Twitter can be a stressful experience. Unlike Facebook or Instagram, it is hard to feel content when only your closest friends and loved ones are following you. Watching others gain more and more followers as you fall short can evoke feelings of inadequacy akin to watching the cool kids eat at the cool table in high school. Twitter is a tricky animal, there is a fine line between looking too desperate and working to get name recognition, but it can be done. Use these easy steps to get more followers and get on with the rest of your life. When going into the world of Twitter, it is important to take heed, because Twitter, like most things, should be done in moderation. All of these tips will accrue more followers but only with a healthy dose of common sense.
Step 1: Pick the right picture
This is the only first impression you get, don’t blow it. The most important thing to remember is that you must choose a picture that can be identified when it is small. You may find a great shot from when the light was hitting you just right that day but if people can’t tell what it is, it doesn’t matter. For a personal account, use a simple picture of your face. Using a picture of your cat or favorite cartoon character might make people think you’re a spammer. For a business account use a picture of the company logo. This is a great way to develop some brand recognition. This is the easiest step, so don’t overthink it.
Step 2: Write a good bio
After looking at your picture, people will generally read your bio next. People on Twitter aren’t known for their patience, so don’t get overzealous when describing yourself. Just briefly write what you do and what you like. Feel empowered to use a little bit of humor, you don’t have to but it will be appreciated. Take a page out of Hillary Clinton’s book. She, or her PR person rather, seamlessly combines what she is actually known for with a couple jokes. This makes her seem qualified to Tweet about certain things, but also approachable.
Step 3: Tweet.
This might seem like a no-brainer, but updating consistently is the best way to keep followers. It isn’t very appealing to follow someone who tweets every three months. Unless you’re tweeting pictures of bunnies wearing hats, which might be enough to sustain an infrequently visited Twitter, you will need a little bit more meat. Now, this doesn’t mean tweet about every little thing that pops into your head, spare the entire Internet and only write things you are passionate about. There isn’t really a magic number for tweets, but shoot for updating twice a day or so. Really just enough to show others that you get on Twitter fairly regularly. Twitter is a pretty narcissistic form of media and they won’t follow you unless they think you are going to read their tweets and ultimately follow them. Not to mention your jokes will get stale.
Step 4: Retweet
A retweet is a great way to connect with people that have similar interests. If you retweet a really cool article about the space station then someone else can see that when they search for the space station, and they might end up retweeting you. That gets your name out to some more people. Some sites will tell you to ask others to retweet you, but I have yet to figure out a graceful way to do that. There is a time and a place to add something like “please RT,” but those are few and far between.
Step 5: Use hashtags
Hashtags are a magical, magical thing. They can be used to be sassy, to further explain a point or to put more eyes on your tweet. Using hashtags that are trending is a great way to get more readers because you will come up if someone searches that particular tag. It is possible to overdo it a bit on hashtags. I am a big believer in keeping it to only one a two per tweet. If you are posting a picture of a banana you don’t have to include obvious terms like “#banana #food #yellow.” No one is going to search for these terms and it just makes you look ridiculous. Try using hashtags the twitter community uses like those that refer to a current event or news item, or something like #tbt, which means throw back Thursday. If you don’t like anything that is trending, you can always try to get your own to catch on.
Step 6: Follow people that have similar interests
Though you will probably end up doing this already because you will follow people you like, this is a great way to grab some followers. If you follow people who share your interests, they are generally more likely to follow you back and retweet you. This exposes you to all of their followers who also share the same interests. From there, the cycle continues: they will retweet and their followers with similar interests will see it. You get it. Give the people what they want, as long as they want the same things you do. This doesn’t mean you only have to tweet about one particular thing, unless you are working on a specific social media brand, but find people that you appreciate and they will in turn appreciate you. Just like real life.
Step 7: Know when to tweet
If you are tweeting at 3 a.m. you will get some readers, but you want more than just some. Twitter gets the most traffic at 9 a.m., noon, and 6 p.m. at night. The reasons for this should be fairly obvious – it directly correlates to when people are going to work, are on lunch, and are leaving work. This is when people are actively checking their computers and phones. Another handy trick is to pay attention to tweets that get the most attention and send them out again at a different peak hour. This seems like it would annoy your followers but it won’t because half of them aren’t on and the other half hasn’t seen it. This is a good way to cover your bases. I don’t recommend doing this with every tweet, but just the ones that have a surprising amount of feedback.
Step 8: Ask questions
Tweeting a question is a great way to get people to reply to your tweet, which will then put you on their feed. This isn’t gimicky at all, it is just a great way to engage people. Too many questions can seem cumbersome, but they always work wonderfully as a follow up tweet. So if you post an article about pizza ovens then you can write another tweet that says “What are your favorite pizza toppings?” This is absolutely no work for you and might actually get some interesting discussions going. Celebrities do this all the time, which is among the key reasons they have tons of followers. Also, if you send a direct question to someone, they will feel more inclined to write back.
Step 9: Use different kinds of media
People are more likely to pause on your tweet if they see picture or video with it. Especially now that twitter is showing pictures in the feed. People are more drawn to images in a sea of white and black, and it’s a great way for them to get to know you a little better. If you have Instagram and like to post a lot there, you can link the two and maybe gain a follower on Instagram while you’re at it. In fact, if you’re trying to take over the world, go ahead and connect those tweets with Facebook too.
Go and try out some of these tips, and if you happen to run into my Twitter account don’t be afraid to follow me and retweet me.