Facebook has over 1.4 million users in South Carolina while Twitter only has about 32,000. So why would a statewide farmers market even consider Twitter as an important social media outlet?
The Answer: Search Engine Optimization and Inbound Links
SEO is no longer just about keywords and directory listings. In fact, over 70% of what makes your website show up in Google searches has more to do with what’s going on off the page than on. Google wants to know truly how important you are on a scale of 1 to 10 (Page Rank). Google counts the amount of web pages that link to you (Inbound Links), and it even consider WHO is linking to you, how important they are, and the text that links to you (Anchor Text).
Twitter may not have as many users as Facebook, but it is a gold mine of inbound links and knowledge. With the South Carolina State Farmers Market, we found resources and tips across the world relevant to our industry on Twitter. As we followed Twitterers, we developed lists of our favorite industry experts and retweeted them regularly which is a great compliment and great way to get noticed. So, our first step in building our Twitter network was to find people to follow…really smart people within our industry who shared great content. The second step – get people to follow us.
Find People to Follow
To find the people we wanted to follow, we used several resources. Twitter Search, Hashtags.org, Twitter Grader and Twellow were four very useful sites that allowed us to find people by keywords and geography.
Follow thought leaders and bloggers
As we developed our blogroll, we always made sure to cross reference our favorite bloggers with Twitter to see if they were there. And vice versa. We we would follow bloggers we found through Twitter by subscribing to their RSS feeds.
Hastags are a great way to find people with similar interests. We would look up hashtags such as #farmersmarket and #localfood to find like minded people to follow and engage in conversation.
Follow the yellow brick road
We would dig deep into the networks of those we followed and found that our favorite Twitterers followed a lot of people that we were interested in following as well. Following the right people on Twitter is very important, but it can be time consuming. You can find yourself falling into black holes chasing your interests, but remember that you only have to do it once. Then, you simply keep growing day by day by following one or two new people who pop up in a news feed that interest you.
When you add someone to a public lest, they know it. Give a compliment to others by establishing lists, and they will likely follow you in return.
Get People to Follow You
Tweet about what you’re reading, what you’re watching, what events you’re going to. Promote your own content. Promote someone else’s content. Chat with someone. Retweet. Since the SC State Farmers Market has been in construction mode, it was difficult to come up with new and original content to promote ourselves, so we promoted others’ content regularly. This was a huge compliment to them and probably the best way we were able to build our network.
Make your company’s Twitter username easy to find
The SC State Farmers Market Twitter link is on everything we send out. From the home page of our website and blog to press releases going to traditional media. It’s important to use online as well as offline channels to connect the virtual world to reality, and everything in between.
Interact with those you follow who don’t follow you back
We would monitor our Twitter stream at least three times per week and comment on what others were saying, give feedback, a compliment, or a retweet. The key to our growth was engagement whether it was with industry leaders across the world or a local farm down the street. We didn’t discriminate because Twitter is more about getting those inbound links for SEO than getting prospects to walk through the doors when we open.
Just as we used hashtags to find people to follow, we use hashtags so people kind find us. #farmersmarket #eatlocal #certifiedsc
User Twitter for PR
We’re always on the lookout for local reporters, bloggers, and other media outlets because the traditional outlets are now engaging online.