Let me start off by saying that collecting followers on Twitter should never be your end goal. We've all heard it before, but I'm going to say it again: the quality of your followers is more important than the quantity. You're better off with 100 followers on Twitter who care about what you have to say than you are having 1,000 followers who don't engage with you. That being said, you are better off with 1,000 engaged followers than 100 engaged followers.
So, what can you do to get more engaged followers on Twitter? Well, I'm glad you asked! I just found this great infographic from Twiends with dozens of ideas to increase your following.
Here are a few of my personal faves:
I generally think of guest blogging as an SEO tactic, because it's great for building backlinks, but one of the very strong side benefits is that it can help you get more engaged followers on Twitter. If you write great content, your readers will want to hear more from you - so they're likely to follow you on social media. They're also likely to share your content with their network, exposing you to an even larger group of potential followers.
To get the most out of guest blogging, make it easy for your fans to find you by including social media handles in your bio. Many people will include both their Twitter handle and LinkedIn profile on their bio, but a Twitter handle is more appealing because it's a one-way follow (versus LinkedIn, which is a reciprocal follow).
Twitter is great for driving webinar attendance and engagement which, in turn, can help you get more followers on Twitter. Use Twitter to promote your webinar to your followers, and ask them to retweet you to spread the word - not only will this will help you get better attendance, it will help more people discover you. During the event, encourage attendees to live tweet to increase engagement, and your reach, even more. With more engagement and reach, you'll be exposed to a wider audience that may be interested in following you.
Speak at a Conference:
Speaking at a conference is a great way to turn an offline tactic into an online success. People who have chosen to hear you speak at a conference are exactly the audience that would want to receive your updates on Twitter (assuming you tweet about the same topics that you speak about at conferences). Make it easy for them to find you by including your Twitter handle in your bio, and on each slide in your presentation. Also encourage them to live tweet your presentation and/or ask questions - this will help you increase your reach and build relationships.
This is one of the simplest tips on my list, but it's a great way to increase your followers on Twitter. An @reply, in which you reply to someone's tweet, is a great way to stand out among all the noise on Twitter - because it's personal. Just make sure it's engaging enough to start a social conversation. Rather than writing, "@JenPicard: I loved your blog post about getting more followers on Twitter," say "@JenPicard: Great post on increasing Twitter followers - where can someone in the marketing industry submit guest posts?" Asking a question, sharing a success, or otherwise adding value to the conversation will elicit a response, and probably a follow. More important than the single follow, however, is the reciprocal engagement that will take place and increase your reach. Remember, a bigger reach leads to more followers on Twitter.