Twitter is one of those social media platforms that primarily benefits those who are already extremely popular in real life, ie. celebrities. But the rest of us can use Twitter effectively as well provided we take the time to build a following, optimize profiles and participate in the platform as if it were a running chat room. Here are a few tips to grow your following with real followers that can engage in your posts.
Many people insist on purchasing large numbers of followers for fairly low prices online. In fact, this business of selling followers has taken off quite a bit in the last few years. Unfortunately for those who buy followers, this practice is against Twitter's terms of service and can result in a suspended account. In addition, the followers purchased are fake accounts for the most part that will never be able to interact with your message. If you want exposure for your website, brand, product or just yourself in general, I recommend gaining real followers in the following legitimate ways:
Resources for Twitter Analytics
First, you can use several different websites to analyze your Twitter activity and gain a following by following those who might be interested in following you. Sites like Twiends.com reward the user for following or discovering other Twitter accounts by payment of "seeds." You then reward those who follow your account with the seeds you just made. If you don't want to follow others (especially if they do not tweet relevant content to you), I recommend using the "discover" function, as it rewards you for simply looking at Twitter profiles. Other sites, like Justunfollow.com, allow you to track who follows or unfollows you and recommends good accounts for you to follow based on your interests.
- Wefollow.com – directory of interests, find people with similar
- Twiends.com – gain seeds by discovering or following others and then give those seeds to people as incentive to follow you
- Justunfollow.com – unfollow people who do not follow back, follow others by keyword that program believes will be more likely to follow back
Best Following Practices
Remember, it will take a fair amount of dedication and many months to build a relevant following. Building a relevant Twitter following comes down to four core concepts:
1.) Find and follow relevant people (I recommend searching for what interests you, such as #RTPodcast, "Achievement Hunter" or "Rooster Teeth" for community members, "Xbox," "PlayStation," "Gaming" etc. for other gamers – you get the idea.)
- Follow users with a currently low following and favorite / retweet at least one of their tweets. These are the people more likely to follow you back. Justunfollow.com does a targeted search and suggests people who fit into the search terms that are more likely to follow you back
- Once per month, unfollow a few accounts that are not following you back if you do not like their content. I recommend never unfollowing people who follow you.
- Follow back anyone who follows you whose bio indicates that they have similar interests to your own
- Find people in your area with similar interests to follow.
2.) Tweet content that will be interesting to your target audience.
3.) Engage with your audience by retweeting / favorite good content
4.) Promote your Twitter account through other channels – I highly recommend Google+.
- Do a search in Google+ for communities that match your interests and post primarily there (within the rules of that community, of course)
- Posts placed within a community will also show up on your profile's posts.
- With any other channel you create, be sure to optimize your profile with good photos, a strong key-worded bio and links to your social media sites, websites, storefronts, etc.
Because most people will check out your profile before following you, it's important to put your house in order and present yourself in the most engaging way possible.
- Profile photo: Make sure you're using a photo of your face for your personal account or a logo for your business account. Research has shown that people trust faces more that they've seen multiple times, which is why a photo of your smiling face works best.
- Detailed bio: You've got 160 characters, so get creative! Let people know why they should be following you.
- Location: Because so much of business is local these days, make sure you include your location as appropriate. It can be the make or break for follows.
Creating a strong social media presence takes time and effort. Unfortunately, it's not something that you can neglect for long periods and return to easily. You can invest in Twitter advertising (expensive) or in third-party advertisements (cheaper, but less reliable), but if you are not engaged on the platform, it will not matter. Good luck!
For more tips, follow @beeewest on Twitter.