I just couldn’t take the barren wasteland of followers and decided it was time to ramp up my Twitter game. And over 2 months later, I’ve added over 1,900 new Twitter followers to my account. And I’ve done this by sharing other people’s content, and just a few of my own original posts.
These are the three strategies I came up with to boost the number of Twitter followers and engagement.
Update: It’s been 8 months since I originally wrote this and I now have close to 18K followers, using these same strategies.
1) Adopt a Twitter mindset
Twitter is all about real-time conversations. And they’re short conversations. You’ve only got 140 characters to say what you want to say, and that character limit includes hashtags and links. The lifespan of tweets is about a millisecond.
So you really have to adopt a Twitter mindset of following, tweeting, retweeting and messaging frequently. And understand that magic’s not going to happen overnight.
If that all sounds daunting, trust me, I know.
I mean, what are you supposed to do with Twitter? When I first created my Twitter account, I had no idea what to do first. I’d log in every week or so, search for some people to follow and try to figure out what the fuss was with #hashtags. That was pretty much it, and that got me to about 65 followers.
Getting from 65 to 100 was hard. I simply lost my enthusiasm and couldn’t figure out a better strategy, so I stopped logging in once a week. A month or two later I finally logged back in and noticed that my number of followers had dropped off.
So what should you do?
The takeaway is that there’s a Twitter “code.” You have to show up and engage in order to even maintain your current followers, let alone try to get new followers.
Start by setting aside a few minutes each day for Twitter. Enter keywords and hashtags that are relevant to your industry and your target market to find people you’d like to follow. Try to follow 10 to 20 people each day and watch your numbers grow as people follow you back.
Once you hit 100 Twitter followers, it will be easier to get the next 100, and so on.
2) Tweet frequently
Because Twitter conversations are happening in real time, you need to post more frequently than on Facebook and LinkedIn if you want to grow your follower base.
Up to about 300 followers, I’d tweet four or fives each day, excluding weekends.
On my quest for the perfect Twitter strategy, I noticed that some people I followed were tweeting every half hour or less, and that there was a definite correlation between number of tweets and the number of followers. The more people tweeted, the more followers they had.
Once I increased the number of times I tweeted to 12 per day, things started snowballing and I saw a huge increase in Twitter followers.
So what should you do?
Because Twitter conversations are happening globally in real time, your tweet is bumped down to the bottom of the page just about the minute you post it. You have to tweet more frequently to increase the chances that people will see your tweets.
Tweeting throughout the day doesn’t mean you have to have your eyes peeled on your dashboard all day. There are tools to help you manage tweets so that all you need is an hour or two each week to gather the content you want to share.
Here are some scheduling and automation tools I use:
I use this to gather news feeds and curate articles from blogs and publications that are of interest to my audiences. Once you find an article you like, you can either tweet directly from Feedly or add it to a scheduling app.
I use Buffer in conjunction with Feedly to schedule tweets. The scheduler is very easy to use and allows you to specify the days and times you want your tweets to post. It’s not just for Twitter. I use it to schedule posts across all of my social channels. If you’re using it with Feedly or another news aggregator, simply add what’s in your Feedly to your Buffer queue and you’re done.
IFTT is a big time saver for me. IFTT stands for “If This Then That” and allows you to create conditional statements based on the actions of Feedly. Any new articles added to blogs or publications within one of your Feedly categories can be automatically added to your Buffer queue. A word of caution here: you’ll have to check your Twitter buffer daily to make sure the articles that IFTT pulls in are actually ones you want to share. You can easily delete the ones that have little relevance to your followers.
- Social Quant
Once I reached about 1600 followers, I decided to give Social Quant a try. Social Quant is a social media management app that finds targeted follows based on keywords you provide. I don’t recommend using Social Quant when you’re first starting out, simply because it takes some time to know what keywords and influencers you want to target. You really have to manage Twitter yourself until it’s time is right to take the training wheels off. Once you know what you’re doing and what followers to target, Social Quant takes the busy work off your hands.
Using Twitter consistently is the best way to realize meaningful results. The good news is that after a while, you can put automation in place to grow your followers and boost engagement with just a few hours each week.Automation is a powerful way to grow your followers and boost engagement with just a few hours… Click To Tweet
3) Say thanks and retweet
Many people on Twitter rely on retweeting alone to build their brand. I’ve used this technique and continue to use it to increase my Twitter followers, so I do think it works pretty well. It’s an easy enough way to share content. All I have to do is find a message that my followers would be interested in and send it out there.
Retweeting is also a powerful way to increase visibility with influencers. I’ve gotten a few heavy hitters to follow me back, simply by retweeting them.
If you retweet them enough and the right way, you can eventually get on their radar and increase the likelihood that they’ll share your tweet with followers.
When it comes to people retweeting and following me, up until recently the way I’ve thanked them is to retweet them and follow them back. I know some people prefer to shoot off a “thanks for the share” tweet, but I’m not a huge fan. In my mind, retweeting and following back is a better way to show appreciation than littering up feeds.
Having said that, I’m running a one-month experiment to run my own “thanks for the share” test to see if it fits with my culture and gets better engagement.
So what should you do?
Use a tool like Tweetdeck or Hootsuite to track mentions, tweets and follows. Right from the dashboard you can view the activity of people you follow and see who’s followed and tweeted you. These are both great Twitter compilers that allow you to see who’s talking about you and respond right away.
If you’re going to retweet influencers, don’t simply hit the Retweet button. Instead, quote the original tweet using the RT abbreviation. You want your quote to read: “RT@TwitterHandle:” followed by the actual tweet. This way all of your followers will see the person’s name as well as your name, and the person you’re retweeting will see it too. This will help you build a stronger following.
Here are some other things to try:
You can organize twitter users in groups. I’ve found these to be a great way to monitor and interact with important people. I have lists for my industry, influencers and lists for each of my target audiences.
Rather than hunt through my feed or search for content to share, I can just go to my lists to find out who’s posting what. If there’s an influencer or competitor you want to engage with but don’t want to follow them, lists are a great way to do that.
They’re also a great way to monitor the tweets of your competitors. You can view their updates, check out their offers and see what works for them and adapt it to your business.
I have to be honest, I haven’t used Twitter chats yet but have read that they’re a secret weapon for businesses. You’ve probably seen a Twitter chat or two in your newsfeed.
A Twitter chat is a moderated conversation between a group of people on Twitter. A hashtag is used to organize the conversation. #SmallBizChat and #bufferchat are popular Twitter chats for businesses. If I were to particpate in one of these chats, I would use the appropriate hashtag in my tweets so everyone could follow.
Twitter chats seem like they would be a great way to interact with like-minded people and share my content. If you wrote a blog post about a specific topic and there just so happens to be a Twitter chat on that topic, then it would be a good idea to mention your post (so long as it provides value to the conversation).