How many followers do you have?
Twitter followers have always been a controversial point of discussion; some argue that it’s all about quality and not quantity, whilst others play the numbers game. When talking about the popular micro-blogging platform, most people have been asked how many followers they have, so clearly if it doesn’t matter to you it does to others.
I personally believe it is beneficial to have a large amount of followers, as long as you are able to spend the time and money required to achieve it. Below I have recorded my observations, experiences, tips and tactics for increasing your Twitter followers, starting with the most basic and fundamental factors. Enjoy reading and trying them out for yourself!
Tips 1-13 focus on promoting your Twitter account and creating the optimal presence on the platform
1. Determine your end goal
Decide and determine what you want to achieve through Twitter, perhaps you want to establish yourself as an authority on a niche subject or you want to increase leads for your business, whatever this may be make sure that you have a plan that includes figures and timeframes.
2. Brand yourself
Branding is very important in getting your message across, make sure that everything is working with your brand and that people will know what to expect before deciding to follow you. The more focused you are on your brand the more relevant followers you will attract. Get this fundamental step right and all the other points below will be easily applied.
3. Choose your username with care
Make sure that your username is unique, original and easily remembered, think what you are aiming to do with your account and what people you want to connect with are likely to find attractive. If you have a username that is not working for you or is unsuitable, change it! This can be done within your Twitter control panel.
4. Have a great profile picture
Your profile picture can quickly say something to prospective followers about who you are and what you have to say even if people have never seen you before, a good avatar will immediately allow someone to take the plunge and hit that follow button. If tweeting for personal reasons a good headshot of yourself is a must.
5. Write an informative bio
Fill in your bio with a short description of what to expect from you, include any keywords and information and make it short but fun and interesting at the same time. A good call to action is an excellent way to get people interacting with you.
6. Add a location to your profile
Think about who your ideal followers are and where they are from, if regional followers are important to you add the location where they are most likely to be found.
7. Upload a custom background
A good Twitter background can quickly convey all sorts of useful information about you, for businesses in particular it can convey what your brand is all about and become an extension of your website. A good Twitter background should include important information about you, if you have stats about the typical screen resolution of your target market take those into account when designing the background, if not design with a low screen resolution in mind. You can check what backgrounds look like in different sized screens here.
8. Tell people you already know
Let people you already know that you are on Twitter! It may seem obvious but if you take the time to tell people you already know, they are very likely to follow and read what you have to say, it can also be a great way to start interacting.
9. Announce on your social networks
One of the most efficient ways to tell people you already know is to make an announcement on your existing social networks do this more than once and frequently at the beginning of your effort to gain followers, if you are a big facebook user posting tweets on facebook will let people know you are actively using Twitter.
10. Promote your account offline
Every time you shoot a video, give a speech, record a podcast or give a presentation find a way to tell people about your Twitter account, give them a specific reason to follow and you will find that your Twitter follower count will go up. A great way to promote your account is to have it printed on your promotional material and business cards if you don’t have those you could always give your Twitter username along with your telephone when you meet someone.
11. Put a Twitter feed on your blog or website
Place links to your account on all your social media profiles, let people know that you are actively using Twitter and that you are looking for people to add you on Twitter. You can add some great looking widgets and badges to your pages to ensure maximum exposure.
12. Link to your account
A feed can be a brief insight into your account and an excellent way to get targeted followers, a feed with 3-5 of the latests posts can give enough of an insight into your account to make people curious to check and follow your account, especially if your site gets a fair amount of traffic.
13. Don’t be a self promoter
Unless you happen to be a celebrity nobody will be interested in what you have to sell or offer and nobody will be interested in following someone who gives nothing back. So broadcasting how great you or your product is just isn’t going to work on any level. Give something that people appreciate and will want to follow you for, add value to your followers and your follow count will increase. One easy tip is guaranteeing your followers that you will follow them back, think out of the box and be creative.
Tips 14-25 are all about helping you to be more active and involved in the Twitter community
14. Get involved in conversations
Read what your followers are talking about and join in, reply regularly to those who you have followed, this makes it more likely for them to follow back, it shows you have something of value to contribute and gives the followers of that person a chance to find out more about you.
15. Tweet frequently
Potential followers will often look at your timeline to gauge whether you are worth following, if your timeline has fresh tweets, is current and interesting you have a high chance of being followed.
16. Post interesting news articles
Find interesting articles and news stories in your niche that really stand out, make sure they are current and easily understood by your followers. There are many news websites with fantastic stories although a search on google news will often return some great articles.
17. Post interesting everyday content
Apart from adding interesting links and articles to your feed be interactive and post material that people appreciate and value, this will encourage users to interact, retweet and most importantly follow you.
18. Search for tweets with your keywords
Use the Twitter search function to seek out people who are tweeting about subjects you are knowledgeable in, if you are able to add value to the conversation join in and offer your expertise, within the limits of 280 characters of course!
19. Use hashtags
Using the # tag next to your content makes your keywords easy to find and identify. Quality content that is easy to find will go a long way to make you a desirable follow, use the hashtag sparingly on your most important keywords.
20. Become a resource
Tweet useful insights about your specialist subject, give your existing followers a reason to continue following you and your potential followers an excellent reason to hit that follow button.
21. Be human and provocative
Show that you are a real person; share intimate details about your life or business, and if you get it right not only will you increase your followers but you will also create an audience that will follow your tweets very closely.
22. Interact with influential people you know
Target well respected people in your niche, grab their attention by finding what motivates them and build a good relationship. Others will observe your account and also decide to follow you, your reach will increase dramatically as these influential people will also mention you to their followers which will often be great in numbers.
23. Identify other influential people
There are a number of useful tools that allow the measurement of social media influence, notably the website Klout.com, these sites are sometimes not user friendly or quick to use, so another way is to look at the lists that influential people have made. This can be a fast way to identify, follow and interact with other influencers in your niche.
24. Create your own Twitter lists
A topical list of accounts that are of interest to you, such a list allows you to closely follow certain accounts and it is a form of endorsement which may encourage members to follow you back. It’s a great way to increase the visibility of your account through people who are searching for lists in your niche.
25. Emulate other successful people
Having identified other influential people in your niche, follow their account closely and identify what it is they are doing so well. Implement some of their strategies and continue using the ones that directly increase your follower count.
Tips 26-60 are creative ways that will help you to bump up your follow count quickly
26. Get retweeted
Encourage your followers to retweet you, it not only puts your username into other social circles but it also results in visits to your profile page and website. If your tweet is short, witty and topical it has a better chance of being retweeted. You can always ask to be retweeted by adding “please RT”, this will often work if you have a highly engaged audience.
27. Follow retweeters
You can find people who have retweeted tweets with your keywords recently by going to the Twitter search and searching for “RT #keyword” for example “RT #SEO”. You can then start following and interacting with active retweeters.
28. Retweet other people
We have established that getting retweeted is a good idea so if that’s what you are looking for, why not retweet content that you find useful and entertaining? It’s a great way to develop relationships and a way to stay active on Twitter with little effort.
29. Recommend the most useful users
A great way to build relationships and thank those that are useful to you is to recommend people on Friday with the use of the #FollowFriday or #FF hashtag. When you do this, it’s good practice to include a short explanation of why you are recommending them.
30. Tweet multimedia
Nowadays most mobile phones have a good internet connection and posting pictures, sound clips and video clips is not only easy but it also gives users an intimate insight into your own personal world. Updates with video, pictures and even sound clips can be fun and entertaining; it can also liven up your timeline and make your account more interesting.
31. Take time to engage
Make sure that when people start following you and commenting on your tweets you take some time out to engage and reply to the most relevant. Remember Twitter is a powerful communication platform, such engagement allows other people to see that you are a human being that can add value and are worth following.
32. Answer questions on your specialist subject
Encourage users to ask you questions, this gives you credibility in your field and also exposes your username to new social circles. Inventing your own hashtag reinforces your brand and makes it easy for you to find and answer all the questions intended for you.
33. Get listed on Twitter directories
Online Twitter directories are useful for those who are looking to follow people within a particular niche or industry, it’s an easy and convenient way for others to follow targeted users.
34. Join Twitter groups
There are groups that you can join online, especially for the popular micro-blogging platform, the perfect chance to exchange ideas, build new relationships and increase your follower count. Facebook is a good place to start looking for these types of groups.
35. Go to Tweetups
Tweetups are in-person networking events organised on Twitter itself, here you can put real faces to accounts you have been following and exchanging ideas with. Search on Twitter using “tweetup area”, replacing area with your own preferred locality, for example by searching for: “tweetup London”, “twitter London” or “twitter networking London”.
36. Participate in Twitter chats
These are conversations organised by a person or group of people to discuss issues about a specialist subject. Twitter chats are one of the best ways to identify and follow like minded users who are highly likely to interact and follow you back, not only will it increase your follower count but it will also make your username visible to their own followers.
37. Participate in forums and blogs
Use specialist forums and blogs that deal with social networking to tell everyone about who you are and why you are worth following, take time to introduce yourself and to answer people’s questions on your specialist subject.
38. Use trends to increase your reach
Observe the trending hashtags in your region, look at the tweets that have been heavily retweeted and think about why they are popular, tweet something along the same lines giving your own spin on the subject. You may combine more than one popular hashtag to potentially propel your username to multiple social circles and increase your chances of being retweeted and followed.
39. Repeat your most popular tweets
Look at your most popular tweets, if it’s still appropriate to repeat them you may do so approximately 8-12 hours after you first tweeted them for people who missed them the first time round, be very careful not to seem repetitive and monotonous though.
40. Tweet events
These are usually question and answer sessions set up by a well known personality or brand, here you have the chance to ask questions and interact with people in your niche. Look out for any of these tweet events by reading websites and publications focused on your specialist area of knowledge. If you manage to get mentioned by the person or company leading the event you are very likely to be followed by those following the event online.
41. Interactive television shows
The power of Twitter has really gained momentum over the past few years, we are now seeing television shows integrating Twitter streams as a way to let viewers participate. This is an amazing opportunity to get your Twitter username on TV and potentially reach millions of television viewers. In this case you are far more likely to be mentioned if you craft a really interesting and amusing tweet suitable for the audience of the show. Look carefully at any others getting a mention and spot a pattern of what to say, usually it’s easy to gauge what the TV producer is looking for.
42. Get on websites with mention streams
There are some extremely popular websites that have a stream of all their mentions or mentions of a hashtag, if you spot any of these it can be a fantastic way to get targeted exposure and if you find a really great opportunity you could always mention their username or hashtag and ask people to follow you directly!
43. Tweet quotes
Sharing quotes with your followers is a simple, fun and easy source of interesting useful content, quotes are good because you can get them on just about any industry or niche and they are usually positive and inspiring to many people.
44. Tweet privileged information
If you have something unique to offer followers make sure you let them know about it, this is a prime example of adding value to your followers. This information may include exclusive offers, pictures inside the Googleplex if you happen to be there or any other type of information that is not widely available. Be sure to develop a relationship with your followers and follow up by getting them to keep following you on a long term basis rather than for the duration of your exclusive information.
45. Tweet during rush hour
Studies have shown that the best times to tweet are around 1pm and 3pm Monday to Thursday, if you take time to study when your typical users are most active reading and tweeting you will gain maximum visibility. There are tools which allow you to schedule tweets ahead of time, one of the most popular being Hootsuite, it can be downloaded onto your PC, Mac and even iPhone for maximum convenience.
46. Be aware of time zones
Take into account where your ideal users live and in what time zone they are located, if you are targeting people in the US and the UK, it might be worth scheduling tweets during optimal times for them to see, interact and amplify your reach.
47. Be human nobody wants to follow a bot!
So far we have touched upon some automation, though at this point it must be stressed that any automation must be used carefully, nobody is interested in following a bot, therefore you should note that if any of these tools are used it must be done in such a way that it doesn’t compromise your authenticity as a human being.
48. Follow people
Follow people often, around 30% – 50% of all people you follow will follow you back, which means that following as many people as possible will equate to a huge number of followers, in practice this just isn’t possible due to restrictions in place by the Twitter system. These restrictions, known as Twitter follow limits, kick into place when you follow 5,000 or more people. Then you will not be able to follow more than 110% of people who follow you, meaning that if you have 10,000 followers you will not be able to follow more than 11,000 people at a time. This restriction was a smart move by Twitter as it avoids users following hundreds of thousands of accounts just to have hundreds of thousands of followers.
49. Follow local people
Follow people local to your area, build a connection not only through your specialist knowledge but also through your knowledge of the area local to you, invite them to local events of interest, such as seminars on subjects of common interest.
50. Follow people who always follow back
In light of the fact that there are follow limits it is in your best interest for anyone you follow to follow you back, not only will you gain more followers in this way but you will also avoid the follow limits. You can find people that always follow back by searching their bio and tweets for hashtags such as:
51. Follow the followers of big followers
Use Manage Flitter to see who has the most followers in popular cities like London, New York and Chicago. Follow the followers of anyone who is following more than 5,000 people than are following them, these will be people who have amassed a large following from the method above. You will gain followers fast but don’t expect much interaction from these accounts as they are people, and in many cases bots, who just follow anyone that follows them. This method is a mere time saving exercise that allows you to follow people who will follow back without having to search for them through hashtags such as #TeamFollowBack.
52. Unfollow those who don’t follow back
The only way to avoid the follow limits if you are gaining followers by following many people is to unfollow those who don’t follow back. This constant “follow – unfollow” process is often referred to as “churn” the rate at which the “follow – unfollow” happens. You must be aware that a high churn rate goes against the terms of service and there is a risk of your account being suspended if this method is employed aggressively.
53. Use online Tools
Use tools available online to automate the process of following, unfollowing, tweeting, following back and direct messages amongst many other things. Once you amass a large follower count it will be necessary to use these tools effectively to employ the methods listed above. Some of the most popular and effective online tools are Tweepi and Manageflitter. Here you will be able to do much of the automation needed to gain more followers on a large scale.
54. Use computer software
These automated programmes are especially designed to enable the automation of all aspects of your account. Most of these tools, such as the now defunct TweetAdder, have been developed by internet marketers and commonly allow you to automate:
- finding targeted followers
- direct Messages
Though automation in business is always a good thing, you must beware that many of these practices go directly against the Twitter terms of service and there is a significant risk of getting your account suspended if the software is not used correctly. Twitter has filed lawsuits against the makers of these tools as they are often used aggressively by spammers.
55. Show Your Twitter Follower Count
There is something to be said about power in numbers and in this case it is particularly true to say that once you have acquired a large number of followers it is beneficial to display these on your blog or network. The large follower count has a psychological effect that enhances your chances of being followed, known as social proof.
56. Buy followers
A pretty controversial one, and one that I have included only for information. Buying followers will increase your follower count fast and there are popular sites such as fiverr for this type of service where people are offering up to 15,000 followers for as little as $5. These followers will be of no use except for bumping up the number count and may actually damage your reputation or brand as these fake followers can be easily identified through tools such as StatusPeople, there is probably nothing worse for personal reputation or brand than being “outed” for buying followers. This relatively new phenomenon has not only been discussed amongst tech savvy users but has also recently hit the headlines in the main stream newspapers after several high profile reports of well known people accused of buying fake followers. I do not endorse or recommend this method, in fact it can cause havoc if you are employing some of the other methods above, I strongly advise you not to use this method.
57. Run a contest
This technique was most famously offered by Kevin Rose back in 2009 and since then many companies, brands and individuals have run contests very successfully, when running such a competition remember to check the Twitter guidelines for running a contest
58. Write articles about Twitter
If there is one particular aspect of Twitter that you know a great deal about why not write a blog post or add a guide to your website? Twitter has become so popular in recent years but it’s still so new that there is still room to write articles that people appreciate and find useful. Such exposure will not only mean more followers but also more credibility within your own social circle.
59. Guest post on other blogs
Search for bloggers in your niche that have a large number of followers and have popular websites, offer to write an article for their site in return for promotion of your Twitter account, your account will become more visible and you will gain followers along the way. To get an idea of how popular a blog or website is check alexa.com.
60. Track and measure
Anything measured improves! It is very important to keep an accurate record of what you are doing to increase your Twitter followers. You can use the automated tools mentioned before to track your efforts as well as Twitter’s own analytics, if you want to see a more accurate statistic count of the number of followers you have gained and expect to gain use a tool such as circleboom.
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