The Beginner’s Guide to Increasing Your Twitter Following Organically
After our last post about the Krazy Fish easy online personal reputation management formula, we received an interesting wave of questions from people about how to garner an organic audience on Twitter. There isn’t really a set and overnight formula for that, but there are some basic steps that can be followed and that certainly can’t hurt.
First things first – why are you using Twitter? Before we tell you how to use the third most popular social network in the world, let’s figure out what you’re doing there in the first place. Here are a few reasons we usually get from people.
- I follow and message my friends on Twitter. – Umm… you’re on the wrong app. You were looking for an IM app. Try Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp or Viber.
- I want more followers! – Why? Anything in particular you’d like to tell those followers about? Or were you just looking for more followers because someone told you it’s a good thing? If it’s the latter, just shut down your account. Now. Followers mean nothing without content and goals.
- I’m looking to stay informed about stuff. – That’s the ticket! That’s exactly what Twitter is best at – providing real-time information from countless (and often unreliable) sources. Verify information before you RT though.
- I need visibility for professional/business purposes. – If you’re a FMCG brand, service-based business selling directly to consumers or a freelancer or small business offering services to a niche audience, then you’re in the right place. Twitter might very well be the best place to begin building your online presence and reputation.
That being said (and decided), you don’t want just anyone following you on Twitter. Hopefully, you’ve devised a few basic goals and a plan for what you’d like to accomplish on social networks. You’ll need a specific audience that can help you do that. Consider exactly whom you’re trying to reach. Be as specific as possible and create several profiles. Hint: “Millennials” are not a target audience. Millennials are an age group and a wide one at that – there are approximately 70 million Millennials in the U.S. market alone. And “I want to reach 70 million people between the ages of 20 and 34” isn’t a goal.
What follows could be described as a very basic how-to for using Twitter. The truth is the best way to grow a large, healthy Twitter following is to be highly active on the platform daily and use it properly.
If you have 500 or fewer followers on Twitter, by using the platform properly and following these steps actively and meticulously, you should be able to double the number of relevant followers you have within three to four months. If you have over 1000 followers and you add original content of your own (blog, video, images), garnering new relevant followers should go a lot faster, at least until you hit around 5000 followers, at which point you’ll need more original content and a new strategy. These numbers, of course, are average estimates and depend greatly on your target market and niche.
Follow your interests.
Once you’ve specifically imagined the typical representatives of your target group, try putting yourself in their shoes for a minute and consider the language they use on social networks and what their other interests might be. Then use those keywords to find them on Twitter.
Twitter’s login page says: “Follow your interests.” So that’s where you start. Whether you’re new to Twitter or you’ve been on there for a while but still haven’t figured it out, head on over to Twitter Search, look up topics you and/or your audience are interested in and start listening and reading up on your favorite subjects and current events.
Unlike on Facebook and LinkedIn, relationships on Twitter are more casual.
(Re)Search and Follow
While you’re searching for interesting tweets and current information, get to following users that you either find interesting or that might be interested in what you have to say. Feel free to follow as many users as you’d like, but keep in mind that Twitter does have certain restrictions and limits regarding following.
Unlike on Facebook and LinkedIn, relationships on Twitter are more casual and less committed. If you follow someone, you’re not necessarily expected to keep following them in the future. Maybe you decided to follow a major media journalist covering the 2016 US election, to stay up-to-date with this major current event. Feel free to unfollow them as soon as November 9th. And no hard feelings if and when users unfollow you. We recommend cleaning up your following list and following a batch of new users (within Twitter limits) about once a week.
Up-to-date information is valid currency on Twitter.
Sharing and Value
And now you’re ready to start sharing. The most common mistake we see users making is, whether as a brand or an individual, using their Twitter stream to share only their own content and opinions. You wouldn’t just go out into a street and shout your opinions randomly at people passing by, would you? Don’t be the crazy guy on the soap box warning about the end of the world and telling people their souls are doomed for all eternity. It’s just weird.
Offer your audience something of value. Up-to-date information is valid currency on Twitter. If you’re really knowledgeable about a certain topic, then make sure to stay up-to-date on that topic yourself and share the latest news and thoughts related to that field with your followers. Ten to twenty tweets per day on your topics of interest should be your minimal goal and a must for garnering more targeted followers.
Engagement breeds engagement.
And here’s the kicker. Engagement is what really gets you a following. But how do you achieve this, the most coveted of all social media marketing goals? Easy – engagement breeds engagement. And the only reason this is the tough part is because this requires true time and effort.
Ask your audience a question. Retweet another user and add commentary. Respond to someone’s opinion. Start a discussion. Get involved. There are no shortcuts when it comes to efficient engagement on any social media platform. You’ll just have to join the conversation and see where it takes you.
Speaking of which, due to the high volume of emails flooding our inboxes (but what else is new), we’ve decided to make it easier to ask us questions about online channels, engagement, and reputation management by setting up a public discussion group on our website. You can access the public group either by heading over to our Personal Rep Management Group page or emailing us at firstname.lastname@example.org.