What is the best practice when you gain a new Twitter follower?
Twitter is a perfect social network when it comes to making connections and engaging with people due its fast paced, snappy conversational approach. Twitter can play a big part in the building of a brand if it is utilised well.
Engaging with a follower from day one is a great starting point and instantly differentiates you from other insurance brokers who are using Twitter. Making a positive first impression on your followers should lead to them coming back to you for more. By not engaging with new followers you are missing an opportunity to build relationships.
How do brokers acknowledge new followers?
At Ignition we conducted an experiment to see what methods various brokers chose when we followed them on Twitter. The responses we received from the brokers varied from:
- Some said nothing and we received no acknowledgement after following several accounts.
- Some tweeted us and introduced themselves and thanked us for the follow (we believe several of these to be automated responses).
- Some tweeted us and introduced themselves and included a link to their website.
- Some tweeted us with a link to their other social media accounts and asked us to follow them.
- Some tweeted us and straight away asked for our renewal date/what cover we required.
It was encouraging to see that many brokers did appear to have a process in place to acknowledge new followers. But are these brokers really engaging with their followers?
What should you avoid doing when contacting a new follower?
- Courtesy following – only follow those accounts which are relevant/of interest to you and your business.
- Bog standard introduction – i.e. ‘Hi thanks for following us, we are….’ If it doesn’t seem human and authentic it is unlikely that you will generate much engagement.
- Automated responses – avoid automated replies at all costs! This does not look good and twitter users can often spot an automated reply a mile off.
- Asking for their renewal date/trying to provide a quote straight away – this is jumping the gun, you don’t want a new follower’s first impression of you to be that you are trying to sell them something.
- Asking them to validate their account – we all want to avoid spam accounts, however it only takes a few seconds of you looking through their tweets to know whether they are genuine or not. Asking a follower to validate their own account will appear lazy on your part and is likely to put them off.
- Doing nothing – the biggest “don’t” of them all. Not attempting any kind of engagement with new followers is extremely bad practice.
So what should you do when you gain a new follower?
- First of all ensure that you are following the right accounts. Only follow accounts that tweet content that is of interest to you and your business.
- When you first engage with a follower ensure that you use language that seems human and authentic.
- A simple introductory tweet to your new follower is a possible option but is it enough? Is it going to come across as engaging or more like a routine response?
- What may be more effective is:
- A first step could be to look through their tweets, favourite or even retweet, this is flattering.
- Respond to one of their tweets that is of interest to you rather than just tweeting them out of the blue, spark a conversation
- Tweet them a question
- Or alternatively answer one of their questions
- Try and tweet them something which will spark conversation rather than a mere introduction.
- If you would rather keep your timeline tidy then you could always opt for a direct message rather than a tweet.
Do time frames have an impact?
Yes, we believe time frames do impact. We recommend that you engage with a new follower as soon as possible. Many brokers have an employee or several employees dedicated to running their Twitter account so that they are able to engage with new followers as quickly as possible. It is vital that an agreed process for engaging with new followers is developed to ensure consistency.