How Do I Get More Followers On Twitter?
This is a question that I get asked a lot. What’s the best way to get followers? Should I follow lots of people and then they’ll follow me back? Should I put out good content and then people will naturally follow me?
Of course we’re assuming you’ve thought about what you want out of your relationship with twitter. So, setting that aside for now, let’s dig in to this follow / not follow question.
Now there basically two schools of thought here – the “no you should wait for people to be attracted to you” school and the “yes you should follow people to get more followers” school.
The No School
This is the strategy of quality over quantity. A bit like having a private party.
Where you’re advised that it’s better to put good content out and your audience will find you. Or better to find your audience elsewhere (offline for example) and then bring them to twitter to ‘hang out’. Use it as a way of engaging and staying in touch with your crowd. Better to have fewer, closer friends than many people you don’t really know that well.
Who’s This For?
This is a strategy used by a lot of the ‘big guys’ (and of course celebrities). They are already ‘famous’ in their world. Or they’re content to build their following slowly, on the back of referrals essentially.
This has the advantage of positioning you as the expert, the authority that people queue up to listen to.
I know people who have used this really successfully to build up a loyal and raving fan base. And I know people who have recently cleaned out their twitter accounts and unfollowed most of their followers. It’s a solid, tried and tested strategy.
And you’ll definitely avoid some of the issues inherent with a medium like twitter. You don’t see a lot of unwanted tweets in your tweet stream – you just see the ones you really want to see. You also don’t get a lot of direct message spam – people can only send you a DM if you are following them. Twitter or your twitter client (if you’re using tweetdeck or hootsuite for example) will run faster. Especially when you get into tens and multiple tens of thousands of followers.
But then there’s the downside. It’s slooooow. And, I’m going to stick my neck out here, it’s much slower way to build than even just a couple of years ago.
Twitter is a busy and noisy environment. It’s hard for people to find you. Where are those loyal followers going to come from? Are your followers also trying to build up a following in which case they may unfollow you if you don’t follow them back? And there are many automated tools that allow them to do this. If your followers don’t have followers themselves then the ripple effect of twitter – where RTs and conversations get seen by the followers of your followers – won’t work.
And you can manage some of the downsides like following a lot of people by using lists – group people who’s conversations you want to see and put them in list. And don’t follow spammers and bots just to play the numbers game – you still want to be a bit choosy about who you follow.
The Yes School
These are the guys who say it’s better to follow a handful of people a day and see if they follow you back. They do, you stick with them. They don’t you decide whether you want them in your stream or you unfollow them.
Who’s This For?
This is for you if you want to make connections – to be friendly with people you don’t know yet and see how it turns out. It’s like being at a cocktail party – you go over and say hello and see where it leads to – maybe you strike up a conversation, maybe not, but you’re making that first move.
If you don’t have followers you don’t have an audience. This of course comes back to why you’re on twitter in the first place!
And twitter is essentially a social environment so why not be polite? If someone follows you then follow them back? Likewise there’s a lot of churn – people following and unfollowing. Again it’s the cocktail party analogy – you say hi, you have a short conversation, the person’s not someone you want to get to know so you move on.
This is a bit more of a lucky dip approach. You’ll find some interesting and unusual connections this way – and who knows, maybe some will lead to customers, joint ventures and new friendships?
But there’s a big downside with all of this. The spammers and the bots use automated tools to build up their following – so this whole “following people” has got a bad rep. And then of course there’s the DM spam. If you follow a lot of people you won’t be able to distinguish genuine messages from auto-DMs and pure virus-ridden spam. And of course you’ve got to ask whether you’re opening yourself up to a higher risk of account hacking?
So….Where Does This Leave You?
Well, the thing with two schools of thought is that neither one is essentially all right or all wrong.
You need to weigh up what’s right for you. What’s your strategy. Go back to that fundamental question – why are you on twitter? What do you want to get out of it?
- Are you looking to meet new people to promote your business to and make connections with? Do you want to cast your net wide and hope that some of it will pay off for you?
- Or are you happy to treat it as your private party environment where you and your friends hang? If new people want to come along and say hi then that’s fine but you don’t go out looking for them?
Ask yourself those questions and you’ll get a bit more clarity. But at the end of the day, it’s your business – you need to decide!
I would love to know what you think. What strategy do you use and how does it work for you? Please leave a comment below and of course share this on twitter !