Twitter FollowingYou have a new follower on Twitter! Great! You’re expanding your readership and increasing your  online influence. Now what? How do you retain  Twitter followers once they’ve clicked “follow”? Many  new followers click “follow” and that’s the end of  them. There’s no engagement… no involvement  whatsoever.

New followers bring a new relationship and like any new relationship, it will need cultivating. Developing personal relationships with your followers will create a loyal community. Of course having a one on one conversation with each of your followers everyday isn’t feasible, but it is important to set aside a portion of your day each day to converse with some of them.

First, see who’s speaking to you. Check your @’s and respond to them accordingly. Taking time to respond to those who took the time to reach out to you will go a long way in your community building efforts.

Second, be a source of knowledge. Answer questions and be a helpful member of the Twitter community. If you show knowledge on your topic, your followers will continually come to you for answers. Beyond answering questions, share your insight. Sharing insight on your products and services in a helpful way, makes you an expert in your field. I didn’t say “the” expert, but an expert. And there’s something to say for a knowledgeable representative. Use your expertise as a way to educate and your follows will appreciate it.

Give back. Showing that your company is community-minded is a great way to get the backing of your social media followers. Find a like-minded charity and throw your support behind them. Get your followers involved by doing a fundraiser. Perhaps a portion of your sales will go to charity. Design a campaign that fits your brand and implement it as you would any promotion. Giving back will create new cause-minded followers and bring existing followers in closer.

Have a giveaway! I’m not big on giveaways… but doing one every once in a while is a fun and exciting way to keep your followers engaged. The giveaway doesn’t even need to be related to your product or service, but could be the hottest new gadget. A giveaway like this will draw attention. One of the most interesting contests I’ve seen, involved a picture of a jar of coins and bills. Each day, the brand gave a clue as to how much money was in the jar. Followers tweeted in their guesses until finally, someone guessed right on the nose. They won the jar of money (which ended up being a couple thousand dollars). I thought it was such a creative way to keep readers coming back.

Lastly, don’t make it all about you. Share articles and insights from others in related fields. This might sound like you’re shooting yourself in the foot, but really, you’re saying that you respect and agree with the opinions of others. Sharing information from others in your field also shows that you’re up to date on the  latest techniques. A company this isn’t afraid to share information from others will gain the respect of their competitors. It also shows confidence to your readers.

Kelly Loubet is the Director of Social Community Marketing at Social2B. She’s a believer in community building and using social media for good. Kelly is a mom, a writer, and a speaker. Follow her @Social2B and on her personal account @childhood. To read more of her writing, check out