So you’re set up on Twitter. You’ve got the perfect headshot for your profile picture, you’ve narrowed down which hashtags you need to focus on, and you’re ready to write and schedule plenty of perfectly curated, 280-character nuggets of wisdom. You’re doing everything right, but you’re still speaking to the same few followers you gained in the first few months of tweeting.
Now what? Where do you go from here?
Well, read on, and consider a few steps you can take right now to increase your Twitter following, and grow your online presence.
1. Clean Up Your Content
Just as a chain is only as strong as its weakest link, your Twitter presence is only as good as your individual tweets are. Make sure that your copy is original, quippy, and concise. Being professional does not mean you have to be boring and stuffy. This is Twitter after all, so let the medium set your pace. Take on an authentic, conversational tone and have some fun. Add a funny one-liner to tweets about info, statistics, or news so followers are motivated to share them. Got a really interesting statistic? Find or create an image that conveys the numbers in a fun and memorable way. We’ve all seen the bar graphs and pie charts, so be creative!
Don’t forget to pose questions with open ended answers. Asking short questions that elicit replies is a great way to increase your own engagement while getting on other people’s feeds (which means fresh eyes on your original tweet!).
Finally, hit that retweet button. It’s a great way to show your audience that you want to share things that you find important or worth passing forward. Retweeting tells your followers “I like this and I think you will too.” It gives your account a human touch which can be hard to find amid so many formulaic feeds. Mind how much you retweet, though. Too little original content and you’ll look like you have nothing of your own to say.
Before sending out your tweet, ask yourself: would I retweet this if I saw this from another account? If the answer is no, revise it until it’s up to par.
2. Follow the Right Accounts
Following the right accounts can help in two ways. Following people with similar careers for from within your industry can help you make some important connections. It can also help keep your content feed fresh and relevant. Do keep in mind that Twitter can create small, insular social circles if you aren’t careful. Take a look at who you’re following and who follows you. Are they all brands or businesses? People who are in the same industry? If those bases are covered, it’s time to start looking at some fresh accounts to follow and getting them to follow you in return! You’ll get exposure to a whole new crowd of people, some of whom might be your next clients or customers, or might become professional contacts.
Following accounts from outside your industry also boosts your authenticity and improves the content on your feed. It shows your audience that you’re not just another business talking at people, but rather a participant in the wider conversation. A tech company might want to pass on retweeting some new aspect of cryptocurrency, but could instead retweet something about the top 10 places to go camping, while still tying it back to a new piece of mapping software or social media app. Just be sure you’re not straying too far from topic. As long as they’re even peripherally relevant, keep those retweets coming.
3. Host a Contest
If you’ve hit a follower plateau, hosting a contest or giveaway will almost always increase the size of your audience. The problem we see most often is businesses getting so caught up in the nitty gritty details that they lose sight of why they’re hosting a contest in the first place. Remember, the main goal is to gain as many followers as possible so keep it simple. Don’t ask for the world from your participants. The lower the barrier to entry is, the more entries (and new followers) you’ll have.
If you’re doing a giveaway, ask for a simple follow and a like on that tweet. That’s it. Rules for submitting work for a contest should be kept to only following the account and submitting the work. Many brands try to add more rules to keep people from cheating the system but the fewer hurdles you ask people to overcome, the less cheating there will be anyway.
Always, always, always post the winners! Some of your followers won’t remember the contest or that they submitted an entry. But there’s a sense of authenticity and responsibility that comes when you do post the winner. It shows that the contest wasn’t a scam, that you care about the people who entered, and that you’re excited about who has won. It’s quite literally a win, win situation.
4. Create and Leverage Your Social Media Connections
Do you have a few followers that are always liking or retweeting your tweets? Maybe a few accounts that you share fun banter with or who have a great feed that you’re lucky enough to make an appearance on every now and again? Cultivate those relationships. As you foster them, you’ll be able to start collaborating (like on a contest, say) or partnering up to retweet each other and get some mutual exposure.
Need a hand getting those relationships started? Start by engaging with accounts you follow. Mention them in your tweets, retweet them, or like their tweets. The accounts you retweet are more likely to retweet you, in return. After all, you’ve paid them quite a compliment by featuring their content.
If you can, try sending them a direct message introducing yourself, congratulating them on a new accomplishment, sharing a great article, and so on. Keep those messages short, simple, occasional, and 100% free of expectation. If you’re not getting any response after a few messages, move on to other accounts.
Larger accounts (think ~15,000 followers or more) are going to be more much more difficult to engage with unless your follow count is in the same ballpark. But hard doesn’t mean impossible!
Stick with the tactics mentioned above and you just might be the next retweet on TechCrunch. Why not book yourself in for a free digital marketing strategy session, to hammer out the details? Don’t forget to check us out on Facebook and Twitter for more great digital marketing tips like these.