One of the first things I do when I log on to Twitter is to check how many followers I have. It certainly does something for my morale.
I’ve been tweeting for exactly 6 years and today my following stands at 966. I’ve also posted 3,777 tweets to date (31 July, 2015). I bet you want to know how I managed to get to that number of followers.
Well there are 3 paths to get a high number of followers.
#1. You are a celebrity – Unless you are Taylor Swift or Barack Obama or a well know TV personality or an activist or a celebrity CEO of a Fortune 100 company, you are never going to get to a million followers. Become a celebrity.
#2. Buy followers – There are underground agencies that will get you 10,000 followers for $200 or so. Not recommended.
#3. The long, hard way – This is the method I chose and I’m going to elaborate in this article.
3a. Follow as many as you can – I see a pattern of the number of followers matching the number you follow, more or less. For instance, if I follow 300 people, most are likely to follow me in return. So I end up with almost 300 followers. Try it for yourself and you’ll agree.
3b. Contribute, don’t just post – Favorite, retweet, comment, reply – and be sure to use the @ handles for people or communities or organizations you refer to in your tweet — to get them to notice what you say. They are likely to follow you.
3c. Use Hashtags and @ handles – There are millions of people on Twitter who are tracking trends through hashtags. So, use existing hashtags. For instance, if you post a tweet on Big Data (e.g. #BigData or #bigdataanalytics), search for the appropriate hashtag and use it in your post. Similarly, use @ handles to draw the attention of organizations or individuals e.g. @IBMbigdata
3d. Use Twitter cards, graphics – In the clutter of tweets in one’s activity stream, the tweets that catch one’s eye are the ones with graphics. They are called Twitter cards. Get your designer to create these, following the dimensions prescribed by Twitter.
3e. Post regularly – Post every day, but post something meaningful. Unless you are a celebrity, no one on Twitter wants to know how you feel today.
3f. Portray yourself as an authority on a subject (domain expertise) – Everyone is an expert on at least one domain. Research it well, read up, and discuss it on Twitter. Your social media profiles (LinkedIn, FB, Twitter) should mention that you are passionate about these domains, and it would be preferable if you mention your experience and academic qualifications to back these claims.Tweet regularly about the domains that interest you, and don’t forget to use the appropriate hashtags and @ handles.
3g. Participate in Tweet chats – I’ve been moderating and participating in Tweet chats lately, and each time I do so, my following goes up by 10 – 20 followers.
3h. Tweet live at events – I’m always tweeting live at conferences and events that I attend in India and abroad. That’s another way to get like-minded followers.
In conclusion, I’d like to state that one should take the number of followers with a pinch of salt. There are many “spammy” followers who follow you for their benefit. I regularly check my list of followers and block out or report the spammy followers. I call it “Twitter cleansing”.
Follow me on Twitter: @brianp