You already know the secret to Twitter growth: follow people and they follow you back. But it’s harder to execute on a systematic basis than you orgininally thought. AND, perhaps you’re not seeing the value of Twitter in your business yet. All very good reasons for giving up on growing your Twitter account. BUT, take heart. There are a few simple tips that can grow your following, without breaking any rules, and without working too hard to do it.
The bad news: Every person you follow requires at least one click. So a lot of Twitter growth is what is known as grinding. (A gaming term about repetitive and annoying mindless behavior required to attain some goal.)
The good news: Unfollowing people is much easier. This magic tool, Manageflitter, will help you unfollow non-refollowers in masse. This will become more important as you hit your Twitter limits.
Here’s what the process looks like. You follow until you can follow no more. Then at some point (I call it aging the new follows) you use Manageflitter or another tool to unfollow all the uninteresting, or non-followers.
Now when you just start out you want to make sure you are finding and following the right people. And you want to get to your follow limit as quickly as possible.
TWITTER FOLLOW LIMITS: Initially you can follow up to 2,000 people. After you’ve crossed the 2,000 follower mark, there’s a ratio that Twitter enforces but does not publish. You get a message saying, “You can’t follow any more people at this time.”
Let’s get back to the hardest part of Twitter growth: Discovery. How do you find the right people to follow? This is an issue I still struggle with, as I’m trying to grow my ‘active user’ list, rather than my spam or pornster lists. There are a lot of fake accounts, and following them will only increase your following of more fake accounts. This is not good.
REPORT AND BLOCK: When I find a spammy follower I use the REPORT AND BLOCK option to get rid of them. It takes a lot of these “reports” before an account is actually taken down, but they won’t be bothering you any more. Some of the accounts that I block every time: 1. advertising 10,000 followers for $10, 2. anything to do with MLM, 3. people who advertise “team follow back,” 4. anyone too aggressively selling me, 5. any account by a “too-sexy for my shirt”woman, obviously trying to get you to their pay-per-view account. You’ll know them when you see them. I prefer to report and block them, so that eventually Twitter will suspend their account. We need less spammers on Twitter, and we can start the process one spammer at a time.
My current methods for finding new people to follow.
- When someone interesting follows you or comments, retweets, or otherwise engages with you. I check them out and who they are following. If they are exactly in my field “social media marketing” I will often begin following some of the people they follow.
- Lists that I am added to. While lists have been messed up for a while, some people are still using them.
- Who are the heros of social media following? (For example, here are the 362 people on @chrisbrogan’s following list. Go ahead, follow them all. I’ll wait here.)
Here’s where you’ll find the lists you’ve been added to. On your profile page, click on the Lists selection on the left. Then when they show up, you want to look at “Memeber of.” This will show you all the lists you have been added to. Back in the day this was great way to see someone’s authority, by seeing how many lists they had been added to. But a bad egg called Formulists killed the list. And though twitter finally un-authorized them, thus killing their functionality, they have not ever rebuilt the functionality or promotional value of lists. There’s still hope.
And finally you need to learn a bit about what makes your reach work. What kinds of tweets work for you and what types fall flat. I use a tool called Tweetreach to generate a report of my exposure. (This is a simple tool for evaluating client’s effectiveness.) Here’s what my last 50 tweets looked like.
Finally, I think the most important thing you can do to improve Twitter for yourself and all of us is practice good tweeting etiquette.
1. Be real and real-time.
2. Don’t auto-follow, auto-respond, or schedule tweets. (If I respond to a scheduled tweet, you’ll miss the opening to have a conversation.)
3. Be a good citizen tweeter. Write good and engaging tweets.
Here are the tools I mention in this post.
- TwitterCounter (track your progress be sure and sign up – that’s what I used to create that nice chart at the top of this post.)