It’s a bit of a blunt title, but that’s exactly what I’m going to tell you, or at least what I’ve been doing to grow my Twitter account. I’ll point you towards the websites and systems I’m using, and tell you exactly what I’m doing. I’ve been doing this for three months now, and have grown my audience from 87 (on the day I started) to 7145 (at the moment of writing), almost exactly 3 months to the day since I began.
I’m not going to teach you how to use the tools, as this article will be long enough without that, but they’re relatively easy to learn, and can be pretty much mastered in a few hours.
Schedule your Twitter posts
Before you try anything else, what you’ve got to do is give people some content to look at on your twitter. My long repeated phrase of “Content is King” holds on Twitter too. Now while you could do this yourself whenever you can, it’s far better to schedule your posts.
While there are many tools for doing this, and I’ve heard good things about Hootsuite, personally I use Zoho Social, even though I’ve used it for 3 months, I’m still on the free trial (they give you 30 days, + 10 for tweeting about them, then 30 each for writing reviews on each of 3 different review sites), so you get something crazy like 130 days free, and even then they’re very reasonable (I’m definitely going to subscribe when my trial finally expires).
These type of tools allow you to set for posts to be made on your behalf at set times. So you can put aside an hour or so, and write a weeks worth of posts all at once, and set them to go up each day at set times. The tools post to various social networks, but I’ve been concentrating on Twitter, as they all require different ways of boosting them (I may cover other Social Networks in future posts).
Various studies say the more posts per day that you do the better, with around 6 a day being the best. Being slightly lazy, I settled for 4 at set times, boosted whenever I can with normal posts. Setting my schedule, I set a photograph to go up at 9am each day (I live in picturesque Ayrshire, so just snapping away with my phone camera when I’m out and about works great for this). I set a blog post to go up at 12 noon (just something from our past blog postings), a link to some news item or blog posting by someone else at 3pm, and finally an inspirational or amusing quote at 6pm.
I also found an app on my phone called Crowdfire, which suggests articles for tweeting, which I’ve found useful to add to my daily number of tweets (and found some amazing articles on there for myself too). I also love that it reminds you to do this everyday, and gives you a count of new followers each day, which has really helped to keep pushing me on.
Find Twitter Followers
Now, while using hashtags is useful to growing your audience, it’s also very slow. The faster way of growing your audience is to seek them out and follow them, fingers crossed they’ll have a look at what you’re posting and follow you back.
So look for leaders in your field, for us it’s other web design companies and social media managers. You’re looking for ones with thousands of followers at least on their twitter feed (lower numbers of followers tend to be friends and family, so won’t be that interested in you), these followers are people with an interest in your field/sector (or at least they’ve followed someone posting about this, so presumably do), and you want to follow them. Now the basic way is to go to their twitter, look at the Followers page, and select each one, one at a time and follow them (this is very slow and time consuming).
When I first started, I personally began using a tool called Tweepi, which allows much faster processing of follows. However, I’ve now moved to a Chrome plug in called Mass Follow for Twitter, which allows you to follow lots of potential followers very quickly.
Something to bear in mind, is that Twitter frowns on “aggressive following”, and there are certain limits you’ve got to bear in mind. Firstly, you’re not allowed to follow more than 1000 people a day, and secondly, you’re not allowed to follow more than 5000 people, or the number of people that follow you + 10%, whichever is higher. So be careful and stay well within Twitters limits, or you risk being locked out of your account, or it being shut down completely.
You’ll also notice that if you’re following 1000 people extra each day, and your limit is 5000, you’re going to quickly fill that 5000 following limit. So you’re going to need to unfollow some people. To keep this under control, I at first used a tool called Manage Flitter, which keeps track of who’s not following you back, and allows you to unfollow them.
But Mass Follow for Twitter actually does it better, allowing you to set that it works its way through your followers list and doesn’t unfollow people following you, and gives people a few days to follow you back after you follow them.
I used to think this method of gaining followers was a bit like walking up to people at a party and asking them to be your friend without any introduction, but as long as you’re following people with an interest in your field/sector I now think it’s more like walking up to someone at a convention and saying I thought you might be interested in this. Some people will find it annoying, but they are definitely in the minority.
Set a Schedule for Maintaining this
Now you’ve started you need to keep this up, you need to follow people daily, unfollow people daily, and weekly add new content for the week.
My personal schedule is that I add new content each weekend, copying pictures from my phone and having bookmarked interesting content during the week. Then each morning, first thing I do after sitting down at my desk is start Mass Follow and get it doing it’s magic. Time wise, it takes between an hour and two each weekend, and between 5 and 30 minutes each day, which for the results I feel is very reasonable.
While there are lots of guides out there, many of which are probably better than this one. This is what I’ve been doing, and the lessons I’ve learnt along the way, it’s grown my twitter by over 8200%, hopefully it will be of use to you too.
If you’ve got any questions, or want any advice or help growing your Twitter following then feel free to get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org.