Growing Followers on Twitter

by Jeffrey M. Welch

Check out the Twiterversity guide for more.

Expanding your Following

There are a few key points to expanding your following on Twitter, and these will be similar on most social networks:
  1. You need to be a credible person. You look like a real person (see this post).
  2. You have to feed Twitter to stay relevant. This means if you really want to use it, you have to check in and post at least a few times a week. If you stop Tweeting, people will unfollow you.
  3. Pick a theme and then stay on theme. Post regularly on the theme you have chosen.
  4. Retweet things that are interesting, this will help you to find followers.
  5. Join in on a Twitter chat on a topic that is interesting to you
  6. Follow influential Twitter users.
The way to really expand your following has to with an expansion on #6. Presume you are already doing 1-5, your final step to building a large Twitter following is to identify a handful of important and influential Twitter users and to piggyback on them. Find users that post great content that is on your theme and have a large following (more than 5000 users as a minimum).

Your next step is to start to follow their followers. It is kind of difficult to do this in Twitter. Fortunately, there are tools that will help you to do this. Two that I have used are Tweepi and ManageFlitter. Your task then is the following:

  1. Identify users that you that have your interests and a strong following.
  2. Identify their users that are worth following. This means utilising filters:
    1. Bio (They have a bio, and you may want to filter for key words).
    2. Profile pic (filter for "Have profile pic", ignore users without one, this indicates they are not serious).
    3. Filter out users with high follower ratios. (Follow ratio means the user's followers divided by those that they follow. A user that has 60,000 followers, and only follows a few thousand may have interesting content, but they probably will not follow you back.)
    4. There are a number of other categories in filtering. Do some experiments and see what gets you the best results.
  3. After a while (allow at least three days), unfollow users that do not follow you back. Immediately unfollow users that post content that is off topic or annoying to you.
  4. Follow back anyone who follows you that is interesting to you, do not follow users that appear to be spam, fake, or post content that is not what you are interested in. 
Repeat this cycle a few times a week. Twitter will let you follow a maximum of 1000 users in a day. It is probably a good idea to keep your followers way below that number. Twitter also limits the number of unfollows in a day. You should not follow someone that you do not think you will continue to follow in the future, this is both rude and may be considered abuse by Twitter. This is why filtering is so important. Filter so that you find people that you are interested in connecting with and you will be fine.

Once you get to the point that you are following more than say three times your followers, you need to stop and pause for a time. Then unfollow users who have not followed you back. You will only be allowed by Twitter to follow a maximum of 5000 users. After that they will prevent you from following more users until you have unfollowed some. Once more than 5000 people have followed you, the rules will change, but that is something to worry about later.

Check out the Twiterversity guide for more.