A few years ago, I was trying to figure out Twitter. In my journey, I went from buying followers to avoiding those practices like the plague. I even used to think it was impossible to build an audience without paying for ads or using paid tools.

To some extent, that is true. Paid tools make our life easier but it’s not it’s impossible to do it without them.

Through testing many techniques and strategies I found online, I came to the following conclusion:

Most of the content online doesn’t work.

It doesn’t work because there’s no one way to do something. You have to adapt to the situation and make changes accordingly.

If you’ve been struggling to build an audience on Twitter and think it’s not possible to grow without paying for ads, don’t worry. In this post, you are going to learn how to build an audience for free in a reliable way.

If you are ready, let’s get started.

What tools do I need?

You don’t need many tools, and thankfully, they are all free to use (except Similar Web but it’s fine, it’s freemium).

Now that you know what you’ll need, let’s start our research.

Research your competitors

“It is vital to research any new market you are moving into to avoid wasting time and money on failed projects.” ─ Business Queensland

Run a Google search for your top competitors

The best way to grow an audience is to borrow someone else’s authority (I’ll explain in more detail later in the post). But first, you’ll need to run Google searches like the ones below.

  • The best your industry websites
  • The best your industry news websites
  • The biggest your industry sites

To show you how to do it, I’ll do research in the gaming industry. Following the search terms above, I’ll search for things like:

  • The best gaming websites
  • The best gaming news websites
  • The biggest gaming sites

After running your search, you’ll notice most of the search results will be list posts. Open them all and move to the next step.

Head over to Google Sheets

In the first two cells, type “domain” and “Twitter”. Then add your top 20-30 competitors to your Google sheet (or as many as you can find through Google search). After doing so, your list will look something like this.

Open Similar Web and run an analysis

Step 1: In the upper left part of their homepage, type in your first domain.

Step 2: Scroll down until you reach the section called “Competitors & Similar Sites”. Or on the left side of the screen, click on “Competitors”.

Step 3: Copy the results shown in your Google sheet and repeat the process until you have a large enough list. I recommend around 100 sites.

Where to find someone’s Twitter profile

After you finish making your list, visit every site and look for their Twitter profile. Some of the most common places to find them are:

  • Website’s Header
  • Website’s Footer
  • Website’s sidebar

If you can’t find their Twitter profile, try with a Google search. Search for “domain name Twitter” e.g. ign.com Twitter. You should be able to find it that way.

Then add the link to your list.

Create a Twitter list for your competitors

When creating your Twitter list, you’ll be presented with two option “public” and “private”. If you select public, every time you add someone to your list, they’ll receive a notification letting them about it.

To avoid this, select “private” and they’ll never know about it.

Add your competitors to your Twitter list

To add someone to a Twitter list, go to their profile and click on the overflow icon. Then select “add or remove from lists…”. After that, A pop-up will appear displaying your created Lists. Click the checkbox next to the Lists you would like to add the account to.

Repeat the process until you finish adding all your competitors to your list.

Head over to TweetDeck and use the S.A.S method

The S.A.S. method refers to search, ask, send. No matter what business we run, we’ll always need to attract new people, build relationships, and ultimately, monetize. This method will help you with the first two steps of the process. Monetization depends on your business model.

Let’s start.

Create new streams

Create a stream for each topic you want to follow and use filters to remove content you don’t care about. Use the search operator list:username/name-of-list to show all the tweets on your list.

Remember when I told you we would borrow our competitor’s authority?

Here’s how we’ll do it.

Filter by twitter engagement to find the best tweets. To do that, click the filter option next to the search bar, after that, select “engagement” to show the drop-down menu. Finally, select the minimum engagement you want to search for.

Start new conversations

Most people don’t go over their feed with the intent to listen but to reply and this causes a lot of problems with their interactions. If you want to avoid making the same mistake and have wonderful conversations, use Celeste Headlee’s tips on this one.

Use open-ended questions

In this case, take a cue from journalists. Start your questions with who, what, when, where, why or how. If you put in a complicated question, you’re going to get a simple answer out.

If I ask you, “Were you terrified?” you’re going to respond to the most powerful word in that sentence, which is “terrified,” and the answer is “Yes, I was” or “No, I wasn’t.” “Were you angry?” “Yes, I was very angry.” Let them describe it. They’re the ones that know.

Try asking them things like, “What was that like?” “How did that feel?” Because then they might have to stop for a moment and think about it, and you’re going to get a much more interesting response.

If you want to spread out your interactions try scheduling tweets but don’t schedule replies. Only conversation starters.

If you don’t know, say that you don’t know

You are going on the record, so be careful about what you claim to be an expert in and what you claim to know for sure. Do that. Talk should not be cheap.

Stay out of the weeds

Frankly, people don’t care about the years, the names, the dates, all those details that you’re struggling to come up with. They don’t care.

What they care about is you.

They care about what you’re like, what you have in common. So forget the details. Leave them out.

Send what you promised

We are running a business so don’t be afraid to ask if they would be interested in trying out your product, or if they would like to read your latest blog post.

As Zig Ziglar used to say, “Timid salesmen have skinny kids.”

It’s your turn

Implement what you learned here today to grow your Twitter audience. Here’re the takeaways:

  1. Research your competitors.
  2. Create a Twitter list and add your competitors to the list.
  3. Head over to TweetDeck and set up new streams.
  4. Start new conversations every day.
  5. Ask people to check out your product or service.

Then come back and share with us your experience in the comment section below. 🙂

Author bio: Jonathan Nuñez is a content producer for Commun.it. He focuses on content-based customer acquisition for bloggers. You can find more about him on his personal blog John’s IMSecrets.

Posted by Guest Author

This article was submitted as a guest post and it doesn't represent the views and perspectives of the Technivoz Editorial Team.