Ok, so I might be a little radical here, but I’m going to go ahead and argue that Twitter is more of a quantity game than it is a quality game. That’s not to say that you don’t want targeted Twitter followers. I wouldn’t have written this post otherwise.
In any case, I can’t think of any negative effects to having a whole bunch of followers on Twitter. It doesn’t cost you anything to have more followers like it does to have a larger email list. Just make sure you follow back the people you want to connect with so they can DM you. Otherwise you’re missing out on a big advantage of Twitter.
With that being said you’ll still want to go try to get targeted followers so I’m not going to talk about followback lists or auto adding tools or anything like that. I’m talking about getting legit followers that want to listen to you. Many of them will happen naturally, but some you will have to seek out.
Keep in mind throughout this list that according to Dan Zarrella (@Danzarrella and danzarrella.com) of Hubspot, and the author of the Social Media Marketing Book you want to try to keep your follower count higher than your following count. Data shows people are less likely to follow you if you have more than a 1:1 following to follower ratio.
Typically people won’t follow you back after 3 days. To find the people who aren’t following you check out Twitter Karma. It’s a free tool that works legally (right now) with the Twitter API
With that being said. Here’s the list. Look for this in an upcoming product of mine. It’s a pretty good one for the ethically minded. If you care to add to it toss me a comment and I’ll throw in yours with a link to your site.
1.) Find the most influential people in your market and check out their followers. Follow their followers. These are likely people who would like to follow you (Tip: If you @mention their name before you follow them you will increase the chance that they will follow you back). Careful not to follow too many people at once or you’ll violate the 1:1 rule and appear spammy. Try to make this a natural process.
2.) Make use of hashtags when posting updates. This will allow people that are searching that term find you easier. Don’t spam hashtags. Try to keep it to a max of two per update and make sure you throw in hashtagless (yes, I made that a word) updates from time to time.
3.) Use search.twitter.com or the twitter search box to find people who are tweeting about your specific search terms. For example if you like to Tweet about health you might search, diet, exercise, fitness, biggest loser, etc. Follow these people and hope for a follow back. Most Twitter management tools have a search feature built in that does the same thing.
4.) Participate in events that make us of Twitter hashtags – Many webinars and even live events such as #IMS (Inbound Marketing Summit) in the social media and internet marketing space will use hashtags that allow users to comment on Twitter about their experiences. You can get the attention of a lot of new followers this way, not to mention learn a lot.
5.) Get a custom bumper sticker or t-shirt made with @Yourtwittername on it (Caution: Only do this if you’re comfortable with being recognized as a complete geek)
6.) Use a Twitter scheduling tool to tweet throughout the day. The more you use Twitter (and provide quality tweets), the more followers you are going to have, plain and simple. Different people are on Twitter at different times, usually quite randomly. Most people can’t be on Twitter all day, nor do they want to be. It can be one hell of a distraction.
Scheduling tweets in advance will allow you to be at least somewhat active all day instead of in 10 minute Tweet bursts. There are a ton of tools out there that let you schedule Tweets. I prefer TweetDeck for its simplicity. Just get up a few minutes early, schedule 10 tweets or so and hit the road.
7.) Be visible! Put your @username on your business cards, email signature, Linkedin profile, Facebook page, blog, coffee mug, lunchbox, mousepad, forehead tattoo, etc. Obviously I’m being a little over the top here, but you get the idea. Just make your @username visible in a lot of places.
8.) Speak at an event or host a Webinar – Any time you are visible in the public eye you should be throwing your Twitter name out there. If not actively, just post it somewhere where people can see it (like as a watermark on your slides). Following someone on Twitter is the easiest thing in the world to do. Don’t just put up a sign that says follow me on Twitter though. This is a mistake a lot of people make. Actually write our your @username. Make it easy for people to find you!
9.) Become Verified – So this one only works for highly recognizable figures or people who are in danger of being impersonated, but if you are in this special interest group this is a way to one, protect yourself against being impersonated, and two, get a ton of new followers. People gravitate to verified accounts so if you’re a big name and you’re not verified go here to Verify Your Twitter Account.
10.) Get retweeted and mentioned – This one is a bit more tricky because it involves being good at Tweeting, but basically if you put out good useful content and you are kind in @mentioning others you are going to get mentions and tweets yourself. Once you’ve built up some Twitter relationships you can send messages to your followers asking that they @mention you to their followers to follow you. Check out DanZarrella’s Science of Retweets report on the website I linked above if you want to learn more about getting retweeted.
11.) Create a cool background – If you know a designer or if you’re good at design yourself make sure your Twitter background is sleek, cool, and professional looking (note the clever use of subjective terminology). There are many custom background services online that will do this for you for a few bucks. Just Google “custom twitter background” to find more.
At the very least use a sleek default background so you don’t look like you just hashed something together. The default background is better than a poorly done custom background.
12.) Make following you valuable – Make it so people HAVE to follow you on Twitter to get some sort of deal about your service. Twitter only coupon codes and discounts. Twitter only blog updates. Twitter only secret low down info. Provide a unique value. This works well for retailers. Anyone can apply this however.
For instance you can tweet a keyword rich hashtagged tweet and say all new followers before the end of the day get something free.
13.) Go to a Tweetup – Man I may have jumped off the geek deep end here, but this is actually a great way to not only get more Twitter followers, but also meet a lot of cool people. For those who don’t know Tweetups are real-life in person (gasp) meetings of Twitter users. You could go bowling, do karaoke, or whatever. Some people even wear @username nametags. Odds are you’re not going to be connected with everyone there. You’re bound to get a few new followers out of the deal.
Take a notepad and make a list of people to follow.
14.) Hold a Random Contest – People like free stuff, especially when they don’t have to do anything to get it. A good example is to offer a cool and inexpensive prize that will appeal to your target audience to a random new follower over the period of a week. Tweet about this a few times a day with different keywords and hashtags, post it on your blog, email signature, linkedin status, facebook status, etc. You’ll get some people who just want the goodies, but if you target your bribe (prize) well you’ll also grab a bunch of new followers.
This works best when can recruit some people to Retweet your contest for you. Think strategically when you’re doing this one, and don’t spend TOO much on your bribe.
15.) Post a real picture of yourself – Unless you’re in the business of deceiving your followers it helps to have a picture of yourself that depicts you for who you are. Spend a few minutes getting all prettied up take a picture specifically for your Twitter profile. Don’t crop a friend out of a picture. Don’t use your company logo, and don’t use the default icon. Post a real picture of you!
16.) Fill out your profile completely – Probably the best way to get someone not to follow you is by having an incomplete profile. If you don’t list anything in your profile people don’t know what you do. All you have to do is fill out 160 characters. Fill that sucker out and make sure it appeals to your target audience. This will have a large effect on your follower count.
17.) Guest Blog for Your Followers – This one can actually be really powerful. If you create content for people you follow you not only develop relationship with them on Twitter, but you can also get a backlink to your website, and benefit from the retweeting of your article. Just make sure you get your Twitter name added to the post with a link to follow you if you’re going to do it for free.
Maybe down the road they will guest blog for you in return.
Well I didn’t plan for that to be so long, but the fingers kept going. Please link to this post and Retweet it if you find it valuable. I spent a lot of time on this one and I think people will like it 🙂
Be sure to follow me on Twitter @CodyBWheeler