The standard Twitter marketing wisdom is simple: the more followers you have, the bigger your ready-made audience for your marketing messages.
The problem is that unless you are a celebrity (or a well-known brand), you are simply not likely to get hundreds of thousands of real followers who are truly interested in your tweets. So how do you build your Twitter audience?
Don’t focus on quantity. Steer clear of the many Twitter tools that help you build your following quickly. Most of them take advantage of the Twitter ethos (“I am following you, please follow me”) to build your followers. The inevitable result is a lot of “low-value” followers, including Twitter spammers, self-promoters and even automatons (like @starbucks) that auto-follow anyone who follows them. Such followers are not ideal targets for you, since they are not likely to be active or responsive to your marketing messages.
Focus instead on quality. Use tools (like our Act-On Twitter Prospector) to find people actually interested in the kinds of things you plan to promote. Offer them something of real value (for example, white papers, e-books, how-to guides and invitations to helpful seminars). By an amazing coincidence, Act-On can help you set up and stage these offers and then to track the uptake/conversions from your tweets. Just remember that a carefully cultivated audience of 1,000 can beat a list of 10,000 Twitter followers anytime when it comes to driving traffic.