I love Twitter. It is absolutely the most versatile social media platform out there and the potential to fly high in the sky from day one is endless if you use it correctly. I have led social media strategies and community management for some of the best brands in the world over the years. Some have even dubbed my personal Twitter account with being Twitter famous as it has over 60k engaged followers, and I have grown our dedicated Near Me Twitter following by over 600% in the past 6 months. People have asked me how I do it. Is there a magic potion to make your Twitter profile get flocks of new followers?
Twitter reported they had 320 million monthly active users at the beginning of this year. After you are done reading this article, many of those users will be following you if you apply these strategies.
Customize your Twitter username
When setting up your Twitter profile it’s important to choose a professional name. If it’s available, use your first and last name, such as collaborative economy expert @rachelbotsman. The same goes for your company name if it is a business account. By all means feel free to create a unique memorable name, but I highly recommend you avoid using numbers and symbols in your user name.
Image Credit: @briansolis
Brand your Twitter profile
It’s very important that you use a professional avatar and cover image that follows your branding that your followers will see multiple times every day. Digital analyst, speaker, author, thought leader and good friend @briansolis does a very good job of having a cover image that corresponds with his avatar and has a clear branding message. Be sure to add your website URL and create an insightful bio.
Engage with Influencers
I touched upon this at the beginning of the year as it can be very effective to engage with influencers on Twitter. There are two benefits to this: other tweeters will see that interaction and it will entice them to follow. The thought leaders should return the favor and retweet you so you can engage with their much larger Twitter audience. It is crucial to tweet quality content. Do your research and listen to find out what your target market followers are looking for.
Mix your tweets up with valuable information, pictures, questions, Twitter polls, jokes, Twitter cards, holiday posts, hashtags, Twitter chats and wishing your followers a simple good morning to brighten somebodys day. My favorite analogy is that Twitter is similar to a workplace break room. Everybody discusses everything, but should keep it professional because all the world can see. I tweet a lot and that’s fine. A good rule of thumb is not to tweet over once an hour, unless retweeting, at an event and attending or hosting a Twitter chat.
Now that you have your Twitter profile set up correctly and are engaging like crazy, you are now ready for the SECRET SAUCE. When trying to grow your Twitter followers it is crucial to understand that nobody will be enticed to follow you unless you are out there. If you're a celebrity or a big brand, tweeters will be most likely flocking to you, but if not, the Twitterverse won’t even know you exist.
Secret sauce unveiled
Luckily there is a not-so-secret solution. All you need to do is follow and engage those tweeters in your target demographic. They will be alerted that you are following them and chances are that they will follow you back. If somebody doesn’t follow you back, no need to worry, just move on to the next one. Your time is precious and your time is better spent engaging than following. There are many tools out there to assist you, but Crowdfire is my favorite one. Just be sure to abide by Twitter’s rules and best practices.
Image Credit: Crowdfire
Crowdfire saves the day
Crowdfire is also available for the iPhone so you can compare useful stats on your Twitter account wherever you are. The app breaks down your recent followers, recent unfollowers, inactive followers, nearby followers, people you follow who don't follow back and people who follow you but who you don't follow. I don’t need to use Crowdfire on the big brand and global Twitter accounts I work with, but on my smaller accounts it is invaluable in bringing them visibility.
Crowdfire does a great job of breaking down inactive users and your unfollowers. The Copy Followers feature allows you to very easily follow tweeters that complementary and competitor accounts are following. The app also has a targeted keyword search function that gives you the ability to quickly find people in your target market to follow. Crowdfire offers a free version that works fine for your basic needs, but I strongly suggest you go with a paid version to get the most out of it. We use the Earth plan that is perfect for early stage startups, which allows 5 linked accounts and removes the Crowdfire branding. They have plans that go all the way up to $199 that allows 100 accounts for agencies. From entrepreneur to enterprise, they have a solution.
The platform can be helpful in connecting you with people you might not otherwise find. Twitter does a decent job of suggesting accounts that you may want to follow based on your interests; the Twitter advanced search function is helpful. But Crowdfire taps into a much wider audience so you can discover more people out there in the Twittersphere at a much faster rate, especially among those who may already be following you. I am not a fan of automated direct messages, but Crowdfire also allows you to easily set them up if you’re interested.
Image Credit: Hootsuite
Hooting all day, everyday
You may think using tools for Twitter is not very natural, but these tools provide you with the information and resources that Twitter, on its own, does not offer yet. I will be the first one to say you are missing out if you don’t take advantage of anything that will help make your Twitter management more efficient. I am also a big fan of using Hootsuite as an inexpensive way to schedule out your tweets. My Global non profit Social Media Club is sponsored by Hootsuite and I lead my team and Chapters every day in scheduling our tweets on our very user friendly Hootsuite Organization Dashboard.
The Hootsuite dashboard is very easy to read and allows you to see multiple streams in one tab. It also integrates with Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, Wordpress and others, but I think it is most useful for Twitter. In just a few minutes, you can link to your networks and build a screen that displays up to five of your primary social streams and you can view multiple Twitter streams on the screen at the same time without opening new tabs. You can retweet, direct message, like, post updates, comment and other things just like the Twitter app. As I alluded to above, Hootsuite enables you to schedule your tweets to be sent at a specific time and you can set up RSS feeds to auto populate if you desire.
HootSuite comes out of the box with a very helpful free version, but upgrading to Pro at the reasonable price of $5.99 a month gives you much more flexibility, including unlimited social network feeds and auto-updating, collaboration with others, one free report, one user included and many more collaboration tools. I use the Enterprise Plan that costs $1,499 a month, includes VIP support, up to thirty users, ten free reports, access for ten people to the education program and enhanced analytics.
HootSuite's analytics are very easy to use to track insights and conversions. They allow you to quickly build intuitive reports and built in automatic report sharing. Hootsuites price and capabilities makes it very useful for entrepreneurs and enterprise businesses to analyze their online presence and create insightful marketing plans.I hope you found these tips helpful. I guarantee if you follow them you will see an incredible amount of engaged Twitter follower growth almost overnight. What methods have you found effective? Do you have other advice for how to gain and engage Twitter followers? Please share in the comments below.