When I first started using Twitter, I had no idea how to build my follower list. So, like many rookies, I made the mistake of following as many people as possible en masse. If someone was on Twitter, I followed them – and hoped that they’d follow me back.
While it is true that I built a follower list of several hundred people, they weren’t real followers. That’s not to say they were bots (though I’m sure some of them were), but they weren’t real followers in the sense that that didn’t really follow anything I said. Few of them clicked on my links, retweeted my tweets, or engaged in conversation. When I released a product, even fewer of them translated to sales. So, I did what any rational person would do.
I started over.
I purged my list, keeping only the followers I knew or actually wanted to follow. In unfollowing so many people, lots of people unfollowed me as well – but that was fine, because to those people, I was just a number. If you only follow me if I follow you back, that says to me that you don’t actually care what I have to say…so go ahead and unfollow!
Once I did that, I was left again with a fairly low follower number and no idea how to build it. So, I started doing some hard work, figuring out what works and what does not. I followed people I loved, but I didn’t use my own follows as a ploy to get people to follow me. Instead, here’s what I did to get real twitter followers:
- I added my Twitter ID to the bio at the end of my posts. Every day, I get about three to five new followers from that link. When I write an especially popular post, I get more.
- I started linking to my profile within posts when relevant. By directing people to follow me on Twitter, I could remind them that they should add me if they liked the post I wrote.
- When I made new business cards, I added my Twitter ID.
- Whenever I start following someone I truly like, I make sure to @reply – jump into a conversation, tell them why I’m following, retweet a link they’ve posted, etc. It gives that a little poke, showing them that I actually am interested, not just another number.
- I participate in Twitter chats. This is a big one. For example, every time I participate in #blogchat, I end up with 10 – 20 new followers – sometimes even more if I’m super active. If you host a chat or serve as a co-host, you’ll get even more followers.
- I started using hashtags. You don’t have participate in a full chat, but just using hashtags occasionally when you tweet, especially about a conference (like #BWENY) or specific topic related to your blog.
- I started participating in #FollowFriday. With #FF, I don’t link to a list of people – I recommend one person with a reason why to follow. And more than just posting a few #FF tweets, I also take my friends’ recommendations and follow people who I find interesting (and tweet at them, see point number four).
- I stopped thinking of Twitter as a marketing tool and started just talking to followers like friends. Without conversation, you probably won’t be very successful on Twitter (check out my experiment here). As people see you having conversations with people they know, they’ll jump in and likely follow you as well.
- I added my Twitter ID to my forum signatures and – this is important – started being active in the forums. This is somewhere where I’m still lacking because I don’t always have time to participate in forums, but whenever I can legitimately be active (i.e., not spamming the boards), I see an increase in followers.
- I’m not afraid to be funny. Funny tweets (or even retweets) get retweeted – a lot – and the more you get retweeted, the more followers you get.
Okay, those are my ten best Twitter tips. What are some of your best strategies (that don’t include “follow a bunch of people and hope they follow you back”)?
Allison, this was a post that was perfectly timed for me. I have started down the road of paring off Twitter followers that are just numbers. Your list is intriguing enough for me to print it and follow it. Thanks for sharing and look forward to connecting online. Cheers, Jackie
Alli, I couldn’t agree w you more. I did the same thing at first and was adding people willy nilly but found myself being spammed a lot.
The chats are a great place to meet other tweeps and get followers too.
One other thing I did at first was to see who my favorite people were following and followed them as well. Because these people were from people I trusted, I rarely went wrong.
Thanks for the advice Alli! Miriam
The person who taught me twitter shared this was their biggest problem but they said it was getting engaged with other tweeps. They started as a fictional character and hiding behind that was easy big numbers big conversations. When they started tweeting as themselves still big numbers due to ff from fictional character but no engagement. Even from some followers who when she was fictional engaged her everyday. Right now I am watching her accounts as well as my measly one and can see she needs to do exactly as you say and prune. She might have to get gutsy and remind some of her followers that she would like to be as close to them as she was when fictional.
Sometimes I will follow lists of people that are in my own niche – that way I have people that love the same things I do.
Some very good tips there. Putting your Twitter ID in your Bio. Why didn’t I think of that! @f691fe9d9498d8bb5022f9eb92461503:disqus I also follow List from people in my Niche, works great.
Yes, Tony. Simply putting your Twitter name in as many places as possible is a great method of letting people that might be interested in following you find your Twitter account!
Personally, I think that simple intelligent conversation with people is probably the best tool you can use. However, as a shortcut to trying to build up a following over time, a lot of people also use http://twitter.popularfans.com to quickly increase the number of followers that they have.
Not being afraid to be funny is also a great tip, but sometimes jokes might offend certain people, so you don’t want to get too crazy depending on what type of business or brand you’re promoting although personally I don’t get offended too easily by most jokes.
Alli – excellent post about genuine ways to get more followers, the real kind! I especially like #10 about humor, and just wrote a post about it and several other ways to create great Twitter headlines. If you have a great sense of humor, let it shine! http://socialmediaonlineclasses.com/the-blog/checklist-for-writing-great-twitter-posts/
Awesome advice – especially when there are so many sites out there claiming that you can get thousands of twitter followers for a fee. I’m looking for genuine REAL ways to earn followers, not pay for them (likely FAKE followers).
@thenichemom It’s pretty easy to get Twitter followers especially if you’re willing to pay…but the question is, how many of those followers actually care about what you say? “Fake” followers don’t read your tweets, click through when you post a link, retweet, etc. So what’s the point? They’re just numbers. I think you have the right idea in looking for genuine followers!
This always seemed to get me more followers, at least without spending any money http://howtofixstuff.blogspot.com/2012/02/how-to-get-more-followers-on-twitter.html
This sure looks like a lot of work but you know what they say, no pain no gain. 😀 I’ve already started doing some of the tips you shared here and I must say they’ve taken a big chunk of my time. The good think though is that I enjoy Twitter a lot so it feels like working hard to satisfy a hobby that just happens to help me achieve certain professional goals. 🙂
Great post Thanks!
Nice one here
Very nice tips. I opened a new account in twitter. Hope these tips will help me.
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Thanks for sharing these tips! I’ve always though #FollowFridays were annoying, but by just sharing one person, I bet it is more personal and targeted rather than a random list of people chosen for no particular reason.
Great advice, I’ve managed to stay active on Twitter for a few days and seem to have a good 30 genuine followers.. I must admit however I might have fallen into the trap of following people for no good reason… I’ll have to clear that up.