Tag Archives: growing your twitter following

So, You Don’t Understand Twitter, Let Me Explain

We need to get a few of the fundamentals straight about Twitter.

Your reach is directly proportional to the number of followers you have. An average Twitter account has around 500 followers. Some Twitter Pros have hundreds of thousands and even millions of followers. Most of us, working in the middle, have somewhere around 1,500 followers. I’ve been working Twitter quite hard since launch, and I’ve got 23k followers. But it didn’t happen by accident. It didn’t happen because I have great content and ask for the follow at the end of every post I’ve ever written. Nope. The simple “grind” of following a ton of like-minded Tweeters, over and over, day after day, is why I’ve built my Twitter following. If you’re promoting your Twitter account but not doing the detail work to build your following, you’re wasting your time.

Twitter growth without an aggressive following strategy will gain you from 5 – 10 new followers a week. And this is from generating a ton of content, a ton more tweets and retweets, and asking for the follow. That’s about all your going to get. And that rate will not get you near your goal, if your goal is reach and influence.

Mind you, Twitter following growth is a pain in the ass.

And if you don’t believe me, well, try it for yourself and see what results you have. I’ve been growing this account for more than 5 years and I’ve tried everything short of paying a spammer for 10k followers for $19.95. I’ve never paid for followers. If you know what a spammer account looks like, you can see why they are of no value.

So what is the value of a follower on Twitter? Why do we do this? What’s so great and different about Twitter?

First let’s break down some simple numbers on your average Twitter reach and influence. Let’s say you’ve done some homework, you’ve been following new influencers, and you’ve grown your account to 2,000 followers. And let’s say you over-tweet and share 10 times a day to get your message out. (I typically tweet between 20 – 30 times a day.)

With the typical 3% reach, we can estimate that each of your tweets reaches 60 people. And if you repeat this process 9 more times, you’re liable to reach 600 followers, and mind you some of them will be overlap. Either way, you’ve tweeted 10 times and you’ve reached a little over 1/4 of your audience. Do you see a problem with our strategy?

You have to tweet more frequently to increase your reach. I recommend using #hashtags to create unique tweets and tweeting them in real-time using a tool like Tweetdeck or Hootesuite. I do not believe in pre-scheduled tweets as these have ZERO chance for starting a conversation. If you’re going to tweet at least do it as a human and not as an auto-bot.

Okay, so you’ve got two new tasks on your to-do list.

  1. Follow a lot more like-minded tweeters
  2. Tweet a lot more frequently, but don’t spam

So how do you find people to follow?

The simplest way is to look at who’s following you and follow who they follow. Find leaders in your industry and follow who they follow. And if you’re lasy, use the “Who to follow” section of Twitter.com and click away.


While Twitter’s algorithm get’s off on some weird tangents, you can follow a lot of people quite quickly by using this little widget.

The real drudgery is the unfollow process. I’ve been using the free version of Manageflitter to help season my list. In the same way, “who to follow” puts all of the potential follows in a little window, Manageflitter can show you a list of “who does not follow you back.” It’s then a grind to click on each unfollow button, but it’s better than trying to do it without the tool.

I often season the list for a week before unfollowing people. And I go through my followers daily and follow back all the real people, who seem legitimate. This is partially to keep them from unfollowing me in the same way I do, using Manageflitter, but it’s also to grow my list of potential influential followers. If they found me they are often real people with like interests. That’s the idea.

Recap: 1. Follow Many. 2. Tweet Often. 3. Unfollow non-followers every week. 4. Follow new followers back.

If you don’t grow your Twitter reach intentionally it will probably not get as big and powerful as it might. Work it.

John McElhenney
@jmacofearth (also seen on Google+: jmacofearth)

6 Step Twitter Growth Process: Results of my #SXSW Uber-Follow Plan +753

I put my 6-step Twitter Growth Process in action at the beginning of SXSW this year. Grow my followers by following, following, following. It’s a boring and tedious process. But it’s one of the ways to build your networks of influence. Let’s look at the results and a few of the consequences of my evil plan(tm).

After 3 days I’ve added 562 followers to my flock. And the 13th was really the wrap on the SXSW conference.My #sxsw Twitter Growth Plans

Of course as attendees got back to their hometowns and regular jobs their business of cleaning up their Twitter accounts would begin. So let’s see what’s happened by Sunday morning, March 18.

So almost 200 adds after the end of the conference, even after I had ended my aggressive following campaign.

You can check my LIVE RESULTS if you want to see the interactive version: Twittercounter-jmacofearth

Here’s the recap of the SIX STEP PROCESS for building your Twitter influence.

1. Find and Follow Influencers. (I started my SXSW Intensive Follow Yesterday)

2. Find and Follow pockets of like-minded Tweeters. (I used SXSW as my like-minded target group)

3. Provide consistent content in your tweets.

4. Hit your following limit every day.

5. Unfollow methodically using a tool. Keep the Tweeps you like, discard the uninteresting.

I will do this later today and report my results tomorrow. The tool ManageFlitter can help you unfollow large groups of people at a time. What you want to do, however is sort the influencers OUT of your UNFOLLOW LIST. While I have not paid for ManageFlitter yet, I am considering it. A PRO version allows you to White List certain followers to keep from unfollowing them accidentally.

6. Rinse and Repeat.

The only downside to this program is I end up following a lot of people I don’t have any interest in listening to. Now begins the process of the selective Unfollow. When I had my following down to 3oo people I really enjoyed a good signal-to-noise ratio. I found I was much more interested in checking in.

Check in tomorrow for the unfollow report, as I start dropping the majority of followers from our mutual follow relationship. My guess is about 40% will unfollow me back for unfollowing them.

@jmacofearth (also seen on Google+: jmacofearth)

3 Rules of Twitter Business; Lesson Learned: Influence + Distribution = Money

What I am going to outline for you is Twitter Building 101. Most of it you probably know, the process of it you probably don’t. It’s not a scam, but it is a game. You like games right? Gaming? All I can say is don’t hate the playa, hate the game.

What I’m about to show you will change your life. It’s not illegal, it’s not BLACK HAT, it’s not fun or even very interesting. There are people in India who will do it for your very inexpensively. There are Twitter-Bot networks that will sell you 10,000 twitter followers for $100. But that’s not really what we are talking about here.

RULE #1: You have to have followers to wield influence.
• Corollary: Not all followers are the same.

RULE #2: You can gain followers by following others. (This is called the follow-back theory: I follow you, you follow me back. It can sometimes be referred to as “Team-Follow-Back” meaning the person with that in their bio or in their tweets, will follow you back if you follow them. Any one remember FFA websites?)
• Corollary: Following spammy Tweeters might drive your numbers up, but your “influence” will not rise accordingly.
Axiom: Spammy tweeters, pornsters, MLM tweeters, Tweet Dealers, and Coupon Magnets will all start a cascade of follows to your account. It’s like a spam waterfall. The scammers are sharing information about you that looks like this: “We found another sucker who followed our PAMELA_AND account. Alert all other spammers we have acquired a TARGET.”

RULE #3: You can find other REAL TWEETERS and INFLUENCERS by spending a little time exploring your categories of interest, or “influence” when you become an influencer yourself.
• Corollary: Following and following back is a process. It takes time. Don’t be impatient. Don’t get discouraged. The real people don’t always work from the “team follow back” playbook. But over time, if you yourself begin providing quality information into your Tweetstream, the audience on Twitter will notice you. The influencers always follow other influencers. It’s how we work the network, it’s how we communicate, it’s how we build our network of influence.

Okay so let’s get down the SIX STEP PROCESS for building your Twitter influence.

1. Find and Follow Influencers. (I started my SXSW Intensive Follow Yesterday)

Twitter Following is hard business

And my Follower count has tracked nicely. (Since these are mainly SXSW attendees there is a high likelihood that they are NOT spammers and that they will be interested in my #socialmedia and #marketing tweets.

Twitter Followers Increase as Following Increases

2. Find and Follow pockets of like-minded Tweeters.

3. Provide consistent content in your tweets. Pick your subject matter and stay focused. Funny LOL cats are fine once in a while, but people actively follow me because I tweet about social media, social media marketing, and online business strategies.

Tweeting for fun is fun, but TWEETing for Business is WORK

4. Hit your following limit every day.

If you are aggressively working to build your following, you must push Twitter to the wall. Initially there is a 2000 follow limit. After that you will be able to follow others in some Twitter-Knows ratio of Followers to Following. When you  hit your limit you will get a nasty message from Twitter.com saying, You May Not Follow Any More People at This Time. We call that Twitter Jail.

5. Unfollow methodically using a tool. Keep the Tweeps you like, discard the uninteresting.

The tool ManageFlitter can help you unfollow large groups of people at a time. What you want to do, however is sort the influencers OUT of your UNFOLLOW LIST. While I have not paid for ManageFlitter yet, I am considering it. A PRO version allows you to White List certain followers to keep from unfollowing them accidentally.

6. Rinse and Repeat.

I would welcome other ideas for making this process easier or more effective. The endless amount of Click: Follow, Click: Follow, Click: Follow is tiresome. And it is gamey. But if you’re going to play the game you have to learn the rules and use them to your advantage. I hope you agree. And if you don’t, let me know about that too. I’m always listening.

@jmacofearth (also seen on Google+: jmacofearth)