How I’m Using Narrow.io to Grow My Twitter Following… 2160% Faster
Follower count is one of those Twitter metrics that I love to hate.
I’m not in a contest with anyone. My ego doesn’t need stroking. And I sure as heck am not interested in just inflating a vanity metric with useless followers just so I can look influential.
But on the other hand, why put in the time and energy that it takes to curate content and create value on Twitter for a smaller-than-necessary audience?
I distinctly remember the moment when I crossed the 1,000-follower mark. It seemed like a big moment, but it also was painfully obvious that after years on Twitter, I wasn’t getting very far.
Tweeting Quality Stuff Just Isn’t Enough
It’s not that I didn’t know what to do to pick up more followers, but despite joining in 2008, I just hadn’t been consistent enough about doing the basics.
In fact, I taught business owners and entrepreneurs for years to do the basics:
- Publish consistently on topics of interest to the people you want to attract (for business owners, this usually means the pool of prospects your customers should come from). Use well-researched, thoughtful hashtags somewhat sparingly. If you serve a local geography or specific industry, pay close attention to those topics and hashtags related to your
- Follow people who also publish on similar topics, who use the same (or similar) hashtags, and who seem to be in your pool of potential customers.
- Follow back when you pick up new followers who meet your targeting criteria. This means being selective enough that you should maintain a decent (20% or more) gap between your “follower” and “following” counts.
Since they’re focused on serving others, these techniques generally work.
But I knew my own consistency in tweeting (both curating quality stuff and the content from my own blogs and brands) was the first deficiency I had to fix.
So, at the start of 2015, I tested out a few content curation tools and got busy tweeting more consistently. They were still a bit slow in coming, but the results started to show up.
Once I felt like I had a decent habit in place, I knew that systematically seeking out new users to follow would be the next one to establish.
Here again, I just wasn’t very consistent about it. I had Hootsuite set up with streams for hashtags and other searches, but I just wasn’t getting it done.
Along Comes Narrow
I took advantage of the free trial to test out the tools, which make the consistent proactive interactions happen.
In short, here’s what it does:
- Using targeting criteria you define, Narrow automatically favorites tweets and follows accounts on your behalf.
- If, after 24 hours, those accounts have not followed you back, then Narrow automatically unfavorites and unfollows for you. On the other hand, if they do follow you back, then Narrow leaves everything in place.
That’s really it. It’s quite simple.
Results. Results. Results.
I ran the 7-day trial in early August. But, I didn’t spend much time setting it up, and so I didn’t get the greatest results.
So… I decided to embark on a personal effort to interact more. Once I knew a little more about what could be accomplished with consistency, I decided to pony up for the paid account. That was on October 6th.
To give you some idea, on August 12th, I crossed the 2000-follower mark for the first time. Having joined in November, 2008, I’m not too excited about how long that took me.
As of this writing, I now have 2,779 followers. Nearly 400 of those followers have come in the last 3 weeks, since I began using Narrow.
Doesn’t Automation Take Away the Social Component?
I’ll admit that I struggled with this before pulling the trigger. There are many accounts that automated tools might select for me that I wouldn’t actually want to follow.
Plus, I despise what I’ve perceived as a failure to be genuine and authentic from other Tweeps who are clearly using automation.
But here’s what I’ve found: I still see every single account that I connect with as result of Narrow. This is because I closely watch the notifications about new followers, and I personally review each one.
I’m no less in control than ever before. In the couple of instances that I’ve discovered I was following an account that I didn’t prefer, it was no big deal to unfollow it.
At the same time, many of the new followers I’ve picked up since beginning to use Narrow were not being followed by my account. This is due, in part, to the timing of the interactions, since Narrow unfollows after 24 hours without a response. Some of those accounts were, no doubt, following back after that time frame, so I was, in effect, re-following. Others found me because of Twitter’s automated recommendations resulting from other followers.
How to Get the Most Out of Narrow
Narrow provides functionality that is deceptively simple.
- Run a search. This can be a hashtag or not. It can target users’ bios or not.
- Review the “audience” by checking out the sample accounts the search returns. If you approve the audience, Narrow will begin working.
Targeting bios is useful if you want to find people who have listed their job title or interest in their actual bio. Example: You sell to CMOs. You could consider using “CMO” for your search and checking the “Bio” box.
This is great, but in my view has limited utility. Maybe your specific situation is better suited to this than the cases I imagined.
More interesting to me is to use hashtags that are likely to be used by people who would be interested in what you’re tweeting. If you’re tweeting content that’s of interest to your pool of prospects, this should be a no-brainer.
If you’re using hashtags, you need to include the hash mark (“#”), but you could also do a little research ahead of time with Hashtagify, Tagboard, and Hashtag Dictionary to scope out the hashtags ahead of time and make sure they mean what you think they mean.
A great hack that Josh Muccio turned me onto with Narrow is to search for domains where articles and posts might originate which would be of interest to the group(s) you’re targeting.
For instance: using Narrow for our small business marketing podcast, we include domains like convinceandconvert.com, hubspot.com, thesaleslion.com, widerfunnel.com, and so on, because they are the websites for some of our popular guests, and their content gets shared quite often. Since the guests were relevant to our audience, the people who share content from their websites on Twitter might be a good fit for our podcast.
Pro tip: search for just the domain itself, not full URLs. You don’t want any “www” or “http” characters in the search phrase.
On the other hand, if articles that deal with a hot topic might be likely to contain a specific string in the URL (e.g. “social-media”), you could use that string as a search term.
If the audience that you’re targeting is likely to use a very specific product or web app, you might consider using that product name as a search phrase.
The beauty of all of this is that you can test it out. If you find that a keyword phrase isn’t performing well or if the followers it generates aren’t the best match for you, then you can turn off any particular keyword search by removing the “audience” from the approved list inside of Narrow.
Do you have a trick for using Narrow or for targeting good accounts on Twitter? I’d love to hear about it! Add your comment here or hit me up on Twitter: TheDavidJohnson.