I often get asked by fellow colleagues, friends and acquaintances how I managed to grow my Twitter following to over 10,000. This appears ‘remarkable’ (especially in countries such as Zimbabwe or in any African country) as I am neither a politician, musician nor a celebrity. But really, it’s not. Anybody can do it. Especially when a storyteller like me who happens to write and share industry news of the field that he’s passionate about, did it.
When I started out on Twitter the word Hashtag (a term that was invented on Twitter) was alien and strange to many people. Mention it in conversation, people most likely would draw a blank stare or a confused look. Nowadays, it’s a word used freely and liberally in conversation. By the way, traditional media has even picked up on it. Funny how far we have come.
Twitter isn’t for everybody, that’s the conclusion that I have come to for the same reasons why you won’t get everyone appreciating Facebook or Instagram as others do. People who enjoy Twitter do so for different reasons, some like getting involved in the broader conversation happening in the Twittersphere and are probably addicted to the warm fuzzy feeling they get whenever their tweet gets retweeted or a new person follows them.
I am one of those people. I enjoy it. Trust me, it feels great!
It’s a confirmation that whatever you are sharing is resonating your audience, whether it is a ‘quote this with a selfie’, meme of Suarez biting into Chiellini or #ThingsThatDeGeaCanSave (a popular hashtag used Man Utd supporters after every time they win a match) or a link to a news article you found interesting.
Others enjoy the serendipity or spontaneity of Twitter, which allows you to get random ideas or thoughts from different people. This is actually excellent for bloggers and people looking for ideas or news.
In this article I will share tips and techniques that I used to grow my following to above 10,000 in under a year and how you can use them too to amplify your Twitter experience.
#1 Custom Messages on the content you curate
Sharing content from a blog is fine, but it can be better. Here’s a tip. Next time you share an update or a blog post of a Twitter user, add a custom message to make it more personal. Rather than simply sharing the update, point out what you enjoyed in the article or blog. Trust me, when you do this you come off as someone who took time to read the article and did not simply share for the sake of sharing. The same can be said about Re-Tweeting. Don’t just Re-Tweet, add a bit of your opinion.
When your Tweet appears in the mentions notifications of the person with the content you shared, they will be appreciate your gesture and probably will reciprocate by following you.
#2 Slow Growth Twitter Tactic
This is a combination of sharing high quality liquid (shareable) content and amplifying its reach through mixing it with popular hashtags to maximize the number of people who see the content that you have shared.
Take for instance as a content marketing and social media consultant, my business is to help people and brands optimize their online brands. First, I would find an article about social media. The important thing is that article has to be highly shareable such as 3 Key Lessons on social media you can learn from Strive Masiyiwa.
Next I find a hash tag/ keyword that is very popular and include it in the tweet. How do we know that this is THE keyword that is relevant and popular? That’s when I turn to my secret weapon. Wait for it.
A website called Hashtagify.Me.
This reduces thumb sucking hashtags or choosing one on impulse. To carefully select a hashtag I will go to the upper right of the website and search for a hashtag that is related to the subject matter.
For easier viewing one can choose the Table mode that will show results in linear mode.
Look at the popularity column to decide which hashtags you can use or will go well with the one you have selected. If it not exactly what you are looking for, try clicking on the most popular one and this will lead you to more popular and related tags.
Lather, repeat and rinse, until you are satisfied with your choice.
#3 The Law of Reciprocation
In his best seller Influence, Robert Cialdini told of a story of how a university professor sent Christmas cards to a sample of perfect strangers. Though he expected at least a reaction, the response was astounding – holiday cards addressed to him came pouring back from people who had never met nor heard of him.
This is a great example of one of the most potent tools of influence – the rule of reciprocation. The rule simply states that we should repay, in kind, what another person has provided us. Nowhere is this truer than on Twitter. When you follow someone because of reciprocation, they are likely to follow you back.
A Twitter tool that can make the process faster and painless is Tweepi.com, where you can see who is following you and who is not. You can also see the last time they tweeted, this gives you an idea of how active they are and whether they will be worth following.
Over to You!
Applying these tactics relentlessly is what helped me grow my following. Now you do not need to reinvent the wheel but rather adopt these proven tactics.
It’s now your turn.
Thank you reading thus far, if you found this article beneficial share it with others, you never know what they share with you in return. I look forward to reading stories of how you are growing your following.