Updated: Apr 11, 2019
For those of you unfamiliar with my background, I used to go by @hedgieguy on Twitter. We are talking about Twitter from 2008 - 2014ish. At my peak I think I had around 6-7k followers. During that period of time that was considered a somewhat rockstar status, especially if you weren't a celebrity, which I wasn't. I was just some bs hedge fund manager. The twitter profile @hedgieguy I created was this brash, confrontational, sociopath that accumulated followers because people loved and hated him. I once heard a quote about developing professional wrestling characters in the WWE. They lived by the adage that only two characters have lasting power. Those who people hate, and those they love. Nothing in-between works. That was the thought here and I play a much better bad guy than good guy.
1. Optimize your Twitter profile
So one of the first steps on the road to amassing tons of followers is to make sure your Twitter profile rocks. Your profile picture is the centerpiece of your Twitter profile.
It’s the part of your Twitter profile people probably notice and look at first. Aside from your username, it’s the one profile element that doesn’t just appear on your profile. It’ll show next to your tweet in the other users’ feeds when you post. So you should choose a photo that’s appropriate for your business or brand. Whether you’re using a professional photo of yourself or your brand’s logo, you want to make sure that the most important elements appear toward the center of the image. Your profile photo should draw attention because it will be the identity that your followers will come to see behind all the content you post on Twitter states Anthony Davian.
But beyond the profile photo, there’s the ‘Bio.’ This is the area of your Twitter profile where you provide a little — just 160 characters in total — information about your brand or business. As you can see, the goal of your profile is to give a prospective follower an idea of (a) what your business is and (b) what they can expect by becoming a follower. But there’s another reason why your bio is important: it’s searchable. Of course, you’ll want to include all the essential info, such as your website, location, and possibly a phone number. You’ll want to include keywords that are relevant to your brand or company in your bio. Another element you can include in your Twitter bio is hashtags. Additionally, your bio can be an opportunity to show some personality, so don’t be afraid to get a little creative says Anthony Davian.
Once you’ve chosen your profile photo and written your bio, the next step in a great Twitter profile is to find (or even create) your header image. Though it changes from time to time, the current dimensions that your Twitter header image should be are 1500px by 500px. This can be a great opportunity to reinforce your brand or to promote your latest product or service.
2. Engage with your followers
Although your follower count is a convenient metric, many social media marketers have begun putting more stock into engagement than followers. In fact, Socialbakers account manager Jeraldine Tan actually considers follower growth an outdated metric. “It is extremely important for brands to stop looking at outdated metrics like fan growth,” Jeraldine said in a recent article posted on LinkedIn. “The overall fans number doesn’t matter if the audience isn’t consuming your content.”
So if you have a million Twitter followers but your posts get zero engagement, what are those followers really worth? Jeraldine’s perspective is reinforced by Incite Group’s State of Corporate Social Media Survey, conducted in 2017.
According to Incite’s data, there’s no correlation between the number of followers and engagement, meaning that more followers doesn’t mean more engagement. But when followers interact with and share your content on Twitter, their followers see that engagement and often become curious. The engagement serves almost as an endorsement. So engagement does lead to increased reach and visibility, which, in turn, yields more followers. In his recent Forbes article, Joe Escobedo says, “Shares build customer confidence in your brand.” We even see engagement “given a higher weightage than likes” on social media such as with some of Facebook’s recent algorithm changes.
But interactions your followers are having with your Twitter content isn’t the only type of engagement you should care about. If you really want to grow your Twitter audience, you should be actively engaging back with them. Responding to the comments and mentions of your followers reinforces their engagement and makes them more inclined to engage with you in the future.
Engaging with your audience yields more tangible results, too.
3. Stay active by creating daily/weekly/monthly Twitter routines
If your goal is to gain followers, I can’t stress enough the importance of staying active.
It’s not enough to post a few times a week or even once per day like you probably do on Facebook.
You could even lose followers if you’re not tweeting regularly. According to CoSchedule, you should post curated content — quotes and retweets — three to seven times per day. Including your own original content, it should be about 15 tweets daily. But do you have time to sit on Twitter 24 hours per day to make sure you’ve got awesome tweets going out at all the right times? That’s where your routine can be a life-saver. The best way to create your Twitter routine is to create separate daily, weekly, and monthly routines.
Your daily Twitter routine should consist of things like following and unfollowing other users, replying to DMs and mentions, and responding to comments on your tweets. On a weekly basis, you should focus on broader and more long-term aspects of your marketing strategy. Your monthly routine should include things that could result in big payoffs down the road. As such, it largely includes networking with industry influencers, which tends to increase your Twitter reach and visibility according to Anthony Davian.
4. Plan and schedule your Tweets
Compared to a non-chronological network like Facebook, the time of day you post on Twitter matters. Because if your tweets are posted when your followers aren’t on the platform, those tweets won’t be seen. And less visibility means less engagement, less traffic, fewer followers.
So the logical solution to this problem is to post when the most users are on the platform. Recently, Sprout Social compiled data and found that average global engagement on Twitter is highest on Fridays from 9 to 10 AM.
During that time, there are as many as 350,000 tweets sound out per minute. The problem is that during that time, you’ve simply got more tweets to compete with, too. That’s where knowing your audience comes in handy. Different demographic groups have different usage habits when it comes to Twitter. For instance, there are differences between businesses and consumers. Twitter content that targets businesses — or B2B content — performs best during business hours. Content that’s consumer-oriented — or B2C content — performs better on the weekend, according to CoSchedule. The same study also found that branded content does better overall on Wednesdays. So optimal performance on Twitter means knowing your audience and knowing when you can reach them. Twitter gives you an audience overview right inside the Twitter platform. With this information, you can tailor your content to your audience’s demographics and interests. Just go to analytics.twitter.com for information about your audience, including what topics they’re into, what type of consumers they are, and even the wireless carriers they’re using.
From this point, you can proceed in one of two ways: You can make sure your daily Twitter routine coincides with your audience’s most active time of day, or you can schedule your tweets to post during that time. Just know that you need a constant flow of content posting to Twitter, and the best resources to make that happen are readily-available data and possibly a tweet-scheduling app.
5. Make sure there’s value in your tweets
Twitter marketing is like any other type of marketing in that you’ll experience the greatest success with high-quality content. With so much competition in most industries, great content helps you stand out from the crowd.
Great content is even more important when you’re trying to build your audience on Twitter.
It’s as simple as this: Good tweets get likes, comments, shares, and followers. Bad tweets don’t.
So what separates a good tweet from a bad tweet? Value. Every time you tweet, you must provide value to your audience. Because when your content is deemed valuable and relevant, your audience is more likely to connect with your brand. But isn’t value subjective? Yes, but only to the extent that what’s considered the most ‘valuable’ can vary from one person and demographic to the next. It’s no lie that people tend to prefer content that’s informative or educational.
This can include an infographic, how-to article, or even current events coverage.
6. Pick the right tweet to pin to your profile
Pinning a tweet is like putting a spotlight on that tweet, calling the attention of anyone who visits your Twitter profile. There are a couple of ways you can approach choosing the right tweet to pin to your profile. The first strategy is to pin a tweet that has performed particularly well. If it gained lots of attention from your followers when you initially posted it, the tweet will probably appeal to others who are visiting your profile.
It will certainly get more views and is likely to get more likes, comments, and shares as well.
Since new tweets push older tweets further down in your timeline, your newer followers are unlikely to ever see your best ones. That would be a real shame. But pinning a tweet that was well-received by your followers will ensure that profile visitors and potential followers get to see it, too.
It’s also common to pin a tweet that highlights a temporary promotion or an upcoming event that your business is involved with.
7. Link to your Twitter account on your website and other social media profiles
It may seem counterproductive to be diverting traffic from your website to your Twitter profile.
After all, don’t you want traffic going to your website so they can make a purchase? But recent surveys have shown that your social media profiles are just as effective for content marketing as your own website. This makes a lot of sense. So to a large degree, sending traffic to your website actually gives you more opportunities for conversion. Of course, you don’t want to simply drop a raw link into the body of your website. Instead, you should link to your Twitter profile in a way that’s a bit more professional. It could be as simple as attaching the link to an icon.