While we’ve said many times that follower count means less on Twitter than influence, followers are still an integral part of a successful Twitter presence.
If you’re looking to grow your follower count in a sustainable, meaningful way, here are 10 tips to get you started.
Pay attention to your profile. An up-to-date bio (and one that is optimized to get targeted followers) and a good headshot of yourself goes a long way in attracting followers. And if you have described your Twitter interests in your bio, you’re more likely to get targeted followers who are interested in similar things as yourself – people who are more likely to find you interesting and retweet your thoughts.
Create a tweet schedule. A tweet schedule will keep your Twitter account active even when you’re not at the computer or on your smartphone. It’s a great tool for anyone who has a lot to say, but a busy lifestyle! You can create a tweet schedule to send out tweets that you write in advance at a later time or date, which will ensure that you are tweeting regularly. This will signal to other Twitter users that you’re an active participant on Twitter (as long as you are also spending time retweeting and having conversations), and should serve to increase your follower count over time.
Engage. One of the most important things to do on Twitter is to be active. Sure, you can use it to lurk, follow celebrities and passively listen in on the conversations happening around the Trending Topics, but you won’t gain any followers this way. If you are engaged with your network – actively replying, retweeting and sending out links to quality content – you will find that new followers will trickle in at a steady pace.
Use Twitter directories. There are several directories (like WeFollow.com and Listorious.com) which categorize Twitter users into areas of interest and expertise. You can find some great influencers in your niche by exploring these resources. If you follow quality people on Twitter, not only will many of them follow you back, but you’ll have more interesting things to retweet yourself.
Understand and use hashtags. Hashtags like #socialmedia go a long way in attracting followers. By using appropriate hashtags in your tweets, you’ll be doing two important things: signalling to anyone reading your tweet what the main topic is and what you are likely to be tweeting about regularly; and including your tweet in the search results for that particular hashtag. Both of these results of hashtag use (note: not hashtag stuffing, but rather the proper use of hashtags) will serve to attract followers interested in the hashtags and topics you tweet about most.
Go to Tweetups. Tweetups are in-person get-togethers with the people you interact with on Twitter, and a great way to get to know your followers better. You can also gain new followers if you extend the Tweetup invite to the networks of your direct followers. If you are interested in setting up your own Tweetup, check out Twtvite.com.
Share your Twitter account with your other networks. Linking to your Twitter account on your blog, website, Facebook profile, email signature, LinkedIn profile and anywhere else that you have a web presence will help boost your follower count too. Just make sure that it’s linked-to in a tasteful and non-spammy way – i.e. don’t repeat your Twitter handle gratuitously in a blog post, but instead link to it once at the bottom or include a Follow button on the sidebar.
Add your Twitter username to your business card. This way you’ll be able to connect on Twitter with those whom you met at conferences, meetups, and other networking events.
Tweet multimedia. Twitter isn’t just about sharing other people’s links. You can include photos in your tweets to attract more followers, as multimedia shows that you are a diverse tweeter.
Monitor your follower growth. When you’re doing something right, it important that you know it! Use a service like TwitterCounter.com to check up on how many followers you’re gaining on average per day, and see which actions increase this number faster than others.