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4 Ways to Grow a Twitter Following That Matters


by Rich Brooks

Is Twitter working for your business?
Are you looking to grow a larger and more relevant Twitter following?
This article will show you four actionable steps you can take to improve your Twitter experience.

Why Twitter Is Not Just a Numbers Game

Many brands, businesses and marketers have already discovered how powerful Twitter is for finding and engaging their audience.
Its low cost, immediacy and viral nature make it a favorite tool for everyone from news organizations to celebrities to small businesses.
Yet when marketers jump on Twitter for the first time, they wonder why they don’t get an overwhelming response to their initial tweet. Soon they learn that they must develop a following.
They see others with followings of 500, 5,000 or 50,000 and they want some of that. So they start to Google “how to get more followers on Twitter” or falling for tweets like this one:
If it sounds too good to be true…
Well, I’m here to tell you that it’s not too difficult to build a following on Twitter if you’re willing to partake in some shady, bad-karma tactics—from following and unfollowing people to creating hundreds of bogus accounts that follow you and retweet everything you say to buying followers on the black market.
But few if any of those followers will provide you any value for the time you put into Twitter.
So I’m also here to tell you that it’s not how many followers you have, but how many relevant followers you have. Having 20,000 followers who don’t respond to anything you share is equivalent to shouting from the top of the Empire State Building and claiming all of New York City as your audience.
Yes: more engaged followers are better than fewer engaged followers. So, let’s focus on getting more engaged followers.
Building a relevant Twitter following comes down to four core concepts:

  • Find and follow relevant people.
  • Tweet content that will be interesting to your target audience.
  • Engage with your audience.
  • Promote your Twitter account through other channels.

With that framework in place, here are some tips, tools and tactics to attract relevant followers on Twitter.

#1: Find and Follow Relevant People

Your audience is out there… Now, how to find them?
Start with a strong profile.
Because most people will check out your profile before following you, it’s important to put your house in order and present yourself in the most engaging way possible.
This includes:

  • Profile photo: Make sure you’re using a photo of your face for your personal account or a logo for your business account. Research has shown that people trust faces more that they’ve seen multiple times, which is why a photo of your smiling face works best.
  • Detailed bio: You’ve got 160 characters, so get creative! Let people know why they should be following you.
  • Location: Because so much of business is local these days, make sure you include your location as appropriate. It can be the make or break for follows.

Strong profiles increase your followers. Blue hair doesn't hurt.
Discover new people with third-party tools.
One of the first places to start your search for relevant people is at one of the many Twitter directories out there.
In a discussion around Twitter tools in Social Media Examiner’s Small Business Networking Club, everyone seemed to have a favorite tool or tip.
Social media marketer Paul Wylie recommends Twellow (for the clean interface) and WeFollow (for finding influencers). You can search by industry, location or keyword for starters.
WeFollow has many categories. Thus, whether you're targeting personal trainers or WordPress trainers, you'll find them here.
Karen James, a social media coach from the UK, likes Tweepie to check out people before she follows them. Karen Black, a digital marketer also from the UK, uses ManageFlitter to do bio searches, as well as keep an eye on her followers.
Use these tools to search for your own industry and the industries of your ideal customers.
Leverage other people’s Twitter lists.
A great source for new people to connect with is other people’s curated Twitter lists.
Whatever your interests are, you can find well-curated lists and subscribe to them.
Twitter users often create lists or subscribe to other people’s lists to improve their
signal-to-noise ratio. As long as people make their lists public, you are free to subscribe to them, quickly getting access to dozens or hundreds of vetted Twitter users.
Some lists are more serious than others.
Use Twitter’s search functionality.
You can use Twitter’s search functionality to find relevant people and engage with them.
For example, let’s say you had a product or service for NASCAR fans. Start by doing a search on #nascar within Twitter.
Searching on #nascar will help you find passionate NASCAR fans whom you can then follow.
You could then join the conversation by @ (mentioning) them, answering their questions and otherwise engaging them.
If your business is more local, like a restaurant, you can find out who’s hungry and in driving distance.
Filter your search by geography to find local people on Twitter to follow.
You could then reach out to those starving denizens on Twitter and offer them a discount or free drink if they come in now and mention “Twitter” as they place their order.
For more ideas on finding and following the right people, be sure to check out 7 Twitter Strategies for Growing a Great Following.

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