Clients often ask me for the advice on getting started with Twitter and, more importantly, how to get followers on Twitter. Unfortunately, unless you are a celebrity, a Fortune 500 CEO, or major brand, growing you Twitter following is going to be a relentless process and is not going to happen overnight. Once you get the hang of Twitter, and all the little Twitter tricks (i.e. @replies, # hashtags, DM, etc..), it can be a powerful tool for not only communicating with others, but generating leads, identifying job opportunities, and even landing jobs.
Once you create a Twitter account though, the next question you will probably ask yourself is how to get followers on Twitter. I am assuming that you want to have a large number of followers reading and interacting with your content. If you don’t, and want to keep a small group of people that you interact with, well there is nothing wrong with that approach either. Either way, you will probably wonder what the best way to build your audience and get followers on Twitter is going to be for you.
So How Do You Get Followers on Twitter?
Start with your Twitter bio & profile picture. The first, and probably most important tip, is to add a bio and profile picture. One of the main themes that you will see through all the following tips, is to avoid coming off as a spammer or a robot. This starts with your bio and your profile picture. Tell a little about yourself. Your interests, hobbies, and link to your website or blog if you have one. Include hashtags in your bio to allow people to find it easier when searching Twitter. Try to use a real photo of yourself if you can.
Find like minded individuals. The easiest way to start is to follow people you already know. Your Facebook friends, your LinkedIn connections, your email contacts, etc… People that you have existing relationships with.
This is is good for two reasons. First, it is a quick way to start following people who you already interact with. Second, hopefully these people will follow you back, giving you an initial boost to your own follower count.
To help address spam accounts, Twitter uses an algorithm that prevents users from following large numbers of other users without having a comparable follower count. I am sure there are other pieces to the algorithm, such as the number of tweets you send and how you interact with the platform. Twitter does not disclose the exact algorithm.
When choosing who to follow I like to think of three groups of followers. The first group is people I am friends with or have an existing relationship with. These are the most important to me and I do my best to interact with them on a regular basis, as well as enjoy reading their tweets/content.
The second group, is people whose content I enjoy reading or whose tweets I find interesting. These are people that I follow solely to stay on top of the content they are producing.
The third group is the “everyone else” group. These may have followed me themselves, they may be followers of people I already follow, or they may be suggested people to follow. I may have come across one of their tweets, found it interesting, followed them, but lost track over time. These are also people that Twitter suggested I follow or people who follow people I follow.
Research who the followers of the people you follow, your own followers and who they follow and who follows them. Once you start get
Use Twitter suggestions. One of the nice features of Twitter is it will make suggestions of people you should follow. It does this two (2) ways. First on the right hand side of the screen when you are logged in, you will see a list of “Who to Follow”. The second way is you will get occasional emails from Twitter of suggested users to follow based on how you interact.
Tweet regularly. Set up Google Alerts for the type of content that interests you. When you get notifications from Google of new content read them over and if you think they are useful share the articles with your Twitter followers. Use tools like Buffer to tweet even when you aren’t around.
Groom your follower/following list. This can be useful when you are just getting started, but as your follower/following counts grow, it becomes less critical. As I said above, Twitter has an algorithm that utilizes a follower/following ratio when determining a limit on how many people you are able to follow. When you are just getting started if you begin to follow a large number of people without having people following you back you may eventually run into this roadblock. To keep the ratio in check as you are starting out, you can use tools like JustUnfollow to find people who don’t follow you back, who follow you and then unfollow you, and generally see how your followers interact with you.
The more people you follow on Twitter, the more the noise ratio increases in your timeline. Grooming the list of people you follow from time to time can help make people who matter most to you, and their tweets, stand out. By grooming your list, I am referring to unfollowing people who may not have followed you back, who appear spammy, or who you just lost interest in their content. This is where segmenting you list into user types, as I pointed out above, can be useful. When grooming your list, you probably don’t want to unfollow friends or business associates, but that random user followed based on a Twitter suggestion can probably be unfollowed.
Touch your new followers. No not literally touch them. Keeping with our theme, you don’t want to appear as a robot. When someone follows you thank them or interact in some way. I prefer to use a tweet directly to the person (although I am not as good at this as I should be with my personal Twitter account) thanking them for following and pointing them to my blog. Some people use automated DMs to thank people. I am not a big fan of these. To me this comes across as spam in many instances. A simple tweet is effective enough, plus it helps open the opportunity to start a conversation.
Remember that Twitter is a 2-Way communication tool. If someone responds to your tweet, respond back. If someone tweets something you like, like the tweet, retweet it, and/or comment back to them. Interact with people you don’t know.
Start a blog. Creating content of your own is important. While you can easily share other people’s content, having your own content to share puts the spotlight on you. Your own content gives your followers something they can share. This works to draw attention not only to your Twitter account, but to your blog itself.
Don’t buy followers. I can’t stress this enough! While the initial burst can help you around Twitter algorithms, it does neither you or your audience any good. This is different than using Twitter ads for reaching new followers. There are many companies across the Internet that will offer to “sell” you “thousands” of followers. Not only are you wasting your money in most cases, the majority of followers they will sell you are “spam” accounts. These accounts provide no value to you and only clutter the Twitter platform. Don’t waste your money.
Use hashtags and @mention. Hashtags are important for getting your content noticed. Use Twitter search and trends to find hashtags that interest you. When you tweet be sure to try and include a hashtag. Your tweets will get more views and engagement, resulting in more followers. Also, if you think another user will enjoy a tweet, include them in your tweet, by @mention their user name.
Link to your Twitter account. Have a blog? Use YouTube? Have a Facebook account? Put links to your Twitter account anywhere you can. Use Follow buttons on your blog and make sure you tweet out any new content you put on your blog. If you can include your Twitter username on your business cards, do so.
It takes time! This is not an overnight process. Initially you should plan to dedicate at least a few hours each week to growing your Twitter followers. You should eventually try to get into the habit of tweeting at least once or twice a day. Using tools like Buffer can ensure you are always sharing content with users.
Will these tips guarantee you will have millions of followers? Maybe or maybe not. Depends on how much time and effort you dedicate to growing your follower list and what your goals are. Some people see high follower counts as a “status” symbol. It really comes down to what your goals for using Twitter are. If you are trying to build leads and generate business, you are probably going to want a larger audience. If you are looking to keep your conversation more intimate with a smaller group of followers, you will want to groom your list appropriately. Regardless over time you will see your follower count grow and become more engaging.
Many people are scared away from Twitter because initially it can appear as a black hole to your tweets. But once you start tweeting regularly and interacting with other users you will realize how valuable a tool Twitter can be to your business. Hopefully this article will help you get followers on Twitter and increase the value of your Twitter experience.
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