How to Get More Twitter Followers

Strangely, three people asked me how I got so many twitter followers in the last week. I gave the same answer, which is there is no secret, but there are some tricks and I thought I might as well write them out here. Now, here is the big fatty disclaimer: I am no social media expert. Obviously. I only have 930ish followers, which must be just the right level of approachable. Why do I think I have some insight in to the topic? In my former life, I did performance improvement. My entire job was to observe, record and analyze patterns. You can’t just turn that off. I have not done all of these tricks, but I have heard about them, observed them or tried them. They are just ideas – no guarantees. Also, take this with a grain of salt. People can spot insincerity pretty easily.

Edited to add: I just want to reiterated what Slee said in the comments. The best way to get more twitter followers is to tweet original content that people enjoy. Retweets will happen, followers will happen. This is more advice for how to get a little numbers boost.

General:

  • Follow people who follow back. Sounds simple enough, but how do you find these people?
  1. Look for people with a similar number of followers/following. Not a guarantee, but more likely.
  2. People with a large difference are unlikely to follow back. For example, I follow 1/3 the number of followers I have. I do not auto follow back.
  3. Follow smaller businesses, especially etsy sellers. They will mostly follow back, but use guidelines 1-2.
  4. Follow side projects of more established bloggers/tweeters. Especially if you can get in on it in the beginning. For example, I follow back almost everyone on my two other twitter accounts. So, if you get nothing else out of this post, I can get you 2 followers. Follow Vintage Peach Boutique and Soup or Salad Blog and I will follow back. Heh.
  • Don’t bother with celebrities. At least in terms of getting followers. The odds that they will reply or retweet you are not in your favor. If you get something valuable from the follow than do it for sure, just don’t expect to get any followers out of the deal.
  • If you want people to notice your retweets, do it as a mention instead of using the retweet button.
  • If you have a blog and do giveaways, make following you on twitter an entry.
  • The power of positive tweeting. It is true that negative tweets get more RTs and responses, but if you are a constant downer, people may unfollow.
  • Followers beget followers. This is the one you can’t conquer. The more followers you have, the more people follow you. That is where following back comes in to play. If you really just want numbers, follow everyone back and use lists to manage your timeline.

Tactical:

  • There are people who, for whatever reason, don’t check their followers to follow back. They might use an application, only use their phone or mostly use Twitter to respond to mentions. Periodically, they announce “Say Hi, I’ll follow back.” Say hi as soon as possible after that statement. Don’t be shy. They are clearly in a following mood. Side Note: I tried this method (as the maker of the statement) a few times and hated it. All of these people popped up who never talked to me again. Clearly they only wanted the follow.
  • There is another type of tweeter who might say, “I only follow people I talk to. Let’s chat” For this type, I recommend replying to their tweets. It is the easiest way to start up a conversation. People don’t always respond to a random mention.
  • Follow Friday is tricky. Some people automatically follow everyone who sends them a #ff and some do not. If you are just being mercenary, send a #ff to people who retweet their follow fridays. It is an unpopular practice, but gets your name out there.
  • Have a picture as your icon and fill-in the bio. I have seen people put “I follow back” in there bio, but I am not sure how effective it is and seems a little off somehow, to me at least.
  • Use the tools that are out there who unfollowed me lets you check unfollows/who isn’t following you back, friend or follow is another good tool.
  • If people tweet a I’m trying to get to so many follower tweet, follow them. Normally, they will be grateful and trying to hold on to the numbers and they will follow right back.

Chatter:

  • Find twitter chats (not sponsored company twitter parties). The first one that comes to mind it #wineparty. Spend a few chats getting a feel for the crowd, see if it is something you like and participating. There tends to be a lot of co-following during parties like this. Also, if you are an established player, a well placed “Oh. I am so close to 200 followers, help me out,” can net you a ton of followers.
  • Jump in on conversations between two people you follow when it makes sense and provide value. If they are talking about Real Housewives, don’t just chime in with “I love that show too,” have a comment about what is going on, say your favorite housewife, offer a juicy tidbit you read in a tabloid.

Groups:

  • Join a few communities. BlogFrog is one. Most of them eventually have a follow me and I will follow you thread. Jump in. Side note: I tried this a few times. While there was a gem or two in the bunch, mostly it wasn’t people I liked talking to and I wasn’t interested in their tweets. I ended up unfollowing most of them and got unfollowed right back.
  • Get a toehold in a clique. Start talking to one or two people. Then a few more. Make sure you like them and have interests in common and then follow everyone those people talk to. While you may never be integrated into the clique, you’ll be a recognizable acquaintance and they may retweet follow requests or introduce you to a few new people.
  • Attend a blog conference. You will meet people and can tweet them with a nice to meet you at so and so. They might follow. Also, there tends to be a flurry of co-following among attendees right before the conference.

This is almost everything I know. Keeping your followers is up to you.

A final caveat: social media for most of us, is a hobby and form of entertainment. I don’t think I recommend doing anything just for the sake of followers. I must say, I started enjoying twitter a lot more when I stopped caring about the numbers and just had fun. Got more followers, too.

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23 Responses to “How to Get More Twitter Followers”

  1. Suzanne says:

    I think the advice about groups is the best. I’ve ended up following a LOT of people because they get mentioned in a conversation two or more people I already follow are having.

    I heard a “social media expert” say once that the trick to being popular is social media is an 80-20 rule of promotions. You should be promoting OTHER people 80% of the time and yourself 20%. That means retweeting other people, linking to their posts, mentioning their products, generally helping THEM get exposure more than you do for yourself. Reading a stream of tweets that’s nothing but links to the tweeter’s blog is boring and unnecessary and results in lost followers.

    I think something else important to remember is getting the first couple hundred followers is the hardest. Once you have 500+ your numbers grow much much faster, because when someone checks you out they think “Oh look, 500 people think this person is worth following! I shall also follow them!”

    [Reply]

    Amy Reply:

    So true about the first 500 followers. And it speeds up a little after about 150 too. It is a catch-22 because really no one wants to follow someone with less than 100 followers and it is SO hard to get those early numbers.

    [Reply]

  2. Great tips!

    [Reply]

    Amy Reply:

    Thanks!

    [Reply]

  3. slee says:

    Don’t forget occasionally have useful original content and if you just want a numbers boost say “boobs” or “penis” every off and on and. Watch the bots hop on your follow-wagon, lol.
    Also, I never check my who-follows-me because I use aps and my phone, and am lazy. I do occasionally friend-or-follow, but generally follow back people who engage in interesting exchanges, or ones I find via convos friends are having when I skim their feed.

    [Reply]

    Amy Reply:

    I made a little edit based on your comment. I meant this more as being a how to on getting followers without having useful and original content. Which is the BEST was to get new followers, but may be the hardest. Thanks for commenting. I think we follow new people in much the same way. There are also a few people that I pay attention when they say to follow someone.

    [Reply]

  4. Jenni Chiu says:

    Interesting observations, lady!
    I am SO NOT a fan of people who retweet their FF mentions… or Twitter parties, really.
    But I suppose there is always a level of personal preference involved with how/why/when one tweets.

    [Reply]

    Amy Reply:

    There is a huge level of preference. I am not a fan of people who retweet their FF mentions or mentions at all. It is one thing if someone huge on the twitters RTs you or something. Sure, share that. But every single mention? Few things get my unfollowing finger twitching faster. I mentioned #wineparty specifically because I saw someone get 75 followers in an hour because of #wineparty reweets.

    [Reply]

  5. Jenni Chiu says:

    PS- I’m so tweeting this! ;)

    [Reply]

  6. Kim says:

    Thanks, I was wondering how to find some more followers o have the ones I follow. follow me back :)

    [Reply]

    Amy Reply:

    It is a matter of finding the right people for the most part. These will work, but having a good time and following people you like is important, too.

    [Reply]

  7. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by mommyinnj and Life On The Mom List, Jenni Chiu. Jenni Chiu said: Interesting… Which ones do you do? RT @babybabylemon: {New Post} How to get more twitter followers – kind of http://bit.ly/hoLA1f […]

  8. Natalie says:

    So, am I in a clique? ;op I need to work on my numbers slightly, but for just a little over a month of tweeting, I’m not doing half bad.

    I’m enjoying the twitters. Sure, my google reader is taking a hit, but it is definitely helping my sanity.

    [Reply]

    Amy Reply:

    I don’t think you need any help. Over 200 followers in 30 days with out a market strategy, giveaways, a huge blog following or much effort is pretty darn impressive.

    [Reply]

  9. Holly says:

    I’m always conflicted about the followers I get that are obviously not spam bots but I have actually no interest in what they are tweeting. I mean, blocking them seems a little harsh but at the same time, they seem to only be following me to get followers.

    I like twitter a lot and have found a ton of awesome people and blogs through it.

    [Reply]

    Amy Reply:

    That is why exactly I stopped following back. I honestly don’t care who follows me. The more the merrier. I only block spammy people that @ me. Otherwise I leave them alone. The private function is great if you want to control who follows you.

    [Reply]

  10. ashley says:

    thanks for this post- i’m a twitter-newbie and i’ve been “replying” to your tweets all day, but perhaps you don’t see them because.. you DON’T FOLLOW ME! what’s that rule? follow those who follow you? i kid, i kid.. really though- thanks for the post.. blogging and tweeting is fun and all, but really.. there’s such a science behind both!! twitter (in the 3 weeks that i’ve had it) has really introduced me to some other great “mom-blogs” out there!

    [Reply]

    Amy Reply:

    Replied to tweets show up in mentions, so people see them. I don’t follow back right away, and I don’t follow back every reply. I do try and follow everyone I have a little chat with. I just scrolled back and I have two mentions from two different people that are people I don’t follow. So, try chatting again. I never said I did these things, just that I have seen them done. Thanks for stopping by!

    [Reply]

    Amy Reply:

    Also, by any chance are you set to private?

    [Reply]

  11. Colleen says:

    People can look up their city on Twestival.com and see if there is a Twestival going on near them. The date for this is March 24th of this yes, and it’s a charitable festival that started up as an idea on Twitter. Therefore, most of the people who go are on twitter, and tickets to that are way cheaper than most blog conferences.

    [Reply]

    Amy Reply:

    Oh, I had no idea! Thanks for the info. I’ll check it out and maybe make an edit to the post.

    [Reply]

  12. Kim says:

    How dare Ellen DeGeneres not follow me back! haha

    I started out automatically following everyone back through socialoomph, but I stopped because I was only getting followers who wanted the follow back, and it was getting out of control. Now I’m bad about following back unless someone reaches out to me. And I follow new people when I see people I like talking to them. That’s how I found you :)

    [Reply]

    Amy Reply:

    Exactly. I have found most of the people I really like through mutual contacts or a few messages back and forth. Otherwise, I just feel like my steam is cluttered and I miss things.

    [Reply]

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