How To Get Twitter Followers & Generate Leads Using Twitter Ads – Part 1

Posted by Rebekah
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Image courtsey of Shawn Campbell

Twitter advertising is a relatively new and un-experimented platform to many UK businesses, partly because up until November 2013, if you didn’t have a monthly budget of $5,000 you were unable to use Twitter to advertise. Fortunately Twitter now allows more modest budgets, meaning UK businesses, large and small can utilise promoted tweets and account campaigns to reach a wider and more targeted audience. In this first part I’m going to focus on setting up a promoted account campaign to gain followers and grow your account.

Why Advertise On Twitter?

Twitter is a fantastic place for brands to grow and engage with their audience. 42% of Twitter users* follow brands or companies but more importantly, Twitter lets us follow our target audience and directly engage with them. However, companies will never be able to reach their entire target audience, especially if they are a new, unknown account. Growing your account organically and getting your tweets to reach your target audience can take time and be quite difficult. What Twitter Ads allows companies to do is spring board their Tweets into the timelines of their audience, instead of waiting for users to follow them and hoping their tweet is seen in their busy timelines. Getting high visibility in a short space of time on Twitter isn’t easy. If you want to gain followers quickly or have something to promote such as a special offer, advertising is an effective option.

Setting Up Twitter Ads

To get started you need to go to and login with your Twitter account. The platform will then present you with 2 options as you can see in the screen shot below.

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Twitter’s advertising platform allows you to promote your brand in two ways, by promoting your account or by promoting your tweets. As we’re looking to gain followers, you want to select ‘New Promoted Account Campaign’. If you wanted to promote a message through a tweet you would select 'New Promoted Tweet Campaign', but I will discuss this more in part 2.

Once you have selected one you will be taken into the interface. I recommend setting up your payment method first, do this from the top right hand corner of the page. Twitter will then take anything from a few hours up to a day to verify your account; then you’re all ready to go and set up your campaigns!

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How To Grow Your Following

If you’re looking to grow your followers because your account is new or you simply want to increase the range of your tweets, then using the promoted account campaign is the best option for you. This campaign will help to increase your brand awareness as your account will appear in the ‘Who to follow’ section of your targeted audience.

The first thing you will need to do is name your campaign and decide on a start and end date. Use a descriptive name as you may set up more than one campaign and this will help you refer back to them. Twitter’s default date setting is ‘start immediately, run continuously’, this means your campaign will run until your budget is exhausted, however, if you have a specific end date you might want to set a date range in conjunction with your campaign.

Targeting Methods

Next you will need to target your audience, this is the most important section as you don’t just want to target people who are willing to follow you. You want to target potential customers who will actively engage with you, and you do this through specific targeting. You will be given 2 choices for a promoted account campaign, this defines the criteria a user has to meet before your account will be shown to them. You can either choose to target users by interest and followers or by using your own data.

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If you’re using your own data, you create a tailored audience by importing a list of email address and Twitter IDs. If you’re targeting through interests and followers you will need to choose @usernames. This allows your account to reach users with similar interests to followers of those accounts. So, you could choose the 10 top influencers in your industry and your account would then be promoted to users with similar interests to the followers of those top 10 influencers. If you’re a retailer selling baking equipment, you could choose @Nigella_lawson or @BritishBakeOff and include some of the brands that you sell. Twitter then gives you the option to include interests in your targeting. You can manually type in interests or browse Twitter’s categories. It’s best to select these at a subcategory level for more specific targeting.

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You can then refine your targeting with location and gender settings. Other than targeting by country, Twitter now allows you to select specific towns and cities for example Brighton or London. So, if you’re a local business and provide services in Brighton, you can chose to only promote your account to this area.

Promote A Follow Us Tweet

Finally, before you set your budget, Twitter will offer you a promoted tweet option. The purpose of this promoted tweet is to promote your account on mobile devices. The ‘Who to follow’ section does not appear on Twitter if the user is on a mobile, therefore your promoted account will not be shown. If you use this option your promoted Tweet will appear in a user’s timeline and contain a follow button, just like the image below. The tweet should include the words ‘follow us’ and should let the user know why they should follow you. Twitter suggests not using any links in this tweet as it will distract from the follow button.

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Lastly you will need to set your budget. Set a maximum amount for the campaign and then a maximum daily budget to help regulate the spend. You will also need to set a maximum bid, this is the maximum amount you are willing to pay per follower. When deciding, think about how much your followers are worth and try to stay in between Twitter’s suggested bid. Once all that is done you’re ready to launch your promoted account campaign, hooray!

I recommend growing your account organically and using organic Twitter techniques at the same time as paid for maximum impact. You can monitor the amount of followers you gain on the campaign interface and measure how much it is costing per follower. Once you have run your campaign you can decide whether you wish to continue promoting your account. Maybe next time you will want to promote your tweets, stay tuned to find out how in part 2.

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