‘How do I get followers on Twitter?’ – it’s a question it seems everyone is asking. In this post Jo-Lynne (follow her at @dcrmom) shares some tips on being the kind of Twitter users people want to follow.
Hi. I’m Jo-Lynne and I’m a Twitteraholic. Yes, I’m unashamedly and unapologetically addicted to Twitter. I use Twitter to build relationships, to keep connected to the outside world, to distract me from the housework, and to find articles and information that I wouldn’t discover otherwise. I choose carefully whom I follow on Twitter. As with any other social network, there are ways to grow your community. In Twitter-speak, this means to gain followers. I’ve put together this list based on the characteristics of the people I most enjoy following on Twitter.
1) Be Interesting
It’s fine to announce what you’re doing and thinking and what you had for lunch, as long as you do it in a way that is entertaining to your followers. Twitter is micro-blogging, and like on your blog, if all you do is give a play-by-play of your mundane daily happenings, you will lose followers. The people I enjoy following find a way to make me smile with their quips and one-liners, even if they are just informing me what they had for breakfast. Here are a couple of examples from the past few days.
@subdiva could have said, “Packing to go to Disney tonight!” but instead she wrote: “Packing up to ring in the New Year on the happiest place on earth. No, not the wine store…”
@rocksinmydryer could have said, “I hate dieting” but instead she wrote: “May I just say, for the record, that PORTION CONTROL STINKS? Thank you, that is all.”
Of course not everything you post has to be clever, but if you’re just sharing your thoughts and happenings, try to make it worth reading.
2) Be Informative
Not every tweet should answer the question, “What are you doing right now?” If you are going to participate in the Twitter community, you need to give something back. I love it when people post links to helpful articles or leave bits of advice and information. Post whatever comes naturally to you. @skinnyjeans reminds her followers every day to get up and drink a glass of water and gives us a much-needed pep talk in the middle of the afternoon. I love this! @problogger always links to the articles he is reading, and I have found lots of new bloggers to follow this way. Not all helpful information has to be your own. If you see a good tweet, do a “retweet” so your followers can get the benefit of the information that is being shared.
3) Be Interactive
Don’t be a “hit and run” tweeter! In other words, don’t just log into Twitter to tell people what you are doing or link to your post and then leave. Respond to tweets, ask questions, answer questions. Twitter is a conversation, not a monologue, and the more you participate, the more you will get out of it, and the faster your community will grow.
4) Be Promotional
Yes, it’s okay to promote your own work, as long as it’s not all self-promotion, all the time. I love it when people link to their recent posts on Twitter. I almost always follow the links, especially when it’s done in a thoughtful way. I can’t always log in to my feed reader and catch up on my favorite bloggers, but for some reason, if they post a link in Twitter, I usually take the time to follow it, especially when they introduce the link in a thoughtful and interesting way. Which brings me to my next point.
5) Be Personal
For a while I used a plugin that automatically tweets a link to every new post I write, but I have turned off that feature and opted, instead, to write a more thoughtful introduction to the link I’m sharing. Maybe ask a question, or make a comment or introduce the link in a way that pertains to the subject of the post. No one likes to feel that they are getting spammed. And they are more likely to read it if you make it sound like it will be interesting or helpful. Don’t, however, be tempted to use the old bait and switch tactic to get readers to follow your link. They will wise up and you will find yourself unfollowed.
And while we’re at it, TURN THE ROBOTS OFF. It’s impersonal and insulting. I unfollow and block people who use automated responses. Period. The end.
6) Be Considerate
This is definitely a case of “do as I say, not as I do” because I KNOW I am so totally guilty of this. And yet, it bears mentioning because it really does get annoying, at least when other people do it. Sometimes we get into so many conversations or we have so much we want to share that we find ourselves clogging the Twittersphere with a long series of tweets. This is annoying. I won’t promise never to do it again, but it’s something to keep in mind. If you find yourself going back and forth in conversation with one person, it’s time to take the conversation to Direct Messages. Or email. Or text. Or, gasp, the phone. Believe it or not, some people DO still use the telephone.
7) Find a balance.
Finally, balance all of the above. If all you do is promote yourself, people will tire of you. NO ONE is that important. If all you do is update your daily happenings but never respond to others or give anything back, people will tire of you. NO ONE is that interesting. Balance is key.