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The ultimate (but simple) guide to getting more Twitter followers

To get more followers on Twitter (I have 4,800 now!), there are three main ways of gaining followers:

  1. Passive ways
  2. Proactive means
  3. Automated following

All of these methods rely on you putting up interesting content to your target market, but you must also follow the rule of thirds for your tweets: one third about you and what you’re doing with your business (not selling, just talking about what you are getting up to in your business); another third must be replies to people (after all, you’re looking to engage with your followers); and the last third about your business (e.g. links to blog posts).

Until you’re established on Twitter (think 500+ followers), don’t be tempted to advertise on Twitter. Out of about 10-15 tweets I post up a day, I only allow myself one tweet which is an advertisement for one of my products.

Plan to tweet daily and tweet 5+ times a day. Use a free service like Hootsuite or FutureTweets to pre-schedule your tweets, or a paid-for solution like SocialOomph or Tweet Spinner if you want to be able to bulk upload your tweets.

Let’s start with passive ways:

These include advertising you’re on Twitter on your business card, website pages, email signature, forum profiles, forum signatures (which are appended to the end of your posts). There are some great free social media icons and widgets you can use. I got mine from this webpage:

These ways all rely on the fact that someone sees that you’re on Twitter and also have a Twitter account. I probably get a small percentage of my new followers this way.

I get a significant portion of my new followers by posting up regular interesting content which is normally retweeted by my engaged followers. This becomes a virtuous circle as I attract even more followers who are interested in my tweets.

Proactive ways:

This involves finding people you want to follow you back, i.e. people who are well connected to your target market. Don’t leave it to chance and hope that they’ll follow you back, drop them an @reply along the lines of “Hi, new follower here, I’m following you because…”. At least 80 per cent of people will follow you back after this. When I started, I would target a maximum of 30 people at a time using this route.

Automated following:

Use this method selectively, as you should aim to always have a larger proportion of followers than friends. But certain pieces of software like Tweet Adder, Tweet Spinner, SocialOomph or Pluggio will help find you followers. These tools can be used to get a bigger following quickly – but will not help you engage with your followers.

Heather Townsend, Britain’s queen of networking, is the founder of The Efficiency Coach, a company that helps professionals achieve better business results for less effort. Follow her Joined Up Networking blog for more useful tips and tricks. She has just been commissioned to write the FT Guide to Business Networking.

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