Twitter

How to Get Twitter Followers

twitter 01 How to Get Twitter Followers When I am training people in how to use Twitter, the question asked most often is “How do you get Twitter followers?” When you are just starting out, you may not know any people that are on Twitter and don’t have any idea of where to start.

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If you have been on Twitter for awhile, you may find that your number of followers has stopped growing and are looking for ways to get new followers.  Wrong or right many people see Twitter as a numbers game, so even ‘Power’ Twitter users are often looking for new techniques to increase their numbers of followers too.

Quantity vs. Quality

Before we think about techniques to get more Twitter Followers, it’s important to consider if it is more important for you to get a really high number of followers on Twitter, or is it best to get followers that are specifically interested in the topics that you are interested in.  If you are using Twitter for business it’s important to ensure that you are getting followers that are relevant to your topic, so you need to balance out your activities to get numbers versus activities aimed at gaining specific followers in your target market – because some activities to get a massive amount of followers may turn off the targeted followers. So think about why and how you are using Twitter when deciding which techniques are best for you.

Using Black Hat Techniques to Get Twitter Followers

‘Black Hat’ online marketing techniques are those that are considered to be against the terms/guidelines of the online marketing services providers (i.e. Google, Twitter, Facebook, etc.).  I do not use black hat techniques and do not recommend that you do because, besides getting your account penalised or disabled, these techniques can put off legitimate followers and make you look bad.  I do include some of these tips here, clearly noted as ‘black hat’.  You will come across these methods as you go along and it’s important that you know how to spot techniques that may bring you more trouble than benefits.

13 Techniques to Get More Twitter Followers

1. Get followers on Twitter with INTERESTING, RELEVANT CONTENT

What content is going to be interesting and relevant to the people you want to follow you?  Figure that out and provide that content on a regular basis and watch your followers grow.  Include a mix of types of content: straight messages/comments on relevant topics, links to your own articles, links to other relevant material, images, surveys, etc. – anything that’s going to make you worthy of the desired follow.

Posting content on trending topics may get you a number of followers that are interested in trending topics. As many Twitter users post about general and personal topics as well as those specific to their businesses this could be a way to attract more followers, but they won’t necessarily be interested in your specific topics as well, so balance out this type of post.

Black Hat Tip: ONLY post links to trending topics. Find interesting articles posted by others and repost them as your own without giving credit to the original source. Include only links to your website about such topics and no links from other sources.  You may think that this is a good way to show yourself as an authority, but while not ‘illegal’, this will show you up as being limited and not very helpful.

2. Create a PROFILE that will get more followers.

As you will find people to follow using ‘Who to Follow’, people will also find you using this Twitter tool, and search engines, if the information for your profile includes information that is relevant to them.

  • Your ‘Picture’ can influence if people read your posts and follow you.  I’ve found that using a photograph of me, rather than some icon, has increased my followers and also helps people to identify me when meeting face to face; but this may be down to the services that I provide.  A clever cartoon or other icon may be better for you, but it’s best to not change your picture too often as it will confuse people.
  • Deciding on your ‘Name’ (whether you use your own name, a business name or a clever phrase) will be based on your overall Twitter strategy, but it’s important to consider if your ‘Name’ will appeal to those you want to follow you.  The name you use may also help your profile come up in searches, so consider using keywords.

twitter 02 How to Get Twitter Followers

  • ‘Location’ can be important if you want to get followers in your area, or if location is relevant to your posts.
  • Include a link to your most relevant site under ‘Web’. If you don’t have a site include a link to another social profile (Facebook Page or LinkedIn) or a Posterous, etc.; but be sure that it has a good amount of information about you. Not including a link or including a link to a page with no relevant information will definitely turn off followers. If you don’t have such a page set up, do it NOW! Consider creating a special page on your site, a Twitter Landing Page, to specifically welcome those that have come from your Twitter profile and move them into appropriate areas of your website.
  • ‘Bio’ is the most important element, so write it to attract the right followers and be sure to include ‘keywords’, the words that people will be searching on when looking for relevant followers.

twitter 03 How to Get Twitter Followers

@hankwasiak (http://twitter.com/hankwasiak) has a great Twitter profile: His Picture is interesting and distinctive, including his Emmy awards. He is known offline, so uses his own Name as people may be searching on it and it helps to boost his ‘brand’. He notes in Location that he is based in both New York and Los Angeles and under Web includes a link to his own website for people to get more information on him.  His Bio includes who he is, what he does and the kind of information he will be sharing with his followers.

Is the design of your profile page important? If you can have a nicely customised background, that reinforces your brand, it can be a factor to influence people to follow you; but the content you provide in the profile and your posts is much more important.  Many influential people on Twitter have nice custom Twitter backgrounds designed for the ‘Old Twitter’ that are now half covered by the main pane of information since “New Twitter” came along, and it doesn’t hurt their number of followers.

Black Hat Tip: Just list a bunch of high traffic keywords for all of the elements of your profile to come up for searches on these. But will it be interesting enough for people to follow? Or, put an image of a sexy girl/boy for your Picture. (Does that actually work for people?!)

3. FOLLOW people that you want to follow you.

It sounds very simple, but many people follow EVERYONE that follows them.  Check out Twitter’s “Who to Follow”.  See who Twitter suggests that you follow and also search for yourself. Follow those that you want to follow you: prospects, clients, influencers in your industry, media, etc.

twitter 04 How to Get Twitter Followers

Black Hat Tip: For those who are more interested in quantity rather than quality of followers; follow as many people as possible, regardless of who they are or what their interests are. Many will automatically follow you and your numbers will rise.  You can then unfollow these. Some will unfollow you as well, but many will not. Twitter has disabled accounts found to do this, so watch the numbers that you follow and unfollow at once.

4. INTERACT with the people you want to follow you.

  • ‘Listen’ to what these people have to say and ‘@reply’ to join in the conversation or start your own conversation with them. You then get to know each other and chances are they will follow you.
  • ‘ReTweet’ posts by these people, using the old style “RT” so that the user will see that you are retweeting and may then want to follow you.

Black Hat Tip: ReTweet EVERYTHING the people you follow post and they will be very thankful and follow you back and perhaps retweet that you retweeted. Twitter may disable your account if the number of retweets is not balanced by regular posts.

  • #FF or #FollowFriday is a common activity where you can suggest people to follow.  If you #ff those that you’d like to follow you, it may get their attention and they may feel obligated to follow you (if that’s a good thing). It’s a higher quality #ff if you include in the post why people should follow the user.

Black Hat Tip: #ff all the people you see with a lot of followers, they may follow you or at least retweet your #ff as a thank you.  I ignore any #ff that contains a lot of people and double check to see if they are doing loads of #ffs and I don’t acknowledge those.

twitter 05 How to Get Twitter Followers

Good example of a Follow Friday #ff showing why you should follow the user.

  • Be gracious and generous.  Thank users who follow you with a mention and others will see this and think to follow you as well.

5. Interact with the people that INFLUENCE the people you want to follow you.

  • Look at profiles of the people you want to follow you and then see who they follow. If you interact, as noted above, with these ‘influencers’ they may follow you and then their followers may follow you.
  • If you get a mention or a ReTweet by an influencer their followers will see that and may follow you.  Once you have a bit of a relationship, don’t be shy to ask for a ReTweet.  Many influencers like to help newer users, especially if they feel that you are making a good effort to provide good content and be helpful yourself.
  • In these interactions with desired followers and influencers be sure to be relevant and watch the tone of your posts so you don’t appear aggressive or needy, which will be a turn off to them and your existing followers.
  • Some new users are shy about ‘jumping’ into an existing conversation, but that’s what Twitter is about.  Posts are public for all to see, if they wanted it to be private they’d go offline.  I sometimes even put, if there’s enough characters left, “sorry for butting in…” or something like that.

Black Hat Tip: Send ‘@replies’ and ‘mentions’ to these people promoting your businesses and services without any context to something they’ve posted.  This is spam and can get you blocked by the users and get your account disabled for abuse. As with email and SEO spam, many people get away with it, if only for a short spurt of getting attention; but it won’t bring long term relationships or success.

6. All good things take TIME, including more Twitter Followers

Be on Twitter when your desired followers are online so that you can interact with them in real time. Post regularly so that they will see a good stream of information coming from you; but not so often that your posts take over the stream and cause people to unfollow you.  Find the right balance.

7. EXCLUSIVE OFFERS for your Followers

While many people think that special offers are the way to get RTs, statistics show that users are more likely to retweet links to useful and interesting content rather than to special offers.  Posting ‘exclusive’ special offers for your followers may increase your numbers, but you may find you get followers only interested in special offers and not in becoming long term relationships.

8. Attract New Followers with TWITTER COMPETITIONS

Twitter competitions, like special offers, may bring more numbers but it’s important to make sure your competition is well organised so that you attract the right kind of followers that will become long term followers and to also avoid conflicts over the running of the competition and how the results are determined.

If you are considering running a Twitter Competition, check out the Guidelines for Contests on Twitter and a great post from SEOMoz 7 New Tips for Running a Twitter Giveaway.

Black Hat Tip: Run regular competitions that encourage users to retweet a post over and over, or to open multiple accounts to get more chances to win. These techniques are both against Twitter guidelines, so your account may be disabled.  Even if the account isn’t disabled, such techniques may show you in a bad light and you will lose good followers.

9. ‘LIVE TWEET’ Events and TV Shows

I heard a report on the radio yesterday that the TV industry now sees Social Media as a big threat because people are on their social media channels while watching and not paying as close attention to the shows.  In Ireland, there is a great community on Twitter of people who follow TV shows together and I have found a number of people to follow, and who follow me, during these ‘live tweeting’ sessions.  This is true in other regions and for most popular shows you are sure to find a group of people on Twitter interested in following along.  The types of shows most suitable to ‘live tweeting’ are live and reality shows like The Apprentice, Academy Awards, sporting events, etc.

‘Live Tweeting’ is a big part of most conferences, webinars and other events (online and offline) these days, particularly those related to the internet and technology.  Whether you are attending the conference or following on Twitter, posting about what is being said and/or your reaction to it will be a good way to interact with others interested on Twitter and will get you exposure and followers.

Include the official #hashtag for the ‘live tweeting’ session so that all involved will see your tweets during the session, and after if they do a search.

twitter 06 How to Get Twitter Followers

Even the day after the Eurovision Song Contest was broadcast on television; it is still trending on Twitter – for good and bad reasons.

Black Hat Tip: Post promotional messages using the #hashtag of a “live tweeting” session to ‘piggy back’ on the popularity of the session. Lots of people may see your post, but most will be annoyed by it.  You’d be better off ‘meeting’ the people during the session, working on building the relationship, then promoting yourself more gracefully later.

10. Use #HASHTAGS, if relevant and commonly used for your topics

I don’t recommend the technique of tagging EVERYTHING you post.  Hashtags will help if the topic itself is not used in your message or, as noted above, you are posting about a specific event that has a designated hashtag.  Some industries may have hashtags that are regularly used and then it would be good practice to use the agreed hashtag. I expect that people overuse hashtags in hopes of coming up in searches, but this tends to make messages hard to read and hard to retweet.  I recommend you just use the desired word/phrase in your message and it will come up in searches just as well.

twitter 07 How to Get Twitter Followers

#hashtags – helping people find your tweets or a waste of space?

11. TWITTER APPS & DIRECTORIES that will help get more Followers

There are a lot of Twitter Apps out there that claim to get you more followers.  Well, they actually help you find followers with similar interests to you or show you who you follow that doesn’t follow you, etc. Whichever ones you do use, only proceed if you feel comfortable with how they use your information, only login with Twitter Auth (which brings you to Twitter to login and then takes you back to the app) so you don’t need to give them your logins and, if they autofollow or send direct messages for you, ensure that you have control as Twitter now restricts the number of automatic actions that can be taken at a time.

  • http://friendorfollow.com – shows you who you are following that is not following you.
  • http://tweeteffect.com – shows you what tweets caused you to gain or lose followers
  • http://wefollow.com – directory of Twitter users tagged by topic
  • http://www.tweriod – tells you when your followers are online
  • http://klout.com – popular app that measure a user’s influence based on a number of Twitter metrics
  • http://refollow.com – an app that helps you manage follows/followers
  • http://www.twellow.com – a ‘Yellow Pages’ for Twitter users
  • http://twitaholic.com – ranks Twitter users by number of followers and also provides statistics on your followers if you sign up.
  • http://twiends.com – find users with similar interests
  • http://paper.li – generate a daily or weekly online ‘paper’ showing links posted by the people you follow or a Twitter list you have created. I find that many of the people included really appreciate being included and retweet the link that comes out under my account so it has brought a number of new followers with relevant interests.
  • http://tweetpdif.com – compare follows/followers of two or more users
  • http://twtrfrnd.com/ – another app to compare follows and followers between two users.
  • http://twidiumapp.com – $45 after a 7 day trial for app that will send follow requests to related accounts.
  • http://socialnewswatch.com/top-twitter-users/ – top Twitter accounts that will follow you back (from 2009, but still useful if you want to try getting more followers by following a good few that auto follow back.)

Most of these are free apps, some have premium versions, so remember you get what you pay for!

Black Hat Tip: Don’t have time to develop relationships and provide good content to attract followers? Buy more followers!

  • Buy followers yourself — either through cash, gifts or donations to charity.
  • Buy followers through a third party application like Usocial (100,000 for $3,500)
  • Buy an existing account that has a number of followers.  This may work for you if the account is related to your business.

If you do buy followers, let us know how it goes.  I haven’t read anything about it and haven’t felt the need to try it myself.  I’d like to hear some feedback.

12. MENTION your Twitter account EVERYWHERE possible.

  • twitter 08 How to Get Twitter Followers Website(s) using a link to your Twitter profile and a widget to show recent posts.
  • Business cards, letterhead and any other printed materials you have
  • Email signatures
  • Other social networking profiles, most now have facility to connect profiles across networkds
  • Online and offline advertising
  • Listings for networking groups and other organisations you belong to (clubs, teams, alumni organisations, community groups, etc.)
  • Shop window, receipts, packaging
  • Tell people when speaking in groups, networking events, etc.
  • Include it in any biographical information or profiles with articles published.

13. Get members of your OFFLINE COMMUNITY to join Twitter

I often work with organisations of people and tell them that the power of the group working together will make them a much stronger presence online.  If all of the members of the community are on Twitter, promoting themselves and their joint organisations, it will benefit all. Look at the following groups of people as potential new Twitter users and followers:

  • Connections on other Social Networks
  • Members of offline networking groups you belong to
  • Your boss, staff, colleagues, suppliers, etc.
  • Members of professional and industry organisations
  • People you worked at in previous employment
  • People that belong to personal interest groups you are involved in: community associations, sports teams, arts organisations, clubs, charities, etc.
  • Family and friends

Your support and examples of using Twitter can influence these people to take the plunge themselves.  Okay you probably won’t get 100,000 new followers on Twitter this way, but you can get a solid base of very relevant followers that know you well and will give good referrals for you.  Your circle of influence will grow as these people reach out to their community, and so on, and so on, and so on ….

Have you tried any of these 13 Techniques? Do you have any other techniques that have helped you get relevant targeted followers on Twitter?  I’d love to hear about your experiences, so please post in the comments below.

Oh, and please click here to follow me on Twitter! :)

 How to Get Twitter Followers
For ten years Ann Donnelly has been helping businesses achieve their goals using the internet; starting with developing static brochure websites to now offering fully interactive, customizable ‘Web 2.0’ online communities that are optimized for best results on search engines and integrated with social media channels.
 How to Get Twitter Followers

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31 thoughts on “How to Get Twitter Followers

  1. Great tips! I’m a big proponent of cross promotion across my social media profiles. If someones sends an invitation to connect on LinkedIn, I send them a message and invite them to follow me on Twitter and connect on Facebook as well. The more touch points you can create the better. 

  2.  I also @ mention people I wish to follow me to specific friends of mine on twitter who may benefit from following them. 

    As
    far as black hat techniques, I think it leads to too much housecleaning
    later on when, especially with auto-follow services, if you ever take a
    look at some of the accounts that you autofollow back, probably bots,
    some of them are very sketchy and not ideal for your potential followers
    to see you following.

    Just a thought.

  3. I am not only loving the black hat tips , I have clients that follow those despite all efforts I put into telling them not to :)

  4. Wow, a lot of strategies! I prefer white hat strategies, building a genuine relationship on twitter, it helps in long term even it takes time to grow.

  5. Very thorough list here, Ann.  I like how you included the black hat techniques under each of your tips.  It helps contrast those methods from the “way it should be.”
    I find that I don’t use hashtags nearly as often as I should.  I use them as part of life chats like #blogchat or #smchat, but I don’t include them on my regular tweets as a general rule.

    Thanks for putting this list together for us.

  6. Wow, lots to
    digest. Thanks for generously sharing this useful info. Especially appreciate
    the acknowledgment that for social media, the goal may not be tens of
    thousands of fans but a few hundred solid ones.
     

  7. Hi Ann: Great Article full of excellent tips and advice. I’ll be using it with my students in   USC  Internet Marketing class. Also, honored that you have referenced me in this great article. Much appreciated.

    Be well.

    H

  8. Twitter is a good way to promote products and services. It could also increase index rate of your page by creating buzz on the web. But in terms of quality of the users that will actually patronize/ buy products, Facebook might be the better way to go. Can you also write about how to increase Facebook likes? :)

    I have really enjoyed reading your post. Thanks for the very powerful read, Ann! – Marvin Ortiz

  9. Very good indeed: Just two additional points:(1) Bear in mind that at-reply messages can be annoying for people not involved. Over-tweeting is a common reason why people unfollow, so you have to balance this against the greater engagement with the person replied to. (BTW I said at-reply instead of using the at symbol because this comment system was converting it into a button!)(2) If your
    business does customer support, as well as marketing, make it very easy
    for people to find the contact details of your support desk, e.g by
    including a phone number in your profile.

  10. Hi Ann,
    Excellent info, thorough and valuable.
    Isn’t it interesting how most perceive Twitter to be a simple platform to use but once you have gone down that rabbit hole the full scale of the labyrinth becomes apparent! Twitter is without a doubt the fastest, most comprehensive information portal available. It is pure genius! This has been proved via world crises, major events, even raptures!
    But to use it correctly you have to understand a large number of techniques which take time to understand. 
    Thanks for sharing this guide – I agree with almost all of your points ;-)
    Cheers
    Mike

  11. Here Here for Ann! This really helped me since I just created a twitter page for my business. I have no followers yet, but hoping in time, they will come. I am def bookmarking this page and hope you continue to post new tips or tricks.

    Thankful

  12. Twitter is one of the internet’s newest social marketing crazes. Twitter
    is reshaping the way that people think about traditional marketing and
    is spawning a new generation of web 2.0 marketing gurus. 

  13. Well the article was good and many things to learn about how to make more followers for your twitter account. I also feel that to very your Twitter account is also one more ideal technique for people to assure that you are genuine. Well following those people who are directly indirectly connected to your area of business or field.

  14. I like what you did at the end of this post. I followed you…

    Anyway brilliant article, I did not know that twitter was such a great marketing tool. I wonder if this was the main idea behind twitter after all. Probably not

  15. I couldn’t agree more! I had a personal Twitter account, and that was one thing, I actually PREFERRED to have less followers, but now I’m trying to build readers for an account related to my new blog.

    This confirms my suspicions that 1. Content is the most important thing, and 2. Slow and steady pays off in the end! Getting over the first 50 or so followers hurdle seems the biggest challenge, I don’t want people to assume my account is spam when I’m following 100 people, and only 1 is following me ;-) I’m hoping that posting consistently good content and joining conversations, with sparingly used hashtags will get me through the initial challenges :-)

  16. Excellent and helpful post. One of the hurdles is getting first 50 or so followers. I used minifreelance to get initial 50 followers. It costs only $.10 per followers. The rest are easy to come by.

  17. Awesome Post. While following these steps, 1 person followed me. This shows how effective these tips are.
    Ann, I want another tip from you. How did you created the tabular section below post that include Bio, Twitter, Google+ and Latest Post? I want it too. Its quite attractive.

  18. It is better to have 1000 targeted followers than 100000 non-targeted followers. Because targeted followers retweet, favorite and replay, in other words, you can interact with them. I found this video that offers one of the solutions, how to find targeted followers.