Many small businesses know that a social media presence can benefit their business. 

But on social media, having a presence and being present is not the same thing. If you want to build relationships on Twitter, for example, you need to do more than just push out content.

You need to focus on being present and look for ways to engage with the audience you want to reach.

How do I find the right audience?

Think about the different audience you can reach and connect with. Your primary goal will probably be to connect with customers and potential customers. But Twitter is also a good place to connect with experts in your industry.

You can share information from experts in your field to boost your credibility and curate content that’s related to your audience and their interests.

How to find and organize members of your different audiences on Twitter:

1. Use Twitter search effectively: Just like your target audience, you too should be using Twitter search to find relevant people to follow. Use keywords and hashtags related to your industry or your target audience to find the right people to begin connecting with.

2. Make it easy for people to find you: Keywords are important because many people use Twitter’s search function to find new people to follow. Make sure your target audience can easily find you. You can find what keywords others are searching for by using Google’s Keyword Planner or Google Trends.

3. Create Twitter lists: Twitter lists are a great way to organize your followers so you can engage with the right people at the right time. Create lists of your customers, prospects, competitors, or any other category you think may be useful for your business. Once your lists are created, you can easily view and engage with individual categories. This is a great first step in building relationships with your followers.

4. Follow who they’re following: Your new followers are more than likely following people who have the same interests as they do (prospects), as well as businesses like yours (competition). This is a great place to continue finding the right Twitter audience for your business.

Once you find the right people, it’s time to engage.

Unlike other social networks, on Twitter your business has the ability to reach out to other businesses or consumers without having to connect with them first. This gives you the opportunity to reach out to people you otherwise wouldn’t have the ability to reach.

You can reach out to people who may not know your business and start a conversation with them, or retweet something they’ve posted. Being social should be your number one goal when it comes to Twitter.

Pay attention to the content they share on a regular basis. When you learn what people are interested in, you can create and share content that’s relevant to them. This will help move the relationship forward, positioning you as a source of useful information.

Take things a step further.

Move your new Twitter relationships to other channels. Find your new connections on LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram, etc. and connect on those platforms too.

Then, look for opportunities encourage your Twitter followers to join your email list. Email marketing will be one of the most effective places to reach your audience because you can reach them directly in the inbox.

Tip: Promote your email list to your Twitter following by tweeting a link to your sign-up form once a month or so.

Here’s a great example from the Conserve Wildlife Foundation of New Jersey:

Email marketing has been shown to be almost 40 times more effective than Facebook and Twitter combined in helping your business attract new customers. Use Twitter as a way to build relationships, then take that relationship a step further by enticing them to join your email list — where you can send them valuable information directly on a consistent basis.

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