How I Increased My Twitter Following by 400% in 4 Months
First let me preface that no- I did not purchase any followers to achieve this growth. As one of my biggest social media pet peeves, buying social followers in the long run has literally no positive effects for anyone…except the people who take your money.
Okay, off my soapbox. So how did I achieve such exponential growth? Using the best practices of posting consistently, using hashtags, following back, and building lists I was able to grow my network and begin establishing a meaningful online presence.
Throughout most of my college career, I was not a fan of Twitter for personal use and struggled to post consistently. I never knew what to post or who would care when I did. Hovering around 100 followers, I would consider myself successful if I posted once a month. However, during senior year, I knew I needed to change my behavior to create a more professional online image and be proud for a recruiter to look at my Twitter.
The first to-do was making my profile public. I had a mentor ask what was the point of having a social profile if I kept it private? It is a SOCIAL profile after all. I was concerned about privacy, but now I make sure to never post with a location and refrain from narrating my day-to-day activities. This leads to the second change — content.
If I wanted to have a professional image, I had to act professional online. So I started posting articles and trends related to the marketing industry. This was the solution to my question of what to post. I now had thousands of articles I could read to both educate myself on industry trends and have content to share for social.
By subscribing to publications like Hubspot, MMA, Unbounce, and CMI, each morning I have close to 20 articles sitting in my inbox that I can read and tweet if relevant. My goal is to post about 10 times per weekday, which doing manually can require a significant time commitment. Solution — I recently started using a buffer account to schedule posts, reducing this commitment and ensuring more consistent posting.
The hashtag may be one of the easiest ways to increase follower growth. Using relevant hashtags allows other people interested in that topic or posting similar content to see your posts. Many times people will search and create lists based on hashtags and follow those accounts to continue seeing similar content.
For example, I started using #content, #contentmarketing, #social, #mobile, etc and immediately saw an increase in people following me with bio descriptions including marketing. By just adding one hashtag to a post I saw immediate growth.
By posting more often and using hashtags you will see a spike in notifications for new followers. However, if you don’t follow back, people will often unfollow you after a day or so. This was something I struggled with a lot in the beginning. I wanted to keep my following list as pure as possible by only following thought leaders and people posting SUPER relevant content. However, I could never grow my followers list.
Now let me clarify a few things. I do not follow every person who follows me nor do I recommend someone do. However, being a bit more open-minded and reading through bios and the last few posts can provide good sense of who to follow.
You can also turn the tables and look on lists and search hashtags you’re interested in to follow people. There are various apps to help manage this. Unfollow Me is an app that will load your twitter account and display the profiles who aren’t following you back. You can then unfollow them within the app, thus managing your following to follower ratio. I wouldn’t use this technique frequently, but if you get added to a list, scan through and follow the profiles that interest you. After a week or so refresh the app and look deeper into the accounts who didn’t follow you back to determine if their content is worth while.
As you grow your followers and especially your following lists, you’ll quickly realize your feed becomes extremely messy and kind of irrelevant. To still get the most of what Twitter has to offer, build lists. Lists are a feature where you can add Twitter profiles into similar categories and see a feed of just what those people post. For instance, have a list of friends, content marketers, digital marketers, location, design, social media, photography, etc. This way you can still find content relevant to what you’re interested in. Be sure to start lists early so you can manage them as you grow. Waiting until you have thousands of followers will be pointless.
Creating a Twitter presence for yourself is not easy; it takes time and intentionality to manage your profile. However, by posting consistently with relevant hashtags, following appropriate accounts, and building lists you can create a strong profile.
Understand that using one of these tips without the other won’t get you very far. You either won’t see the results you want or you’ll cerate unsustainable growth. Finding a balance between hashtags and post frequency will gain followers and following back will retain them. Creating and searching through lists will give you more content to share and help you find new accounts to follow. It’s all one big circle that can help you grow your Twitter followers.
This post originally appeared on nicolemmaclean.com.