When it comes to increasing followers on Twitter, there is a big debate in the social media space about quality versus quantity. But it is a near universal goal for businesses to increase their fan and follower count on social media. So, how can you balance the need to increase followers while making sure you’re connecting with real, authentic, and targeted consumers? Try these 15 tips for increasing your number of quality followers.
Be Worth Following
On Twitter, in addition to people who share interesting, insightful information, there are many spammers and aggressive marketers that the typical consumer avoids following. To be a figure worth following, you don’t want get labeled as a spammer. So the first step in increasing your followers on the site is to make sure your account is worth following! Here’s how to do it:
1. Make sure your Twitter profile is optimized with an original picture, bio, and links. Don’t make these newbie mistakes that keep people from following you.
2. Post interesting content often. Balance unique content (authored by you) and shared content (authored by others). Many experts say for each self-promotional tweet, you should share 5-10 tweets about something else.
4. When someone follows you, follow them back. You can do this manually or use a service like Social Oomph to automate it. Since Twitter won’t let you follow an unlimited number of users, keep your following/follower ratio in check by using a tool like ManageFlitter.com to unfollow users who don’t follow you back.
5. Be social. Use the site as a way to connect with others, not just to promote yourself. Unmarketing author Scott Stratten, who has built a successful blog and business from growing a large, dedicated Twitter following, says that over 75% of his tweets are @replies to other users.
Find and Follow Interesting Users
The next step to increasing followers is to find and follow people yourself. How will people know if you’re out there to follow unless you tell them?
6. Connect with connections first. Put your Twitter URL on business cards and in-store signage to encourage consumers to follow you online. See if people you’re already connected to are on by looking up contacts from Gmail, Yahoo, and AOL email accounts and linking your account to your LinkedIn profile under the “Find Friends” section of the “Find People” function on your account. Connect with those you’re already connected to first, because those are the people most likely to follow you online.
7. Connect with local consumers. You can find local tweeps to follow on Localtweeps.com and Trendsmap.com, or use Twitaholic.com or TwitterGrader.com to grade your Twitter profile and find local users with top scores in your market.
8. Follow people in your industry, niche, and topic area. Who you follow may influence the content you will retweet and @reply to. Find topical users to follow on Wefollow.com, listorious.com, and twellow.com.
9. Follow From Users’ Twitter Lists and “Following” Links. Find people or organizations on Twitter with similar interests, and click the link labeled “following” from their profile page to see who they find worth following. Better yet, look at Twitter lists they may have created on certain topics to find hand-cultivated lists of people worth following. Just make sure to follow the individual users on a list and not just the list itself!
10. Tap into influential local circles. Who is influential in your market? Aside from grades on Twitter tools, which may or may not reflect true influence, it may be difficult to determine this at first. One tip is to find and follow local media outlets, businesses, and organizations. Then, look at lists they have created to find more important local figures to follow.
Invest in the Twitter Community
Twitter is more than a marketing tool. It’s a community you cultivate for yourself. So, give back and invest in the community to build follow karma and increase not only the number of followers you have, but the number of lists you are mentioned in as well.
11. Participate in #FollowFriday. Promote other people worth following by recommending followers on the popular #FollowFriday hashtag meme. Every Friday, just select someone you follow, write a short explanation of why, and tag it with #FollowFriday or the succinct #FF.
12. Create Twitter lists of interesting users, such as local and topical users and those you’ve met in different social circles. Adding users to lists not only allows you to watch a cultivated, topical stream of their tweets, it’s also a form of virtual endorsement, which may encourage the users on your lists to follow you back.
13. Participate in Twitter chats. There are numerous special interest chats that anyone can chime in to to network, learn, and share. This is one of the best places to find like-minded Twitter users. So, find a chat for your industry, niche, or market, and join in! Use a tool like TweetGrid or TweetChat to help you keep up with the conversation on the chat’s hashtag, and follow users you meet there.
14. Answer questions and offer advice. In addition to sharing links to interesting content, you can use Twitter as a place to answer questions or offer advice in 140 characters, building your industry expertise and cultivating trust with consumers. You can find hashtags on topics of interesting using wthashtag.com and use that as a way to find questions and tag answers you provide to extend your expertise outside your existing Twitter social circle.
15. Take time to respond an engage with fans and followers through @replies and retweets. Make sure that you’re using Twitter as the powerful, two-way communication tool it is, and engage to increase your fan and follower base.
Do you have favorite tips, tools, or ideas for increasing your fanbase on Twitter? Share them in the comments!