How I added 118 REAL Twitter followers in 13 hours
And why it doesn’t matter!
Like a lot of social media experts, I have often had the habit of neglecting my own social media presence in favor of my clients. After using this Twitter expansion strategy for a few clients, I realized that I actually didn’t have a lot of metrics on it. This Twitter strategy was usually a more organic strategy that took into account lots of other social media and website factors, and the number of Twitter followers was always a pleasant side-effect rather than an independent goal.
But I decided that I needed some metrics, and I had just the place to start! My own personal Twitter account (@hollyantle) had less than 50 followers! I simply ignored it most of the time, so it would make the perfect test subject for some Twitter-heavy experiments.
How to get hundreds of Twitter followers
The truth is, there’s a very easy way to get hundreds of Twitter followers: have hundreds of different Twitter accounts. In fact, when you purchase Twitter followers through oDesk or Fiverr, that’s essentially what you’re purchasing. The person listing these sales has hundreds or even thousands of Twitter accounts that they use solely for following the people who buy their packages. But the truth is that these purchased Twitter followers are worst than useless. Twitter usually considers them spam or dummy accounts and shuts them down whenever they get around to finding them. The account owners will usually only follow you for a week or two at most – a lot of these dummy accounts stay filled with people they’re following, so in order to get a new client, they have to un-follow you.
I don’t buy Twitter followers. My goal with getting these new Twitter followers was to get legitimate, active accounts through an organic, targeted strategy. It wasn’t enough to boost my numbers – my goal was to get accounts of real live people that I could then build relationships with.
So how did I get so many followers?
First, fix your Twitter.
Before you try to draw more Twitter followers to you, you have to make sure that your Twitter account doesn’t scream “SPAM!” I updated my profile photo to show a clear facial photo of myself, and I updated my cover photo to fit well and look professional with my Twitter account. (There’s a link to the template I used here.)
Then I started working on my actual posting strategy. For a new account or an account that’s been silent for awhile, I would first start by power-loading at least a dozen tweets – just posting all of them at once. You don’t want someone to look at your Twitter feed and find nothing but your “This is my first Tweet” auto-post that Twitter does.
My theory was that it’s not enough to have followers – they need to be followers targeted to my industry. You can search for people by keywords on Twitter, but the easiest way is to find someone on Twitter doing what you’re doing and follow their followers. For example, if I’m an aspiring social media marketer, I might follow Kim Garst. Therefore, by finding the people who also follow Kim, I can safely assume that we might have something in common.
You don’t have to stick to business here, either. Sometimes the best connections on Twitter come from the hobbies or interests you have outside of business. One of my closest Twitter friends on my other Twitter page resulted from me seeing her retweet something about Game of Thrones!
However you find them, just follow them. On average, about 20% of those you follow will follow back immediately. As you start following these people, you’ll get direct messages from True Twit that you’ll have to go use a Captcha to verify you’re a real person. You’ll also get direct messages that are sent automatically when you follow certain people; most of those are random meaningless spam.
Why it Doesn’t Matter
Let’s be completely transparent: The number of Twitter followers you have doesn’t matter in the slightest, with just a few exceptions:
- If you’re a musician, artist, actor/actress, or some sort of celebrity or wannabe celebrity, the number of followers you have may be relevant. Record execs, talent agents, casting directors, and other people who hire celebrities sometimes look at Twitter to determine the level of “buzz” you generate; hiring someone who already has a robust Twitter following means that their talent can draw attention to the project, and Twitter follows are ONE sign of buzz.
- If you’re a social media expert or Internet marketer, the number of Twitter followers you have may be considered by your prospective or future clients. After all, if you have a lot of Twitter followers, that means that you know how to get them!
- If your Twitter account is used for promotional posts, you get more by having more followers. You’ll sometimes see people that promise you that they will tweet your link to their 20,000+ followers on Twitter; if this is your business model, then the more followers you get, the higher price you can charge.
For anyone other than these three categories, the number of Twitter followers you have is what we call a “vanity metric”. Yes, it measures something, but the only real purpose to having 20,000 Twitter followers (except for some of the people mentioned above) is so that you can say you have 20,000 Twitter followers!
If you ARE in one of the three categories…
I have to make a short aside here to those who ARE in the three categories listed above. Yes, I get that it’s important for you to have lots of followers, but if all you’re doing is getting followers and ignoring them, you’re not maximizing the results that could be available to you. More and more, hiring people who work with celebrities are viewing things other than Twitter followers, like mentions, retweets, engagement.
Twitter followers are a means to an end
And this is where most people fail with Twitter. Having someone follow you on Twitter does absolutely NOTHING for you except make you look more popular, but as we all learned once we got out of high school, popularity doesn’t pay the bills! That Twitter follower means nothing to your bottom line UNLESS you can convert that follower into a fan, a brand ambassador, or a customer.
So this was all pointless?
For me, adding 100 new Twitter followers wasn’t pointless. First, I’m in that category listed above of “social media expert or Internet marketer”, so it helps me there. But more importantly, I don’t ignore my Twitter followers; I turn them into customers and rabid fans.
- I use the personal touch. I direct message each and every one of my new followers, but NOT with an autoresponder thing. I look at their account, find something interesting, and direct message them with a specific question about something on their account. Yes, it takes time, but the 2 minutes it takes me to compose a short DM for each new follower is well worth the investment. To see the real master at using the “personal touch” on Twitter, go follow @GaryVee.
- I make it a point whenever possible to engage with my new followers early and often. In addition to the DM, I usually post a list of my new followers in a public tweet. Usually this reads like, “Thanks for the follow, @tweetone, @tweettwo, & @tweetthree! Nice to meet you! :)” Some people ignore these posts, but the DM usually catches those people. On the other hand, getting an actual mention by an account you respect that has lots of other followers is a great thing, too.
- I make it a point to look at their content. Within about a week after I follow them, I go through their Twitter feed and find a post of theirs to retweet. Because I use Buffer for this, it works out nicely and lets me mix their retweets in with my other content.
Just as important as what I do is what I DON’T do!
- I don’t EVER send my link to them via DM unless they specifically ask for it. (They usually don’t!)
- I don’t EVER send them a generic cut-and-paste autoresponder message. A lot of people find that insulting.
- I DON’T use True Twit. Maybe I should, since I always wind up having to do the CAPTCHA for it whenever I’m following people, but I won’t because I find it annoying, and I don’t want to annoy my prospective followers. (I would use it on a personal account, though, but not a business account.)
- I curate and publish good, useful, interesting content from all over the Internet, not JUST my own material. It bears repeating over and over and over again: TWITTER IS NOT A BILLBOARD!!! On average, here’s how I try to keep my tweets breaking down: Of every 20 Tweets, 2 will be links to my own content, 6 will be links to other blogs, infographics, or articles I found elsewhere on the Internet, 6 will be retweets of other people’s content I found interesting, and the remaining 6 will be stuff like #FF and #TBT and mentions for new followers.
Twitter can be an amazing tool for social media marketing. It’s one of the easiest tools to build an audience with, but you have to remember that an audience is not the end goal. The end goal is conversions, so you can’t stop after you get a few hundred Twitter followers. Twitter is awesome, but only if you keep it going.