An editor I have prodded to start engaging on Twitter is finding it fun and useful, “almost addicting.” But he said he said his local followers “remain disappointingly low.”
I don’t get hung up on the actual number of followers, but you are going to get better engagement if you can connect with local people who are interested in their community. That number makes a difference. The more local engaged followers you have, the more successful your efforts at crowdsourcing, content distribution and local conversation. My suggestions to the editor, edited slightly:
I’d take the following measures to try to build that local following. The first three relate to following more local people (many, but not all, of whom will follow you back):
- In Twitter.com, click the “who to follow” tab and search for the name of your city, with and without your state. You will find some local people to follow. (Can obviously do the same for other nearby towns).
- In Twitter advanced search, at least once a day, fill in your city’s name in the “places” box and set the radius as wide or narrow as you want. Then hit search and you will see recent tweets from people in your community.
- When you follow someone local, check his or her followers to see if you can find some more local people to follow (don’t have to check them all; a screen or two usually turns up some good people to follow). Check also their recent tweets to see if they are talking to and about some other local tweeps.
- When someone local that you’re following tweets something interesting, reply or retweet. If they aren’t already following you, they might follow, once you’re conversing with them. They also might reply or retweet, which places your username in their Twitter stream, and some of their followers might want to follow you, too.
- Be patient. Building engagement on Twitter takes time. But it does gather momentum.