Article by Jason Chow
Jason is a social media manager for hire who offers SMM services to tech startups, solopreneurs and small businesses. He aims to deliver the best results for his clients. You can find him at Next Social Startup.
Twitter can be a great way to distribute content to engaged followers. We can keep in touch with readers, potential customers and drive traffic to our websites.
The challenge here is how to get more followers?
As of Q1 2017, Twitter had about 330 million active users, up about 10 million from Q4 2016 (source). Although the grow is slow, the pool of potential users is there. To tap into the large potential audience, we need to build a constant stream of engaged followers.
Like other social networks, it requires a commitment of time and energy in order to succeed on Twitter.
Gaining thousands of followers does not happen overnight. If you are wondering how to get started on Twitter, I have put together tips from experts on our topic:
Here’s the list of our friends in no specific order –
Gary Loper / Nicholas Scalice / Janice Wald / Aaron Lee / Adam Connell / John Paul Aguiar /
Tomas Laurinavicius / Alex Morrison / Patrick Coombe / Ivana Taylor / Allan Pollett / Bill Gassett /
Barry Sproston / Arman Assadi / Meghan Monaghan / Madeline Osman / Lilach Bullock / Jacob Cass /
Chris Carroll / Raul Tiru / Gail Gardner / Evan Carmichael / Susan Dolan / Daniel Scocco / Mitt Ray /
Ben Brausen / Harris Schachter / Ruben Gamez / Ann Tran
Let’s get things started!
The topic of growing Twitter followers is certainly not new. I have reached out to experts from a various background such as blogger, marketer, real estate agent, author, speaker, entrepreneur, etc. for advice.
Here are the things seemed to come from most of them.
Appreciation to all our friends for taking the time to respond to our topic on how to get more Twitter followers in 2017. I’m sure these tips offer some ideas to re-align our Twitter and social media marketing strategies.
If I would offer you tip #30 to start growing your Twitter followers – Say “Hi” to the people above. Enjoy!
Gary Loper kicked off this topic by sharing how he attracts targeted and quality Twitter followers. “That is vital to our online business success,” he mentions, “but like developing a romantic relationship that has a great chance of long-term success, it’s going to take the commitment of time and energy, and attending to the needs of others before your own. ”
Loper, a Twitter expert and trainer shares some of the primary keys he believes will attract new followers,
- Concise Profile Description – Think about how you want to be found in online searches.
- Photo – Current head and shoulder shot with a great smile. People want to connect with people.
- Background Banner, the most underused tool – A billboard to let the Twitterverse know who you are, what you do and how you can help them.
- Logos and eBook thumbnails can be posted here.
- Quality Tweets – Your Tweets should educate, entertain, enhance the lives of your audience, and create engagement. This is an opportunity to create trust and rapport that will differentiate you from everyone else who provides a similar product/service.
- Engagement Is Essential – People are watching to see how you will interact with others, so they can have an expectation of what to anticipate when they reach out to you.
Loper emphasizes, “Twitizens, as well as everyone on all other platforms, are looking to connect with someone they can trust, someone they want to take a closer look at their material and become a referring ambassador for you.
“Responding to RTs, mentions, new followers, commenting on the tweets of others, attending Twitter parties/chats are basic ways to start engaging and turning on the followers’ magnet,” he added.
Scalice points out that the best way for us to get more Twitter followers in 2017 is to create a high volume of quality content and share it frequently.
Twitter has become a noisy place. So in order to stand out, you need to provide more value than ever before.
Scalice, growth marketing consultant at Earnworthy, does not encourage a user simply share low-quality content.
“Rather than rehashing the same content over and over, or simply sharing content from third party sources, it’s best to position yourself as an authority in your niche and share your expertise frequently. But, be careful not to sound repetitive!”
If you want to get more Twitter follower in 2017, Janice Wald suggests following like-minded people on Twitter.
Wald has blogged about some Twitter tools and methods that are often used. Here, she suggests 3 tools to help increase Twitter followers,
- Commun.It – Tool like this help you find like-minded Twitter users (Tweeps). It is the culture of Twitter to follow back, especially if you are like-minded. Therefore, if you follow them, and they blog about similar content, they will follow you back.
- Crowdfire – It’s a great tool that lets you know who isn’t following you so you can unfollow them. I advise keeping the number you follow under the number that follow you.
- Tweepi – Another great tool I use. I make sure I follow like-minded active Tweeps. Tweepi lets me know if I missed any. If I do, they will unfollow me out of concern for their ratio I just described. Tweepi helps me make sure I haven’t missed anyone.
Wald, a blogging and social media coach, also mentioned some additional methods. “When people retweet my article to their followers, I follow them. Clearly, they are like-minded or they wouldn’t want their follower to read my article. When they retweet my post, I follow them. Since they are like-minded, the odds are good they will follow back.”
According to Aaron Lee, getting followers in 2017 is harder compared to several years ago. “Back then, Twitter had less noise, better interaction and less spam. So, it was easier if you were to randomly follow anyone. People could easily find you, too.”
Today, to get more Twitter followers quickly, Lee recommends using tools like Social Quant to automate the process of finding and following people on Twitter.
Social Quant [has] an algorithm that can find relevant and engaging people that are more likely to follow you back. This method is better compared to just blindly following people manually which is time-consuming and not efficient, and you’ll be following spam bots and individuals who aren’t targeted in your industry.
Lee, the country manager at Agorapulse, adds “Of course, be sure to keep your account active by sharing content that adds value as well as personal posts. Doing that will help keep your account personal and separate you from looking like a bot.”
“There’s a trap that a lot of marketers and business owners fall into… worrying about vanity metrics.” Adam Connell mentions that Twitter followers are another of those vanity metrics that can distract us from what matters.
“It boils down to getting more of the right followers, rather than any old followers.”
Connell has mentioned in his post over at Blogging Wizard,
Your goal should be to grow a targeted and engaged following of people that genuinely want to hear what you have to say.
He further breaks down into 2 ways in detail:
1. The after email-sign up CTA
This is a quick and easy win if you run a blog, and you’re actively trying to grow your email list.
At certain steps within my auto-responder sequence, I add calls-to-action that encourage my subscribers to follow me on Twitter (and like my Facebook page).
My CTA’s tend to be gentle nudges when in my email signature – you could do something more direct if you prefer.
Sure, an easier way would be to add a prominent Twitter widget to my blog – maybe the sidebar.
But the reality is that I get far better results from email marketing than I do from social media. So I prioritize accordingly.
And while my Twitter follower growth is slower this way, the followers I do gain will be much more engaged. And if Twitter dies, I’ve still got my email list..
2. Strategic following & engagement
Earlier I mentioned the importance of having a following that wants to hear what you have to say.
A great way to validate Twitter users that would be likely to follow you is to follow, connect and engage with those that share your blog posts on Twitter.
To find who shares your blog posts, you could type your blog post URLs into Twitter’s search box. But, it only works with recent blog posts.
I like to use Buzzsumo for this because they have a great data set.
When I type my post URL, I get a sortable list of those who shared my post. I can then follow them directly from the app. And I can add them to an ‘influencer list’.
But, this is only the beginning of this technique.
Once you’ve followed people, you need to actually engage with them.
That means doing more than liking/retweeting their posts – you need to converse with them. And better yet, help them out with something (that’s a quick way to become memorable).
By doing this you’re creating a meaningful connection – one person at a time.
Connell added that you could also cross-promote your other social accounts, encourage followers to join your email list and create a Twitter list of your most engaged followers. “Yes, it’s slow and doesn’t scale easily but it really pays off.”
The main way John Paul Aguiar grows his Twitter followers comes down to a few steps. These steps need to be done together and done each day.
- Share quality, targeted content from you or others, and that your followers will find helpful.
- Share that content consistently, be active DAILY.
- Be available as your tweets go out, reply to comments, answer questions, etc…
- Be active about your following, learn to follow people and gain targeted new followers each day, week and month.
“You do all this so you become a resource people visit each day because they know you share helpful content that they can learn from and also retweet to their audience,” he shares. “The more people you have seeing you as a resource, the more people will follow you.”
Tomas Laurinavicius, a lifestyle entrepreneur and blogger from Lithuania shares the 3 important ways he used to grow his Twitter followers.
- Customize your profile
- Be consistent with posting schedule
- Interact with people
Laurinavicius further elaborates on each method:
“First of all, you need to customize your profile. Use high-quality photos for your profile and cover. Write an informational and to the point bio. Provide any credibility you have.
“Second, you need to be consistent with your posting schedule. I like to use the 4-1-1 strategy where I share 4 pieces of curated valuable content, retweet someone’s tweet and finally share 1 piece with a CTA to read my blog, sign up to my newsletter or buy something. Buffer is my weapon of choice for automation.
“Third, interact with people. Engagement rates are very low on social media. If you take the time to read someone’s post, let them know on Twitter. If someone is asking a question, take that minute to respond and provide value. It may not be scalable but it helped me get more followers this way than mindlessly tweeting hashtag filled tweets with links that no one reads.”
One of the ways Alex Morrison uses to grow her Twitter followers is by creating and pumping out her own content. She thinks that Twitter can be a huge resource for bloggers to gain followers and also get new eyeballs on content.
Morrison, a content marketing specialist, shared with us the strategies that have worked for her:
- Create a schedule and stick to it. I put out a weekly blog post, so I have a steady stream of content to share. I use Social Jukebox to have a continuous loop of my best content.
- You need to use eye-catching images, and Tweet 10-15 times each day. Use 1 or 2 relevant hashtags with each post.
- When you can, include the hashtag #BloggersBlast. This account has over 30k followers and that hashtag will get them to retweet your post.
- Find relevant people, follow them, and see if they follow back. This is a huge time sucker and I started using Social Quant to do this for me.
- Use your other social profiles to cross-promote. Let your followers on Facebook and Instagram know how to connect with you on Twitter.
- Share other people’s content, thank people who share yours, and respond to any mentions publicly. People love this and it encourages them to share more of your stuff. You can automate a lot of things, but you can’t automate your engagement.
Patrick Commbe shares a unique way to grow twitter followers. “I’ll sum my answer up with a symbol: ^”
The “^” symbol is synonymous with the word “insert.” Insert yourself into a conversation. For example, I inserted myself into a conversation with several influencers, and received 5-10 followers within 2 hours, and 30 visits to my site within 1 hour.
A small example, I know, but that is the way it works. That is my tip, it is the whitest of white hat way to get more Twitter followers. I personally have almost 6000 Twitter followers, all of which I obtained organically. If you want to truly build your account on a mega-level, you need to put in the work. It is a full time job if you really want to do it right.
The alternative, Commbe, a SEO blogger and author, says there are companies who use a bot to gain followers. “Or you can go the blackhat route, and use a bot. I’m not going to lie, it works for gaining followers. Lots of companies do it.
“You can play the ‘follow and unfollow’ game or just automate things to the point where you get more exposure, and more opportunities to get more followers. Good luck!” he added.
Ivana Taylor thinks that having right conversations with right people is important on Twitter. “I’m not sure that there is a new and improved way to get more followers in 2017.” She suggests to us”
I would say that in 2017, it’s not as much about more followers, it’s about being included in the right conversations with the right people. The bigger Twitter gets, and the more people who pollute Twitter with spammy sales messages and links, the more energy you will have to put into creating a community inside your area of expertise.
Taylor, the host for #BizapaloozaChat on Twitter believes that the best way to grow Twitter followers is to find and participate in Twitter Chats.
She said,”I just discovered an awesome tool that is doing its best to document as many Tweet Chats as they can and share data about them — Iconhash.” Taylor, a small business influencer, adds that: “Right now, it’s free and you can easily see if it’s large or small and who the most influential participants are. As someone who hosts #BizapaloozaChat – believe me – they want you there.
“Use Twitter lists to group and manage these important relationships and believe me you won’t just grow followers, you’ll grow influential relationships.”
Related article: A Complete Guide to Twitter Chat For Small Business Owners.
To build a following on Twitter, Allan Pollett focuses on finding people who are interested in his niche and starts engaging with them. He shares with us:
The most effective way is to find your competitors on Twitter. Once you find your competitors, click to see who is following them. Those people will generally be interested in what your business has to offer too. If you follow these people, you’ll find a percentage will follow you back. The more you engage and provide good content in your Twitter feed the higher that percentage will be.
Allan Pollett, an SEO and web marketing specialist, points out that “So the goal becomes finding people who will be interested in what you are offering and then engaging them by following them. ”
According to Pollett, we have to find these people using keywords or hashtags that are common for our industry. He adds, “The search will result in a mix of competitors and those engaging with them. By focusing on finding the competitors you can find pre-made lists of the targeted followers you are seeking. Usually, you can find follower lists of several hundred to several thousand within a few minutes using this method.”
Pollett also reminds us to be cautious when finding followers, “Just remember don’t follow more than 200 people per day because following more than that can get you banned.”
Bill Gassett feels that the best ways to grow a following in any social media channel and especially Twitter is to reciprocate when someone shares your content.
RE-tweeting someone who has taken the time to share your content goes a long way. We all want to see our name in the spotlight. RE-tweeting content is a great way to say thank you. Look for that person’s best tweet and share it with your network. You will pick up more followers naturally this way than any other.
Gassett, an RE/Max agent, suggests a tool that works based on reciprocation and will help to increase followers.
He advises that there is a great way to rapidly increase followers by joining a service called Co-promote. “Co-promote works on the reciprocation principle. Each time you share someone’s content you earn points. Those points can then be cashed in to have your content shared. There are free and paid options. The free version is good, but the paid option will put your tweets on steroids!”
“This is how I have grown my following for the content I share from my real estate blog”
Barry Sproston, an English expat and traveler, recalled how he first started on Twitter. “Starting out on Twitter can be a daunting task. I still remember setting up my first brand account and watching it sit at five followers for what seemed like months on end.”
He added that if it’s only numbers you’re after and nothing else he believes the best way to gain more Twitter followers in 2017 is the same as last year – to follow others similar to you.
Following other Twitter users is free, simple to do and the easiest way to build up a following fast. For example, I run a long-term travel blog so I follow other travel bloggers. If I go and follow a bunch of travel bloggers on Twitter right now, then a significant number will follow me back within a few days.
Sproston mentions that not everyone will follow you back and it depends on the nature of your niche. “The actual number that will follow back will depend on the industry in question, but I’ve used this method to help companies I’ve worked within the outdoors, fitness and automotive sectors. To help keep track of who follows back and who doesn’t, you can use an app like Crowdfire.”
Assadi Assadi, co-founder and CEO of Superhuman Labs, advises that we have to engage and interact with the people within our niche. He suggests staying away from short-term tactics that do little for engagement.
“90+% of people ‘looking; to grow their Twitter followers use superficial, automated, short-term tactics. This results in a spike in the number of followers, but little engagement. What use is a superficial follower count without the engagement?”
Twitter requires deep, personalized reach outs and engagement.
Assadi further elaborates, “Tweet at people within your niche, follow them, direct message them, and offer to help. These are the people who will actually follow you, add you to a list, keep an eye on your Tweets, engage with you, and even click your links. The fakers will continue to be ignored and the committed ones will continue to thrive.”
“In 2017, it’s less about quantity and more about relevant, targeted followers who are active and interested in your niche, industry, and content.” If you want to grow your Twitter followers, Meghan Monaghan states that you should tweet informative, engaging, non-promotional content more frequently.
“Unlike other social media platforms, Twitter moves quickly. To get noticed in the crowded news feed, share content more than a couple times a day. Don’t be afraid to tweet 14 or more times throughout the day—as long as you’re sharing quality, non-spammy content! Include the appropriate keywords and hashtags in your tweets to attract new followers ”
She adds that to grow your Twitter followers, you need commitment. She also suggests 3 simple processes to follow,
- Routinely follow new people and unfollow those who don’t follow you back so that your follower/following ratio stays balanced.
- Tools such as Social Quant or ManageFlitter will help you continuously reach out to new followers and grow your community with less manual work.
- Finally, users expect engagement, so participate in Twitter chats regularly to meet new people. Respond to mentions and reach out to others frequently.
Monaghan stresses that social media is all about building relationships and forming connections. “Twitter is no exception!”
Madeline Osman actually has a few quick tips for us to grow our Twitter followers.
The easiest way to get more Twitter followers is to have an active presence on the platform. But you also have to use certain signals that show you’re a person worth following. A few quick tips:
- Optimize your bio, including a clickable link (Your LinkedIn profile works if you don’t have a website).
- [Add] content multiple times/day, including a mix of original tweets, and relevant news items. Buffer is a great tool to help plan content ahead of time.
- Join and actively participate in industry Twitter chats to organically grow your presence with relevant followers.
- Use social media automation on platforms like IFTTT or Archie to multiply your efforts, but NEVER auto reply or auto direct message other users – it’s easy to see through.
Osman, an SEO Copywriter and digital marketer, believes that “By creating a multi-pronged strategy such as this, it will be impossible to fail in your quest to gain more followers in 2017.”
Lilach Bullock, a professional speaker and a social media specialist, has a unique way to grow her large followers on Twitter.
“I’m not going to go into the usual, best known methods for getting more Twitter followers (i.e. following other, relevant users every day) or even stress the importance of posting valuable, shareable content… Rather, I want to focus on influencer marketing.”
Bullock further shared her thoughts on influencer marketing. “It’s becoming increasingly popular this year, and the reason is, it gets results. While it is definitely also becoming a saturated market, that doesn’t mean that you can’t still use it and get great results.”
And one of the best uses for influencers is for increased brand awareness, which leads to more followers. So this year, connect with as many influencers as you can so that they will share your content and help you gather more targeted followers.
What can you expect if you follow Bullock’s advice?
When it comes to gaining new Twitter followers, Jacob Cass thinks cross promotion is the key.
Cross promotion is the key for gaining new Twitter followers, or any platform for that matter.
Cass, a web designer and blogger, suggests, “Share and link your profiles on your about page, website, and other social profiles for maximum exposure!”
He offered an example, “As an example, on my contact page and all pages of my website I have links to my social media profiles. Within my Facebook’s about section, I link to my other social profiles. On Twitter, I can share my FB profile and vice versa!”
“It’s great for building up audiences on new platforms!”
Chris Carroll, a social media manager and a book lover, likes our topic. “Great topic and something I continue to research even as a non-newbie.”
She is using multiple methods to grow her twitter followers over time. Carroll offers a simple 3 step plan:
- Consistently offering valued tweets that speak to my followers.
- Following and interacting with those in my industry.
- Researching and using hashtags that find others who interact and engage.
Carroll emphasizes that method number 1 is the most important. “For someone just starting these methods are tried and true. In my opinion [method 1], since people want to follow others that offer something they want to learn and is of value.
“Value becomes trust and trust leads to clicks and ultimately, a conversion of some sort,” she added.
Raul Tiru has gathered lots of tips, online marketing tools and resources in helping to grow a startup
Tiru is hoping to grow his Twitter followers up to 50k in 2017. He will be trying out something new.
Obviously tweeting often, adding the right hashtags and images and tagging people will help a lot and I’ll continue doing that, but I’m also curious to see how many followers I can gain via my blog. In the coming months, I’ll be experimenting with growing my Twitter following with the help of SumoMe’s Smart Bar.
Maybe we can try to follow the method that Tiru is using.
Gail Gardener points out that “Growth on any social network comes from being active there and fast growth is derived by interacting with people who are most interested in what you do.”
People regularly ask me how I ended up with so many Twitter followers. The method we’ve always used still works in 2017
- Share great content and include your username in the tweet; we use Dlvr.it to automatically share the very best writers as soon as they hit publish.
- Follow people in your niche, share their content and interact with them.
- Use MavSocial to schedule media-rich tweets.
- Promote our best content using ViralContentBee.
- Get more shares using JustRetweet.
- Test new sharing solutions like CoPromote
Gardner, a small business marketing strategies specialist, also share the SlideShare Julie Weishaar created from all her posts on Twitter best practice.
Evan Carmichael, an author and entrepreneur, advises offering more value is the way to get more Twitter followers. He said, “Stop just posting promotional messages. Care more. Just like anything else, the more you put in, the more you’re going to get out.”
Carmichael adds to not expect amazing results if you’re not putting an amazing effort in.
Create tweets that you want to show your grand kids one day. Post only the content that you are really proud of. Are you creating at that level? That’s why you don’t have the Twitter followers you want. Your follower count is exactly what you deserve to have. Your actions have brought you to this point.
“If you want more, you need to adjust your actions to provide more value to your audience. Give them a real reason to care.”
Susan Dolan, a Google Expert from Manchester, learned to grow her Twitter followers by creating interesting content. She shares her thoughts with us:
“Create engaging, interesting content for your audience to share and talk about on the platform.”
On Twitter take a holistic approach by having all the information practically in one tweet. The message, the link, a photo with users tagged in and of course the relevant hashtags. Give as much power to the tweet as you can!
Daniel Scocco, the founder of the website, shares with us his 4 methods to grow his Twitter account:
- Promote your Twitter account on your website, including a “Follow Us” section of badge somewhere.
- Promote your Twitter account on your other social accounts (e.g., Facebook, Instagram).
- Publish great stuff so that you get many retweets and shares.
- Find people with Twitter accounts (search on Twitter for related hashtags) on the same niche and swap recommendations to follow each other.
The website has over 75k Twitter followers – I’m sure Scocco has put in a lot of hard work.
Mitt Ray does one thing before sharing any piece of content on Twitter, “You need to determine if your audience will find it interesting.
“Following this simple step will not only help you gain the right type of followers, but will also help you retain your current followers and mold a stronger relationship with them.”
Ray, the founder and CEO of Social Marketing Writing, feels that building up the wrong followers will hurt your engagement rate.
Sometimes people tweet irrelevant content in hopes of attracting all types of followers and quickly building up their following. The problem with this is that they end up alienating the followers they already have. They also attract the wrong followers. This not only leads to a loss in followers, but also a decrease in engagement rate.
Hence, he advises if we are very specific about the type of content we share, we will attract highly relevant followers and our Twitter engagement rate and traffic will be high.
“Getting started on Twitter can be a challenge.” Ben Brausen actually thinks that even with great content, it’s hard to grow a following on Twitter if no one knows we exist.
To overcome that challenge and grow your following, you’ve got to let them know you’re there.
Brausen, a journalist and educator, advises the process can be broken down into 3 phrases. The first phase is to get the basics done.
“Before you let others know about your awesome new account (and get them to follow), you need to make it worth following. Fully set up all aspects of your profile, such as profile picture, header image, bio, website, and all other fields. Then, you need to start sharing great content.”
The second phrase is to shout out your content to potential followers.
“While it may seem silly to share great stuff when no one is following, nobody wants to follow someone who isn’t sharing anything interested or useful. Filling your timeline with at least 20-50 quality tweets (be sure to include images and links but be sure not to start selling yet) means potential followers will have something to see just why they should follow.”
The third phrase is to be consistent.
“Now that you’ve got a great account, it’s time to let it be known. The best way to do this is to begin following those you’d want to follow you. Each day, follow 20-50 accounts you’d like to follow you in return. This will notify them of your existence, get them checking you out, and hopefully result in fast follower growth for your new account.”
Sharing things our audience is interested in to get more Twitter followers is easier said than done. According to Harris Scahcter, “First of all, you need to declare what it is you’re about any why someone should follow you.
“You do this in your bio- don’t waste it by being too generic or random. When it comes to your content, curate quality through your tweets to back up the promise you made in your bio. Don’t just share your own thoughts (unless you’re already famous) or your own content.”
“Focus on freshness and relevancy.” Schachter, the founder of Optimizepri.me, suggests a few platforms and services to find great content.
You can use services like Google Alerts, Talkwalker, relevant subreddits, and your own RSS reader to find new and interesting things to tweet. You’ll gain followers just by showing you’re active and providing value.
“Finally, be personable. Respond to tweets, talk to people, retweet, and share the love,” he added.
Ruben Gamez shares one of his most effective strategies for getting Twitter followers, “By suggesting they follow on Twitter through our marketing emails.”
In 2017, they are doubling down this strategy on thank you pages.
“That means, every thank you page is an opportunity to suggest some sort of action. And, every action performed leads to another thank you page. That’s how we’ll use select thank you pages for encouraging follows on Twitter.”
Gamez shows us some of the examples how he utilized the strategy.
For example, once someone opts-in to receive a lead magnet, the thank you/confirmation page might ask them to do two things (on that page) to unlock a bonus video training. Thing #1 would be to answer a question (like, “What’s your #1 challenge right now?”). And thing #2 would be to follow on Twitter.
Ann Tran, a Huffington Post author and social media consultant, has something special I would like to share with you:
Showcase your skills. Twitter is a great place to show off your talents, especially writing and photography. If you are a writer with informative, pertinent content, put it on Twitter. Same goes for amazing photos. People will share your articles or images and this will give you visibility to more admirers.
Here is the post Tran wrote in Entrepreneur.com. Although the post is not the latest, the tips are still relevant.