What many often misunderstand about Twitter is that the social networking aspect of it is not simply about numbers and seeing how many follows you can get. This is important to keep in mind, especially if you use Twitter to market yourself, your brand, or your company. Yes, as with ‘real life’ business, foot traffic numbers do help create more sales for a store; however, the stores that create the strongest connection with their clients often thrive. If you think of your Twitter account as more than just a tool to generate numbers, you’ll be able to succeed both in the Twittersphere and elsewhere online and in real life.

Let’s try this test: quick, think of your favorite Twitter accounts. Can you remember off the top of your head how many followers they have? If you’re like me, most likely you cannot. Instead, you probably better remember some of their latest Tweets. This thought experiment shows that it’s the content that creates a greater impression upon other Twitter users, not the numbers. Good content creates a loyal audience, one that is more likely to speak highly of you and your brand to others.

Simply pursuing a high number of followers and Tweeting links to content at your other sites will just not cut it. Certainly following a large group and hoping they will follow you will create a temporary surge of traffic, but that traffic will not sustain itself. You may be able to create buzz about your brand with the numbers of people following you, but if you don’t capitalize on this sudden rush of traffic, then it’s essentially a wasted opportunity.

For example, think of how business associations work. If you patronize a store, but find that it has associated itself with a cause or another organization that you do not respect, does that not affect how you think of the store? Likewise, if you see a Twitter account that has followed all manner of users, seemingly without checking on them, then what does that say about how they approach the concept of community? They probably don’t think much of it, right? But if you are careful in whom you follow and whom you allow to follow you, and if you think of those followers and followees as potential members of a community, then you can present yourself as knowledgeable and trustworthy source of information and connection.

The way to do this right is to understand the need for a balanced approach to marketing yourself on Twitter. Twitter can help you direct tons of traffic to your other online presences and so on, but you must sustain that traffic by creating Twitter-specific content. Play the numbers game, but keep in mind the overall goal, which is to engage with your followers and whom you follow so as to build a specific community within Twitter.

This guest post is contributed by Olivia Coleman, who primarily writes on the topics of online colleges and universities. She welcomes your comments at her email Id: olivia.coleman33 @gmail.com.

Thanks for reading,
Josh “Shua” Peters

image by takomabibelot