A recent report from Search Engine Land reveals Bing is testing out a new ad extension that shows the advertisers’ number of Twitter followers in their ads. It looks like this:
There are two issues that may stop you from reading further:
- Bing holds about 19% of the search market and Twitter holds around 18% of the social market. Those aren’t great numbers. So why bother?
- To many experienced marketers, we know that a Twitter follower count can be artificially inflated. You can easily go out and buy 100,000 followers from any number of sketchy businesses out there. We know that engagement is what matters. I’ve seen users on Twitter with 4,000 followers have more meaningful engagement with their followers than some users with 200,000 followers. So, when I see a high number of followers I question whether or not that number is legit. So that Twitter count is meaningless, right?
I did an informal poll on Twitter this morning and the responses I got pretty much agreed with this line of thinking.
— BJ Smith (@bjsmithstrategy) October 16, 2014
But here’s the thing, none of us (the people that responded) are Bing users. Bing is a very capable search engine, but most of us use Google because it integrates with many of our tools and most of our customers are there.
Bing desktop users tend to not be quite as tech-savvy and that’s ok. These users usually have Bing as their default search engine because that’s what’s on Internet Explorer, the browser that came with their computer. Those folks probably don’t know that you can buy Twitter followers (or care for that matter). They don’t know that the number of Twitter followers a brand has could be artificially inflated. Like it or not, this Twitter number will serve as a form of “social proof” to those people.
What should you do?
- If you’re not using Bing ads, consider giving them a shot. Bing has a much smaller share of the search market than Google which means there are fewer advertisers and, typically, fewer competitors. That means it could cost you less money to make a sale on Bing than it does on Google. If you’re in the US and the 45+ age group is in your sweet spot, you really should try Bing ads.
- If you are using or want to use Bing ads and you have a good number of Twitter followers compared to your competition, consider turning on the Twitter ad extension when it becomes available to you.
- If your company is active on Twitter and you want more followers, there are strategies to build a following without buying numbers. It takes more time, but I think it is worth it in the end.
More Real Twitter Followers
In the video, I promised I’d show one method I use to find and connect with new followers on Twitter. I use a product called Just Unfollow. There’s a desktop version and apps that I use on my iPhone and iPad. I don’t use any of their automation. Here’s how I use it:
- I find Twitter users that are in a related business, but not necessarily in direct competition with me. I use Just Unfollow’s Copy Followers feature to view their followers. It gives me a nice list of that user’s followers and their profile and some basic info. I click the + button to follow anyone that I think may be interested in what I have to say or vice versa. There is also a keyword follow option on the desktop version, but not the app. I do most of my following in off hours using the apps.
- Many of the people I follow will follow me back. Yay! New friends to connect with!
- Communicate with them. I browse through my feed several times a day and favorite, retweet or comment on tweets that grab my attention. Remember, this is about community — without engagement, you’re wasting time.
- I go back three to four days later and see who I’ve followed that hasn’t followed back and I unfollow them. I also check to see who I follow that has unfollowed me and usually unfollow them as well. This sounds cold, but I have plenty of interesting people that I follow and I try to cut down on the noise as much as possible. Also, many people look at the number of people you follow versus the number following you. It looks bad if you’re following more people than you have followers.
I should spend more time doing this, but putting in about 30-45 minutes a week yields about 100 new followers.
What methods do you use to gain good quality followers on Twitter and what do you think about Bing? I’d love to hear your thoughts on Bing as a search engine in general and what you think about this Twitter integration. Continue the conversation by leaving a comment below and please give the video a quick thumbs up!