17 Mar The Secret of Growing Twitter Followers: How to build quality audience without spending a dime
If you are still debating the value of Twitter in helping you create a strong brand presence, then this post is not for you.
The intent of this post is to help those already sold on Twitter grow their followers.
I see a lot of Twitter accounts with very lower following. These accounts share a lot of helpful information and work hard to curate interesting content, but their tweets fall on deaf ears. They do not have a lot of followers.
When I first joined Twitter, I was incredibly skeptical about the power of Twitter. As I spent more time on Twitter, I became fully aware of it’s potential to create lasting connections and to build credibility for the emerging brands.
I was not surprised that Justin Bieber had a lot of following, but I was intrigued by those accounts that were not from Hollywood and still had a strong following.
Build your Twitter Audience – Once step at a time
Building Twitter following is not a rocket science. It takes time, patience and focus.
We are big advocates of gradually building Twitter audience by monitoring interesting people on Twitter and connecting with them online.
Step 1 – Identify Top Industry Influencers
If you need to find your ideal followers, first find those your followers would listen to.
The top thought leaders in your field have likely already established large following. You need to find them and learn from them.
If you do not already know the names of top influencers, run a simple Google search. For example, my search for top social media influencers returned a number of results. Including a Forbes article that outlined top 50 social media power influencers with their Twitter handles.
Furthermore, you can search for “Social Media Influencer Twitter list” on Google. In most cases you will be able to find a Twitter list of social media influencers already compiled for you. For example, here is the existing Twitter list with the top social media influencers mentioned in the Forbes article. All you need to do is subscribe to it.
Step 2 – Start a conversation
Find a recent tweet sent by your influencer and start a conversation. The options are endless: you can retweet, you can reply with comment, you can ask a question or seek clarification.
Even if you do not get a response, you will likely get noticed by their followers. Better yet, you may get a response and your message will get in front of their army of followers.
Note: to increase your chances of being retweeted, in addition to favoriting and retweeting, you can also add a short comment on the article their shared. Most people on Twitter would retweet without bothering to even click on the article. Adding a quick comment shows that you took time to read and think about content.
Example below was an article on the topic that I am passionate about. I favorited and retweeted the article to my follows. I also saw that the recommendation was to use retargeting. I actually find retargeting to be a very effective “drip” marketing method, so I added a quick comment about it.
Step 3 – Follow Followers
It is fairly safe to make an assumption that if you share content similar to the influencers in your industry, then people who follow them would be interested in what you have to say as well.
For example, Neal already built an audience of 106K+ followers. All of them are potential audience for you. I would recommend quickly reading through their profiles and following those who fit the description of your ideal Twitter follower.
If you would like to build a deeper relationship with the new followers, you can repeat Step 2 – start a conversation. You can see if any of the new people you followed have an interesting tweet. If they do, you can engage with them by retweeting, favoriting or responding to their tweets.
How to stay out of trouble when growing your audience
You can repeat these steps as many time as you have time for. However, you must be aware of Twitter guidelines.
Beware of Twitter Following to Followers ratio
As you actively build your audience you should try to keep the following to followers ratio about even. Ideally, you will have slightly fewer number of following (people that you follow) than followers (those who follow you)
Do not be aggressive in adding new followers
Technically, you can follow as many as 2000 new followers a day. However, I highly recommend to note the size of your account and decide on the number of people that can safely follow. If you are just starting, following 50-70 people a day can be plenty; if your account existed for a while and you have a fairly large following you can increase this number 200-500. I would never recommend exceeding 1000.
Pay attention to fake followers
Unfortunately, a number of accounts on Twitter are fakes. They are bots and/or accounts that are trying to sell fake followers.
Do not ever buy followers. Your numbers may look impressive, but it does not do you any good. Furthermore, there are tools that will show that you have fake followers.
I would recommend carefully reading through description of the followers and if anything feels off, do not follow that account. Examples of “warning flags”: accounts in foreign language that you do not understand, accounts with no profile pic, and accounts with descriptions not matching (e.g. description says “grandma of 2” and profile pic shows a young male).
To build large Twitter following, you have to take action. It is not hard, but it is time-consuming. I recommend blocking time on your calendar regularly to go through the exercise of building your audience and creating connections on Twitter.