Tip: You’ll need to have part 1 handy to get the most out of this post, and you might want to follow these tips for getting the most out of these ideas.
I get asked this a lot, both from folks who are not popular outside of Twitter and even from celebrities. The most common variation is “How do some people get such large Twitter followings?” The answer is:
To get a lot of followers you have to grow your following quickly, and do it over a long time.
Also, 5 Scientifically Proven Ways to Get More Followers covers the basics (with an infographic no less), so I won’t cover that here. Realize that I an NOT rehashing the Ultimate Guide, I’m just highlighting what works fastest.
How Can I Get Followers Quickly?
So this is the real question. The problem of course is that focusing solely on getting followers is a bad way to use Twitter. But a seemingly valid question is “What if I’m using Twitter fairly well right now, what’s the harm in having more followers?” While that seems reasonable, most of the things you have to do to get more followers FAST will screw up Twitter for you. But there are exceptions, depending on how and why you use Twitter.
Below, I reference by number the six sections of “The ULTIMATE guide to getting Twitter followers, part 1″ so you’ll need to scroll down and follow along with the sections at “Ultimate Guide, part 1″ if you want the details on what I’m referring to here. Don’t leave questions here asking for details! Read “Ultimate Guide” first. These are from best (recommended) to worst (don’t do this). In each section there are some things worth doing.
1. Build a reputation for quality and responsiveness.
► Fastest: Selectively connect with influencers. The quickest methods are:
- Become a “super advocate” for a few key people: This is the most powerful way to build your reputation and get influential users to promote you. Read more at “How ANYONE can become incredibly popular on Twitter, or ANY social network.” Many influential users are very focused on one particular niche, so it helps if you are also very focused on the same niche.
- Find popular users who trade retweets—they will retweet you if you retweet them. People don’t come out and say they do this, but most highly active Twitter users that have a lot of retweets in their stream do. Obviously you have to apply interpersonal networking skills to develop such relationships. Sending a “how are you?” tweet twice a week right after you retweet an influencer gets annoying pretty quickly.
- Find people you really want to follow regardless of other factors…and be someone really worth following!
As always, everything works best if you are genuinely interested in the people you connect with, and are ethical, sincere and learn from your mistakes.
► Also works: Combine connecting with influencers with Tweeting very popular content—stuff that gets retweeted a lot. See “Ultimate Guide, part 1″ for examples.
► Good if done selectively & honestly: Promote other users by blogging about them, tweeting recommendations to follow them (#FollowFriday, etc.), retweeting them, etc. A very popular strategy is to connect with a group of users and then write a blog post recommending the group. Doing favors for influencers is something best when it comes about naturally, and not as part of a strategy for building your influence.
2. Promote your account: Ads, Contests, Quizzes, Giveaways, Polls and Heavy Tweeting.
► Fastest: Use “Pay with a tweet”-style giveaways, or have Twitter contests that reward followers, such as Twitter quizzes with a giveaway.
► Good, but expensive: Advertise to get followers.
► Also works: Once you get a few thousand real followers, begin tweeting more and more frequently and you will begin to grow more quickly. As “Ultimate Guide” points out though, you will also lose some followers by doing this. You need to find the balance as you grow.
► Easiest to do: Promote your Twitter account from other places you are already popular, such as a blog or mailing list. While adding your Twitter username to emails, business cards, and even t-shirts is good…I draw the line at tattoos
3. Become Known As A “Follow-Backer” Or A “Retweet Reciprocator”
Generally a bad idea, since you get bad followers this way.
► Easiest to do: Use a service like SocialOomph that will follow back everyone that follows you during key times when you are promoting your account, then use services like ManageFlitter to unfollow spam followers. If you are promoting yourself to good users, you should get much more good than bad. Turn off auto-follow the rest of the time.
4. Follow & Hope Some Follow Back: “Churning” Automation
Do this wrong and Twitter will suspend your account. People typically try to make lists of follow backers, or their followers, and follow those folks.
► Easiest to do: Follow people you are interested in as part of engaging with them. The trick here is finding the right people. The more you lower your standards in order to find larger numbers of people, the worse this works.
5. Join Follower Groups: “Get Followers Fast” Sites
Join the wrong kinds of sites and Twitter will suspend your account. It is therefore very important that you know how to differentiate between sites where users simply follow one another versus Twitter directories and blog and retweet groups.
► Easiest to do: Get listed in the main Twitter directories (a great list of them is at “How to find and engage influential Twitter users“).
► Good if done selectively & honestly: Investigate and possibly experiment with sites such as Triberr and BlogGlue.
6. Multiple & Fake Accounts: Spammers and Follower Sellers
There can be a variety of good reasons to have more than one Twitter account, such as one for networking/personal/learning and one for business. But most of the uses of multiple Twitter accounts to get more followers are suspension-worthy offenses.
What does @TweetSmarter do?
I do it the hard way—I spend more time than anyone else trying to find the very finest educational content about how to use Twitter. Because it is a HUGE amount of work, I make some mistakes every day. I solicit any and all feedback because that’s how I get better at this job. You can read more about how my wife and I manage the @TweetSmarter account here.