10 Surefire Ways to Get Me to Follow Your Twitter Account

seanrnicholson
Sean Nicholson Director of Social Media, SocMedSean.com

Posted on August 3rd 2011

10 Surefire Ways to Get Me to Follow Your Twitter Account

As a followup to my previous article on 10 Surefire Ways To Get Me To Avoid Your Twitter Account, I thought it might be a good idea to write a post detailing good habits that will attract me to review and (hopefully) follow your account. This post is dedicated to my good friend @michelejarchow who is just getting started on Twitter, so I hope these tips and best practices help her ease into Twitter and discover the great resource that it can be.

1) Show Me Your Face – In my humble opinion, a good Twitter profile definitely starts with a photo. Something personal, something that tells me who you are.

2) Pick A Good Handle – your handle is going to be your Twitter identity forever, so pick something good. Something like ARE2022 doesn’t tell me anything about who you are or what you tweet about. If it’s your name, great. If it’s your area of interest, great. Just make it something other than a bunch of random characters.

3) Tell Me About Yourself – Sure, Twitter limits your profile to 160 characters so you don’t need to tell me everything, just something that will catch my eye and give me some insight as to who you are. Remember, good Tweeters are clear and concise, so this is your first chance to practice brevity.

4) Unlock Yourself – If you follow me and then make your Tweets private, don’t expect me to follow back. I don’t follow people unless I can read their tweets. So come on….be social…unlock your Twitter account.

5) Tweet Something Useful – Give me something I can learn from. Tweet an article you just read. Tweet about an upcoming Webinar or a conference you’re attending. Give me something that I’ll find useful.

6) ReTweet Someone Else – One of the best features of Twitter is the Retweet button. When you read a tweet that you like or read an article that someone has shared on Twitter, be sure to RT it. This is the power of Twitter in that it helps me find articles that I might not have otherwise found. I look to those who I follow to provide me with great articles. It’s what I love most about the folks I follow.

7) Use HashTags Correctly – Think of hashtags as keywords that can be added to your tweet when the keyword isn’t already in your tweet. Hashtag abuse can get annoying really quickly. So, be judicious in your use of a hashtag and add them to your tweets when they are appropriate. To show an example, imagine that I tweeted something about new Twitter functionality and also wanted to make sure that those who are interested in social media were made aware of the tweet. To accomplish this, I might add a keyword like this:

Not a big fan of the fact that some people add animated GIFs to their Twitter profile photos. #socialmedia

In this example, not only will those searching for “Twitter” will find the tweet, but so will those searching for “socialmedia”. Make sense?

8 ) Follow Others Back – You don’t have to follow me. In fact, I’d suggest you only follow me if you’re interested in the things I tweet about. But be sure to follow others back who follow you. If you have 3,000 followers and only follow 50, then I consider you to be a Twitter snob. You like to be the center of attention, but don’t like to acknowledge that other people have something valuable to say to you.

On the other hand, if you follow 7,000 people and only 300 follow you back that tells me that you are either using auto-follow software to rack up “bragging numbers” or you follow everyone under the sun, but no one else finds your tweets useful. If either of these are true, you need to seriously rethink you you are using Twitter.

9) Tweet Frequently – There is no rule of thumb as to how often you should/shouldn’t tweet. The guidance I usually give to my clients and friends is to “tweet whenever something moves you”. Something make you happy? Tweet about it. Something make you mad? Tweet about it. Did you learn something new? Tweet about it. Did you teach someone something new? Tweet about it.

You’d be surprised how often you have learning/teaching moments in your life. Share those ah-has and successes with the world.

10) But Don’t Tweet Too Frequently – I don’t care what you’re eating for breakfast. I don’t care where you’re checking-in at. I don’t care about that favorite quote (unless it’s a really, really good one). Don’t tweet just to tweet. It’s boring, clogs up my twitter feed and is a quick recipe for getting unfollowed.

Hopefully, these help some of you out there figure out ways to get folks to follow you on Twitter. If you contribute to the community, help share what others have contributed, and basically behave like a human being, you’ll do well!

Enjoy and let me know if you have any additional tips that you think others should know about.

Cheers!

–Sean

seanrnicholson

Sean Nicholson

Director of Social Media, SocMedSean.com

Director of Social Media, Tech Geek, Attorney, coffee addict. I connect people, enhance the workplace, & drive business. Connect with me on Twitter at @socmedsean or on FB at Facebook.com/socmedsean.
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Comments

 

As a business, we've discovered that it can be extremely difficult to gain a following on twitter. We've only been at it for about a week but we've made great progress. Here are a few more tricks to get people to follow you back:
-Reply to their tweets. The best way to do this is to answer a question that someone posts; however, make sure that your answer is informative yet interesting. Sadly, this still doesn't guarantee that they'll follow you back. If you really have some advice that may help that user, briefly explain that you can help them further and suggest that they direct message you for more information; that user can only direct message you if they are following you. Congratulations, you probably just got a new follower. 
-Tweet about their blogs (as long as you genuinely like them). We're a writing company so we religiously follow numerous blogs that pertain to writing, grammar, spelling, words, and punctuation. A lot of the blogs/twitter accounts that we follow don't know that we're a great resource for them as well; when we tweet that we like them and add a link to their blogs, they're notified about it. The epitome of a win-win situation, they typically follow us back and we bolster traffic to their blogs.
Happy tweeting!, 
@ballpointnews

As a business, we've discovered that it can be extremely difficult to gain a follower base on twitter. We've only been at it for about a week but we've made great progress. Here are a few more tricks to get people to follow you back:

-Reply to their tweets. The best way to do this is to answer a question that someone posts; however, make sure that your answer is informative yet interesting. Sadly, this still doesn't guarantee that they'll follow you back. If you really have some advice that may help that user, briefly explain that you can help them further and suggest that they direct message you for more information (you can only answer them once they agree to follow you). Congratulations, you probably just got a new follower. 

-Tweet about their blogs/websites (as long as you genuinely like them). We're a writing company so we religiously follow numerous blogs that pertain to writing, grammar, spelling, words, and punctuation. A lot of the blogs/twitter accounts that we follow are not yet aware that we're a great resource for them as well; when we tweet that we like them and add a link to their blog, they're notified about it. It's the epitome of a win-win situation because they (typically) follow us back and we, in turn, bolster traffic to their blogs.

Happy tweeting!, 

@ballpointnews (www.ballpoint.com

 

Great additions! Thanks for adding! --Sean

These are good tips, but I disagree with tweeting when you're angry (mentioned in the ninth tip). I agree with being personable and with being a human rather than being a brand, but I don't think that means I should tweet every time I'm happy or angry. I use Twitter primarily for business, and it only makes me look bad if I vent about work. Emotions, particularly angry ones, are better served in the offline world.

It's a great point about tweeting when you're angry, Erin! My point is that we should tweet about those things that anger us (bad service, faulty products, misrepresentations, etc...) but I agree that tweeting angry can have bad consequences! Thanks for the input! --Sean

I agree with everything you said except for the "Show me your face" part. I dont know about you, but I remember a logo faster than I will remember a face or a name. Everybody on the internet looks the same. Haha.

 

Also, a lot of people on twitter (especially spam accounts) use fake pictures of other peoples faces anyways. A lot of spammers do not go through the trouble of making a logo because it takes time. But it only takes 1 seconds to steal a picture of someone elses face, you know what I mean?

Kent, See my earlier comment, I really prefer personal photos but to each their own! Just because some folks don't play by the rules doesn't mean we can't show who we are. The same folks who swipe photos could just as easily swipe a company logo. My $.02... --Sean

Great tips! One question though as I notice you do use a logo and not a personal photo. Do you think it is better to use a photo of a person for a brand/business twitter account or to rather use the company logo? We are also using a logo as the tweets are not coming from one voice/person but do realize many twitter blogs and articles suggest humanizing your twitter account with an actual photo.

Thanks for all the info - keep it coming!

 

@operationsinc

I think it would be more professional and probably beneficial to your company if you're using the logo. Unless your brand endorses one specific person as their company image. But even then it could be more useful to have a company profile and a separate profile for the personalised one and use them separately in specific ways. That sort of thing can make a huge impact on busy - and if the person ever comes into bad press it's probably better for the company to have their online presence separate for the personal presence. For social media training check out www.socialmediaeducation.com/

 

I actually use personal photos on both of my Twitter accounts and I prefer to see the smiling faces of folks on Twitter. I'm not a big fan of faceless companies Tweeting, I would rather see the people behind the brand! Those are my preferences, though...to each their own :) --Sean

You are way off base on item 8, especially if you are enforcing item 5.

You should absolutely follow people you are interested in listening to, but you should never feel like you need to follow everyone who follows you. If you say something that your followers want to engage with, they will let you know and you can go from there.

Having inherited a few accounts that followed everyone who followed them, I can tell you that a significant number of those where not “quality”. It was aggravating and time consuming to find the diamonds in the rough. We’ve culled the lists down and are now at a 4 to 1 ratio (4 followers to every follow we make) and my personal account tends to stay at a 10 to 1 ratio.

If your goal is to be a Thought Leader, then it stands to reason that you would “Lead” far more than “Follow”.

I agree about not following back everyone. Whether we like it or not, and regardless of how minor it is, following someone is somewhat of an endorsement -- maybe not an important one -- but still an endorsement. So I only follow people who A) I am interested in their content or B) I like the way they are doing it (social media) or C) I already know them and want to continue the relationship.

However -- the numbers thing is important. If you have 10,000 followers, are following 12 people and have followed me, I assume you will unfollow me as soon as I've followed you.  If only 300 people are following you and you are following 2000, I may take some extra time to make sure you are "ok". But if your content is good enough I may follow you anyway. The first case is an absolute screen. The second, just a little increase in scrutiny.

RTs are also important, if I have a new follow (regardless of the numbers) who is never RTing anyone, then I'm looking at someone who is only interested in themselves -- I'm not following those folks.  If every post is an RT... well ya can't have too many RTs :)

I usually lose the folks who I don't follow back. That's okay. I'm never going to hit Lady Gaga's numbers :) The important thing to me is to have a great group around me with (generally) similar interests.

Thanks for the comment, David. You'll notice that I don't say follow *everyone* back. I don't subscribe to the #followback crowd and I completely agree that you should follow those that interest you. My point in #8 is that if you don't follow *anyone* back, I'm going to be less interested in following you....not because you don't follow me, but because you don't get the value of 2-way dialogs in Twitter. Thanks, again, for your input! --Sean

I had a similar problem with Twitter. The noise is so much. It takes courage to be able to weed them out. Now that Google Plus is out, let us hope the Circles technique can keep away the unwanted intruders.

Privacy is important, but so is reach. Striking a balnce is kinda important.

Thank you for your tips !

I totally agree with your tenth. So boring people to tweet for nothing !

Thanks Sean. This is very relevant to me as I have recently reassessed my twitter useage/strategy.

 

Thanks again.

@mike_simone_hfp

While point #1 being photos - the problem is, there are no women on the Internet so all women photos are fake. :P ok joking there but yeah, the profile to me is secondary. Not as important as the rest of the point,

Especially points #9 and #10. I love it when people tweet, at least something that allows others to respond to. I hate it when they tweet as if Twitter is a chronological record of their activity. I unfollowed many of such.

As for point #8 regarding "8 ) Follow Others Back" - I'd like to add - I often COUNTER-FOLLOW as a sign of courtesy (though I haven't counter-follow on quite a few :P) but I also do unfollow people who I find does not spark my interest, or people who don't even care about my tweet. :)

As for the BIO on Twitter, I think Sean made it look very limited. :D Well it is, 160 chars is very limited but you can make it work by having
a) a URL to a longer BIO - for me, I use http://about.me/goldfries
b) have more details on the background, though it's resolution limited - it still works!

People need to regonize you before you want them to follow you. You need to estrabilsh your credibilty if you want more and more number to follow you. The above mentioned post will help you out in this things and you'll have good number of followers. 

Out of the 10 points, only point #8 is off the topic. :)

After all the topic is 10 surefire ways to get you to follow....... but to ask people to follow back means you already did the follow first! :P

That said, good article.

I'd like to add, regarding the tweet frequency and content - remember to VARY them or make them interesting. For me, I don't like to follow followers who

a) only RT

b) only tweet famous quotes

c) only whine / complain

:D as for companies, IMO it's ok to repeat your promotion but adding variation to the tweet makes it less ROBOTIC.

Great tips! I strongly agree with #4 and #2. I don't understand why people choose to lock their tweets and select a twitter handle that makes it almost impossible to find you. It's also nice to acknowledge others when they RT your tweet. 

Great information, thanks for sharing! 

With regard to #7 - I would have to disagree with the bit about hashtag words should only be added to your tweet when the keyword isn't already in your tweet.

In your example if someone searched for socialmedia and/or twitter they would indeed find your tweet.  And if they searched for #socialmedia they would also find it.  But if they only searched for #twitter they would not see it. The search would only bring up tweets specifically containing the characters #twitter, not tweets with the twitter in them with no hashtag.

It's an exact match search string.

To use a slight out of date example now - if you were tweeting about the show Lost and you said something like:

Watched Lost last night, did you see that bit when the plane crashed, wasn't it great #TV.

Then the Lost fans using #Lost to find tweets about the show would not find this tweet.  They would if they searched for just the word Lost - but then they would also get every other tweet containing the word lost (no hashtag) - eg 'my cat is lost', 'I've lost my car keys', 'I'm lost, please send me directions' etc.

So the tweet should be Watched #Lost last night - did you see that bit when the plane crashed - wasn't it great #TV.

The hashtag is necessary in the middle of a tweet if the keyword appears there.  Of course sometimes you end up with adding one at the end of a tweet and nothing in the middle.

Nice few tips here, a face does help, but if its a brand its often tough.

I find it funny that a lot of people are pushing back and forth on how to get more to follow them, when the only people other that starlets and politicians who have effective conversions from twitter are marketers that are pitching other marketers... It's pretty sad that people are still fallking for this farce.

Funny how this post started "10 Surefire Ways to Get Me to Follow Your Twitter Account"

But ended "Hopefully, these help some of you out there figure out ways to get folks to follow you on Twitter"  

Is this about you or about what you want Twitter to be?

It's one thing to state what kind of Tweeters you follow but you shouldn't be dictating to others.  We all have our own reasons to Tweet or follow.

Just sayin.

 

I think I may have missed some point in the article where you said your article was in reference to social media in business. but i put alot of thought in this so ah, I'm gonna go with it!

I am surprised to see an attorney use such absolutes. "Follow others back," don't use CAPTCHA-esque handles. I agree with the latter in theory, but if I don't 'get' your name, then perhaps I will 'get' who you are from your 'good profile.' I am assuming from your article that if Shakespere were alive and tweeting (hmmm I guess that Simple Minds tune did serve a purpose), you would take issue with 'A Rose by any other name would smell as sweet?'

Return a follow. Ok, general twitterquette. If I follow you as a juror, should you follow me? I am really not dressing up a question as a statement, just posing the question. Does Twitterquette compel me to follow that ex (insert person) that always appears at the local coffee shop the same time I do - no matter the time? Or the bow-chica-bow-bow androgynous-looking person from Singapore? 

I think useful and interesting are very subjective. Perhaps you can provide more criteria?  I admit, I did tweet my breakfast last weekend, a luscious low fat rendition of biscuits and gravy (sprinkled with red pepper flakes, for a little heat after that salty bite). I did include a photo though. Perhaps someone following got inspired? I am a foodie though-I dig food. i say that in from profile. 

In general, I do agree with your article. Especially if you tweet for business. In fact, I am rethinking my handle. I got started on Twitter before it was actually cool, so there were no rules back then. I know I sound a little snappy. I mean no offense. You certainly cannot boil the ocean to think of every exception the rule. What really motivated my post is when I saw you were an attorney. You had me at attorney! :-)

By the way, I am a foodie, social butterfly (back in the day saying that WAS cool and did not elicit a groan), slave to fashion, digital and social manager, and a fruitfly. 

Oh, and a lawyer. 

Cheers.