Get More Twitter Followers and Grow Your Audience with Real, Active, and Engaged Users

Everyone wants more twitter followers and as a business, reaching your maximum level of success may depend on it.  I'm sure you've read plenty of articles that tell you basically to "follow people your interested in", "be friendly to your audience", and "post good content".  Really informative right? Not in my opinion, so I decided to try to share an interactions based approach to actually help you grow not only your following, but your retweets, favorites, and mentions as well.

There are three things you should be doing as actively as possible to grow your twitter account: gaining exposure, producing content, and networking with other twitter users.


There are effectively five ways of gaining exposure on twitter.

1. FOLLOWING - The term I'm going to use throughout this article is "power user".  A power user is someone who gets interactions at a similar level to you or more.  So, you should adjust your "targeted following" based on the clout you currently have.  You want to follow "power users" who you think will follow back, or have shown an interest in your content.  If a "power user" who hasn't previously shown interest in any of your tweets, follows you back, there is a greater chance he/she may eventually retweet you in the future, boosting your exposure.  If you reward, so to speak, someone for interacting with a lot of your content, they will be more likely to continue interacting with your content in the future.  Just keep in mind, it doesn't make a lot of sense to follow someone who's retweeted you 1,000 times to their 2 followers.

TOOLS: Twitter has a built in "Who to Follow" system, generally, this is a good place to scope out people that may be potentially beneficial to follow.  Unless you consider yourself a "fan" of someone, there really isn't a reason to follow someone for an extended period of time who doesn't follow you back.  To clean up that in order to maintain a preferable ratio (see content/appearance) a good website to use is tweepdash.

2. RETWEETING - Retweeting is something that should be done sparingly.  Unless someone is directly talking about you or your brand, retweeting them is gaining them exposure with your audience.  By showing a willingness to increase someone's exposure, there is a chance they may be willing to retweet you in the future, assuming the exposure they would provide you is similar to the exposure you provided them.  Depending on the type of account you are running, you may want to only retweet tweets that your followers would be interested in based on the fact that they are following you.

3. FAVORITING - If you take nothing away from this entire article remember this.  FAVORITES ARE FREE.  Yes, a number comes up on your profile (which nobody cares about), and yes twitter may limit you to how many you can do a day (usually about 1,000 unless you're a pretty large account) but favorites are the absolute best way to gain exposure without sacrificing anything.  Favoriting tweets shows the people you're following you are engaged and increases the likelihood that they won't unfollow you while giving you an opportunity to expose you or your brand to people who you would otherwise not be exposed to.

TOOLS: If you favorite tweets based on keywords that apply to your account, up to 10% (on average) of people you favorite WILL FOLLOW YOU.  The average person on twitter gets very little interactions and will almost certainly wonder who you are and check out your profile.  A great site that provides a free trial (7 days) that can introduce you to the effectiveness of keyword favoriting is targetpattern.

4. MENTIONING - I think the average twitter user pretty much understands how mentioning someone can increase their exposure.  The bigger the user, the more likely they won't see your mention, or respond to it, so assume they will only be actively looking at twitter for a short period of time and mention someone when they've tweeted recently and make sure your mention contains value.  Whether it's funny, informative, or complimentary, it's up to you to make this tweet interesting to the person reading it to get a response.  After all, if Justin Bieber retweets a picture you took with him, you'll probably gain 1,000 followers that day.  However, celebrities are extremely unlikely to ever interact with you, so implement this strategy on more reasonable targets.

5. SEO/WORD OF MOUTH - I grouped these two together because this article is mainly about what to do ON twitter to increase your exposure.  Physically telling people to check out your twitter or increasing the search engine rankings of your name or handle is a great way to gain exposure.  The search engine rank of your twitter will rise as you gain clout on twitter, but you can increase it by linking your twitter to other social media networks and posting the URL of your account in various profiles of yours across the interwebs.


PROFILE - Use a unique profile picture, an @username that can be easily remembered, an attractive header image and a display name and bio that describes what YOU bring to the table.  If you're trying to get people to follow you based on your humor, the bio is a great place to show people you're funny.  However, if you're trying to grow exposure for your blog, it might be best to link the blog and explain what content you would post on there.

RATIO - In order to create a twitter account that will truly grow on its own and entice new people to interact with you, you have to look like people like you.  The bandwagon effect is a real thing and people truly like to like what other people like.  You should never follow more people than you're following and ideally your follower count at first glance looks significantly higher than your following.  If you're just starting out it can be hard to get more followers than following, and the difference between your following/followers will naturally be smaller if your account is smaller.  That being said, a person with 100 followers and 10 following looks more impressive than someone with 330 followers and 300 following.  The exact ratio you use to limit your following is up to how exclusive you want your account to look.  An extremely exclusive account may not attract "power users" because of the feeling you would have, that "they won't follow me back".

TOOLS:  First off, it is important to make sure your interactions line up to your followers.  Any person who doesn't average about one interaction per 500 followers doesn't look genuine.  An account with 10,000 followers that doesn't have a single favorite or retweet on their last 20 tweets clearly bought fake followers.  Granted, some tweets do better than others, but it is pretty easy to find out who the posers are on twitter and that's a major turn off.  A site like twiends can help you gain a few followers a day to help you maintain a positive ratio as you follow more people, but DO NOT rely on this for your growth, because most of the people who will follow you on websites like twiends do not look at twitter, and therefore will not interact with your account which will not allow you to achieve true growth.


BUSINESS/BRAND: The 80/20 rule says that you should post 4/5 of your content for them (in this case your twitter audience) and 1/5 of your content should be for you (advertising your products, linking to your website, etc.) On twitter, I believe that is way too much self promotion.  At least 9/10 of your tweets should be entertaining/informative/interesting to your audience, and I would base whether or not they were entertaining/informative/interesting based on the amount of interactions they received.  If you're a tshirt company that tweets four pictures of tshirts and no one interacts with any of them, you absolutely shouldn't post a tweet to your online store because no one is engaged with your company.  Engagement drives interaction which drives results.

PERSONAL: Pretty simply, you should post content that is informative/entertaining or otherwise interesting, and most importantly original.  Stealing other people's content can make for a quick boost in popularity, but the drop off when people realize what you do is almost irreversible.  If you want people to follow YOU you need to provide them with content they can only get from YOU.


A lot of people want to be bigger on twitter and like you, should, and are willing to work together to achieve mutual goals.  Make connections with "power users" similar to you and maintain those relationships moreso than you would the relationship with your average follower.  You never know who could be the next person to become viral, and hopefully that person likes you.

Some interesting sites to see some statistics about your twitter account are kloutfruji, twittercounter, and twitaholic.