How To Increase Your Twitter Following

Twitter Statistics

I’m going to contradict the title. The number displayed immediately after “followers” no your Twitter profile isn’t really that important.

Wait. What?

Yes, you read that right. Let me explain. A number? Irrelevant. A community? Invaluable. The community emphasis that social media is fostering makes the typical “Increase your Twitter Followers by 500% in 3 days!” type of article ineffective. Rather than talking numbers, let’s talk impact. With all of this in mind, let me re-title the article.

20 Tips and Tools to Increase Your IMPACT on Twitter

To increase impact you must cultivate community. Consumers want a conversation, for a brand to talk with them; not a brand to talk at them (remember Twitter is like a cocktail party?). Making an impact isn’t about a step-by-step process where you have “arrived” when you reach step 10. Take time to analyze the following tips and how they can best be implemented into your current Twitter efforts.

Twitter Tips

1. Audience

There are several critical factors that you must know about your audience.

  • Who: Do you know who you are trying to connect with? Are they you’re current customers? Is your Twitter account a means to provide customer support? Are you facilitating a competition via Twitter?
  • Voice: Do they want witty banter? Informative? Jokes? Intellectual? How do people in your industry communicate?
  • What: What do they want to know? Do they want political updates? Business tips? Are they following you to learn about the latest in photography lenses? If you aren’t providing the information they want, they’ll unfollow.
  • When: Is your audience night owls or early birds? Is there a time difference? Do they tend to tweet during the day or only before and after work? If you can plan your schedule around your audience’s you’ll be much more likely to have an real-time conversation.

2. Interact

If you only take heed to my advice on one tip, make it this one. Let me reiterate: your followers don’t want to be advertised to, they want to be interacted with. Engage in conversation, retweet, thank followers for mentions, respond to direct messages; anything you can do to show you’re listening will help cultivate community. A big part of community building is gaining trust. A trusting relationship is an influential relationship.

3. Connect with industry influencers

One common technique individuals use when building a twitter list is to follow those that follow industry leaders. By associating yourself with the top names in your industry, their fans will likely become your fans.

4. Learn from industry influencers

Once you’ve connected with industry influencers, learn why they are influential in your industry. Study their technique. When do they post? Who do they @mention? What types of information do they share in their tweets? How often do they tweet? You need to bring individuality to your Twitter account, but you’ll find valuable information in learning from someone who is already in a place you want to be in.

5. Participate in Twitter events

Some of the easiest ways to connect with others with similar interests are through event hashtags and Twitter chats.

  • Events: Next time you go to a conference, seminar, or luncheon, take note of the hash tag they are using to promote the event and use it! Retweet other event goers, converse with them about your favorite parts of the conference, and don’t forget to @mention the speakers.
  • Twitter Chats: Savvy Twitter users have come up with the concept of a Twitter chat. They publicize a topic and time (most of them are recurring events) and Twitter users will congregate at the specified time to discuss the topic. It is a great time to connect with other serious Twitter users. Here are some great lists to find which chat works best for you: 1) Chats for Small Businesses 2) Twitter for Social Media Marketers 3) Twitter Chat Schedule.

6. Keep auto-tweeting to a minimum

By this I simply mean that you should limit your scheduled or automated tweets. It isn’t going to sabotage your impact by using Hootsuite or RSS feeds occasionally, but it should be used, at most, as a supplement to your personal tweets.

7. Good Composition

Millions upon millions of tweets are published every single day – if you want to stand out amongst the masses you have to carefully compose your tweet, not just write 140 characters on a whim.

8. Use hashtags

Hashtags can help you in two major ways 1) you can search to find others tweeting about your industry 2) others can find you based on the hashtags you use in your Tweets.

You have to be conscious of the tags you use; there is a unique craft in composing hashtags. You’ll want to use tags that are common, and trending if possible. For example, people will be more likely to find your tweet for #CEO than #BusinessTipsforCEOs.

Remember, you only have 140 characters, so composition is crucial in both the message and the hashtag. If you aren’t sure whether or not others are using the hashtag you want to use, visit HashTags.org, use a search query with your hash tag of choice, and review the running ticker of uses.

9. Be positive

Nobody wants to read negative tweets day after day. Be positive, encouraging, uplifting, witty – anything really besides negative. If you make your followers feel good about your online relationship they will likely pay more attention your tweets.

10. Add badges everywhere

Help people make it easy to follow you. Anywhere your name is on the Internet, make sure it is followed by your Twitter handle: on your website, your blog, guest posts, your friends/colleagues blog, your other social media profiles, etc.

11. Synchronize

One of the best things about social media and the online world today is that it is so intertwined. Sync your networks together (one easy way to do so is to make use of IFTTT) so when you post on one it is carried through all of your profiles to every person in your network.

12. Be authentic

If you’re fake, people will be able to tell. You can keep your personal life private, but let your personality shine through. Interact with people on Twitter as if you were interacting with them at the water cooler or a cocktail party.

Helpful Twitter Tools

These tools will make your life easier as you increase your Twitter impact – and the best part is they are free!

13. Tweet Deck

This app allows you to track all that’s happening on Twitter with a customizable layout. You can also schedule tweets and set up notifications to be able to effectively monitor your following.

14. TwileShare

Some users want tangible resources from those they follow on Twitter. This tool will allow you to directly share files on Twitter.

15. dlvr.it

This tool will aid in the synchronization of your online efforts.

16. Buffer

I often find myself reviewing articles all at one time during the day but don’t want to overload my Twitter feed with all of the tweets all at once. This site is the perfect solution – and the icon is popping up on blogs across the blogosphere. Add it to your buffer and the retweets will be published throughout the day.

17. Klout

Klout measures your online impact – we just did an entire article on how to use it, read: Getting Started With Klout.

18. PeerIndex

This nearly the same as Klout, it really comes down to your personal preference as neither tool stands out above the other.

19. Just Tweet It

This is a directory that will allow you to search based on interests – a great way to find influencers in your industry.

20. Followerwonk

Similar to Just Tweet It but also allows you search Twitter users’ bio, location, name, and URL.

Happy Twittering!

Additional: If you want more retweets, also read Jerry’s 49 data-proven ways to win more retweets.