Twitter.
But let’s not underestimate one of the most important introductions of all – yourself. This week we talk about the strategy of ‘Following Up’ and making yourself stand out to the people who you decide to follow on Twitter.

To be Followed You Must Stand Out

Do you notice when someone new follows you on Twitter?

Although Twitter may send you an Email every time someone follows you, how often do you actually read that Email? Most likely, you give it a quick scan and try and decide within a few seconds whether or not you should follow that person back.

Don’t forget, every time you decide to follow someone on Twitter, you are the subject of that Email! Are you confident enough that your Twitter profile will automatically entice the person you’ve just followed to follow you back?

Following is NOT a Numbers Game

This post is not a cheat sheet on how to game Twitter. It’s not some black hat strategy where you only follow someone to get followed back, only to dump that person in a day or so to inflate your follower/following ratio.

What we’re assuming here is that if you find someone interesting enough to follow in the first place, that you’d like that person to communicate back with you too. It doesn’t even really matter if that person actually follows you back or not – it’s the interaction that really counts.

So, if you’re looking to increase your chances of interaction with the people you follow on Twitter, here’s what you can do:

Follow, Then Follow Up

As soon as you follow someone on Twitter, give your followee a reason to notice you.
And the best way to do that? Well in social media as in life, it’s always better to give than to receive. For example:

    • Retweet something – Take a look at your followee’s tweet stream and retweet something that you feel he or she will notice. Retweeting or mentioning a blog post, for example, is more likely to get you noticed than retweeting a foursquare check-in.
    • Send an @ reply to your followee and let them know why you’re following – ie: “Hi @kikolani -noticed you follow @extremejohn Cool! Met him in Vegas last month. Following you now too.” In this example, you let @kikolani know you exist by acknowledge a common connection – and you still look cool with 37 characters to spare!
    • Engage in meaningful conversation – Link through to their homepage and see what they’re talking about – or working on – outside of Twitter. Then engage.

Send a tweet that reflects the interests and expertise of your followee (make sure to include something like cc: @followee so that they see your tweet – after all, they’re not following you…yet!

Building a Rapport Takes Time

Don’t be discouraged if you don’t get an immediate follow back or reply from your followee. It may take a person with a huge follower base some time to read through their daily @ replies, they may have Twitter lists and filters that they use to selectively read tweets from new followers, etc.

If at first you don’t succeed (in establishing a connection with your followee), then tweet, tweet again!

Cool Tip

Whether you get an immediate response from your followee or not, it helps to keep some mental note of why you followed that person in the first place. Or better still, use Sprout Social’s ‘Add Note’ feature to record exactly why you followed them (and include information about their company, Email, and other contact information too!):

Sprout Social - Add Notes Feature
Sprout Social – Add Notes Feature

Remember, people follow those who stand out from the crowd. Make yourself stand out by doing what so few people do – follow, then follow up!

Were you ever surprised to get a reply from someone you followed? Do you have any Twitter strategies that always elicit a response from people you’ve just followed? Let us know by leaving a comment below.