Twitter remains mostly underrated as a tool for businesses in Zimbabwe. I understand that Twitter varies greatly from other social media platforms. For instance, the character limit per tweet seems to put off many people. Regardless, Twitter can do wonders for your business if you harness its power. There is a caveat though – you need to cultivate relevance rather than pushing for followers. One of the mistakes many people do on Twitter, especially Zimbabweans is to increase their followers via following trains and viral posts. That will usually not help you when you try to sell to your followers. Let us discuss more.

Follow Trains And Viral Posts As A Means To Increase Followers – Not The Best

If you check across Zwitter, as they like to refer to the Zimbabwean Twitter user landscape, you will notice something. Most people endeavour to increase their followers through follow trains and viral posts (or tweets). Follow trains are tweets anyone can initiate where one can tweet something like, ‘Drop your handle so that we follow you, retweet and like everyone’s comment and gain’. Many Twitter users do this and as such many other users always look for such tweets. Most Zimbabwean Twitter accounts with significant followings were built that way. You can tell that the obsession is with having many followers, just that.

Follow trains overshadow the importance of having quality followers. By ‘quality followers’ I mean followers that follow you for what you offer and always engage with your content. I have noticed that it is common to find someone with over 10 000 followers on average getting barely 100 likes, just a few retweets, and even no comments. This is all too common and it is simply because you do not have quality followers. I have even seen twimbos (i.e. Zimbabwean Twitter users) with thousands of followers complaining about this. Is it really that your followers are ignoring you? No! They are objectively not your followers at all; you coerced or tricked them to follow you.

Then we have viral posts (or tweets) as a strategy to grow followings. There are many approaches to this but one I often see is someone tweeting about something viral. It could be regarding a trending story, person, and the like. Chances are it will attract traffic since there will be comments and retweets. Below such tweets, they make a follow-up tweet asking people to follow. Since most twimbos are obsessed with the number of followers they follow. They usually do this because the original poster (OP) promises to follow back. Just like with following trains, the result is often an unengaged following. It is a long shot to expect to successfully monetize such followings.

Key Focus Should Be On Relevance Above All Else

The goal should be to lure people to follow you by offering solid relevance. This means your Twitter account must have a clear focus e.g. fitness training, business and finance, business service, and so on. Then you must premise your content (i.e. your tweets, likes, and retweets) on your subject matter. Of course, you can digress to other areas of interest but your account should make it obvious what you are about. Remember I am not talking about basic Twitter users who are just playing around. I am talking about those who want to use Twitter to market and grow their businesses. Come up with regular and consistent content that you tweet. Aside from that, find strategic tweets from other users that you can respond to.

For example, less than a month ago I responded to two tweets. These were tweets from different users asking about businesses one can start in Zimbabwe with US$1000. It turns out I once wrote an article on that so I commented on those tweets with the link to the article. From doing that my article had been read over 2000 times and also got over 100 new followers. Just from those tweet responses. What was the key to all that? It is relevance – I garnered reactions and followers through providing relevant content.

These are organic followers I got; I did not fish for them or anything. They came over because they were drawn by the relevance of my content. This is the working principle if you want to get the best out of Twitter as a startup or business. Sure enough, I know it might take a stretch to build your following but that is the way. You can of course augment it by promoting your tweets; so long you keep in mind the relevance aspect.

At the end of the day, you will appreciate that it is more about the quality of your following, not just the number. This is a dynamic that Zimbabwean Twitter users need to appreciate more. Focus on being about and offering relevance. Be consistent and regular in providing that relevant content. The followers you will gain from this regime will mostly be genuine and will engage with your content. Ultimately it will be much easier to monetize them by, for example, trying to sell something to them. In this article, my core focus was on Twitter but the principle also applies to other social media platforms. Relevance is always the key to the effective use of social media for business. Do not take Twitter lightly; that platform can drive sales for your business or startup in surprising ways. Do give it a shot, with all that we discussed in mind.