Imagine ... you want to spread the word about your expertise on Twitter. At the same time you also want to increase the number of your followers. You don't really know where to start. Allow me to reveal my forty personal tips on how I got my first 1000 Twitter Followers in 44 days by using a more systematic and strategic approach.
It was back in 2007 when my husband asked me, “Why don’t you sign up on Twitter?” At the beginning, I was quite sceptical about this whole concept and what benefit I would gain from posting micro-messages (tweets of 140 characters only) to a worldwide audience. This was at a time when I started to use Twitter mainly for spreading the word about my career blog, but I wanted to give it a try and I absolutely did not regret it.
At that time, I didn’t have any particular strategy or specific knowledge on how I could increase my Twitter Followers. There were times in which I was very active on Twitter, but also times when I wanted to take a break from it.
After 7 years, I had 958 Followers and I felt that I was stuck and not able to grow my number of followers much further. Before closing that account in 2014, I decided to do some research and learn how I could manage my Twitter account more effectively. I found out that there are strategies which could help me improve my online presence in several ways.
In October 2014 I started with a new Twitter account and wanted to see how long it would take me this time to get my first 1000 Followers. I was very pleased to see that my research and my actions paid off and the result was proof of it.
Even though someone told me “1000 Followers in 44 days? That’s nothing.” I did not allow that comment to stop me from writing this book (which now I publish here as an in-depth article :-)). I’m proud of my achievement and the progress that I made: This time it did not take me 7 years, but 44 days to get my first 1000 Followers. It made me feel good.
My personal Twitter Growth Strategy
# 1 — Tweet great (and useful) content.
Don’t think that you always have to create all the content by yourself. If you are writing a blog, great! This would allow you to spread the word about your online content quicker and more efficiently. The chances of getting more followers, retweets and favourites will definitely increase. But if you come across content from other internet users (no matter in what format: text, video or pictures) feel free to share it if you consider it worthwhile to do so. When I was blogging, I always made sure that the content is of high quality and useful for other readers. What do you think readers will appreciate more? Reading a tweet like, “Had some great pasta at my friend’s home.” or “25 Secrets on how you can succeed in a digital job interview”? I’m sure you guessed this one correctly. You can tweet quotes, great articles, personal experiences you had, and advice you would like to give. Remember that sharing general useful information that helps people save time and money will always be appreciated. There is no limit on what you can write about, so think creatively and tweet about things that you would also appreciate as a reader.
# 2 — Use visuals.
Research has shown that if you use pictures or other visuals, your chances of being noticed quicker and getting retweets, favourites and new followers are higher. When it comes to content, I often use different types to spread high-quality content: pictures or links which include videos, slide presentations, memics, infographics, etc. I realised that pictures are being noticed and commented on more often than simple tweets of 140 characters. I learnt that if I tweet with a picture, I will have to keep my tweet shorter since a picture takes up more characters. You should do the same if you want to avoid your tweet going unnoticed. Visuals do make a difference!
# 3 — Tweet regularly.
The more I tweet, the more often I get noticed. My main followership on Twitter comes from the USA and I realised that I have to take into consideration time differences. While, here in the UK, I sometimes tweeted in the early morning hours, on the other side of the globe, it would be night time and people would be sleeping. So I realised that tweeting in the afternoon or evening would get me better results in terms of number of followers, retweets, etc. due to the fact that Americans are located in a different time zone. So make sure you keep an eye on where your main audience comes from (www.tweepsmap.com is a great tool in this regard, it shows you the number of followers per location on a world map). If you tweet, do it regularly, which can mean 5–6 times a day or once a day but then regularly every day. Don’t keep it as something you do occasionally only. It will be difficult to achieve your goal of getting 1000 followers in a short period of time.
# 4 — Tweet old content again and again.
Some of my tweets I tweet more than once. This for the following reasons: 1) Some tweets might get overlooked the first time but not if you tweet about it two or three times spread over a day. 2) People are living in different countries and have therefore different time zones. Your followers in the US might have noticed your tweet while other European twitter followers might be sleeping at that time…. I’m sure you understand what I mean. 3) If you tweet about it with regular intervals (e.g. once a week), then this will be noticed by a higher number of people (also those you started following you at a later stage). Just make sure you don’t tweet certain things too often otherwise many of your followers might consider of unfollowing you because of a lack of new content coming from your side.
# 5 — Use catchy words!
The words you choose for your tweets also make a difference. In order to make people click on your attached link depends on how interesting it sounds to a reader. I used to write book reviews on recruitment and business etiquette in the past. I came across some really great resources. I wrote blog posts about them and always tried to find a catchy title for it. For example: “10 Things I love about book XYZ”, “My Personal Book Review of book XYZ”. It was one of the content that was most read in my blogs. The authors always appreciated my reviews and were obviously happy to spread the word about it online. It was a win-win situation for both parties: I got retweets, new followers and an increased website traffic on my blog and the book authors were able to increase their online presence and thus gaining further testimonials and book sales.
# 6 — Engage, engage, engage!
I really noticed at the beginning when I had my first Twitter account that by just tweeting my own stuff I did not get far. I learnt that by engaging, connecting and interacting with others this would help me to get more followers. There are different ways how I did it:
- By commenting on pictures
- By adding some adjectives to certain articles that I found highly interesting
- By expressing my opinion (agreeing or disagreeing)
- By giving feedback
- By giving advice
- By praising and complimenting someone or something
There are some professionals who are really diligent in the way they interact with other people. I was always amazed to see how often and how much time they invest in order to keep up with all their followers in an engaging way. So, just read other peoples’ tweets and do it similarly.
# 7 — Use hashtags.
I use the hashtag symbol (#) before a relevant keyword in order to categorize my tweet and be found more easily on twitter searches. I hardly used this at the beginning but could see a difference in being followed by like-minded people later on. I sometimes use one to three hashtags in a tweet.
This allowed me to be found by others more easily. If there are any particular events going on or trends that people talk about officially on Twitter other people will again have an opportunity to find you quickly and start following you. Don’t underestimate the use of one or more hashtags in your profile description. Also, that can help to get more followers in an easy way. I use three hashtags in my profile and often get followers from the recruitment industry.
# 8 — Say “Thank you”.
This activity is a bit time-consuming, but people do appreciate this gesture a lot. I’ve noticed that sometimes people include 5 or 6 usernames in one single tweet to say “Thank you for following”. Most of the people don’t do this at all or it would never cross their mind that it would be necessary or nice to do it.
My approach is a bit more personalised. I consider it as important to make every single Twitter Follower feel a bit more special and unique. I use to thank every person individually by adding a longer comment. If I was aware of the person’s first name, I always included it in my thank you tweet. For example:
- Thanks Richard for the follow, I appreciate.
- Happy Monday! Thanks for following, wishing you a great productive week.
- Thanks Barbara for following, that’s great.
- Wishing you a lovely weekend. Thanks for following.
- Thanks for following, it’s great to be connected Peter.
- I really appreciate having you as my follower. Have a nice
- Thanks for the follow. I look forward to reading your tweets.
- You have a great Thanks for following.
Or if someone has a particularly interesting profile that makes me curious I ask a question (which they might feel they should reply). For example, I replied to a travel enthusiast by tweeting “Thanks for the follow (name XYZ). What is your most favourite travel tip?”
I also used to thank everyone for favouring my tweets and retweeting my tweets. I did not count how many people do thank me for this little gesture, but I would say that 80% does thank me, and that helps me to start a nice relationship online. It will be less likely that they will unfollow me later on too.
# 9 — Follow like-minded people.
If you are interested (or working) in a particular industry, then it is quite easy to find other like-minded people to follow. By clicking on “DISCOVER” at the top bar and then clicking on “Who to follow” you will come across many people who have a certain keyword in their profile description.
When I started my second, new Twitter account I searched for people working in the recruitment industry. I entered keywords such as “Recruiter”, “Recruitment”, “Recruiting”, “Recruitmentprofessional”, “Headhunter”, “Headhunting”, “HR” etc. I found lots of people who I followed, and due to my etiquette and recruitment blog many of those professionals also followed me back. Another method to get to know like-minded people is also to look at all those followers that other people in the same industry have. It’s a quick and easy way to find other people with the same interests/skills/expertise, etc. If those followers see that you are following similar people, your chances are higher that they will also follow you back.
# 10 — Follow back.
I always follow people back if they follow me, give me feedback, thank me, favour or retweet my tweets. If someone shows interest or appreciation for what I do, I show that I’m grateful for it. Let’s be honest, it doesn’t cost any money and is a nice gesture.
Often people apply this follow-unfollow strategy in which they initially follow someone but then unfollow them later on once they realise they are not being followed back by that same person. People often do want to show that their number of followers is higher than the number of people they are actually following in order not to be perceived as a spammer.
# 11 — Ask to be followed on other social media websites.
As a social media savvy person, I also use other networking platforms (Facebook, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Google Plus) in order to spread the word about my content. But I also invite people to follow me on Twitter, but not in a pushy, aggressive way.
# 12 — Retweet other people’s tweets.
If you come across great stuff published by other people don’t hesitate to retweet it and to share it with your followers. You will notice that if you retweet other people’s content on a regular basis they will welcome the idea to follow you back too because they know that you help them to spread their tweets. Who would not feel appreciated and valued?
# 13 — Mention your twitter account on your blog.
On my blog, I have a Twitter follow button which allows every reader to click on it to follow me if they wish to do so. It’s important to make it easy for internet users to follow you. It also helps to retweet articles that you published.
# 14 — Pin the most important tweet.
If there is one tweet that you want everyone to see, then you should pin it. It appears at the top of your profile and will grab everyone’s attention. More people will follow you based on that.
# 15 — Include other people.
I learnt that if you include other people in your content (no matter in what format) they will help you to spread the word online for free because they are being mentioned. Let me give you an example. I have several career-related blogs and one topic that is always of high popularity is where professionals share their personal career lessons or lessons related to their particular industry. It was my goal to ask Recruitment Professionals from different parts of the world to share their Top 10 Lessons that they personally learnt in their recruitment career. I found people from China, India, Australia, USA and Italy so far to share their lessons. Doing this does not just teach many other insiders and outsiders what their personal lessons have been but it also makes the other person feel important and valued. Everyone who was prepared to share their Top Lessons (which have been published on my blog) was very keen on sharing this content also on their own networking websites. All this increases the number of retweets, the number of followers, etc.
# 16 — Get interviewed.
Try to find ways to get interviewed by other media and tell them to include your Twitter username in it. This will also help you to increase the number of followers. I remember Walethia Aquil, the CEO of Grace and Charm, who wanted to enrich her blog with an article by interviewing me. Read more about it here: http://graceandcharmblog.com/creating-a-global-presence-an-interview-with-karin-singh/. It turned out very good and I appreciated the opportunity. After this, I got another interview opportunity with Karen Hickman, CEO of Professional Courtesy. You can read the interview at http://professionalcourtesyllc.blogspot.co.uk/2010/06/conversation-with-karin-schroeck-singh.html
# 17 — Become one of the experts.
Let me tell you another story. In November 2014, I was approached by the CEO of www.JobSearchBible.com, who found me via Twitter. He wanted me to write articles for his blog. I submitted my article but after having a closer look at his website I made him a suggestion which would improve his website traffic. He loved the idea and implemented it immediately. I asked him to look for other two career experts and to publish a career dilemma instead of an article. Presenting a jobseeker’s career dilemma with solutions from 3 different career experts would lead to a more useful end result. The benefit was as follows:
- Presented in the form of a dilemma it makes the content sound more interesting, rather than just reading it as an article. People love reading about problems and are curious to find out what solutions are being provided.
- The solution was not presented by just one expert but three experts. The reader has, therefore, the advantage to get the opinion of three experts straight away, fully free of charge!
- Every career expert is keen on spreading the word in which s/he comes across as an expert in this field on their own social media networks.
I felt very pleased to know that my idea got accepted, implemented and appreciated. It also helped me to connect with the other two experts. And also their network might have helped me to get some of their followers too.
# 18 — Participate in events or conferences or join a Twitter chat.
Look out for people who talk about a specific event. You have the opportunity to join them in their conversations. By doing this, your tweets will reach an attentive audience with greater frequency. Use these events to express your opinion. Follow other participants, monitor what is going on in the event and create additional value. You never know where it might lead, unconsciously maybe even to your next job.
# 19 — Mention your Twitter account in many other places.
Try to mention your twitter account in many other places. For example on your business card, in your emails (at the end of the signature part), on other social media websites, blog, etc.
# 20 — Write a good profile.
Invest some time in writing a good, original profile. You might even consider adding a reason why people should follow you. You don’t have much space for it, write it therefore in a way that makes people curious to find out more about you.
# 21 — Have a great profile picture.
I’m surprised to see so many people who put so few thoughts into uploading a great profile picture on their account. Don’t underestimate this part. If all that people see is an egg or something completely unrelated to your person/content it will put off people. Get a good picture made and use it! It will make a difference, believe me! People want to connect with people unless you are a company and decide to upload your corporate logo instead. I’ve chosen a picture which my then 6-year-old daughter took, it turned out so nice that I decided to use it as my profile picture for all my social media accounts.
# 22 — Don’t buy followers.
I’ve noticed that there are lots of people out there on Twitter, who offer to get you thousands of followers, retweets, etc. I’ve never gone that route and can’t talk from experience in that regard. All I know is that many say that all you would get are fake followers, accounts that are created artificially and from which you can’t expect any conversation, engagement or interaction. You might inflate your numbers which might make you look being POPULAR but it’s not worthwhile. By the way, would you really feel proud of it?
# 23 — Tweet 24/7 by scheduling your tweets.
It doesn’t mean that you have to tweet only at the time when you are online. There are apps available which will allow you to schedule your tweets for certain days and times. For example, Buffer, Hootsuite, etc.
# 24 — Follow other people.
There are different ways how to follow other people. I did it in different ways:
- By importing and inviting my email contacts to join me on Twitter.
- By clicking on DISCOVER section and then clicking on WHO TO FOLLOW.
- By looking at who is following the people I’m following.
- By browsing a Twitter directory, e.g. Can’t Tell if Your Social Media Campaign is Really Working? Here’s What You Need to Know, http://www.Wefollow.com
# 25 — Answer questions.
If someone asks you a question and you have a good answer to it don’t hold back. Share your thoughts, tips and suggestions. They might be very likely to follow you. I remember once there was an Australian guy who asked where he can buy Birkenstock sandals online in Melbourne. I was eager to do a quick search on the internet and tried to get back to him quickly, which I did. He appreciated and followed me back based on that. Always look out for people who are looking for some advice. Help and people will be grateful for it.
# 26 — Ask questions.
If you have a question and you would like to get some answers and advice from your followers, just ask. There might be 2 scenarios: either you don’t get any reply or you will get answers which will surprise you. By challenging other people to answer, you will attract the interest from people who are not yet following you but might do it after having a small interaction with you.
# 27 — Follow journalists/bloggers/writers.
If you follow people who are working in the media industry, particularly those who are writing and blogging, they might get interested in what you have to say. They might consider to write about you in their publications and blogs which will help you to be more known.
# 28 — Spread the word about your achievements.
If you have won an award for something or achieved something that you are particularly proud of, then mention it and tweet about it. It always helps to increase your level of authority and expertise. Once I got 100 students on my online course on Udemy “German for Travellers” I tweeted about it by trying to get others interested in it too.
# 29 — Use commas in your profile and list many things.
Use your twitter profile space as effectively as you can. Mention all the things that represent you and divide them with a comma. That will help you to be found by more people.
# 30 — Keep track of statistics.
If you use Check your own Twitter Stats — Twitter Counter, it will give you some insightful information about when you performed well and where you performed poorly on Twitter.
# 31 — Find out the time when your followers are on Twitter.
“Tweriod” is a tool you can use to find out when your followers will be particularly active on Twitter. You can use this information to tweet your best tweets at the best time. Make use of it!
# 32 — Don’t beg for followers or retweets.
Instead of begging other people for being followed or retweeted, try to come up with great content that people will notice and they will follow you voluntarily. Think of ways how you can stand out.
# 33 — Give tips and advice.
Set yourself a goal to give your followers at least one tip or advice per day. If people consider it as valuable, they will follow you. I started doing this by numbering them, I thought if people see it they would want to check out also other tips.
# 34 — Look at what other experts are tweeting.
If you check out on what other experts working in the same industry are tweeting about, you could create similar content or look for similar resources on the internet that you could talk about. Influential people will notice you, maybe follow, retweet and favour you too.
# 35 — Tweet daily.
The more you tweet on a daily basis, the more people will notice you.
# 36 — Be focused.
There are reasons why people follow certain people. Try to stick to your area of expertise or interest and don’t move from one interest to the other. People might be confused as to why they should follow you.
# 37 — Tweet quotes.
Everyone loves quotes and there are several resources on the internet that you can use to find many interesting ones. With quotes, your chances of getting also many retweets are high.
# 38 — Monitor trends.
Read what topics are currently trending and what people are talking about. If you are able to add something interesting to it, you will notice people want to connect. Sometimes you need to be provocative in order to stand out from the rest. But make sure you provoke in moderation and don’t end up in serious trouble.
# 39 — Get your background right.
You can either try to do it by yourself or look at Amazingly Simple Graphic Design Software, which offers free of charge backgrounds. You can also hire someone to do it for you. I used to change my background occasionally. Sometimes I had a picture, then I decided to use a quote saying “Enthusiasm is the daily food of successful people. It makes ordinary people EXTRAORDINARY. I’m one of them.”
# 40 — Check your tweets before publishing them.
This might sound obvious, but it is quite shocking to see how many spelling or grammar mistakes you can find on Twitter. I remember once I made a stupid spelling mistake which I noticed as soon as I pressed the POST button. Thank God, Twitter gives the option to delete a tweet, which I did. I then simply re-posted it again in the correct way. So always check before you press the POST button too.
If you know someone who could also benefit from this article, please feel free to share. Thank you.