Building a strong following on Twitter isn't as easy as you might think. It's quite difficult getting people to add you and keep following you as there are so many things to keep in mind. But with these top 'Dos and Don'ts', you will be well on your way to gaining a solid, loyal and positive fan base on Twitter.
- Have a reason for people to follow you. That's whether you're interesting or are of benefit to be followed.
- Be nice. Nice people tend to do really well in life and the same applies on social media. Get involved in Follow Fridays, retweet things and be helpful.
- Use a photo of yourself rather than a logo. It will add that personal touch.
- Add your name to your Twitter account rather than your company name.
- Talk to people and make friends. Those friends could turn into collaborative partners or even customers.
- Be sincere. It will be pretty obvious if you're only using social media for your own gain.
- Be competitive. It doesn't suit the new Web 2.0 world. And besides, there's plenty of work to go around.
- Be bitchy. It goes without saying.
- Criticise other people's work. Even if they've asked for your opinion.
- Be negative, angry or bitter. It will only make you come across as unlikeable, unfriendly and someone people will stop following.
- Expect too much. People have their own businesses to run, so just try and be respectful of other people's space.
- Self-broadcast and spam up your Twitter profile. It's very off-putting and will only alienate people.
- Be selfish. Social media isn't about 'me, me, me'. The sooner you realise that, the better.
And those are just a few pointers. But if you're after numbers and you're keen to know how you gain over 10,000 followers on Twitter, there's no easy answer or quick fix. Yes, there are lots of software tools out there to help you instantly gain a large amount of followers but are they really worthwhile? Probably not.
If you want to build a strong following on Twitter then you have to understand the basic principles of marketing. You have to provide something that the people want and then encourage your brand to go viral.
When I first launched Creative Boom's Twitter account, it held a steady amount of followers for the first six months and made no real dent in the online world. Eighteen months later and it has reached a critical mass, gaining over 13,000 followers - that's 4,000 more since the start of December 2010.
Update: @Creative_Boom now stands at over 44,000 Twitter followers, as of April 2013
But how have we achieved this? Basically, we hook our news/features up to Dlvr.it and let that run automatically. But then we spend pretty much all day tweeting and chatting to people, helping others out and sharing their tweets whenever we can.
And then to encourage viral marketing one of the best ways to get people to RT your own tweets is to write tutorials or 'tips' articles such as these. They're the most popular on Creative Boom and if you get the right article titles, ones that will draw people in, then you'll find that your posts get tweeted again and again. A recent article on the best websites for daily inspiration has been tweeted over 430 times since it was published last month. Imagine how many people saw that tweet posted by one of their followers and subsequently started following Creative Boom!
But there is no magic wand on gaining more followers. Look at my own business, Boomerang. We've still only got under 3,000 followers and our Twitter account has been up and running the same amount of time as Creative Boom's. The reason why Boomerang has nowhere near as many followers? Because it's a PR firm and only a small amount of people will be interested in following it. Plus we don't spend as much time talking on there as we do with Creative Boom's. The results speak for themselves.
Therefore, based on my own experiences, if you want to build a strong following on Twitter then you have to do three main things:
- Provide something people want
- Get talking, make it personal and be sharing and caring
- Create viral tweets that will get people naturally recommending you, encouraging more people to follow.
Finally, remember it's all about quality, not quantity. Building a strong following doesn't necessarily mean having a huge amount of followers. It's more about having a successful community that you've built from scratch and engage with on a regular basis... Something that will help you build useful relationships that could turn into collaborations, opportunities or even new clients.
Ok, so my own business has less followers than Creative Boom on Twitter, but that doesn't mean I miss out! Most of my clients over the past 12 months have come from Twitter, so don't focus on numbers, just concentrate on building relationships. After all, isn't that what Twitter's about... people?
If you've got any top tips on how to build a strong following on Twitter, please comment below.