This is a guest article written by Thomas O’Rourke.
Gaining followers on Twitter can be a long and laborious process, so here are some tips and tricks I’ve found that can help you make friends quickly:
1. List yourself in Twitter directories.
Directories are an easy source of followers and many offer the capability to list yourself based on your interests. It’s also a good way to find users with the similar interests as you. I’ve found that the best ones out there are Just Tweet It and Tweet Find.
2. Use Follower Wonk.
This is a hidden gem amongst the abundance of Twitter tools out there.
Follower Wonk allows you to search for users with the same interests as yourself and orders them by number of followers. Not only can you find the influencers in your given industry but by looking for those accounts with a similar follower to following ratio, you can identify which are likely to follow you back. By logging into the site you’re also able to see which users follow you in return.
I find this the most useful Twitter tool out there.
3. Provide interesting content!
This is both the most difficult and most important rule. By far the greatest way to gain new followers is naturally; if you provide content that people want to read and share, people will inevitably follow you.
Pay attention to the top Twitter users. How can you emulate what they do?
Tweet well and tweet often but not too often. Over-zealously can seem spammy; and users don’t take kindly to their feed being clogged up with un-relenting gibberish. I’m still getting to grips with this concept and I find that I’m perhaps a little too wary of bugging people with nonsensical chatter and the monotonous events of my day. I guess it isn’t the event itself but the way in which you describe it which can make it interesting and reader-friendly.
4. Follow everyone who follows you.
This is aimed more towards retaining the followers you already have. You’d be surprised just how many users ruthlessly cull people from their feed simply for not following back. Likewise, if a user refuses to return follow you, remove them.
Making friends on Twitter can be a barbarous affair! Such happenings are the reason that my follower count is forever bouncing up and down.
5. Encourage your followers to retweet you.
Asking to be re-tweeted can be very successful. After all, if you don’t ask you don’t get. This helps to push your name into other social spectrums. People automatically assume that re-tweeted users are users who provide quality content and are more likely to follow you as a result.
However, there is a definite danger of overkill here! We all know how much of an annoyance RT ‘enthusiasts’ can be and this could harm your follower numbers if over-used. I’m certainly not one to push ‘RT pls’ very often!
6. Link to your Twitter feed on your other social profiles.
Think of all the places online where you’re allowed a link or two as part of your profile. Include a link to your Twitter so that all your connections in life can find your feed. Facebook, LinkedIn, Youtube, and many other social sites offer this feature. Blog comments and forum signatures are also an ideal place for linking to your Twitter feed.
I find that if you provide interesting content on blog and forum comments, people are equally as likely to want to engage with you via your Twitter account too.
7. Include hash tags in your posts.
This is especially important when Tweeting about something you’re particularly passionate about. Ask a question or start a debate in your given industry. People are always on the lookout for Tweets they might be able to respond to; it’s part of human nature to want to help each other out. If you happen to be in the hunt for some information, then now is the perfect opportunity to harness the true power of Twitter!
If you tweet the question, “Anybody know of any #usability tips to help make my website more functional?” your profile will be seen by any number of users searching for usability, while simultaneously encouraging them to interact with you as they try answer your question.
8. Track your followers.
Twitter Counter will show you how many new users you’re adding and Qwitter will tell you when someone unfollows you after a tweet. These are both great ways to understand what you’re doing right and wrong on Twitter –- and learning from your mistakes can mean the difference between losing and gaining followers.
For example, I’ve found that after spontaneously posting a number of Tweets one after the other, my follower count has generally decreased. I now know I should avoid this!
9. Write an interesting Twitter biography.
If you really want users to follow you then you need to give them a reason to. An interesting bio can provide that reason. Declare your interests so you have something in common with potential followers. Comical and unique bios can also be a winner.
I chose to reference my degree and my employer to try and add a little gravity to my account, as affiliations with respected organizations are an easy way to enhance your online persona.
10. Choose a good avatar.
In a similar vein to your bio, you also need to make sure that your avatar provokes interest. People are fascinated by people so the ideal image is almost always a picture of yourself. As well as helping to encourage trust, the right image can also help to develop your reputation as a trusted industry professional.
As you can see from my photo next to the bio above, I’m still searching for the right image!
But these are my tips. What are yours?
Leave me a note below. Thanks!