Let's go back in time, circa 2007.
Social media was just about to become a major "thing" and all us "Millennials" were signing up in droves. These were the days when you would see real-time updates on your News Feed instead of things that Facebook "thought" you wanted to see.
Of the two big players at the time, Facebook and Twitter (we'll ignore MySpace), I had only signed up for Facebook. I honestly never saw the point in sending out 140-character white-bread Tweets when Facebook didn't have many restrictions at all.
I figured one social media account was good enough to keep in touch with my friends and family right?
Fast forward to today, where your credibility online is directly tied to your social media presence. Weak social presence = weak credibility.
Once I became one of the faces of the Wishpond team it was suggested that I get my Twitter game together. "Isn't Twitter just bots talking to other bots?" I thought as I skeptically reactivated my Twitter account.
Though I'm nowhere near Twitter stardom, three months and 700 followers later I've come to value Twitter as an essential marketing tool for real time information and networking.
Twitter succeeds at legitimizing your online brand and helps you connect to other power players in your industry.
In a fairly short period of time I've been able to rapidly grow my Twitter account by following a few basic principles and strategies.
Are you new to Twitter?
In this article I'll share with you the strategies to rapidly grow your Twitter following and get the ball rolling quickly.
Let's get started.
Guest post and syndicate content as often as possible
Do you write content for a company blog or for a personal blog?
Attaching your name to popular websites in your industry is one of the fastest and most effective ways to get some traction going on your new Twitter account.
Most, if not all, blogs that focus on producing high-quality content accept guest contributions. These high traffic blogs need to keep up with their content schedules and you need a forum for increasing your brand recognition.
Contributing to influential blogs is an effective way to have your name recognized in your industry. Contribute to popular blogs enough and regular readers will be familiar with your name.
Every guest post you're able to submit is one more point in your credibility bucket.
Guest posting accomplishes two important things:
- It establishes you as a credible expert
- You receive valuable backlinks and mentions in your content and author bio.
If you're unsure of where or how to guest post, a simple Google search will find some opportunities for you.
- Type in the Google search bar: [your industry] "guest post"
- If nothing relevant comes up replace "guest post" with "contributors", "write for", "contribute", or any other synonym. Perform a search both with and without the quotation marks for varying accuracy.
- You can also replace [your industry] with a popular website instead to see if they accept guest contributions. Do this by searching: site:[website address] "guest post"
- Repeat these searches with different variations to come up with a list of websites that accept guest contributions.
This is an example of a search I did to find marketing blogs that accept guest contributions.
I know that Content Marketing Institute is a heavy hitter in the marketing industry, so I searched to see if they accepted guest posts.
If you don't have time to create content for other websites, consider syndicating your content on other sites - syndicating is the process of publishing content you've created on your own website to other websites that need content.
Websites like Reddit, Medium, and StumbleUpon all accept content that has already been published elsewhere. Syndication will allow your content to been seen by more people on sites with different audiences.
The more your name or brand is out there in the blogosphere the more you'll establish yourself as a thought-leader and add credibility to your name - all of which translates into more Twitter followers for you.
Be consistent with your tweets
A crucial piece of advice any Twitter "guru" will tell you is this: Be consistent.
This mean consistently posting several times a day, interacting with others in your industry, and sharing great content.
It's important to do these 4 things every day (except on the weekends if you choose not to tweet on Saturday and Sunday) -
- Every day tweet at least 6 times (schedule these tweets)
- Every day reply to a few tweets (become part of the community)
- Every day comment on a few tweets in your timeline (make connections that go beyond just following)
- Every day retweet at least 1 relevant tweet that catches your attention (share the love)
Diana also strongly recommends pinning a popular tweet of yours to the top of your Twitter page. This could be something you'd like to show off or something you're trying to promote, like Rebekah Radice does with a popular article. People who come to your page will see it first and hopefully give it a click.
The biggest mistake companies and brands make with Twitter is that they simply stop using it. They start off strong but slowly taper off until they're only tweeting once or twice a day.
How can you stay consistent?
Using a social media management tool can help take a lot of the load off. These tools will allow you to batch schedule tweets in advance during your most effective times.
Some of the tools we recommend are:
Each of these tools excel in different areas so I suggest you weigh the pros and cons for each according to what you need. All of them will help you supercharge your social media management workflow and have you on your way to effectively growing your Twitter following.
Retweet and follow others in your industry
Retweeting and following others several times a day has had a huge impact on the amount of followers I've received.
Retweeting content from popular accounts in your industry shows others that you keep up with what's current and includes you in the larger conversation. Amplifying content (aka retweeting), is a mutually beneficial habit that helps the original tweeter and yourself reach more people - at the very least it shows that you found the content valuable enough to share it with your own followers.
Experiment with adding a comment of your own to the retweet.
This allows me to include a little note on why I retweeted the tweet in the first place and, more importantly, opens up an opportunity for conversation.
When you're tweeting or retweeting something ALWAYS make sure you include the author's handle in the tweet. This way they'll be alerted and hopefully thank you in some fashion for it.
Another way to grow your twitter following is to follow others in your industry. Connecting to similar professionals in your industry is a no-brainer and will quickly get you more followers.
This accomplishes a few things:
- It will garner follow-backs
- It will show that you have knowledge of the industry and the major influencers
- Putting yourself out there is a much more proactive way to gain traction
I've taken a lot of cues from from Twitter savant and WordStream founder Larry Kim (361,000 Twitter followers). Larry is very active on Twitter and garners a lot of engagement with each of the actions he performs on Twitter.
As of late, Larry has been experimenting with emojis and animated gifs which has lead me to experiment as well. I often take little strategies like this and apply them to my own habits to see what results I get.
Find and follow other power players in your industry that you can draw inspiration from and watch what they do to increase their engagement.
You can find others to follow easily with Twitter's search function. In the search bar you can search for specific users, links, or related hashtags.
Take advantage of the search function to grow your Twitter following by:
- Following those who've shared an article you wrote.
- Following those using the same hashtags that you do.
- Following the accounts other popular accounts follow.
Strategically following accounts that are highly relevant to yours will guarantee a lot of follow-backs.
Monitor your Twitter data closely
Pay close attention to the feedback you receive from your actions on Twitter to find opportunities for further optimization.
As you're growing your Twitter following you'll want to make note of what is working for your account and what isn't. This means knowing when to post during the day, how many times, and what type of content.
To dive deeper into your Twitter you can head to your Twitter Analytics.
For me personally, my analytics told me that I was receiving much more engagement with my content in the afternoons and on the weekends so I shifted my posting schedule to reflect the data.
I also noted that I received much more engagement with 1-2 hashtags.
Knowing your numbers will help you consistently reproduce and double down on the things that are working for your account.
Always use hashtags
The tactic of employing hashtags has gone from a should-do to a must-do.
Tweets that include hashtags receive 2x more engagement than those without says Buffer. This is because hashtags tie your tweets to a specific topic or subject. When people are searching for things under that hashtag they'll come across your tweets as part of the larger conversation.
Remember to keep your 1-2 hashtags appropriate to the content of your tweets so that they're relevant to the intent of the searcher. The more relevant your tweets are to the hashtag, the more engagement it'll receive.
(Image via Buffer)
Only post content that is right for Twitter
It might come as a surprise to you but not all types of content are best suited to Twitter.
According to Twitter there are about 5,787 tweets posted per second across the world - that doesn't leave much time for each of your little ol' tweets to get much attention.
When it comes to tweeting, more is better. You'll want to focus on sharing short yet valuable pieces of content and retweeting it often to make sure as many people see it as possible.
What does this mean?
Don't put too much time and resources into a tweet that only has a lifespan of about 18 minutes.
Twitter is great for quick updates, current news, and sharing. Use your time efficiently on Twitter for sharing helpful content and updates on what you're up to.
If you're a freelance photographer for example, don't spend time editing and cropping your images for Twitter. Instead share helpful content related to photography, updates on your projects, quick tips, and valuable insights. Leave your high quality photographs for a platform like Instagram or 500px.
This strategy will streamline your content schedule and allow you to post more often. To grow your Twitter following you'll have be efficient with your time. Invest your time in the most effective content for your audience and it'll be appreciated.
Putting the pieces together
If you've just begun your journey on Twitter you'll want to stick to these basic strategies to see rapid growth:
- Guest post and syndicate content as often as possible
- Be consistent with your tweets
- Retweet and follow others in your industry
- Monitor your Twitter data closely
- Always use hashtags
- Only post content that is right for Twitter
New social media giants like Snapchat and Instagram have taken over mobile while Facebook is still number one on desktop.
For what it's worth Twitter still succeeds as the go-to place for breaking news and "what's happening" and has decided to double down on that. Part of the problem is that users and businesses still don't know why or how they should be using Twitter.
For businesses that are just starting their social media journey they need to realize the strengths and weaknesses of Twitter as a social media platform.
Twitter's still the best in-the-moment platform that businesses can use to engage with their audience and provide real news as it happens. To grow your Twitter following, take into account what Twitter does well - and what it doesn't - before you invest too much time into it.
The strategies and principles I've shared with you have been proven to grow your Twitter following if you're able to remain consistent.