Today we’re going to talk about how to go about getting more followers on Twitter. Let me first preface this with one statement: getting followers is NOT the most important aspect of social media, building relationships IS the primary objective.
However, by getting more followers you’re increasing your circle of influence and opening up many more potential opportunities to develop those relationships that are key to having a good social media presence and (if applicable) making it work for your business.
Tip #1: Create a Solid Profile
This one falls under the “duh” section, but many people/businesses don’t do it. Creating a Twitter profile that looks good, has some personality, and works to expand your network of followers can be done in a few easy steps.
- Create a Twitter username/handle that makes sense and is easy to remember. Mine is @jacobstoops which is fairly simple. If it’s too late for you on this step, no worries.
- Fill out your bio completely. You have 160 character spaces, so make sure that you make your bio interesting while at the same time using the keywords that best describe you (or your business) – think of keywords you might want to show up for in a Twitter/Google search.
- Enter your location. I think that it’s really important to take part on conversations not just on a national level on Twitter, but on a local level too. If your location isn’t displayed in your profile, somebody local who doesn’t know you may be less inclined to engage you in a local conversation.
- Create a custom Twitter background image. Make sure that your custom background image lists your key details, as well as website and social media handles. Keep in mind that it will be positioned in the top-left of your screen, as well as whether or not you want it to be repeatable. I see some people who don’t have it repeating that don’t create an image that is wide enough or set a background color that blends well. Note: I’m slacking in this area as I’ve not gotten much time to redesign my own Twitter background image – I need to practice what I preach!
- Create a Custom Profile Picture. I can’t stress this enough. If you’re a person, use a picture of yourself. If you’re a company, use a logo or relevant picture. For me, this simple thing is often the difference between me following somebody or not.
- Link to Your Website. If you have a website then be sure to link to it. This is good for SEO and may drive a lot of referral traffic. Also, don’t link to a shortened URL in your profile (such as bit.ly or ow.ly), it’s just annoying and makes me think scammer or fake website off the bat!
Tip #2: Cross Promote
This is another simple thing that many people overlook. Just as I’ve said above, use your Twitter profile to promote your website, but conversely you need to utilize your website (as well as other web areas) to promote your Twitter presence.
If your website gets a lot of traffic, please don’t let it go to waste by not putting an icon or link somewhere to your Twitter handle. It would be a damn shame.
In addition, if you do things like traditional marketing or public speaking that takes place offline, be sure to always find a way to plug your Twitter handle (in addition to your website).
Tip #3: Follow Others
I call this the 80% rule. If you follow 1,000 people you’ll probably get around 800 people to follow you back.
I’m absolutely not condoning following people that you’re not interesting in building a relationship or getting some type of useful communication from just to drive up your follower count. That pretty much defeats the purpose of using social media.
What I am saying is that you should make it a habit to follow people first if they interest you. This could be as simple as making it a part of your daily routine. For example, if you’re surfing the web and find an interesting site or article, take the time to follow that person on Twitter.
You may even take it a step further and maybe leave a comment or some type of feedback in addition to a follow. If that’s the case – WALLAH!!! You’ve just started the process of beginning a meaningful relationship with another person online.
Tip #4: Re-Tweet Others
I’m a huge proponent of this methodology. Nobody likes that friend that only talks about themselves and never wants to listen to or talk about what others are saying. Don’t be that Twitter user who is only interested in talking about yourself.
If you find an article that somebody in your circle wrote interesting, or if somebody you know is promoting a worthy cause, then Re-Tweet that sucker! You’ll find that by helping others achieve their goals first (without expecting anything in return), you may be setting yourself up for a favor later on.
It’s kind of a “you scratch my back, I’ll scratch yours” type of thing. BUT please don’t help others just because you want something from them. Help them because you want to! It’s just good karma.
Tip #5: Promote Sharing of Your Content
This especially applies if you’re a blogger like myself. Make sure you’ve got Twitter Re-Tweet buttons installed on your post pages. This will enable users to Re-Tweet your site’s content. This will do a couple of things:
- Drive more traffic to your blog. Everybody likes that!
- Expose your articles to that user’s Twitter circle. This is a giant black box if you think about it. Imagine if the person that RT’s your article has 30k followers? That’s 30k potential eyes on your content – who might then be inclined to follow you as well.
- Enables you to start a relationship. If somebody is nice enough to RT your article, be nice enough to follow them in return. This is a door-opener to beginning a relationship on Twitter.
Tip #6: Be Worthy of Re-Tweet
This tip is to ride on tip #5. If you want people to RT your content or tweets, it’s gotta be worthy of it in the first place. If you create content that is compelling and helps somebody learn something new or solve a problem, then you’ll probably find that you’ll get a lot of RT’s. If you content and tweets are as stale as a bag of chips left open overnight, then don’t expect much.
Tip #7: Be Active, Send Tweets Often
If you’re trying to build a Twitter following, it is imperative that you don’t let yourself go a few days – let alone weeks – without sending a Tweet out to your followers. I recommend sending at least 1 Tweet per day at a minimum to keep you top of mind to your followers, as well as to stay fresh.
In addition, sending compelling Tweets frequently will increase the likelihood that your Tweets get Re-Tweeting. See tip #5 for reasons why that is important again.
This is not to say you need to be spamming people with tweets all the time, as that shit can get annoying fast! Do that, and you’ll likely get more Twitter quitters than followers.
Tip #8: Use #HashTags
#HashTags are Twitter’s way to link conversations around the same topic together. Accompanying a Tweet you send with a relevant #HashTag may be a good way to show up as part of a Twitter search, and will enable people to see the entire string of Tweets associated with that tag – helping them to keep track of the conversation a bit better.
Also, if you attend and event or speak at an event, create a hash tag for that event (ex: #epsmm10 which I created for a webinar series I did for Express Employment Professionals). This can be a great way to connect – and be connected – with everyone who attends and Tweets using that hash-tag.
When people track these conversations back to you, the you’ll likely get followers pouring in. If you’re a speaker at an event and have created a hash-tag, then you’ve opened yourself up to lots of opportunities to be followed and to find more people to follow (see #3) – even if you forget to do tip #2.
Note: The #HashTag that I created (#epsmm10) still shows up as a Tweet I’ve send and other users Tweets still have it in there, but when I perform a Twitter search for it, it shows no results. Not sure why that is? It is indexed in Google, but not showing in Twitter. Anyone who can tell me why that may be would be a big help.
Tip #9: Establish Credibility
This comes through the development of relationships and the expertise and credibility that may come from other areas. If you’re a famous actor, then this is easy. If you’re like me, it becomes hard work and a bit of a grind.
Establishing credibility means being good at what you do, being worthy of a RT (see #6), and helping others (see #3 and #4). If you’re able to do these things well, people will be far more inclined to follow you.
Tip #10: Fill a Need
This one is a no-brainer as well, and probably should have been mentioned a little earlier on this list. However, like a tree it fell where it fell. Whether it be providing useful tips, information, laughter, sorrow, etc etc etc., if you’ve filled some type of need or desire that peaks somebody’s interest they’ll be far more likely to follow you.
For me, I help people solve their problems around SEO, Social Media, and WordPress. A guy like @AdamSchefter of ESPN provides me with the critical NFL updates that my heart so desires. That’s a need, he fills it, which is why I follow.
Tip #11: Try To Get Listed
Getting listed on somebody’s Twitter list can be a very good thing. First off, like getting Re-Tweeted, being in someone’s Twitter list exposes you to a whole new network where you may not have been exposed before. People do not necessarily have to follow you to see that you’re on somebody’s list, but by looking at a person’s list they may decide to follow you.
For example, I’ve created a list to help me keep track of my Local Columbus Twitter Connections. If somebody wants to get involved with other Twitter users here in Columbus but may not necessarily know who those people are, they may look at my list to see who they should follow.
How do you get on somebody’s list:
- Fill a need (see #10)
- Be a specialist (I specialize in SEO, therefore I show up a lot in SEO lists)
- Be worth following & listing (see #12 and #6)
- I’m sure there’s more…
Tip #12: Be Worth Following
All of these other tips are great, but none of them hold a candle to this tip. Just be worth it! Be interesting or helpful enough for someone to take time out of their day to follow what you’re saying.
A main goal of using social media is to become an influencer. An influencer is someone who holds enough sway with the common-folk to get conversations to impact public opinions – good or bad – by what they say.
This often comes with flat-out being interesting enough to follow. So damn it, don’t be boring!
Tip #13: Pictures, Contests, and Prizes
I read an article a while back from Kevin Rose, the founder of Digg.com on TechCrunch. In the article, he talked some about the impact that taking and posting amazing pictures (which have the potential to get viral exposure), as well as the impact of running contests and giving away prizes in exchange for getting more Twitter followers.
In my opinion, these methods (while maybe getting you more followers) may be a little less organic and meaningful. But hey, a follow is a follow is a follow. Enjoy!
To my readers: What methods have you used to get more followers on Twitter? Are there any experiences that you’d like to share that helped you gain more Twitter followers? I’d love to hear from you.
Image credit: Huffington Post