How Do You Gain Genuine Followers on Twitter?

By on April 11, 2011

There are a million posts online about getting started with Twitter, but very few on what to do once you’ve got the hang of it. The next logical stage is obviously building up a genuine following.

I say genuine, because many first timers are so excited to get followers, they follow hundreds of random people and follow-back every single person or marketer that follows them first. This is the WRONG thing to do. So here are some great tips on building a genuine following.

1. You Have 5 Followers But You Would Like 100, Now What?

Begin to gradually build your following by interacting with specific people that are relevant to your field or business. To find them, locate and save searches that target unique keywords.

Whenever you are browsing Twitter looking for people to follow (as you should be doing, everyday – and being very selective) there is a “save this search” option at the top right of your screen. Bookmark the areas that you find are brimming with relevant people.

2. Get Into a Daily Rhythm (or Mini Strategy)

It begins with finding people for your timeline. Once you have them, connecting with them will be easier and worth your efforts. If you fill your timeline with businesses and random marketing nonsense, you’ll never find anything worth commenting on.

Get into a rhythm each day of posting at least one or two general, entertaining tweets – so that people that visit your profile to check out your business, can see you’re not all marketing. At the same time build a list of hashtags that you can repeatedly use to index your tweets, so that the right people will read them.

Make a point of replying to questions or thoughts that your Twitter community is tweeting in your timeline. To get closer to a specific person or business, retweet their comments as well.

Then come up with a few questions aimed specifically at certain followers on your page. The ‘@’ is a powerful tool, it pops your message straight into the “@Mentions” tab of that person’s profile. When you get closer to your fellow tweeters, you can ask them to retweet posts that you would like to syndicate.

With each tweet, reply and retweet – you’ll get followers that are genuinely interested in what you have to say. But you’ll also get spammers – so when you follow back the genuine readers, exclude the followers that you can see are only in it to send you rubbish messages. Simply click on their profile. If they have three thousand follows, and 8 followers, they are spammers.

To Recap

1 – Tweet unique keyworded, non marketing messages daily.
2 – Actively look for tweets in your community to reply to.
3 – Retweet your followers tweets to get closer to them.
4 – Once you know them a little better, ask them to retweet specific tweets of yours.
5 – Integrate personalized marketing messages into your daily tweet regime.
6 – Only follow back people that are relevant or interested in your profile.
7 – Use the @ function to send tweets direct to their profile.
8 – Keep an eye out for relevant hashtags and searches to source more genuine followers.

Get into the mini-strategy rhythm, and you’ll eventually understand how to communicate effectively on Twitter. Not only that, but you’ll have a primed community of interactive followers that want to hear about your next promotion or special deal. It’ll take time, but when you’re ready to scale up to using a program like Tweetdeck or Hootsuite – it’ll make all the difference!

What is your Twitter mini-strategy? How do you connect with your followers? We’d love to know!

About John Souza

John Souza is founder and chief strategist of SMMU and Social Media Impact, and is a bestselling business author. He won the 2011 Tech Marketing Awards ‘Social Media Marketer of the Year’ and most recently the About.com Reader’s Choice Award for Best Online Education Site. John has appeared on The Michael Gerber Show, and his business has been honored at the Mashable Awards, Forbes Business Awards and The Stevie Awards.
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