Archives For niche

I have been working intensely with the Twitter API for several months now and I have learned quite a few things worth sharing.  

For one, there is a big difference between having a lot of followers and having targeted quality followers.  There is always the temptation to use some Twitter app to gain a large number of followers quickly but most of the time, and I mean most, it’s not worth your time or money. People using apps to gain quick followers are only in it for the numbers.  They don’t interact and are not worth following.

With that said, there is a way that you can grow your numbers fast using the proper techniques that I’ve learned.  My technique has a huge success rate but takes work and it will take more of your time than you might want to put into it but it’s free and you’ll get quality followers.

1.  Find Your Target Audience

Find your niche.  What or who are you trying to target?  Once you determine this then you can search on Twitter for like-minded people in the same field.  My target audience is marketing and social networking pros who want to be inspired.

2. Search For Your Niche On Twitter

Go to twitter and search for your target niche keyword.  For example, “marketing”.  Click on each result and look at 3 things; number of tweets, number of friends and number of followers.  This is where it’s going to take some analysis on your part.

3. Analyze A Potential Tribe Member

Remember, you are trying to gather a tribe.  A community of like-minded people that will interact, share ideas and nurture each other in your niche area.  When analyzing each potential Twitter friend keep this in mind.

Tweets - Look at the number of tweets.  Thousands of tweets usually means it’s a news feed, very spammy or a personal account not worth following.  Read what they tweet about and determine if you should follow them.  Very low tweet counts aren’t worth following unless it looks like a fairly new account.

I follow back almost everyone that follows me.  The other day I got followed by a guy that has over 1000 friends and 700 followers.  He had zero tweets.  He will never retweet anything I tweet nor interact based on that.  I did not follow back.

Friends/Followers - Look at the friends to follower ratio.  If they are very high on the follower side then it’s usually not worth following them.. unless it’s a very popular account.  For example, Tony Robbins has a huge following but doesn’t follow back.  His tweets are still interesting though.  You may want to follow so that you can share their tweets with your followers. 

Lists - In my opinion lists are the most overrated part of twitter.  They mean nothing in terms of your influence.  Most people create lists of who’s following them so that they can kindly reciprocate if you unfollow them.  Lists can be a great tool for you to create but they aren’t necessary in determining a quality follower.

4.  Follow, Follow, Follow

Now that you have done a little analysis on a potential candidate for your tribe follow them!  If you’ve done well there is a good chance that they will follow you right back and you’ll be on your way to building a quality relationship.

Tip: Don’t follow more than 100 people per day.  First off, you can’t manage that many people (remember, we’re talking quality people to add to your tribe) and while the exact number is debated, Twitter doesn’t like it if you follow too many people at once.

5. Review Your Friends/Followers

One more thing I wanted to add was that you need to review who you are following and who is following you.   I constantly review the people that I had followed some time ago.  If they aren’t following back and their tweets aren’t useful I unfollow.  You can have a mediocre tweet if you are following me but if you aren’t then all value is gone.

You can work your review how you see fit.  My approach is at efficiency.  Not large numbers necessarily but targeting active followers and friends.

If you follow any marketing expert blogs you will hear ‘target your niche’ over and over again.  The question is what is your niche and how do you find it?

How a computer programmer found a niche

The other day I had a local landscaping company deliver 4 yards of triple shredded mulch for my flower beds.  When I was writing him the check he asked me how I found his business.  I told him that I did a search for mulch on the Internet and his name and number came up. 

The mulch man went on to tell me that his son-in-law created a website for him and since then he has been getting a lot of business from the search engines.  I never actually saw his website but it was obviously driving some traffic to his business.

In our brief conversation he went on to tell me that his son-in-law had a side business in computers.  He told me how he (the mulch man)  worked on a farm and that he and a lot of other farmers had issues with connecting all of their computer networks together.  His son-in-law, Jake, was on alert enough to see the need and fill it.

He (the son-in-law) has since created his own company and has a very nice side business.   Very specialized just for farmers.  He found a niche.

Tip #1:  Listen - Be On The Alert

Everyday I am on alert for new topics for marketing and business tips.   When I heard the mulch man tell me the story of Jake I knew right away I had to share it. 

The same goes for your profession or passion.  Listen to the crowd.  What are they asking for?  What are they complaining about?  As a user, what is on your wishlist?  Is it a simple fix or something that could be helpful for years to come?  Write your ideas down.

Tip #2: Research - Is there room for you?

After you have found an area to focus on you should do some research. 

Years ago when I started my web hosting business it was new and exciting.  Even so, the market place was full.  It wasn’t until I decided to concentrate only on Microsoft ASP web hosting that my company took off. 

Even with a niche like I had, things are different today.  The market is over saturated even in niche areas. 

Starting a web hosting business today would be a huge uphill battle.  I’m not saying it’s not doable but you would definitely be starting with a disadvantage.

Ask yourself a few questions.  Is there room for my niche in the marketplace?  Does it matter to me if it’s already over saturated?  Who will be my competition? 

Tip #3 - Choose A Niche That Will Last

This tip has two different parts.  The first is, will you still enjoy talking about this topic for months or years to come? 

Are you still going to be excited and passionate about this niche down the road?  Picture yourself in 2 years.  Do you want to be involved with or even be talking about this at that time?  A lot of things seem great at first but they grow old quickly.  Make sure this niche isn’t one of them.

The second part of this tip is, will this need still exist in the future? 

For example, Twitter just bought Tweetdeck.  Tweetdeck is basically a Twitter client application.  Twitter has mentioned several times in the last year that they don’t want developers to concentrate on developing ‘client’ applications.  Now would not be a good time to create your own custom Twitter client.  There’s a good possibility that Twitter will wipe your entire business out if they turn off the switch (your connection to Twitter).

Conclusion

Listening, researching and finding a niche that will last are just 3 small pieces to finding a niche.  The most important thing is that you need to find something that you love doing. 

Making money is great but if you don’t enjoy it then it just becomes a job.   Nobody wants a job.  Jobs suck.  Athletes don’t have jobs.  They get to “play” the games.  Musicians don’t have jobs.  They get to “play” gigs. 

Take 5 minutes today and start.  Find your niche so you can start “playing”.

Related blog posts:

How to Blog in 5 Minutes (find a niche) - http://goo.gl/V9JI6

5 Minutes a Day (getting started) - http://goo.gl/pvBR5