What’s the difference between a musician and a rock star? Sure, rock stars have flashier clothes and maybe a few (hundred) extra groupies. But it’s really about audience, isn’t it? Rock stars have a huge and enthusiastic fan base anxiously awaiting the release of their next album. Musicians? Not so much.

When it comes to Twitter, is your company more musician or rock star? If you’re like most B2B marketers, chances are you don’t have a meaningful audience yet. And even if you’re good at what you do (like most musicians), you still need lots of the right folks listening in before you can start rocking.

So how do you build a rock star audience on Twitter?

Yes, it starts with creating engaging content to tweet about. But these days, pushing out awesome content is not enough. There’s just too much noise playing for everyone’s attention.

The good news is you don’t need millions of Twitter followers to move the dial. Instead, thousands will get you started (B2B remember?). But keep in mind, the higher the quality of your audience the easier it’ll be to get them to take the actions you care about.

Build a high-quality audience by following the right people

With that said, there’s no reason to wait around to be discovered on Twitter. Instead, it’s all about targeting the folks you want in your audience and following them first. Why? Many of those you follow will follow back because they find your company’s profile interesting, like what you tweet about, or want to keep you as a follower too. Make sense?

Here are 7 ways to build a quality audience on Twitter:

1.  Follow and engage your top prospects. Who are the top 50 companies your sales team can’t wait to do business with? And how many decision makers at these organizations is your company following on Twitter? Now imagine if even 10% of them followed back. Not bad, right?

2.  Don’t forget your customers. Just like your top prospects, you should be following your customers. Remember, they’re prospects for future business, plus you want to stay top of mind for them as your competitors are probably targeting them on Twitter, too.

3.  Who are the industry influencers? Your industry has bloggers, analysts, and thought-leaders that reach your target audience. You should be following them. Why? Some of the people they reach will notice and follow you; plus engaging influencers can generate lots of new followers when they share your content.

4.  Which hashtags does your audience use? Searching Twitter based on relevant hashtags is a great way to find people looking for what you’re tweeting about. And using these hashtags in your tweets will make it easier for them to discover and follow you, too.

5.  Who’s sharing your content? Whether it’s your latest blog post, media pickup, or press release, many prospective buyers will share content about your business because it strikes a chord or since they’re already fans. Many of these same people will follow you.

6.  Who’s sharing relevant content? Every day there’s industry news and articles that grab your attention. Chances are they’re also being read and shared by your target audience. So who’s sharing the content you’re reading? Follow them.

7.  Promote your Twitter Handle. Turn up the volume on promoting your social handles on your web site and in your content marketing. For example, add “follow us on Twitter” as a call to action on your “thank you for downloading” pages, and email signature employees use.

Of course, these tactics won’t make you a rock star on Twitter overnight. On the other hand, they pretty much guarantee you’ll build exactly the audience you want to keep from being a one-hit wonder!

(Note: this article was first published on Oracle’s Modern Marketing Blog)