When people first read my blog they notice the way it looks, and how some of my buttons are animated when you hover your mouse on them – that took more hours learning CSS than I’d like to admit.
The second thing they realise is my number of Twitter followers, and they always want to know how I got so many.
As it stands, I have 11,135 Followers, which has been slowly growing after reaching the magic number of 10,000 followers a few months ago. I actually took a screenshot of the moment on my phone – that’s how excited I was.
You’ll notice that Twitter can only display 4 digits, so after 9,999 comes 10K. The addition of that “K” makes all the difference in how people perceive you on Twitter.
The Vanity of Social Media
It sounds quite vain, but on Twitter (and other social media), it’s all about the number of followers you’ve got. Think about all those times when you found a new blog to follow, then checked out their Twitter account and saw it only had 56 followers.
Regardless of how great their tweets and retweets are, you’ve already made up your mind on them.
First impressions are very powerful because of the Halo Effect. This happens when the impression we get from someone in one area influences our opinion of them in another area.
So, if someone finds your site and Twitter page and finds you have thousands of followers, they’ll immediately assume you’re an influential person and will probably assume that you’re influential in everything that you do.
Put another way, having a high number of Twitter followers is the social media equivalent to driving a fancy car.
This is only a problem if you’re not adding value to people.
Twitter is an awesome way to connect with people and share your message to a different audience than your blog is targeting. It’s also a great source of opportunities – I’ve had many guest posts come from there, as well as some sponsored posts.
This is where Twitter really shines.
While the traffic it brings into Escaping to Freedom is nice, it’s not going to set the world alight. The main benefit I’m getting from Twitter is connecting with my readers, other bloggers, and reporters – this should help me towards my goal to be featured on 10 big media outlets by the end of 2017!
The Unwritten Twitter Code of Conduct
You know how you’re expected to behave in a certain way depending on where you are?
While in your own home it’s perfectly acceptable (even encouraged) to walk around in your underwear and yawn loudly, you’d be the least (or most?!) popular member of your team if you did that in the office.
Twitter also has its own code of conduct:
- If someone follows you, follow them back – unless it’s an obvious spam account. This is why the method I’ll talk about later works.
- Be helpful, kind and nice to others – just like in real life. I hope! 😉
- If you like something, retweet it.
If you can do all of that, you’ll do great with Twitter, so here’s the actual step-by-step guide:
How to Get a Lot of Twitter Followers
1 – Find 10 influencers in your niche
Finding people who have done what you want to do is a great starting point – not just for Twitter but for business as well. Bookmark their Twitter profiles and follow their followers in bulk.
You should get a 10% follow-back rate.
Note: There is a limit of 1,000 follows per day, so try not to exceed that too often.
While you could just blindly follow absolutely anyone (including those dodgy Follow4Follow accounts…) and reach the coveted 10K Twitter subs, it would leave you with a random audience who probably wouldn’t care too much about what you have to say.
The better way to do it is to target your following to those who already follow your “idols”. If they’re following them, there’s a good chance that they’ll also be interested in your content and will follow you back.
2 – Automate your posts
Twitter is a bit like an open-air concert; it’s a chaotic mess full of noise. To stand a chance at being noticed you need to post several times a day. They say that the lifespan of a Tweet is less than 30 minutes.
While you could Tweet every half hour – 48 times every day – I think that somewhere between 8 and 10 is fine.
I use a tool called Buffer, which lets me easily schedule tweets to go out at specific times. I schedule a few tweets when people are going to work, some at lunch time, and a few after 5 pm, to maximise their chance of being read.
You can then see which times and which kinds of posts are performing the best, and do more of those. Trial and error!
3- Engage with others
While posting links to your own content is great, you’ll get the best value from Twitter when you engage with others.
Since you can literally type in anyone’s handle (mine is @Esctofreedom, for example) you might as well shoot for the big guns in your niche and see if they reply – the worst thing that can happen is that they ignore you.
You should also share stuff that other bloggers post, especially newer ones. Starting a blog is tough, and a retweet from someone with a high number of followers can be amazingly encouraging to a newbie.
A cool tip is to create a List on Twitter and add your favourite bloggers into it. You can then use it to source stuff to retweet to your audience, without being bombarded by all the noise that will start to appear in your Twitter home!
4- Unfollow people
Most of the people you follow won’t follow you back, which is a problem as you’re limited to how many people you can follow at any one time.
By using ManageFlitter you can easily see who isn’t following you back. It’s then as simple as bulk unfollowing. The free version of the service only allows 800 daily unfollows, so factor this into your Twitter plan.
Here’s a little tip:
If you follow 800-1,000 people a day, wait a few days to start unfollowing, which will give people enough time to follow you back. If they haven’t followed back within 5-7 days they probably never will.
You should also know that Twitter sets limits to how many people you follow, in order to limit spam – and to relieve the stress to their servers!
I remember that I found it super tough to get past the 5,000 following limit. I wasn’t allowed to follow any more than 5K people until my followers reached 5,000!
It was a grind and it probably took me 4 months to reach 5,000 followers. After that, though, getting to 10K was much easier.
5- Give it time
It took me 6 months to reach 10,000 followers. I probably spent close to half an hour a day following, unfollowing, talking to people and scheduling my posts for the day on Buffer.
That’s a long time, but you just need to take it one day at a time. 🙂
Don’t be impatient and try to cheat Twitter by using loopholes because you might get your account banned. Just like that! I’d seriously cry if I lost my Twitter account – it’s one of my most valuable assets!
Now it’s your turn
If you don’t have one, open a new twitter account and make sure you have profile and background images – nobody will take you seriously with the standard egg image…
Then go through the 5 steps I’ve outlined above and you’ll see your Twitter followers soar – slowly. Within a few months, you’ll reach the coveted 10K and everything will be wonderful!
Ok, maybe not everything – but definitely your Twitter account! 😉
Thanks for the post Ricard. This is the first time I’ve checked your site in a couple months, and it looks great! You’ve definitely made some impressive improvements. Good luck with the blog, and I hope it takes off enough that you’re able to continue working on it full time.
Ricard Torres says
Thanks John! I’ve spent possibly too much time learning CSS and making things look and act the way I wanted them to! Now I feel that it’s at a good point where it can be more useful to my readers.
I’m interested in learning more about your return on the time you’ve invested into Twitter. How many visits are you able to bring in to your site whenever there is a new post through promoting it on Twitter, for instance? Are you getting leads on public appearances in big media and what not through Twitter?
I’m currently unconvinced that there aren’t better ways to promote and drive engagement to your website than building your Twitter followers. As you’ve mentioned, it takes a lot of time! The subject of a follow-up post, perhaps? 🙂
Ricard Torres says
I don’t get much traffic from Twitter directly – maybe around 20 or 30 visits a day. However, it’s been great for attracting guest posts, sponsored posts and other opportunities. I’m now finding out whether it’s good for getting in touch with reporters 😉
So yeah, in terms of traffic it’s a pretty bad ROI!