How can you can gain access to a wider network and build your community on Twitter? By creating relationships with relevant people and organizations in the HIV/AIDS community that already have large Twitter followings! In doing so, not only do you increase your followers, but you also strengthen your online community and grow conversations!
“Social media is at its best when it organically extends the reach of your organization. But, it’s also clear that this isn’t done by accident.” said Cody R. Barnett, MPH, Director of Communication, AIDS United. “For example, we wanted to share this #ActAgainstAIDS video starring Jay Ellis , a star on HBO’s show Insecure. So we tweeted the video while the show aired on Sunday night, and in our tweet we included the handles for Jay Ellis as well as the show.”
Start your social listening with organizations, publications, and blogs that have an established audience similar to the one you want to reach. Think about people in the HIV/AIDS community whose opinions and efforts you value. Chances are that others will value their opinions, too. These are the people and organizations that carry weight, and they should be your top priority. They typically have relevant, large and engaged follower bases. For example: we featured influencers like @KenLikeBarbie and @IAMGUYANTHONY on our digital storytelling series Positive Spin, and continue to engage on Twitter . And they do the same!
How to get influencers to share your content
Don’t aim just for the biggest names, but for a bigger list of followers. Connecting with them on Twitter will increase the chances of your content being widely shared. Here are a few simple ways you can connect with influencers:
- Use relevant hashtags (#) to find people who are engaging in and driving conversations.
- @Mention them : Include their Twitter handle in a tweet that shares content you think they will value.
- Retweet their tweets : This is a great way to get on someone’s radar and highlight their voice.
- Write a post about something they tweeted: Make sure what you write is helpful and portrays them in a positive light.
- Share and link to their blog posts via Twitter and mention their handle in the tweet so they will be sure to see it.
- Ask to include them in content you are creating around a timely or trending topic, like we did with Maria Meija.
- Sending a Direct Message is another great option to engage your influencers. According to Twitter , “some accounts, particularly businesses on Twitter, have enabled a setting to receive Direct Messages from anyone. You can send a Direct Message to these accounts even if they don’t follow you.”
- Connect with them on other social networks— and in real life.
Remember, your goal isn’t to amass Twitter followers but to build a community on this social platform. Identifying, reaching out to, and sharing your posts with key people who already have influence with your target audience is a great way to increase and strengthen your following.