I’ve been asked by a number of my clients to show them how I’ve expanded my Twitter account to over 2000 followers in the space of three months. More importantly, they’ve asked me how to use Twitter to gain more customers to their sites. The key to Twitter success, as indeed is the case for business in general, is to ‘over-deliver’ on value – provide more value for your readers than they would usually get from a service provider in your niche. This way, they know something about you and/or your expertise, which as I mentioned means that they’ve gone from being a cold lead to being an potential lead when they arrive at your site. From this standpoint, they are much more likely to engage with you and your site than if they just came to your site ‘cold’. They will also appreciate you sharing your knowledge with them as it demonstrates your willingness to share with them. I should state here that over-delivering on value does not mean ‘over tweeting’ – by which I mean posting lots of links and stories that aren’t relevant. This is something that will fairly quickly have you metaphorically ejected from the Twitter premises. No, I’m talking about the people who use Twitter to give actual value to those that follow them. Just look at any of the most followed people on Twitter, whether they’re in business or entertainment. They all deliver excellent value and in many cases, they deliver more than people expect. Presenter, writer and witty English gent Stephen Fry has a colossal 1,157,157 followers at the time of writing this and the reason – in my opinion – is not just his celebrity but the fact that he over-delivers on value. Readers expect him to give them a tiny glimpse into his world of filming shows, acting and writing. Not only do they receive this (in spades) but they also get lots of photos, updates and musings which make them feel like they’re getting to know Mr. Fry and what it’s like to be him. They also get to hear about his podcasts and audio books, some of which are free and some of which they pay for. His updates are also marketing exercises for him as well as insightful fun for his followers. Every tweet builds his brand. Actually, the crucial words in that last paragraph for your success when using Twitter for business are ‘make them feel like they’re getting to know…’ and more precisely ‘make them feel’. Your audience wants to feel like they’re benefitting by following you. They also want to feel like they’re getting to know you. Actually feeling that (rather than just knowing it) is the start of a genuine connection with you. For example, you can know that exercising regularly is good for you but you won’t do it for any prolonged period of time unless you connect with it emotionally. If you know that regular exercise will make you fitter and therefore prolong your life so that you have more time to do what you love with who you love, you start to connect with the idea on a deeper level. It’s the same with Twitter and indeed all the relationships you have with your clients (both actual and potential). This is fundamental to understanding how to Twitter. If you can provide advice, ideas or even links to articles that will help them to improve their lives and/or businesses, they will not only want to follow you but also tell others to follow you and spread the word about your work. At that stage they know you and may well like you already. If you continue to produce stuff that they like and that they feel is useful to them, they will begin to trust you too, at which point they are much more likely to pay for your expertise. Most of the Twitterers that will initially be attracted to you will all have similar things in common and therefore have like issues that need solving. This could be literally anything from how to increase their income to how to cook basic meals to finding a good holiday destination. Whatever it is, focus on delivering to them as much relevant, free information as possible to help them achieve their goals. Word will spread that you’re the person to talk to when it comes to your chosen topic and you will gain more followers which in turn will drive more people to your blog on the same subject. Matthew Duggan is an internet marketer and social media author. He lives in London and is currently working on several new projects to help online businesses.