How To Build Your Twitter Following
To sum it up in one sentence: Show anyone who looks at your profile who has similar interests that you are worth following.
So how do you do that?
Build a thoughtful profile that lets people know what to expect from you. Be sure to add a photo. I won't follow any eggs. I won't follow anyone who won't tell me where they are from or anything about their interests. Why should I? I snipped the profile from the account I use to follow writers as my photo here. All photos in it are ones I took myself. It can be enlarged by opening in a new tab.
Don't start following people you don't know until you have at least ten quality tweets posted spaced out over a couple of days.
Make sure your profile doesn't mislead people into thinking you will tweet something you won't tweet. Example. One of my accounts targets teachers and other educators. So if I follow a principal or English teacher, I expect an occasional post on education. Sometimes I get a constant stream of what's happening in the latest basketball or football game, and that's all I ever see posted. I unfollow pretty fast, or I don't follow at all. I have no interest in sports. Some English teachers are also coaches and much more interested in sports than anything else.
Build a balanced Twitter feed.
Don't follow more than ten people a day until you have one hundred followers. Instead, try to interact with the followers you have and want to have.
Check the profiles of people before you follow them to make sure you are interested in what they tweet. Then, when you follow them, try to interact now and then.
Never tweet a link that has been shortened, or any link, unless you have explained why someone should click it. Especially don't do this with nothing but an @_______ before it to someone who isn't following you or whom you aren't following. Never click on any links like this people send to you. You will be sorry.
Do not use automated programs to send direct messages to every new follow. Don't send direct messages unless you have something personal and private to say. Example. I was checking the profile of someone who followed me today. She was a Bubblews member and so I followed one of her links to check out if I'd be interested in her posts, since all she posted were links to Bubbles. Her post was on how to increase earnings on that site, which she had been a member of for only two weeks. Toward the end she requested that people make more comments on her bubbles. I sent her a DM explaining that could keep her from getting paid. It was something I wanted to say privately. I didn't follow her back on either Bubblews or Twitter.
Post something every day if possible to keep your account looking active. See Tools I Find Helpful for Using Twitter if you need help on automating part of this for days you can't post or don't want to think about it for a week.
Show others you are there and listening to them and want to help them be successful, too.
What is a Quality Tweet?
I consider a quality tweet one that offers value to your readers. It may or may not be a post for something you wrote or are trying to sell. It may be something you read on a website or blog you thought was useful or interesting enough to pass on to your followers. It may be an original but catchy statement that would appeal to your readers and be easy to retweet. It may be a quote from someone else. It may be photo. It should be consistent with the sort of person your profile says you are. If you want to come across as rational and authoritative in your area of expertise, you shouldn't be posting anything profane or insulting. If you need to disagree, do it agreeably. Treat others as you want to be treated. You can always block someone who tries to bait you into an argument.
What is a balanced Twitter feed?
A balanced Twitter feed has a variety of quality tweet, retweets, and interactions with others. If I send out five tweets to my own work, I try to send a couple of retweets, a link to a site I do not benefit personally from, and an interaction or two. That shows people looking at my profile that I read the tweets of others, I talk to them, and I retweet them. They then have reason to believe I will treat them the same way. They will also know that if they follow me they will see more than a constant stream of links to Bubblews or Persona Paper or any other site I write for. Or a series of sports scores. Or a repetitive sales pitch to buy followers or whatever. Spread your net wide with a variety of tweets.
Remember, most people make their decision whether or not to follow you based on your last five tweets. That's because experienced tweeters often are working within a program like Hootsuite which only shows that many at a time. They have to make another click to see your full profile. I got a bit unbalanced on the account shown in my photo this last week because most of my posts had something to so with the closing of Squidoo. But many of my followers are (or were) fellow Squids. That account is the primary one I use to connect with writers.
How Should I Interact With Others?
There are many ways you can show people you are noticing them. You can create lists and put people on them. They love that. You can answer questions they've asked in tweets or reply to comment on something they said in a tweet. If you tweet something you think would interest a particular follower (or non-follower) you want to be sure they see, mention them by putting the @ sign before their Twitter name.
Do not overuse this last technique. Your tweets should not be links followed by @_____ @______ @_____ , etc. I suggest you don't jump on the FollowFriday bandwagon. Some people's Friday Twitter streams are filled with posts full of mentions of people to follow. I often suspect this is only a way to get those people's attention. If you want to offer value for FollowFriday, mention just one person and explain why he or she is a great person to follow.
Here's one thing I do. When I check profiles to decide if I want to follow, I look for just one thing I can retweet that person posted. Or one thing I can reply to. Or both. Then I do those things. That has gotten me a lot of followers I would not have gotten otherwise.
Whom should you follow?
Many people new to Twitter start following everyone who follows them or as many people as they can. Don't do that. Check the profiles and make sure you will be interested in what that person tweets. See if they interact back when you interact. I suggest you use the FOPP hashtag or personapaper to follow others from this site who know you and will probably follow back. It's great if you can start with about 20 followers before you try to follow people you don't know. You never want to get an unbalanced ratio where you are following over 200 with only 25 following you. Let those followers build slowly and be people who will really read some of your tweets.
Here's another hint. Do you have your own blog? Every Monday you can use the MondayBlogs hashtag to post a blog link, but only on Monday. You should then read a few of the other posted blogs and retweet them. Comment on some if you can. This will get attention from other writers. They may also retweet your blogs. Especially if they are reviews of books they've written. (This is a great way to get writers to follow you. Just say something nice about one of their books you read, use the @_____ for the author, and put a period in front of it. Then be sure to check your mentions on your Twitter dashboard everyday to see if you need to respond back to anyone.
Here's a real life example of something I did tonight . I saw I'd gotten 12 new followers this week on one account. I decided to check profiles to see whom I would follow back. All but one of them were Bubblers. The other one was promoting a site that sells followers. (That's a no-no with me.) As I checked the Bubblers, I decided to follow only one – the one that had a complete profile and some interesting Bubbles. The rest appeared to be those who collect followers, might break rules, and only tweet their own links.
Follow only those whom you really want to read , and don't worry about whether they follow you back. Some will also follow you that you won't follow back. If someone is sharing valuable information you won't want to miss it. Many of those who do that have thousand of followers and only follow a couple of hundred people.
I hope some of this has helped some of you with little Twitter experience. I've been learning these things over the years I've been on Twitter, and I'm always learning something new from someone. Feel free to add your own experiences and hints or to ask questions about something I've said and maybe not explained well enough.
Pictures and content are original and may not be used without permission, B. Radisavljevic, Copyright 2014, All Rights Reserved
Image Credit » I made the screen shot from my own Twitter profile.