PR News Q&A: RF Binder’s Nada Arnot on Increasing Your Twitter Following

Communicators have tried different strategies and tactics to grab the attention of Twitter’s 175 million registered users. According to Nada Arnot, chief digital officer for RF Binder, building an active Twitter community involves a dedicated strategy to engage and inform a community rather than just collecting a large number of followers. Arnot will elaborate on developing a strategy, increasing followers and engaging fans at PR News’ Twitter Conference on November 10 in Las Vegas. Arnot, along with UCLA School of Nursing’s Laura Perry and SquareTrade Inc.’s Priya Shah, will speak on the panel “How to Get More (and the Right) Followers.”

PR News: What are the best ways to build your Twitter following? 

Nada Arnot: True growth comes when you employ a variety of tactics consistently and authentically. You need to create lists, follow trends, retweet, monitor and respond. But you need to do all of this with authenticity – that is, you need to act more like a human being than a bot.  â€¨â€¨In addition to employing the various tactics mentioned above, you should approach Twitter in the same you that you approach a cocktail party. Be interesting, be memorable, add value to the conversation and learn more about the others in the room. 

And just like a cocktail party, you’ll want to quickly identify who’s who – who do you want to network with? If you get on their radar, then they’re more likely to talk about you to others at the party and in their daily interactions with others long after the party is over. These are like the power-users or influencers on Twitter. Do everything you can to get on their radar – follow them, retweet them, @reply them. 

PR News: What are some tactics to help your tweets stand out in a crowded Twitter feed?

Arnot: Again, add value not noise. Tweet information that is “share worthy” or “newsworthy.” The majority of your tweets must inform, engage, or entertain your followers. Avoid talking about yourself and shift the conversation to topics that make your brand relevant—whether it is participating in a pop culture discussion (e.g., Beyonce’s pregnancy announcement) or in a developing news story (e.g., Hurricane Irene). 

It’s also important to monitor your tweets. If your tweet has not been retweeted within the first hour of being published, then chances are slim that it will go any further than your Twitter stream. 

Try republishing your tweet at another time during the day. If it’s still not gaining traction, then maybe it’s not interesting enough. 

Look at your Twitter metrics to understand which tweets are more popular than others. Is it content, publish date and time, or all of the above? 

PR News: How often should organizations post new content?

Arnot: With over 150 million tweets going out every day, your organization needs to tweet often—at least 22 times. A survey of the most popular Twitter handles concluded that, on average, they tweeted 22 times each day. 

The key is to stay relevant and present. If your followers haven’t checked their stream in the last 45 minutes, then they probably didn’t see your tweet. 

By publishing 22 tweets (a combination of replies, retweets, and original content), you are ensuring that your content remains in your followers’ stream during most of the day.

PR News: Another concern is resources—how much time should smaller organizations with a limited staff spend on Twitter?

Arnot: Someone at the organization should have Twitter open at all times during the day. This will allow them to passively monitor activity in the event that a customer, lead, or partner has mentioned the organization. Additionally, they should spend at least one hour strategically crafting and scheduling tweets, and a half-hour implementing best practices (e.g., following, creating lists, participating in trending topics).

PR News: What’s the one key tip you’ll share at the Twitter Conference?

Arnot: Create a growth plan for your Twitter handle. The plan should include 1-2 tactical best practices, which your community manager should execute on each week. This will help provide the framework for a strong Twitter strategy while freeing up the brainpower to create interesting and engaging content on a daily basis.

Attend PR News’ Twitter Conference on November 10 in Las Vegas and learn more from social media leaders like Nada Arnot.