7 Tips for Building an Authentic Twitter Following

Last week I discussed my views on paying someone to grow your Twitter following and how the number of followers you have doesn’t mean anything if you aren’t using Twitter in a productive way. However, growing your Twitter followers is important…provided you’re doing it right.

Today I’ll share a few tips for you and/or your small business to grow Twitter followers that are real, engaging, and that make Twitter an enjoyable experience.

  • Twitter followers don’t happen over night. (Unless you are paying for them, in which case you’re doing it wrong). Take your time and focus on quality conversations over quantity in numbers. Don’t panic when they don’t all come running at once. When you start being consistent on Twitter, you will notice your follower count go up.
  • Consistency is key. If you are going days or weeks without Tweeting, this will negatively impact the amount of followers you get. If someone follows me and they are sporadic Tweeters, I never follow back. I just know they are not that engaging, and I won’t benefit at all from following them (and they won’t really benefit from following me either). If you don’t have time to be consistent, use a Tweet scheduler (such as Hootsuite), or hire a VA to help you out. For a small business, you can realistically handle Twitter in 45-90minutes a week when you are planning ahead.
  • Review your profile. What does it look like? Is your picture up there? I always suggest Tweeting as a real person (instead of Tweeting as your business solely with a logo in the picture). People want to know who they are talking to. They want to put a face to the “voice”. Ensure that your profile mentions what you are to your business. For example you could say in your profile: “Head Honcho of XYZ Wines Inc. Love gardening, wine and spending time with my family. Avid Scrabble player.”  You can represent your brand, but you’re doing so as a human. It’s much easier to make a legitimate  connection that way. Someone who has the same interests will instantly relate.
  • Engage! Reach out and respond to people. RT their posts. Make the first move. Be the icebreaker. Create lists and add to them. Make people feel good. If all you do is post your stuff over and over without ever engaging, I guarantee you following will be lower. In fact there are programs that can flag the profiles of those who never ever engage (check out Twitcleaner). People do delete them!
  • Find your posse. The best way to find people to engage with (and ultimately who you want to have follow you) is through the use of hashtags (#). For example, if I am looking for people who love wine I would do a search for #wine or maybe #winelovers or #wineconnoiseur. Anyone who has used those target hashtags either in their timeline or in their profile will show up in the search. Get in on conversations surrounding those hashtags, and even join Twitter events.
  • Respond to people. Don’t ignore people who have shown you some love. Thank them for the RT, thank them for the follow (this, by the way, is a GREAT way to start dialogue). Set aside a few minutes each day to follow up.
  • Follow 10 new people a week. Following people is a great way to build followers. Use the hashtag search to focus on your target market or interest and follow away. 10 is a good number is it allows followers to follow you without there being a huge gap in your following/follower count.

With a bit of strategy and patience, your Twitter following will start to grow. You will probably connect with some interesting and awesome new people and Twitter can actually become fun and enjoyable, instead of a pain in the ass chore.

Happy Tweeting!