Over the course of more than two years I dedicated a lot of my free time to not only expanding my Twitter network but to also to actually engage with people who cared about what I shared and who enjoyed my content.
As much as you’d like to say that quantity doesn’t matter, well, it does.
The more people I “persuade” to follow me, the more visitors my blog ends up receiving. The traffic Twitter brings me is now significant with 5,500 visitors a month coming from the 140 character social network.
Anyway, let’s get started:
1. Start with the profile picture
When someone lands on your profile, the first thing to catch their eye is your profile picture.
Especially now with the new profiles, where the photo is at the center of the header, it can really give people a hint of whether or not they should click ‘follow’.
So, when it comes to choosing a suitable avatar, there are three golden rules:
1. Make sure it’s a photo of “you”
When you follow someone you expect them to be a real person. And unfortunately when it comes to Twitter, there are literally millions of fake accounts. That is why you have to make sure to add a real photo and not one you found on the internet for instance. Additionally if you are a business then you are far better off creating an additional Twitter account instead of putting a business logo on your personal profile just to promote your business.
2. Make sure it’s big enough
A lot of people tend to click on the avatar to see a person’s profile picture in a bigger size. There are a lot of folks out there however, whose photo is just as big as the size of the frame. What I’d advice you is to re-size your photo to say 300 by 300 pixels, so that it actually becomes bigger once someone clicks on it. A small, blurry and pixellated picture says that you don’t pay attention to the small details and that isn’t a good start.
3. Make sure your face is recognizable
What many Twitter users do is to simply upload a picture of them in full-size. Consider how small the avatar is, if you put a whole-body picture, then end result will be hard to distinguish. So absolutely make sure that the photo is only of your upper-body.
2. Don’t forget about hashtags
Hashtags are kinda like when you use a specific keyword within an article to make it rank higher in the search engines. When you use them, you are targeting your tweet to the people using the words you’ve included in your hashtags.
I used to have a problem with hashtags. In my eyes they just didn’t look good and were making some of the tweets look quite unreadable.
But you know what?
Hashtags aren’t the problem. Using them is a great way to guarantee your message gains more exposure with the right people.
The problem is how you use them.
The 3 “Don’ts” of Hashtags
1. Don’t include too many
Let’s assume you are sharing an article of yours on Twitter and decide to add some hashtags to improve its visibility. Since the title is short and doesn’t take much of your 160 characters limit, you decide to include five hashtags. Is that a good move? No. It just looks spammy… And no one likes that kind of obvious self-promotion. I’d say two or three hastags at most.
2. Don’t be too specific
Twitter unlike Google doesn’t have a huge search volume. This basically means that you can get your message seen even if you use a broader term. On the other hand if you are too specific, probably no one is going to see your tweet via Twitter search. I’ve found that including more general terms like #Marketing, #SocialMedia, #Blogging or #Design results in the most retweets and favorites.
3. Don’t make your tweets unreadable
A bad practice I often see is replacing parts of an article’s title with hashtags. For instance if we have the article “10 Great Social Media Tips for Marketers”, some folks would tweet it like “10 Great #SocialMedia #Tips for #Marketers”. The end result is a tweet that you don’t really feel like clicking or retweeting just because it looks ugly.
3. Get into guest blogging
Guest blogging… What does this have to do with getting more Twitter followers?
Guest blogging is a popular link-building technique. Many bloggers out there write guest articles only because they want to improve their search traffic. That behavior is probably one of the reasons why Google will keep a close eye on guest blogging this year.
And indeed guest blogging is much more than just being a way to improve SEO. In fact getting your content published on well-known, high-trafficked blogs is a sure way to create awareness about your brand.
This can be done by being a guest author. I have written articles for blogs like Traffic Generation Cafe and Kikolani.
Although all those guest posts helped me boost my organic traffic, the more important benefit was that I got in front of a new and highly relevant audience. This resulted in a torrent of new subscribers, followers and fans.
The thing is if people enjoy what you have to say, they will most certainly look for your social accounts. You don’t even have to share them. To date my five-week guest blogging endeavour has resulted in hundreds of new Twitter followers, Facebook fans and Google Plus users circling me.
4. Follow others with a strategy
Following new Twitter users is a great way to discover people with similar interests and to find interesting sources of information.
Another great benefit from doing so is that you can also get more eyeballs on your content.
How is that possible?
Well, the fact is a lot of people take a look at your Twitter profile when you follow them. So, if you follow people in your own niche who share your topics, there’s a good chance to get them to also follow you.
If we have to speak in numbers, I am able to get around 20% of the ones who I follow to also follow me back.
But how do you find relevant folks to follow in the first place?
Obviously you shouldn’t just go for the first dozen of Twitter users who you come across. You need to think strategically.
Tweepi is a great tool that allows you to follow either the followers or the friends (i.e. mutual followers) of a Twitter user of your choice.
For instance you can discover some of the influencers in your niche and start following their followers. Additionally Tweepi allows you to filter the list of followers by how active they are, how much tweets they are sharing, how much followers they have and how much people they are following.
How to use Tweepi
- You sign-up for an account and connect your Twitter profile. You hover over “Follow Tweeps”, click “@user’s friends”, choose whose friends you’ll follow and click “Start Following“.
- From that point on you can simply click on the different fields (e.g. “#followers”, “#friends”, “#statuses”), choose filters and set them up.
- Once you are finished with that you start following people from the list. Make sure to follow only those who have a real photo as an avatar!
NOTE: You should be very careful with the number of people you follow per day. I’d say you are safe with around 100-150 follows every day. That way you are far from the 1,000 follows limit and your account is safe.
5. Think about your email signature
As a blogger you will be sending and receiving a ton of emails.
And when it comes to email that is probably the most “personal” way to communicate in the online world. That in terms means most of the people you email to will probably be interested to stay in touch.
The simplest set-it-and-forget-it kind of thing you could do is to create some sort of signature. The signature will be automatically inserted at the end of each email you write and send.
If you are an Yahoo user, you can easily set your signature by going to the wrench-like icon on the right hand side, beside your profile image. Clicking on it will display a menu. There you choose “Mail options” and go to “Signature”. Now it’s all up to your creativity. You can include fancy images and HTML if you like.
As for me I am sticking to simplicity:
Follow me on Twitter | Join my Facebook page | Connect with me on LinkedIn | Circle me on Google+
That is basically how my signature looks like. Simple yet effective.
You definitely won’t get a ton of new followers that way, but you can be almost certain that the ones who follow you will actually engage and click on your tweets.
6. Feel free to ask for retweets
Some weeks ago at my blog I shared a very interesting infographic that shared a study’s results on how to get more retweets. Something important that the study reveals is that you can get a lot more people (around 51%) to retweet your tweets if you simply ask them to.
And since that seemed like a very promising strategy I decided to give it a try. Now over the course of almost a month I have probably sent out over 30-40 tweets, asking people to retweet the tweet.
The interesting thing was that although those tweets ended up receiving double or even triple the usual retweets, people were not clicking at all.
So it turns out that for instance tweeting something along the lines of
“I would really appreciate a retweet! –> Post Title http://post.url.com” is a better way to promote your profile and get people to see it than to actually get a ton of traffic from clicks.
Basically since your post will get more retweets, more of the followers of your followers will see the tweet. Hence you can expect new follows from Twitter users, who you haven’t been able to reach before.
And there’s the question, how often should you follow that practice?
I am doing it every time I publish a new article, which equates to not more than three times per week. That is how I’d recommend you to proceed as well.
What about you?
These are six tips I have found to be effective based on what I’ve tried and tested. What techniques have worked for you?
Feel free to add and share your ideas to the list by leaving a comment! Also if you have any questions, hesitations or ideas, take a minute to share your thoughts!
Guest Author: Daniel Sharkov is an 18 year old student, marketer, blogger and a social media enthusiast. Make sure to check out Reviewz N Tips – the place, where he shares his insights and experience!
Want to learn more on how to grow your Twitter followers?
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Twitter bird image by Shutterstock
Image by Shutterstock