When someone decides whether to follow you on Twitter, there's always a moment's glance at your follower count. Like most measures of popularity, a high number of Twitter followers tells people that you're likeable, influential and noteworthy.
In this way, gathering more Twitter followers is like a cycle—the more you have, the more you'll gain. Try these 13 strategies to get started:
- Upgrade your avatar: Your Twitter profile photo should give people an up-close view of your face, or your personality. For example, a photo of you fishing is just as good an example as a headshot. However, if you plan on attending tweet-ups, use a photo that people will recognize when you're face to face.
- Follow more people: People will rarely come to you, so the best strategy is to go to them. Use Twitter's Who to Follow directory to find and follow people who have common interests and tweets. When combined with the next strategy, you might even get a follow-back.
- Introduce yourself subtly: When you follow new people, browse their feed and find a tweet you can respond to immediately. By responding to their tweets, they recognize that you're paying attention, and will often follow you back. Also, treat your home feed more like a chat room.
- Add "follow" buttons to your website: If you have a website, the best way to turn existing fans into followers is by adding a "follow" button to your site. If you have a Facebook page, post a link to your Twitter profile there too.
- Comment on blog posts using your @username: Most blogs give you the opportunity to comment using your Twitter name. Sites that use Disqus let you log into Twitter directly, but you can also fill in the empty "name" field with your Twitter name too.
- Attend a tweet-up: Most metropolitan areas have regular Twitter get-togethers, called tweet-ups, where local tweeters meet up for drinks or a social media event. Find your local tweet-up organizer-Boston Tweetup, for example-and attend an event! Giving face time in the real world, and tweeting from the meetup with a designated hashtag is a fast road to more Twitter followers.
- Ask for re-tweets: Research shows that the most-retweeted posts often include the phrase "please retweet" or "pls RT" in it. When you get re-tweeted, your tweets show up in front of hundreds, sometimes thousands more people, which results in more followers.
- Join "tweet chats": A tweet chat creates an enormously interactive conversation around a single hashtag. Joining a tweet chat is a quick and easy way to make new friends and get re-tweets on your most witty answers. You may engage in a chat directly through Twitter, but TweetChat.com makes it easy to participate in any chat too. Check out the Tweet Chat Google Doc and Tweetchat Wiki for chats to join.
- @ the authors of articles you tweet: To get more people in front of your tweet, make them a part of it! Whenever you post an article, look up the author's Twitter name and add something like, "Great article @username". Not only can this get you a follow from the author, but he may also retweet you to his brood of followers, increasing your chances of stacking up those numbers.
- Seek out conversations: Use a plugin like InboxQ or the Holy grail of follower-building, Advanced Twitter Search. Using these tools, you can search for people talking about topics that you're an expert in. Look for people who have used the question mark (signifying that they asked a question), and if you're going local, search for people asking in your designated city.
And now for a few dirtier tricks…
- Cheat with the #AutoFollow and #TeamFollowback hashtags: By searching for the above hashtags on Twitter, you'll find a parade of people who will automatically follow anyone who follows them. The only drawback is seeing their often spammy posts in your feed.
- Buy fake Fivver followers: The most inexpensive venue to buy followers from is Fiverr. This is an e-commerce site where users offer anywhere from 1,000 to 20,000 (or more) followers for five bucks. The act of buying followers is not against The Twitter Rules, but you can depend on those fake accounts being deleted by Twitter sooner or later.
- Get real followers with TweetAdder: A less scandalous tool that is something of a not-so-secret secret, even with the most reputable tweeters, is TweetAdder. For $55 dollars, you get an automated tool that follows new people and then unfollows them in a few days if they haven't followed you back. With TweetAdder, you have the ability to follow people who are following a competitor, or anyone who tweets a certain keyword.
To get more followers, re-tweets and a loyal group of Twitter friends, the real magic is putting in some elbow grease into the above strategies. Do so and your follower count will rise quickly.
Have any tips for getting followers that have worked for you? Let's discuss in the forum.