Two years ago I had less than three hundred Twitter followers; a week ago I passed ten thousand. I’m not a celebrity, I don’t have a bestselling novel, and I don’t have a fan base, and yet I managed to increase my followers and have fun in the process. Want to know how?
Strategies to help you flourish in Twitterland:
Before you follow anyone, put up content.
People want to know who you are and what you are likely to post. Keep your tweets positive, visually appealing, and relevant to your brand. Include hastags relevant to your post (#amwriting #naturelover #foodie #blog etc.). If you’re tweeting about a current event or cause, be sure to look up the trending hashtag and use it.
Pin a tweet to your profile page.
Tip: Include a photo (preferably with text and website) and/or a link in the message to your website, blog, or book. You can find the pinning option at the bottom-right of all your tweets.l
You will gain followers faster if you follow in high volume. So now that you have a dozen fabulous tweets on your profile, it’s time to start following accounts by the hundreds!
Don’t worry about cluttering your news feed. Twitter is the land of hashtags and lists. If you want to read cool content, just search an interesting hashtag, and voila! Or create a list of favorite accounts to peruse when you wish. (More on lists later)
Follow accounts that relate to your brand. Does that sound impersonal? If it does, you’re still thinking of Twitter as Facebook with a 140 character limit. It’s not. Twitter is a global community of strangers, so you won’t be searching for your high school buddy.
Follow the people who follow similar accounts to yours. You can do this directly through their profile or you can use a free service like Crowdfire to “copy” their followers.
Tip: While some Twitter users follow-back without exception, you may want to avoid suspicious, offensive, or annoying accounts. Twitter can be a positive, fun place, but there are users who hide violent agendas beneath benign or enticing profiles. I check profiles before I follow them.
Twitter will prevent you from following new people if too many of the people you follow don’t follow you back. Crowdfire is a great tool for ridding yourself of these non-followers. Check every week (more often if you hit your following limit) and either “whitelist” the accounts that are important to you or unfollow them. This will make room for you to follow new Twitter users who will hopefully follow back.
Weed out non-followers.
Tip: Don’t worry about hurt feelings. This isn’t Facebook. You can still promote and mention accounts you don’t follow.
#4 RETWEET & MENTION
Now that you’re tweeting awesome content and gaining followers by the hundreds, it’s time to retweet others. (Actually, start this right away!) As I’ve mentioned, Twitter thrives on reciprocation. Do this by retweeting things you like, especially if they are posted by Twitter users who support you. Quote tweets are best since others can then retweet your retweet. Think of it as building good Twitter karma. Here’s one I did for my author friend @JonathanMaberry.
Retweet any compliments or promotions tweeted about you. Nothing speaks better of you than unsolicited praise. Retweet directly or with a “quote” from you expressing your appreciation.
Mentioning others is another way to share the love. Twitter users tend to investigate and follow accounts they see mentioned. Use their Twitter handle when you promote someone, welcome or thank them, or if they are relevant to your tweet (although be careful not to abuse this last one.)
Tip: Use mentions and hashtags in your sentence instead of at the end in order to save space.
#5 PROMOTE OTHERS
Twitter users love it when you tweet about their accomplishments and promote their endeavors. This is best done with bold statements accompanied by links to their website, relevant hashtags, and mentioning any groups to which they belong. (Associations and publishers will usually retweet your promotion.) Check out @KJHoweAuthor.
Tip: Make your promotion pop by creating art (with text) or by posting a photo of the Twitter user, book, or event. I’ve even made collages for my author friends with their photo and their book. While it takes extra time, it adds a personal touch that shows you care.
Replying to a tweet is a great way to build relationships with your followers. My author friend and Twitter mentor, the fabulous Cara Brookins, does this better than anyone I know. Do yourself a favor and visit her profile page @cmbrookins. Study it. And follow. To date, she has 259,000 followers and follows 241,000. Cara is a prime example of what happens when you post well-crafted, visually appealing content, engage with the Twitter community, and follow back!
Don’t waste your replies by speaking to one person when you can phrase it to speak to many. This advice was given to me by Cara, and I use it every time I reply—even in chatty tweets with close friends! Just imagine your reply standing on its own. Is it positive, thought provoking, or humorous? Does it have a photo? Did you include relevant hashtags?
You can also make a reply tweet-worthy by responding with a “quote retweet.”
My Babi Guling tweet was in “reply” to a question from @YvonneNavarro, who responded with a “quote tweet.” Both methods are retweet-worthy.
You’ll get added to lists if you use hashtags and tweet content that’s interesting, helpful, positive, humorous, or inspirational. I’ve been added to over two hundred lists. (Bonus: If you subscribe to these lists, they’ll show up in your list count.)
Follow the other members of any list to which you are added. This will become impractical, but it’s an easy method for newbies to find like-minded people to follow. Check out the lists of accounts you like (top-right of profile).
Tip: Social Media experts are great at following. Be sure to periodically retweet some of their informative content with #socialmedia in the tweet. You’ll learn great tips and you’ll get added to social media lists.
Twitter is more fun when you stay on top of it, otherwise it can feel overwhelming. So check in through the day and take care of the basics: follow backs, likes, retweets, mentions, promoting others, blocking offensive users, posting new content, and following new accounts.
Tip: Do this during breaks or waiting periods so social media doesn’t infringe on your prime creative/productive time!