Building a huge Twitter list for marketing

Twitter has evolved into an excellent social media tool with lots of potential. It is useful for a range of activities including: driving website traffic, reading news, professional networking, sales, hiring, and making friends. Regardless of why you are using Twitter, your success is 100% dependent on building an effective Twitter List. The Twitter List is your online social network of people (‘tweeps’ in Twitter slang).

So what are the most effective ways to build a Twitter List? What are some major pitfalls to avoid?

1) Quality Over Quantity

I would rather have a Twitter List of 100 highly relevant, targeted followers than a list of 3000 random followers. You should too. Relevant followers will convert better, provide more useful tweets, and offer a much better networking opportunity than others.

What do I mean by relevant, targeted followers? Here are some criteria I use to assess whether or not to follow someone:

Are they a real person, or a robot?
Their description and profile content
What their website about? Is it high quality?
Who do they follow? Who follows them?
How often do they tweet? How many updates do they have?
Do they use an automated Twitter Program?

Ask these questions before following anyone on Twitter, resist the urge to follow everyone you can. A high quality Twitterer to follow should be a real person, with a similar profile and niche as yours, and provide timely useful tweets.

2) DO NOT Use Automated Twitter Programs

I’ve debated using some of the automated Twitter programs whose numbers are multiplying like rabbits. You know, the ones that go something like ‘Gain 3,000 followers / How I made $30,000 in 3 months!’

I’ve ultimately decided that I will never use one of these programs, as they will hurt my objectives on Twitter. And I believe you too will be better off without them. The reasons for this are:

They stress quantity over quality
Far from personal, they ‘robotize’ your profile
Can be as annoying as hell for the recipient
Use a simplistic formula to find followers (ie: keywords in profile, tweets)
Pass your Twitter name and password through a 3rd party server that probably is not as secure as Twitter’s.

The bottom line is you can do a much better job finding relevant followers than an automated program. Yes it will take more time and effort. But is your main goal on Twitter simply to get as many followers as you can at any cost? Or is it to maximize your followers and create a highly valuable social network for your objectives? I hope it is the latter. If not an automated Twitter program would be GREAT for you! I like to use Twitter Search to find users as well as Twitter itself.

3) Create A Highly Targeted Profile

Choose a specific niche you would like to build a network of friends in. The narrower your focus, the better. A targeted profile lets potential followers quickly understand what you are about, and gain a higher number of followers in that field than a general one.

You will save time by not having to read through countless irrelevant tweets, and convert more visitors to visit your website and other goals.

My targeted Twitter profile is in online marketing, specifically SEO, Social Media, Web Analytics, and Web Design. I will only follow people whose profile includes those fields, and I now have a network of over 400 highly relevant followers after two weeks.

If you have another interest or field you would like to tweet about not related to your current profile, simply create a new Twitter account for it.

4) Be Patient

Networking in person takes time, same thing online. It doesn’t happen overnight, and it doesn’t happen in 2 months. It’s an ongoing process. The results from building a high quality and relevant network of individuals are much more rewarding than building a network of a gazillion followers interested in everything under the sun. That’s why I discourage using automated programs to build up followers fast, there is no shortcut!

There is no ‘get rich quick’ scheme, except for hard work, persistence, and an efficient use of time. Do not sacrifice quality for quantity or you won’t get too far in your objectives.

5) Establish Clear Goals

What are your objectives on Twitter? Your success is dependent on your Twitter List, so assign some goals to it. For example, gaining 100 targeted followers per month. Set goals, and work towards them. You must have a clearly defined path to follow.

6) Follow A Schedule

Twitter has the potential being a very efficient use of your time . It can also be to be a huge waste of time. Set aside X hours per day, or a goal of Y people to follow per day. Following a regular schedule with clearly defined objectives will ensure the most productive use of your time. Personally, I aim to provide at least 3 daily updates and follow at least 50 new targeted people per day. I currently have 413 highly targeted followers on my list, and I started two weeks ago.