I received an email from a friend yesterday asking for my advice on how to get new Twitter followers; and I thought I would share my response.
It’s by no means a definitive list, but I hope that my advice is of use to Alex (follow her here NOW!) and also to any other Twitter newbies.
The topic of how to get new followers has been covered a lot – but I’m interested in seeing what other people’s answers may have been.
What have I missed? What would you add/take out if a friend asked you the same question? Indeed – are there any hard and fast rules?
I’d love to hear your comments – perhaps we can make this a definitive list after all?
So, here’s my response:
1. Twitter followers take time – a loooooong time to build up. I would say that you have to choose what you want to be known for, and stick to it where possible.
2. For example I tweet about public relations and social media – so most tweets that I post are about these subjects and share some kind of value to others who are interested in those subjects too (i.e.: links to blog posts, interesting news articles, podcasts, videos, hints and tips etc). This is where a lot of time is spent – trying to source interesting stuff to share!
3. You should also use hashtags where possible – for example if I search #PR on Twitter then loads of tweets come up from other people who have used that hashtag – you should then follow these people if they interest you (and hope they follow you back) and also start using the hashtag yourself to try and attract people to you. There’s hundreds of hashtags – play around and see what ones are suitable for your industry.
4. Search for people who work in the same field as you who you find interesting and follow them – re-tweet their posts and reply to them (try and engage them in conversation) they should then hopefully remember you and eventually follow you back.
5. Add your Twitter handle to emails/business cards/LinkedIn profile/ blogs etc.
6. Create your own content – if you have a company blog or personal one tweet this content so it’s completely fresh and you’re not always relying on third party content.
7. Try using a system like Hootsuite which allows you to shorten links (meaning when you’re sharing content you aren’t using up loads of your 140 characters) and track the statistics (so you can see what posts people are clicking on and therefore find interesting).
8. Try and get involved in a Twitter chat that’s around your industry – for example #commschat is a weekly Twitter chat about PR and communications (try Google to find suitable ones)
There’s loads more tips but hopefully that will get you started. I think it’s worth saying that it does take a lot of time but don’t get disheartened. It took me ages to understand Twitter!
On reflection I would also add the following:
9. Tweet regularly – not too much and not too little.
10. Learn how and when to use the ‘@’ signs and ‘DM’ function. I.e.: If you put the ‘@’ at the front of a tweet it will only go to the person you are speaking to – it won’t show up in the news feed of other followers. If the tweet is aimed at someone in particular but you think it would be of use to others too, use the ‘@’ function at the end or in the middle. And DMs should definitely be used when a conversation is becoming irrelevant to your other followers (organising a jolly down the pub with friends or something).
FINAL POINT: Follwers aren’t everything – like many things in life it’s quality not quantity!