I know as well as anyone how frustrating it is to use Twitter with a very small following. Is anybody seeing this? Is anyone listening? While I’ve been heavily involved in building a following of over 3,000 through our StorageCraft Twitter account (@storagecraft). I’ve only recently gotten serious about using my personal Twitter account.
Using some tricks I learned with our StorageCraft account (and through heavy research), I’ve been steadily increasing my following. I’m also keeping track of what works best. I certainly still have a long way to go, but in any case, I’m becoming a bit of a Twitter nerd. Here’s some tips for finding new followers for your business or personal account based on my experiences.
Engage. The best way to get more followers is to be active. This means starting conversations, joining conversations, and generally having fun in the Twitter community. Post fun pictures, crack some jokes, and share a few links to things you like—it couldn’t be easier.
Be consistent. Being engaged can be tough, there are only so many hours in the day. We’ve all got things to do that are probably more important than tweeting. But one thing that’s important when it comes to gaining Twitter followers is consistency. If you don’t tweet regularly—at least a few times a day—you won’t likely get many new followers. Yes, it’s tough to find time, but you can also schedule tweets when you do have time using services like Hootsuite and Buffer. That way you can prepare tweets ahead of time and know that you’re at least sending a few each day.
Follow others. If you’re interested in something, follow it! Many of the people you follow will follow you back, so following plenty of new people will result in new followers for you, especially if you retweet the things they share that you find interesting.
Modify tweets. Retweeting is great, but you can also modify a tweet to add a little bit of your own information. For example, let’s say you like this tweet from my Twitter account and want to share it:
Are you sharing too much? This guide helps you keep your #socialmedia accounts as secure or as open as you’d like: http://bit.ly/QLusxi
If you were to modify this tweet, it might read:
MT Great article @cjwritesbest Are you sharing too much? This guide helps you keep your #socialmedia accounts secure http://bit.ly/QLusxi
You’ll notice the use of “MT” at the beginning, denoting that it’s a modified tweet. Also, some of the original tweet was removed to add the additional info at the beginning. Some tweets are shorter and you can modify them easily, while others will require some rewriting. Often a modified tweet will include the handle of someone with whom you’d like to share the tweet, as well as the person who originally sent it. Modifying tweets is a great way to share a tweet with someone directly.
Explore your interests. Usually if it’s interesting to you, it’s interesting to somebody else (Usually. Your belly button lint isn’t interesting to others—unless it’s shaped like a pony or something). The more you can explore your interests and share them with others, the more followers you’ll get that share your interests.
Use hashtags. Hashtags can be annoying if overused, but hashtags are a useful way to put your message in front of a specific group, which means new followers can find you. Twitter suggests not using more than one or two hashtags per tweet. Here’s an example of a good tweet StorageCraft sent not long ago:
Where did #EHR get started? Contributor @robynweisman explores the origins of electronic health records http://bit.ly/1jLMVRD #healthcare
If you notice, it’s got a few non-intrusive hashtags, it tells you what you need to know, it has a link to the article we’re talking about, and it includes the handle of the writer. It’s straightforward and informative and it’s not #confusing.
Use Handles. If there’s somebody you’d like to mention, use their handle like we did with our writer in the tweet above. Talking to people with larger followings can be another useful way to get your name in front of a large group. Understand, though, that if you use somebody’s handle to open your tweet, you’ll need a period or other symbol before the “@” or the tweet will go directly to the person you’re mentioning instead of being tweeted to all of your followers. Here’s an example of a tweet I want to send to our channel marketing manager Aaron Lee and all of my followers:
.@yeequon: You’re a massive goof!
The period at the beginning of the tweet prevents it from being sent only to Aaron so all of my followers will know that Aaron is a goof.
Use short links. You’ve got a short 140 characters to say what you want. If you’re adding a hyperlink, you’re chewing up most of your space right away. Use a tool like Bitly to create short links and save some space so you’ve got more room for your message. An added benefit is that short link creators also let you track how many people click your link, which is a good way to measure engagement other than retweets and comments.
Add value. If you’re not saying anything interesting or useful, what’s the point? Be sure to tweet things that have some type of value, whether it’s informational, comedic, or otherwise. Bland tweeters don’t get tons of follows.
Take your time. Yes, Twitter is designed with brevity and speed in mind. But if you don’t take your time crafting your message, you’ll end up with gobbledygook that people will skip right over. Think of Twitter’s 140 character limit as a word puzzle. Take your time to say all of the things you want to with clarity and precision.
Don’t ask for follows. Unless you’re speaking to a friend or someone you know, it’s best not to ask people for follows. If you’re engaging in conversations, you’ll come by new followers naturally.
Don’t get discouraged. As sad as it sounds I’m pretty pleased to be floating around the 40 follower mark on my personal Twitter. Every time I jump up to 45 or so, I go right back down in a few days. People will follow and unfollow, just stay positive and engaged and you’ll maintain an upward trajectory.
Don’t be rude. If you’re tweeting for business, this goes without saying. But if you’re doing it on a personal account, it can be easy to get caught up in emotion over somebody else’s opinions. You can certainly express your thoughts, but do so respectfully. If you’re rude, followers will drop you.