Did you often ask yourself how the pro bloggers and social media influencers in your niche have built a large and loyal following?
Do you struggle to attract free Twitter followers to your account because you don’t grasp the core concepts of Twitter for business?
Are you looking to learn the big social media secret – how to get more Twitter followers?
Is the ‘get more twitter followers free‘ just a keyword people type in inside the Google search box or a reality?
Before we move forward you should know one thing – this post is NOT about:
- how to buy Twitter followers and achieve success overnight
- how to trick people to sign-up for your Twitter alerts
- how to get more followers without doing any work
You’re here because you’re looking for expert advice. Key insights into how these bloggers you’re about to hear next have built their following and what were their core belief to growing a large and loyal Twitter tribe.
Inside this blog post article you’ll discover:
- How a freelance designer landed a job via Twitter
- How a Polish girl who Tweets about photography and travel gets free traffic and exposure to her site
- How a blogger uses “Tweet storms” to grow his following and email list (hint – the key is to piggyback on key influencers)
- Why it is essential to be approachable and authentic on Twitter
- The 3 types of people wtih big followings (one of them are regular people like you and me)
- How and what to automate on this social media platform
- Expert strategies to grow a large and loyal following in 3 steps
- And lots more.
We have gathered the best advice from these pro bloggers:
Amanda Williams, Anita Campbell, Bill Gassett, Chris Garrett, Dave Charbonneau, Dr. Paul Johnson, Ian Brodie, Jacob Cass, Jacob Curtis, John Chow, Kim Garst, Kristi Hines, Larry Winget, Laura Roeder, Luke Kling, Marley Majcher, Marysia Maciocha, Meg Jerrard, Mike Allton, Neen James, Rick Ramos, Ricky Figueroa, Rieva Lesonsky, Robert Reid, Ryan Biddulph, Sarah Arrow, Scott Balster, Scott McKain, Sean Si, Shep Hyken, Trevor Young, Warren Whitlock, Zac Johnson
I thank them all for their insights and wish everybody who made this content possible the best in their life and business.
1. Value follows the exchange of value.
2. Interact with people you really like.
3. You don’t have to fake it in order to make it: Just relax and be who you are (especially if who you are is somewhat awkward or goofy).
1. Use SEARCHES and LISTS to find and keep track of individuals that relate to your message.
1a. Find people who are interesting to you, either because of a.) what they’re saying, and/or b.) because they have a similar message as you.
Don’t worry if they have a large following or not. I actually like a person with a strong message but with 200 to 3,000 followers, especially if they and their followers interact with each other. See #2, below.
1b. Put the individuals of interest on one or more lists.
I use a public list for this. Name it something that compliments those you put in the list. Ex. “My Fav Entrepreneurs”.
1c. Next, view that list often to see what folks in that group are talking about. Follow, then interact wherever you see a genuine opportunity.
Never use canned statements; never talk about your product unless asked. Serving others is not about you. Your info should be in your bio.
My preference: Don’t have automated messages that go out when people follow you. Remember what we talked about? Service? Not about you? Good.
1d. You’ll find some favorites; put them in private list. Reach out often to these nice people. Retweet them. Highlight their blogs or websites (if you like what you see).
Be sure to include their Twitter ID along with any shares. Introduce favs to other favs.
1e. After some time (once a month, perhaps) unfollow those who never interact with you AND are not following you.
Keep following them if you’re still interested in reaching their followers.
2. Leverage your influence (even when your influence is tiny)
2a. Ask people w/lists similar or smaller in size than yours if they are working on projects and if you can help promote the projects on Twitter.
Direct Message is best for this; they’ll know you’re asking sincerely and not as a way to show how wonderful you are — get over yourself already.
2b. Put those who respond pleasantly to your requests in a Private List so you can find them easily (they won’t get notified of this). Many will ask to reciprocate and you’ll find others who are very appreciative.
Even if YOU don’t have a project they can promote, keep asking people. Keep serving. One day you might have a project, and in the meantime you’ll be making quality virtual friendships.
2c. If they don’t have a project, you can still start retweeting some of their messages and/or check out their blogs/websites for materials to tweet about. Include their Twitter ID when posting about their blog/website.
Know the value in one person introducing you to several others: Helping those with smaller lists than yours is real leverage.
Think about this: If you’re at 100 and they’re at 20, or you’re at 2,000 and they’re at 200, you have five to ten times the number of followers than they do.
Since you have the larger following and are eagerly serving them, they are very likely to love you for your help and be ecstatic to introduce you to their followers.
Getting retweeted or having a nice message posted about you to 20 to 200 people at a time is a beautiful thing. In fact, it may be much easier to accomplish this (over and over, again) than trying to gain the attention of one person with 50,000+ followers.
You’ll also develop great relationships along the way.
Also recognize the value in being introduced personally to a single individual. When this happens, be certain to get to know both the person you were introduced to and the person making the introduction.
3. Once you have a thousand or more followers, consider doing a 30 min Ask Me Anything around your topic once each week.
Schedule this for the same time each week. Get commitments from your private favs list (see above, #1 and #2) as well as your personal friends to ask Qs until you have enough strangers asking questions.
This will not only help you to grow your list, it will help you to know what questions people have and allow you to better serve others. Increase your time to 45 or 60 minutes when you have enough questions.
Note: I have not done this step. I’ve seen it done and I plan on doing this, soon. Hopefully I’ll see you there.
When it came to building a Twitter following, I approached it like any other social media following: focusing on the content and the connections with my community first and foremost.
You have to let your personality come through and spend time each and every day interacting directly with people (whether they follow you or not).
I also got active in Twitter chats in my niche when I was first starting out, which ensured that I got my account in front of fresh eyes.
My core belief is to just be real. I don’t play the follow/unfollow games.
I follow people I’m interested in following, and I try to make my feed interesting enough that others will want to follow me organically.
When you’re playing games or pretending to be something you’re not, it’s just going to hurt you in the long-run because your audience is going to reflect exactly what you did to build it.
I must admit that I was kind of neglecting social media until early this year. In January, on the conference in Finland I have met Andrew Chow, an author of ‘Social Media 247’.
After listening to his keynote and reading his book I decided to totally change my social media strategy, or to be honest I actually decided to have a social media strategy.
Before I was just using automated plugin to tweet my old posts and every now and than I tweeted things, when I remembered and had a Wi-Fi.
Which is not so obvious in places I like to travel to.
And I’m not saying it was a total failure, I was still getting a fair amount of traffic to my blog but maybe that was the main reason why I didn’t like social media in general. It was all automated.
I felt like a robot that is only transmitting, nothing else.
From February I have changed everything, I post only tweets with photos. Once a month I schedule all the tweets using Buffer, they are super great! It cost 10$/month and allows you to schedule up to 100 tweets, more than enough for me.
I tweet only 3 times a day and 5 days a week. Saturdays and Sundays are free.
Not everything I tweet is my content, quiet opposite. Once a day I post links to my articles.
Once a day other people/bloggers/magazines I’m interested in.
And once a day I post a beautiful picture from Instagram. (I use Twitter to gain more followers on Instagram and it really works).
I tweet only about things that interest me and therefore more people started to follow me – they know what to expect from my stream. I tweet about travel, unusual destinations, my crazy adventures, photography and often wine!
I observe what works best and try to tweet more of such content. I use Google url shortener and this allows me to keep track of all click-through rate.
Twitter Analytics are amazing too; check them at the end of each month to decide what works and what not.
Unusual destinations are always a hit! Every time I post something about Iran, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Benin or Easter Island it is rocking!
I try to think ahead, for St. Patrick Day I tweeted about Chicago and painting the river green. For the America – Iran talks I tweeted about Iran, nothing political, as I do not like to be controversial, just a nice photo to catch some eyes on my content.
In winter months I was tweeting about skiing, Christmas destinations and beautiful Lapland. For some reason, people are crazy about Lapland!
Big success for me links to interviews and podcasts.
Yes, I know what you are thinking, a Girl in shorts will always have many clicks, but I actually think that tagging My Destinations and them re-sharing it was a key here!
I replay to every single comment and try to interact with as many users and followers as possible. And slowly, slowly it is paying off.
Here is what has worked for me:
1) Use “HustleMuscle Sessions”
I share my ideas in “HustleMuscle Sessions” which are tweet storms where I share my ideas on a particular problem or subject right on Twitter.
For example, I set out to come up with 101 Side Income ideas that could be used. I did a tweet storm and shared all of my ideas right on Twitter.
This resulted in more followers, conversations, and growth of my audience.
I do this for a variety of topics including podcast ideas, ideas for companies, ideas for prominent businesses and business people. Then after I finish a #HustleMuscle session, I compile those tweets into a Google Doc.
Then I can share the entire file throughout the course of time. And alternate using it as a lead magnet to increase my email newsletter subscribers.
2) Piggyback People with Larger Audiences
I love the TV Show The Profit, which stars Marcus Lemonis. I then used a “HustleMuscle Session” to share 101 ideas that I had pertaining to his businesses.
During this, I was to pick up a significant audience who were searching for “Marcus Lemonis” or “The Profit”.
Additionally, the ideas that I shared could be applied to a large amount of people and their businesses. Concurrently, as I shared my ideas, I went and followed interesting people who were communicating with Lemonis.
Since they had already qualified themselves as Lemonis fans, they were likely to follow me and find my content fascinating. Then I repeat this across all areas where I want to grow my audience.
3) Spread Love Around
I use a variety of freelancers and contractors to perform work in a variety of my micro businesses. I always make sure to show them some love with tweets on Twitter. I include a recommendation of their work and am sure to thank them.
The tweet may look like this, “Enormous thanks to XXXXX to for her fantastic work! I highly recommend her!”. I repeat this for everyone that I work with. It connects the dots. And builds bonds.
1 – Plan Out Your Twitter Attack
Before jumping into the world of Twitter and social media, you must first understand what it’s all about.
Everyone is talking about fans, followers and their numbers. Sure, a nice huge number is awesome — but in reality it might not make a big difference.
If you have 10,000 real people following your account, it could be worth a lot more than a celebrity with 1 million followers and half of them are fake.
This is especially true if all of your followers are authentic and within a specific niche.
When looking at your individual or business brand, decide how you want to use Twitter, what you expect to get out of it and how you will provide value in the process.
Another important thing to note is that your Twitter profile is actually a 24/7/365 branding machine!
Just think about how many people will see your Twitter profile over the next week, month and year. Use your Twitter account and background image to promote your brand and expertise.
2 – Follow Your Audience
The next step to growing a large and loyal following on Twitter, is actually following people back and those within your industry.
Some people are concerned with how it looks when you have 50k followers and you are also following 50k people… this doesn’t matter.
It comes down to your own personal preference. There are also plenty of tools out there to help you manage who to follow and what updates you will see more often.
If you saw a big blogger,entrepreneur or even a celebrity follow your account on Twitter, wouldn’t it make you feel all special inside? The same holds true for when you follow other accounts as well — so go make some people feel special 😉
3 – Create Relevant, Valuable & Engaging Content
Yea, yea, yea… create value, content is king and all that other good stuff — but most of the time this is what is comes down too, especially on Twitter.
If I see that someone I follow retweeted something that was pretty cool or beneficial to me, I’m probably going to follow that person as well. Creating real value and putting stuff out there that others will link to and share — that’s pure gold.
In addition to creating value, there are plenty of Twitter marketing tips that will not only benefit your brand and following, but also those who are following you as well. A great example of this would be local mom and pop companies like restaurants.
It’s usually safe to say they won’t have a massive world-wide following… so the people who are following those mom and pop brands on Twitter are quite loyal.
Sending out coupons and local promotions to your followers on Twitter is a great way to engage and give your followers something they will definitely want.
It’s also important to note this method is effective across all industries. If I tweet out a discount or coupon code for a popular online marketing service, I get a ton of retweets and thank you messages from my followers.
At the end of the day it’s all about using Twitter to build a loyal following that actually cares about what you have to say. Don’t be blinded by the numbers, be amazed by the interactions!
As an author and professional speaker, I have a desire to both engage in a dialog with my audiences and continue to provide them with information that may be of service to them.
Twitter allows me to do both.
Here’s what I’ve learned most important of all: it’s called SOCIAL media for a reason.
Someone told me a quote they recently read — they thought it was Chris Brogan that had said it — “Twitter has become robots talking with robots.”
There is some truth to that statement.
With programs like HootSuite that make it convenient to program Tweets, it also makes it easy to simply release your comments without engaging.
If you succumb to that, you’ll never grow your followers to the point you desire.
Here’s the approach I use:
1) Engage with everyone. As long as you’re not a jerk, I will engage in conversation with anyone who cares enough to invest a few moments to Tweet me. I’m here to be of service — and to learn.
I cannot do the latter…and can’t be certain of the former…without an ongoing conversation.
2) Be consistent. I am on Social Media EVERY DAY. While I won’t spend an inordinate amount of time there, it’s an important part of my efforts.
Think about your own business — do you want a colleague who is occasionally great but wildly varied in performance; or, would you prefer the consistent performer who always makes the effort and achieves great results?
There’s no doubt about which you’d choose. Your followers feel the same way about you.
3) Other voices matter. If all you’re doing on Social Media is promoting your own viewpoint, it’s going to get pretty boring very quickly. Become the “go to” aggregator for other ideas that are relevant in your field of expertise.
One more thought — building a following will NOT happen overnight. That’s why so few achieve it — they bail before they’ve invested the time and effort required to grow their following.
Nothing worthwhile will happen without commitment. If you want to grow your tribe — invest what it takes to make it happen.
I like short and sweet answers.
Here is my simple yet effective strategy:
1 – Have a complete twitter profile on your Twitter home page.
2 – Update multiple times per day.
3 – Use a service like twiends.com to get followers.
1 – Update at least once a day – every single day.
Part of the Twitter secret is being consistent with delivering great content.
Don’t hesitate to use automation to maintain consistency — provided you don’t forget to be real.
Automation helps you as long as you use it judiciously.
Tweeting is just like building traffic to a site.
Volume matters. Not at the expense of quality, of course — but without quantity it’s hard to build a following online, unless you’re already well known to begin with.
The more updates you put out, the more people likely to see them, the more likely your content will get shared and spread around, and so on.
At first it will be hard to see the fruits of your consistent quantity, and you’re likely to question whether you’re making progress.
Stick with it. Remember, progress is best measured by looking backwards over a period of time.
In my own case, I started just like everyone else, with zero followers and one tweet. Today I have made over 30,000 tweets. That may sound like a lot to some, but I have been on Twitter nearly 8 years. Plus, I am in the news business.
My business model is like that of a magazine, publishing multiple pieces of original content per day — putting out content is what we do.
My numbers translate into an average of 11 tweets per day, 365 days a year.
That consistency over a period of time is the biggest reason I now have nearly 130,000 followers.
2 – Be approachable.
If a friend asks for a retweet to help spread the word on a piece of content he or she is particularly proud of, don’t hesitate. Favorite some tweets of other people. Follow others. Retweet other people’s stuff. Participate in Twitter chats.
Reply with a positive or friendly comment now and then, directly to someone.
I find it impossible to read everything of all followers and chat with each individually.
However, I try to respond to direct messages and comments aimed specifically at me, and read all activity addressing me. And I scan various followers’ feeds everyday.
It’s doubly important to be real when you autotweet content out. Most people don’t want to follow a Twitter account that is 100% automated (unless they are strictly looking for news feeds). They want to know someone real is behind the curtain.
3 – Project a positive attitude and approach.
Most of us don’t like to be around whiners, ranters and complainers. The rare and restrained rant can be entertaining, but not everyday. Please. Give it a rest.
Don’t be rude to people. Don’t tweet drunk and become abusive or make a fool of yourself. It’s hard to feel good around someone who is snarky and snipes at people or complains about everything under the sun.
Why? Because secretly we’re thinking, “I wonder if that’s what he says about me behind my back.”
Personally, I like to be around people who project a positive, can-do attitude in real life. The same goes for Twitter.
That’s both a good question and a really long story.
Basically I grew my following primarily 4-5 years ago as a kind of experiment just to see what it would be like to have lots of followers.
A bunch of my friends told me I ought to be on Twitter.
I played around with it for a while and decided that the people who had the most fun and the most impact with it were the ones with the big followings.
So I set out to research how to get a big following and started out what I call my “big Twitter experiment”.
There are really three sorts of people with big twitter following.
There are genuine celebrities like Lady Gaga, Jusin Bieber, or Donald Trump and Alan Sugar here in the UK. They have big followings because they’re well known and people want to see what they have to say.
In the more mainstream business world there are people like David Meerman Scott and Guy Kawasaki who have big followings because of their visible achievements.
David, for example, reported on how he grew his Twitter following to 50,000+ by writing four books and 418 blog posts, doing 126 live talks in 15 different countries, 50+ webinars and 100+ podcasts.
That’s a lot of hard work!
And then there are people like me. People who are perhaps pretty well known, who maybe have published books or have popular websites; but who aren’t anywhere near celebrity status.
Yet we have huge twitter followings.
The answer to how we get those followins is: we cheat.
Not in a really bad sense. But we don’t get our followings just by “engaging”, “putting great content out there” or the other strategies people are willing to admit to.
We automate and we outsource.
The truth is that you can build a big following on Twitter by following people who you think might be interested in following you back. Maybe because of what’s in their profile or what they tweet or who else they’re already following.
Either way, if you follow them they get notified of that and many of them check out your profile and follow you back if you look relevant to them.
Simple as that. It’s a numbers game.
Now, of course, it’s not quite that simple. Twitter only allows you to follow a certain number of people relative to how many people are following you. Pretty soon you hit a limit.
So you then have to unfollow all the people who you followed who didn’t follow you back.
You then rinse and repeat.
Now you can’t do all that following and unfollowing in the thousands by hand. You need to either automate or outsource and get someone else to do it for you.
A few years ago automation was all the rage. Tools like Hummingbird and Tweetadder did all the folowing and unfollowing for you until Twitter banned their use. But back in that day, they where what I used as part of my experiment and they worked very well.
And I know a number of big names in marketing used them too, because they appeared in the customer lists and in the user forums for those tools.
Today you run the risk of getting barred from Twitter if you you over-automate. So instead many people outsource and have people doing all the following and unfollowing manually for them.
You can tell who’s gaming the system a bit like this because they have large numbers of people they’re following. Popular people who gain their followers more organically have 10x+ the number of followers as people they follow.
Now that I have a relatively big following, I do all I can to keep engaged with them by replying to all @messages, thanking people for retweets etc – but it’s quite challenging.
Having a big following does mean I get lots of visits to my website whenever I tweet something; but it also means it’s difficult for me to build close relationships with key individuals with so much noise on the account.
Personally I suspect I would have got more from twitter had I had a much smaller number of followers I was able to interact with more.
So that’s the story really. I built a big following through automation as an experiment because I thought it would be fun and wanted to see what it would be like, rather than any great business strategy I’d recommend to others!
Providing value to my followers is my number one core belief for building a following on Twitter.
I share links, resources and articles that will help others in my select niche of design.
I also build relationships with others on the platform to have a more meaningful connection.
In fact, it was this strategy that helped me land a job via Twitter. I was living in Sydney, Australia at the time and was headhunted by a NYC design shop.
They sent me a job offer via Twitter, I accepted and moved over to NYC and lived & worked there for 5 years. Who knows what other opportunity is around the corner?
Stay active, build relationships and most importantly, provide value!
Building a large and loyal Twitter following boils down to 3 simple things. 1- Content 2- Engagement 3- #BeYou
Sharing content on Twitter that is useful, valuable in some way and/or relatable to your followers is the key to engagement.
I share a variety of types of content so that I can connect with my followers on a number of levels.
For example, social media tips and strategies, blog content and even humor and inspiration.
Daily engagement with my audience is also important for my growth strategy. It’s about simple acknowledgement and building those authentic relationships.
A thank-you tweet or even responding to a question goes a long way on social media!
In the midst of all the “noise” it makes the user feel seen and heard and HEY- isn’t that what we all want?
#BeYou. Your audience is following you because they are interested in what YOU have to say. Be confident in yourself! Stay authentic with your tone, your message, your voice.
People buy from people that they know, like and trust. The more authentic you are the more the more people will want to be a part of that!
My strategy for growing a Twitter following is to:
1) define the people I want as followers on Twitter, 2) engage them with real conversation, and 3) share content that would be of interest to them.
If you can do those three things, you will grow a following that is large and relevant to your business and goals.
1) Set a target audience you want to attract. Mine is mostly digital marketers or digital marketing enthusiasts.
I publish Tweets that are geared towards the interests of that type of audience.
2) Engage with them and reach out to influencers for people to know that you’re for real and you’re serious about what you do. Stay active.
3) Fix your profile. You have to look presentable, credible and authoritative. Otherwise, you’ll get a lot less followers than you’re supposed to.
I do practically nothing to build my following on Twitter, yet I have a sizable following. I tweet every day, but only one time.
I never retweet and I never reply to anyone’s tweet. I never read tweets either. I know that makes me a bad person in the eye’s of twitter people.
I built my following the old fashion way: by having something of value to say.
And it helps that I have written 6 NYT/WSJ bestsellers, had my own television show, 2 PBS specials, 2 CNBC specials, 3 national commercials and appear regularly on several Fox News shows.
When I first started focusing on building a strong social following, it always felt like I was starting from scratch.
I’d write a status update promoting a blog post, for example, and it would only get seen by a few people — then after my audience grew a little bit, I’d have to do it again, because those people hadn’t seen the update the first time.
It was a huge waste of time.
I wanted to quit wasting that time doing the same things over and over, which was taking away from my ability to grow my business in other ways.
First, this meant saving every status update I wrote, so I could build up a big library of them over time.
This made the second part of my strategy possible: taking updates from that library and posting them again and again.
The number of people who actually see any given update is relatively small (less than 1/3 of Twitter users check the site more than once a day, and your audience is adding new people all the time – especially during periods when you’re focused on rapid growth.
When huge swaths of your audience haven’t seen a tweet, you have no reason not to use it again, and give it another chance to work for you.
By scheduling and automating those updates instead of posting them all manually, I ended up saving even more time every day.
Re-sharing tweets eliminated hours of busywork every week, which meant I could spend time on things like blogging, networking, refining products, and interacting live with others on social — all the things you need to do to grow a bigger following, and that you don’t have time for if you’re caught in a never-ending social media timesuck!
I just celebrated 7 years since my first tweet this past weekend. I created one of the first pay-per-click Twitter ad networks.
At one point I managed about 50,000 Twitter accounts.
Building a large and loyal Twitter following is actually pretty easy. Here is my 3 step process:
1) Tweet good content that your audience is going to like and engage with.
2) Follow users in your niche who are going to be interested in what you’re tweeting (they’ll follow you back).
3) Use photos in your tweets for extra engagement.
There are a few other tricks I use too. String together your tweets with replies, create a Twitter card to add data to your tweets, and make sure you’re tweeting images that are going to grab the user’s attention.
When I first became aware of Twitter, I just didn’t see the point in at all to begin with.
Gradually, though, I came to understand how it worked and recognised that if I wanted to establish a strong presence for the future, then I needed to embrace it, and doing so early on would help me in the long term.
Of course, you couldn’t be sure at that stage that Twitter would stand the distance, but I began by networking with other high profile travel accounts at the time, and was just generally active on a regular basis.
I have followed a lot of people in the travelsphere in the hope that they’ll follow back (much against the advice you’ll read from many) but for me that has worked.
What I haven’t done is just follow people at random – it has always been very carefully targeted.
This has put me ‘out there’ far more than I would have been had I just sat back and waited for people to hopefully take notice.
I am also very pro-active with the account, using it to promote my blog, appending pictures to catch the eye, and – when time allows – engaging with as many people as possible, whether they be in the travel industry or just looking for general help or advice.
Approach to building a large and loyal twitter following included
(a) Continually finding and following new accounts which were similar to and interested in my niche;
(b) attending twitter chats on a weekly basis and networking with those in attendance;
(c) replying to every tweet, sending out thankyou’s to those who shared my content and generally staying engaged with my community.
(a) Finding and following new accounts with aligned interests.
There is a lot of debate over the etiquette on twitter as to whether or not it is polite to follow someone back who followed you.
Regardless of your stance, following someone often means that they’ll follow you back. Don’t be offended if they choose not to – twitter is not set up to be that kind of platform – though 8/10 times you’ll get a follow back.
Hence finding and following accounts with aligned interests is a great way to begin to grow your following.
I started by identifying and following the leaders within my field, following people they were following, and then I also began to follow their fans also on the idea that these people were interested in travel related content, so may be interested in my account.
At the end of every month I do a clean-up of my account and clear out any accounts I’m following which are inactive or spam.
(b) Attending twitter chats is a great way to network and connect with those within your industry and target niche. My niche is travel, so I attend travel chats, and when first starting out I would attend one of these chats daily.
(c) Building a large audience is one thing, though building a loyal and engaged audience is completely another.
If you’re looking to build a loyal audience at the same time as a large one, you need to make sure your account is not a one way form of communication.
Be sure to reply to every question, actually engage in topic discussion and conversations with your audience, and thank people who share your content. This is how you build a loyal audience.
I believe social should be social. My strategy has been to treat social like I do in person networking
1) try to be valuable,
2) be as approachable as possible and
3) try to be conversational (when time permits)
Twitter is a social network, like many others, which means that bloggers and businesses need to consider how they are going to approach it.
Will you use it as a megaphone to broadcast your message? Or will you treat it like a community and spend time cultivating relationships?
There’s no right or wrong answer, so long as your strategy and tactics fit your goals.
For myself, I found that Google+ was actually a platform that better suited my style of discussion and engagement, therefore dividing my efforts across multiple platforms was not ideal.
So my strategy with Twitter was to establish it as a platform on which my followers there would find a wealth of valuable information related to my business: social media and blogging.
But make no mistake, treating Twitter like a megaphone may sound easy, but to do it well, it still requires time and patience as much as the other method. That’s because of the key word I mentioned a moment ago: valuable.
The tweets you share must be valuable or no one will click on the links and no one will choose to follow you.
So my strategy was to build an interested Twitter following by providing a lot of valuable information. The tactics I used were:
1. Blog often, and share those blog posts frequently to Twitter.
2. Share great articles from other trusted sources to Twitter.
3. Regularly re-share evergreen blog content to Twitter.
Within those tactics, I adhered to Twitter “best practices” like appropriate hashtag use, no auto-DMs, and so on. I also have made sure that, while I prefer to use Google+ for discussion, I am still accessible and responsive on Twitter.
I check for mentions and direct messages 2 – 3 times daily using the Hootsuite app on my phone and always respond to questions and thank people for mentioning me in a share.
I use a variety of other tools to assist with my Twitter presence, including SocialOomph , Buffer, Feedly and of course Hootsuite, as I mentioned.
Not counting the time spent blogging (which serves many other purposes as well), my time investment in Twitter is just 15 – 30 minutes per day, and I gain 25 – 50 new followers a week and drive significant levels of traffic to my website, while tweeting approximately 40 – 50 times per day.
There was really no secrets or formula.
For the first few months I was on twitter I auto followed anyone that followed me and then realized there were people that I didn’t really enjoy their updates so I stopped that.
Our strategy has been to share practical (and sometimes funny) content that people feel they can apply in their everyday lives and then share it with those in their community.
It’s really simple.
I love the conversational feel of twitter so we also connected with people we found fascinating, influential and shared brilliant content.
If people want to build a community it requires a commitment to being conversational, getting to know people online and investing time to reply, share and comment.
It’s not rocket science, just a combination of being interesting and being interested.
1. Pick a single subject and stick to it – I’ve been in the online marketing field for over 18 years and know it well.
I’ve even written a few books on the subject, so people expect me to talk about marketing.
My bio also confirms that I write about marketing on my Twitter account. I avoid putting random topics on my stream.
I don’t post picture of my lunch. I don’t talk politics.
Occasionally, I stray and put something funny or personal but I try to keep it to less than 10% of my posts.
2. Retweet other’s tweets – It might seem counterproductive but Karma is real on Twitter. The only time I started really growing my following is when I started to share other people’s tweets.
See, people will notice this over time and retweet your own tweets.You could come up with a strategy and systematically do it or just do it casually and organically.
3. Produce Original Content – I blog at RickRamos.com and try to produce a new article on a weekly basis. It’s exclusive content that I’m sharing with the Twitter community and I can get up to 150 retweets when I produce a new article.
This exposes me to a bunch of new people on Twitter every time I release a new article.
The key to social media success is likely not as difficult to do as you might think.
You don’t need to spend a lot of money to successfully use social media to grow your business.
Of course, you can make it more complicated, but essentially I think it boils down to following these three “rules”.
1. Be consistent—Consistency counts here. And it’s impossible (without outsourcing or hiring a staff) have a regular presence on all or even most of the social platforms.
Pick the one or two (maybe three) social channels that work best for you—where your customers already are—and concentrate your efforts there.
Posting consistently doesn’t mean on the hour.
But I think a daily post or two is within the reach of every small business. You can schedule posts using tools like TweetDeck and Hootsuite, among others.
2. Be responsive—Social media is not a one-way broadcasting medium. You need to respond back to people who reach out to you, who comment or ask questions.
One of the benefits of social media is to increase customer engagement—so making it just about you is neither engaging nor effective.
3. Be authentic—Authenticity is one of the advantages small businesses have on social media. That’s not to say big corporations can’t be authentic, but most consumers don’t think they are, so they have to try harder.
As a small business, most consumers will give you the benefit of the doubt from the get go. Don’t pretend to be what you’re not. Be yourself—talk to them, not at them. Ask for their opinions and their input.
The more you show your true self to your customers, the more they’ll come to like you. And consumers do business with people they know, like and trust.
When I think about how I have grown a loyal following on Twitter the answer is a very simple one that involves one word “reciprocation”.
If there is one thing that causes most people to fail on Twitter or any other social channel for that matter is broadcasting and doing little else.
This will go you no-where unless you are a celebrity! The winners in social media understand one thing – you need to be “social”.
One of the common sense things I learned early on is that if you want your message to be heard you need to have a group of loyal followers who are willing to share your message.
Of course for this to happen you need to have quality content but it takes a little bit more than that. The #1 thing you can do is return the favor when someone tweets your message!
Every day when visit Twitter there is one thing I do automatically and that is see who has tweeted my content.
Everyone of these people gets a re-tweet of something they have shared. I scan their feed and look for something useful I think my followers will enjoy. I then tweet to all my followers.
Folks this is powerful – we all want our content shared do we not? What is a better way to say thank you than returning the favor?
For those of you who don’t do this you need to re-think your strategy. Often times I see people saving instead as a way of saying ” I see what you did thanks”. This does very little to help the person who has shared your message.
The next time be thoughtful enough to re-tweet them. You can see more tips on how to use Twitter properly by reading this helpful article. Start reciprocating daily and watch your follower count grow and grow.
I sort of cheated to get all the followers I have.
Not in the traditional “buying followers” cheat, but being associated with an enormous brand where followers and interest sort of drips off of bigger umbrellas to me.
I worked as the US Travel Editor for Lonely Planet for four years, more or less the first four years of Twitter.
And now am the Digital Nomad for National Geographic Traveler
Despite the numbers, I’m finding Twitter to be less useful a tool for a travel writer, a freelancer, a lone kid in the woods of social media, than it used to be.
When I had far fewer followers, say 10,000 instead of over 40,000, I could tweet a link once and get more engagement than I do now tweeting it a few times to four times the followers.
That said, I’m not always too worried about numbers. I’ve been called a “travel adonis” by writer/actor/director Andrew McCarthy on Twitter — which was hilarious.
A few years ago I organized a “Billy Joel roadtrip” for a travel video, so floated the video via Twitter, organized it into a Twitter roadtrip contest, and recruited three travelers to go with me — that video ended up getting national TV coverage, and tons of coverage.
And all that sort of came to be by playing around on Twitter.
I’m fond of my absurd avatar, and have kept it up there for awhile now. I call it “confused cowboy.” Bill Gates once described the Internet as a Wild West, and I like the idea of reiterating that we’re making up the rules as we go.
Meanwhile, Twitter still remains a big, if addictive, part of my daily identity and work plan. I’m on it easily 20 times a day, and often ask for suggestions on things — a good tripod to get, a place to eat in LA — and occasionally send out what I’m doing.
One of these days the marketers will realize that the unplanned, unhashtagged blips are the most effective. I really believe that. #nonsponsored
Traveler. Author of the Blogging from Paradise eBook series on Amazon. Blogger.
Engaging like mad was my intent on twitter because loyal folks are folks who hear you, and folks who you prove that you’re listening to. We all want to be heard.
We’re loyal to folks who are listening, regularly. That’s what I learned from twitter heavies like Chris Brogan. Listen. Regularly.
I proved that I was listening by RTing, by asking questions and by sharing answers with my audience because the more I showed that I was listening, the bigger and loyal my following on twitter grew.
If you do 10 things on twitter today, talk to someone though the @ reply feature. Ask a question. Ask how someone’s day went. Share answers. Get a chat going.
Be human. You’ll stand out from the crowd of broadcasters who are using twitter to GET while you are using twitter to GIVE.
I built my Twitter following by sharing the things I find interesting and sharing commentary on them.
I found this method attracted in people who had similar interests, and I could talk about things with them.
This in turn attracted more people to following me.
I also followed a lot of people I knew from various networking groups online, and in the real world.
This also generated a lot of conversations. I’ve found conversations attract in more followers.
Initially, using Hubspot Twitter Grader a lot (in the early days) I’d find the top 100 active people on Twitter in areas local to me and then following and chatting to these people, they’d follow back, and then I’d look at the followers of the more interesting people and follow them, engage and they’d start to follow back.
It takes a bit of work to do this, and I had more time to do this 5 years ago, and I don’t do it as much now.
I used to follow everyone back after talking to Guy Kawasaki about his Twitter strategy and now I tweet the same thing over a period of days so that it has more chance to be seen and interacted with.
I also make sure I follow people who have similar tastes in TV shows to me, I follow Arrow and GOT fans so I can talk about the latest episode and grouse about how they’re nothing like the book, or everything like the book…
I find these using hash tags.
If I had to build a following from scratch again, I’d probably do some Twitter advertising and start with people that are local to me.
Talking to local people means you have a bigger opportunity to connect with them offline, and have a stronger, mutually beneficial business relationship.
As I now limit myself to 15 minutes a day on Twitter ( I used to spend 2 hours a day) I find that conversations are briefer, and last longer over a few days.
How did I get my Twitter following? One Tweet at a time! Seriously, it took me a bit of time to understand the opportunity that Twitter offered.
In the beginning it seemed like a social tool, but quickly I found professional relevance.
You’ll find most of my posts focus on business; customer service, customer experience and other related business topics.
That’s my lane, and I stay in it. My followers expect me to stay in it. And, that is one of the secrets – consistency.
Another is to tweet out compelling messages.
Sure, I’ll have the occasional personal post. We all do. But, much of what I’m posting comes from what other people are thinking and writing about – information that is relevant to my followers.
Sharing other people’s insights, thoughts and articles is huge.
Everyone on both sides appreciates it. I expose the work and ideas of other business experts and thought leaders to my followers, and many times they will expose me to theirs, which helps build my tribe.
For me, the key to building a good following on Twitter is to be genuine, be generous and stay consistent. My posts are an extension of me and my brand. It’s who I am.
Let me start with a core belief…
When I got started on Twitter… my focus was on a single thing: Getting more and more followers.
Soon, I realized that more followers doesn’t mean more business.
Today, I can care less about having more followers (it is not my focus) and neither should be yours.
In fact, I will take it a little bit further for those marketers who focus on Social Media Traffic:
All the great traffic in the world is worthless, if you don’t have an effective strategy for converting that traffic into paying customers – and reach net profits.
Most bloggers and entrepreneurs have an idea of what they could do to monetize that traffic, but they have no clue on how to execute that idea, so most of them settle for writing a bunch of content for their own blogs hoping one blog post will be the “one-hit-wonder” that will put them on the map and help them catch the “goose with the golden eggs.”
Unfortunately, it doesn’t work that way. Hey, I used to make that mistake. That’s why I’m sharing this with you.
At Blog Launch Insider we focus on customer acquisition, conversion optimization and data driven research to scale up our reach, profits and donations (giving back).
I always focus a 90-day period for optimizing conversions every time before I officially launch a blog.
That’s how on the first month of making Blog Launch Insider “visible” I managed to generate over $7,000 in revenue – I test, track, tweak and then, scale everything.
I share all the details on the March 2015 Income & Donation report
So, back to the 1-2-3 strategy to building a large and loyal Twitter following:
Building a large and loyal following on any platform and even within my own platform (blog) is a result or by-product of relationship building and conversion optimization techniques.
Most of this process happens within my own platform, not on social media channels. Why? Because my own blog is something I have 100% control of.
I cannot say the same thing about any other platform I don’t own nor do I have any saying about all the changes they launch.
That being said… my 1-2-3 strategy in a brief summary:
1. Conversion Optimization (opt-in and sales conversions).
2. Video content series delivered in a specific and strategic way that explodes all kind of leverage…
Including something I call “invisible leverage” which I only teach to my clients, but soon, I will be making it available for free to help more good bloggers and entrepreneurs.
3. Relationship building with influencers and even up and coming entrepreneurs, bloggers and marketers.
This means putting my message out into the “jungle.” Guest blogging on the top authority sites, interviewing influencers and allowing influencers to interview me.
In fact, this expert roundup post is a good example of sharing your message with the world.
Also, a great way to get on the radar of the top sites and influencers is by becoming a high paid client of whatever course, or program they are selling as well as implementing their teachings and sharing your results with them as a case study/testimonial.
This is a direct path to reach those at the top and build relationships with them.
The truth is…
A lot of people miss the point of Social Media Platforms.
Most marketers focus on the wrong things:
– More followers
– More likes
– More of the things that don’t matter.
You see, more followers, likes, etc. is the by-product of great word of mouth, which in fact, it’s also a by product of your great work (relationships you have built with key influencers, strategic positioning, great value in your free content, and marketing funnel).
I know a bunch of people who have over 50-100K Twitter followers and who’s businesses are barely generating $500 a month!
My question for you is:
Would you rather have 100K Twitter followers and struggle to build a real profitable business/blog or would you rather have 1K followers or fans and turn 200-300 of them into paying customers?
I prefer the latter in that case, but you know what is even better and very possible?
Having all the followers you can handle and also have the ability to convert at least 30% of them into paying loyal customers. Imagine having 10K followers and the ability to convert 30% of them into paying customers.
Just close your eyes right now and imagine how awesome that feels. Okay, now you can open your eyes…
You just felt a little bit of what’s possible, if you work on your business the smart way.
That being said, I don’t focus on building a loyal Twitter following. I focus on a building an army of loyal customers, which in fact, are the ones who make your business go “viral” and profitable.
Don’t confuse the two. Everyday we see a Youtube video or Tweet going viral, but that doesn’t mean that it’s viral effect is converting into real tangible money in their bank accounts.
I hope that helps you shift your mindset to build a better, more exciting and rewarding business
It may sound simplistic, but the key (for me, anyway) has been to just get involved – embrace the medium and all it has to offer, and do it with your heart!
Of course, you can become more strategic over the journey, get smarter by employing some time-saving ‘hacks’, but if you start from that perspective, you will never get the most out of Twitter.
I’m old school when it comes to Twitter. I believe in putting in the effort. Shining the spotlight on what others are doing, sharing their content rather than just your own.
Talk to people. Help them out wherever you can.
Twitter really is like your local bar. Some people will come in and hang around for a while, others will flit in and out.
In this scenario, if you’re polite. respectful and are willing to start or join conversations with others at the bar – if you introduce people to each other if you think there is a ‘fit’, if you are laid-back and have some fun, if you show up regularly and add value to the community (versus hanging around and annoying people by handing out virtual business cards all the time), then you’ll do okay on Twitter.
The purist in me believes in acknowledging people on Twitter, thanking them if they’ve helped you out (this gets a bit harder as your following grows, but it’s the intent that matters).
Following people is also important – proactively or reactively, it doesn’t matter – but I have a ‘thing’ against those Twitter ‘celebs’ (and I use that term loosely!) who have large followings but only follow a handful of people back.
It screams: It’s all about ME! And of course, we know that Twitter – indeed, social media – works most effectively when it’s about other people, not just you, your brand, your products and services.
There are exceptions, of course; there are some on Twitter who have massive amounts of followers and don’t follow a heck of a lot back, but they are super-active (and interactive) on the medium, so they’re okay
So my message is: Embrace Twitter with passion and enthusiasm. Get involved. Focus on adding value and building relationships. The rewards will come, but you need to give in order to receive.
Twitter can be a outstanding tool for building relationships and creating a powerful network.
Twitter will help you extend your reach, become better known, and increase your career potential.
To get great value from the time you put into using Twitter, it is important to define what goal you have.
If your goal is to create a large number of followers that you can brag about, you’ll be wasting your time.
If you are looking to become influential in your market and have goals be on Twitter follower count, I think this is an essential tool for anyone in business today.
For most people it’s important for this to be tied to some aspect of your career our business, and that means many make the mistake of thinking it’s free mass media to advertise what you want.
Instead think of the value you can give in The market. If you don’t have value, you’re not in business
When you work to add value to those you meet and talk to on Twitter you will find that most people are open to connection and conversation. Those are the people you want to connect with.
They’re easy to find, they are the people who are adding value, Insight, and connection to others. Make sure you follow these people… Not just “follow” on Twitter, but read and respond to what they need.
When you pick a topic, make sure that it’s one you can add value. You are an expert at many things that other people don’t know about.
When you answer questions share information from other thought leaders, and have conversations with anyone about your topic, you will show the people who see your tweets that you are the kind of person they would like to get to know and do business with.
Most of all, make sure that you keep in mind that marketing today is not about you.
If you are the only one saying great things about yourself, Then you don’t have a product worth recommending or you don’t have connections with other good people like you.
Focus on getting to know other givers and helping them share good things… Soon, Many will be asking how they can get to know you better or do business.
My 1-2-3 strategy and core belief to building a large and loyal Twitter following is super straightforward:
“Be you, but…” What does “Be you, but…” mean?
Simple. Branding experts all say “you’ve got to be you,” “live your brand!”, “don’t put on airs!” blah, blah, blah. HOWEVER, the “but” comes in because you’ve actually got to be interesting in the first place.
So sorry, but not everyone is interesting and if you’re not kind of fascinating in some random way to a LOT of people, you’re not going to build a big following.
Yes, there are exceptions:
You’re famous, are a complete trainwreck who people can gawk at, have such insane backstage access to celebrities or a life that a ton of people are curious about, or your content is so freaking amazingly chock full of data that people need or can’t get anywhere else.
Net/net, here’s the formula:
1. Be you, but present the most interesting version of you.
The most interesting version is usually the one who tells it like it is, in real time and has guts.
2. Show the bad stuff.
My general following really grew when I shared my failures.
This is a double-edged sword because you don’t want your clients to think you’re a complete train wreck, but it doesn’t hurt for them to see that you are human like everyone else.
Being perfect makes people infinitely more unrelatable and with very few exceptions, unrelatable, unlikeable people don’t build followings.
3. Share, engage and repeat.
Twitter is a commitment, like doing anything else well – blogging, writing, marketing, maintaining friendships.
You’ve got to keep showing up, interacting and responding. While Twitter creates a different kind of a relationship than one on one contact does, the same rules apply:
I’ve got to be interested in what you’re saying, know that you can hear me or interact with me and toss enough juicy nuggets (of info, perspective, gossip, wisdom or wit) to keep me desperately craving more, and tell all of my friends, constantly.
In building a large Twitter follow its important to first ask yourself, why would someone follow you.
Unless you’re a celebrity you’ll need to either be a great content curator, creator, or a mixture of the two.
Step 1 is to choose one of the three and commit to a frequency that you can upkeep.
I’ve found that having a mixture of the two generates the best results and also helps drive toward your goals.
I break it down like this: 60% relevant industry based content – 20% your own content/promotions that you create – 20% following up with audience engagement and real time updates that show you’re a human.
The last 20% is the only part of this content strategy that you can’t automate.
Step 2 is making sure your Twitter profile is on-point, including a professional profile picture (of you), a descriptive bio that explains what type of content people can expect from you and frequency, and a link to your website, blog or LinkedIn.
Also take advantage of your header image to either humanize your profile, or brand it out as your own personal business or employers if you happen to be an employee advocate.
Step 3 focuses on growing your following.
While a proper follow strategy is important, one underutilized way to find like minds would be to participate in Twitter chats that are relevant to your industry or the audience you’re trying to grow you account with.
Twitter chats are great for networking and providing value through your own opinions on the topics or questions during the chat. Though individuals are the majority of twitter chat participants, brands can also engage in them if done correctly.
FREE BLOG COMMENTING CONTEST – ENTER TO WIN!
Here’s the deal. Getting free Twitter followers is one thing. Making money from your social media is another thing. So here’s my proposal.
Check each of these bloggers’ Twitter account. Click on their profile link one by one. It takes less than 10 minutes. Discover who has the most Twitter followers and blog comment below with the name of the person.
The first 3 commentators who leave the right answer will win a free Twitter monetization consulting strategy by e-mail with their favorite blogger featured on this blog post.
Winners will be announced by email and I’ll put the experts in contact with winners over email as well.