Though it can be more useful to have a few quality followers than a mass of bots, your social proof on Twitter is at least partially determined by the number of followers you have. So how do you become an essential part of your niche and a respected authority on Twitter? Start with these 13 simple steps to build a community of followers.
Though you might be ready to jump into these steps as soon as you create a Twitter account, you need to slow down a little. Add a profile picture and bio, and change your background. Remember, it doesn’t have to look perfect, but it does need to show that you spent some time on your account and you’re committed to it.
Whenever possible, thank someone for a compliment or express concern and help fix a problem. Let people know that there is someone listening. Make sure you do frequent vanity searches so that you can find people talking about you or your company even if they don’t address your twitter account.
What if your company is not being talked about? Join conversations within your niche! If you see people asking questions about your specialty, give them an answer. Make sure you are genuinely adding value, and not selling yourself. Let people come and check out your profile instead of pushing information about yourself onto them.
This is a point of debate – some people use tools to follow back everyone no matter what, and others avoid following people back just as intentionally. As you keep using Twitter, you will develop your own style, but when you’re just starting out, try following everyone and then un-following as you discover your tastes don’t match, or when you realize the account is a bot.
Win over the people who are following you. Retweet them when they have something interesting or relevant to say. Though Twitter now allows a one-button retweet, the older RT style is still used often – simply change your status to include RT, the person’s handle, and the text of their message, possibly with an additional comment.
Find and share compelling content from within your niche. This lets you offer great content to your followers and attract the attention of the sites and authors you mention. Talking about the big names is great, but help out the up-and-coming bloggers in your niche and they’ll never forget you.
Though this method shouldn’t be used too often, you can let your followers know when you’re getting near a certain milestone: “Just a few more followers until I have 100!” When your followers retweet, you’ll be exposed to all their followers.
Asking a question is a great way to solicit answers and start conversations. Asking a question and providing a link peaks people’s curiosity to click through and see if the answer in the linked article is the same as the answer they would give.
Treat your followers on Twitter like newsletter subscribers, and post give-aways or coupon codes regularly. Contests are also ways to have people spread the word and encourage new subscribers to follow you.
Answer questions. Share techniques. Talk about what you really do. Being genuine, and genuinely helpful, will improve your reputation and keep people begging for more. Some people recommend making sure you don’t share your most useful tips and tricks, but people will see the duplicity before long.
Tweeting too much can backfire, and if you just try to push, everything will begin to sound the same. Let your Twitter stream feel natural. Get excited about special events or promotions, but don’t tweet non-stop all the time.
If you read a lot of blogs each morning finding new posts to share with your readers, it can be overwhelming if you share them all at once, and annoying to remember to share some links later. This is a great time to use automation, whether software or a web application, to space out your tweets and make each one count.
Even if you automate some tweets, being engaged in real-time on Twitter is essential, too. Joining conversations or answering questions works much better within 15 minutes or an hour instead of having a long delay. Even if you don’t want Twitter to distract you constantly, checking it every couple hours works a lot better than checking every couple days.
There are 13 first steps to getting more followers on Twitter. Do you have any other strategies to attract Twitter followers?