How to Get More Twitter Followers (Without Spending a Dime)
"I will not get a Twitter - why would anyone want to use the word "tweet?"
That's what I said when Twitter was first introduced in 2006. Embarrassing, I know. But, in my defense, that was before I was a digital marketer.
Regardless, I'm now eating my words, because Twitter has become my favorite social media site for marketing. And I'll be using the word "tweet" quite a lot in this article.
You probably know by now that your brand could benefit from being on Twitter, especially when it comes to providing customer service. But maybe you're doing what I did - putting it off as long as possible.
Even after I realized Twitter wasn't going anywhere and that I needed to get on the bandwagon, I waited for a very long time to join. I was intimidated by how different this network was. I didn't fully understand it, and I had no idea how to build a following on it.
One year ago, I finally got serious about Twitter. I had already joined but hadn't formed a strategy or been posting regularly. So I committed to tweeting 5 days a week. I still had no clue what I was doing - but at least I was starting.
I didn't take a class on Twitter marketing. I didn't wait until I had the network all figured out to begin posting. I just started. And I learned as I went.
I'm happy to report that I've made a lot of progress and stumbled across some valuable tools, and I've finally been able to get traction with Twitter. I'm gaining a handful of new followers almost every single day.
And here's the kicker: I haven't spent a penny on Twitter.
I haven't bought any fake followers. I haven't paid for ads. My growth has been 100% organic.
Now I want to help you the way so many others helped me. Whether you're trying to get your first 100 Twitter followers or looking for ways to grow your Twitter beyond that mark, you can benefit from what I'll share in this post.
Let's get started.
1. Tweet Often
The shelf life of a tweet is only a matter of minutes. Moz's research indicates that original tweets only last in the main feed for 18 minutes. That means it will mostly just be seen by people who are on Twitter within those 18 minutes. Not long, right?
That's why people tweet so often throughout the day, they want to reach more people. According to CoSchedule's research, gathered from several industry leaders, the golden number for tweets per day is around 15. That's a lot of tweeting.
Don't panic though - you don't have to create 15 new tweets each day. There are ways to repurpose your best content, and you can start smaller and work your way up.
2. Time Your Tweets
Rather than tweet whenever you think about it, time your tweets strategically to reach the most people possible.
Coschedule published a great article on the best days and times to post for every social channel - but you can't automatically assume these times will work for you too. Every audience is a little different - for example, B2C and B2B businesses will have different "best posting times."
Just like with any social platform, you have to test and experiment. I recommend posting at the same times (or time ranges) for a couple weeks to a month. Then switch the times to another recommended time slot, and post at that same time every day for the next couple weeks or month. At the end of your experiment, you can look through your Twitter analytics (on the right side of your profile) to see which time slots got the most impressions, followers, retweets, etc.
Even after you've found a few winning times, you aren't bound to them. You may find that the time changes during certain seasons or holidays. It's perfectly fine to change your posting time whenever you need to. And it's a wise idea to continue experimenting with other days and times here and there to make sure you're still using the best time slot for you.
To begin with, here's a snapshot of some recommended times to test.
You can read CoSchedule's entire article to get more industry leaders' ideas for best days and times to tweet.
3. Use Hashtags Wisely
Hashtags can give you a serious engagement boost - if you use them right. They enable you to reach people outside your own network who are already interested in your industry, product, or service.
Fast hashtag facts from Buffer:
- Tweets with hashtags get 2x more engagement than tweets without.
- Tweets with one or more hashtag are 55% more likely to be retweeted.
- When you use more than two hashtags, your engagement actually drops by an average of 17%.
Not sure which hashtags to use? Search for influencers in your industry on Twitter to see what tags they're using. Make a list, then plug them into the handy tool Hashtagify.
This tool will show you related hashtags, how closely they relate to the search term, how often the related tags are used on social media, the top influencers using the searched hashtag, and recent tweets using it. You can see even more analytics on a paid plan.
For example, when I search #baking, this is what Hashtagify shows.
When you hover over the related terms, you can see more information about them.
You can then choose which hashtags are most relevant to you and begin testing them. If a tweet with one or two of them gets more engagement than usual, make a few more tweets with the same hashtags to see if they're the reason why. If so, you've found some winners (when you find winners like this, plug them into Hashtagify to find more similar tags to reach even more people).
The more you experiment, the more you'll see which hashtags work for you and which don't. Hashtagify gives you great suggestions to start with.
4. Mention People
Whenever I quote someone in my article or recommend a tool they created, I mention them in my tweet. This alerts the user to the mention, and can have extended reach benefits, particularly if that user Likes or retweets it.
Also, with retweets, mention the people you're retweeting to make double sure they see that you're interacting with their content. The more you interact with them, the more likely they are to follow you back, interact with you, and recognize you when you directly contact them to ask about submitting a guest post or something else.
5. Re-use Old Tweets
If a tweet's shelf life is only 18 minutes, then chances are more of your followers are not seeing it than those that are. The solution is simple - reuse them.
Every week, I go into my Twitter analytics to find the tweets that got the most engagement in the last few months. Then I slightly rearrange the text, maybe change the picture (but usually use the same hashtags), and I tweet the same content again. This way, new people will hopefully see it.
You could consider re-sharing tweets that didn't perform well too - they may perform better if you share them at a different time, mention someone, or use different text or hashtags.
Your past tweeting history is a quick and easy place to get content for your new posts. Plus, this strategy gives you extra mileage for each tweet you re-share.
6. Contribute Guest Posts
This strategy may seem off-topic, but I assure you it's drastically boosted my follower count.
When you write guest posts for respected online publications that have a strong social media presence, you benefit in several ways.
- You gain authority for being on such a respected site
- You get links to your site and possibly social media sites
- You now have published samples to help you get published in an even more respected publication
- The publication will share your post with all their followers - possibly multiple times
You'll get in front of people you may never have been able to otherwise, and because that publication has such a strong, loyal following, people will gladly share their (and your) content. Your post will get far more traction when it's promoted by that publication than when it's promoted by you.
For example, when I shared my most recent post published on Social Media Today, my engagement looked like this:
But when Social Media Today shared that same post, their engagement looked like this:
And that was just one of the tweets - they actually tweeted that post two or three times, each with significant engagement (see, even they reuse content).
Since I was mentioned in their post, I got notified each time someone commented on it, liked it, or retweeted it. This gave me the opportunity to connect with many industry experts through a comment, DM, and/or a follow.
Each time one of my posts gets published on a site like this, my follower count spikes. The key is to to follow back all the ones I want to stick around and to continue creating content like the piece they followed me for, so I don't lose their follow - and, believe me, you can lose their follow.
After following these strategies for just 2.5 months, these were my results:
- I sent 2x as many tweets
- I averaged 11,000 additional impressions per month
- I averaged 41 additional mentions a month
- I averaged 60 additional follows a month
Imagine how much more these numbers could grow, the longer I follow these strategies.
You can see this same success too. All you have to do is start.
A version of this post was originally published on Proof is in the Writing.
Follow Jessica Swanda on Twitter