Twitter has fast become one of the most popular social-networking sites. Everyone from the President of the United States to your next-door neighbor is sharing their thoughts in 140-character bursts, and every day more people are joining the site.
While Twitter can be a fabulous way to build your brand, your online presence and share your wit, intelligence and information, it’s only effective if anyone is actually reading your tweets. You must have followers if Twitter is actually going to be any use.
The trick, then, is getting followers. Just because you set up a profile and start tweeting doesn’t mean others will be hanging on your every word. But how do you get the elusive followers? How do you entice people to add your thoughts to their feed and pay attention to what you have to say?
As Eric Clapton would say, “It’s in the way that you use it.”
Create a Complete Profile
Unless you are a celebrity, you need to make a compelling case for people to follow you. That means filling out your Twitter profile completely, including a photo and a short description of yourself.You will only show up in user searches if you have a complete bio. Failing to have a photo might make people think that you’re a spammer.
Be a Follower
Once your profile is complete, one of the best ways to gain twitter followers is to become one yourself. Follow others who share your interests, as well as feeds related to your industry or hobbies. When you do, others may follow you back or even mention you in a tweet which leads some of their followers to follow you as well.
Make It Easy to Follow You
Include links to your Twitter profile on your website, blog and other social media profiles. That makes it easy for readers to simply click on the icon and follow you. Also include your Twitter handle on your business cards, in your email signature and in any other materials you hand out. You don’t want to lose a potential follower because they can’t find you.
Tweet Often, But Don’t Get Carried Away
When you tweet infrequently — less than a few times a week — followers will lose interest and your thoughts will get lost in the shuffle. At the same time, bombarding your followers’ feeds with endless tweets and retweets is a surefire way to lose them. Aim for a balance; some experts recommend posting three to five tweets each day, spread out throughout the day.
Have Something to Say
When composing your tweets, be interesting and share useful content. It’s fine to share an inspirational quote or link to a pin on Pinterest once in a while, but don’t let that be all you post. Tweet your reactions to industry news, blog posts you’ve read or praise for something you’ve enjoyed. Mention interesting people, places and things to engage your followers.
Interact With Others
Twitter is a social network, meaning it’s not all about you. Don’t forget to interact with your followers — or those who you want to be followers. Respond to tweets, or use the @username function to mention others and offer praise or ask questions. Your thoughts will be shared with a wider audience, and you may gain more followers. Tweet chats are one of the easiest — and most fun — ways to engage with others and gain a following. Find tweet chats related to your industry or interests, and follow the discussions.
Hash tags (#) make it easy for others to find tweets relevant to their interests. Almost anything can be a hashtag. For maximum impact, use hashtags related to trending stories or your tweet’s subject, such as #recipes or #summer.
Above all, keep your tweets positive and polite. While you might privately complain about someone or something on Facebook using privacy controls, on Twitter, almost everything is open for the world to see. People don’t want to follow a Negative Nelly, so to gain new followers, make your feed interesting and uplifting.
Gaining followers on Twitter prevents the feeling that you’re talking to yourself, and provides another means to build your brand and online presence. It takes time to build a solid Twitter following, but keep at it and you’ll reap the rewards.
About the Author:Christine Grant is a book reviewer and blogger. After joining Twitter, she attracted hundreds of followers in the first year and continues to attract new followers. She uses the MyLife.com app to keep track of her social media activities while she’s on the go scouting out new books to review.