7 Twitter Habits To Adopt In 2012 To Double Your Followers

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So when it comes to Twitter, I recently read a fantastic post from Lance Ulanoff, editor of Mashable about the topic. In his post he head one resolution that went like this:

I want to double my Twitter audience in 2012

He said that he didn’t quite know how to achieve this. Yet having a larger audience that is interested in what he is doing, would be very interesting to him. Heck yes I thought, that’s a wonderful goal to have.

We aren’t talking about mindlessly increasing a number here.

Much more, I mean focusing on enlarging your network. With a broader audience that is subscribed to you, more doors will open for you. You will be in touch with more people and develop both your business and personality a lot further I believe.

So here are 6 easy to implement habits for Lance and anyone else, who wants to expand his Twitter following and make it work more effectively.

1.) Tweeting more often, regularly and to a variety of sources

One of the most difficult, yet most important things to do is to Tweet frequently and regularly. When we performed a study on what triggers more Twitter followers, a few months back, a few facts stood out:

  • Tweet frequently, as a pointer 5-10 great content Tweets per day. Increase it to up to 1 Tweet/ hour if you can sustain it.
  • Tweet regularly, have these 5-10 new content Tweets hitting your Twitter stream every day. Potentially you can slow down a little on the weekend, in our case, we only 2 Tweets per day going out.
  • As a third point, try Tweeting a great variety of sources, not just your own site. We found that higher click through rates and an increase in followers are directly related to a larger variety of links.

A great example of this is Jay Gould, founder of Foundville. Since his complete change in the way he uses Twitter, defaulting to the three above mentioned techniques, Jay mentioned to me that all his metrics have been growing sharply.

Here are his Twittercounter results, since he started to do this, so you can see for yourself:

A great way to make this most convenient to keep your Tweets coming out steadily is to schedule a few Tweets.

There exist plenty of options to do this, like TweetDeck, HootSuite or MarketMeSuite. If you want it one step simpler, you can also Buffer Tweets. They will then be posted at the optimal times, without you having to schedule them individually.

 

2.) Endorsing others often and thoughtfully – and publicly

Another habit to get into is to start endorsing others often and thoughtfully. It is something that has helped me a great deal to make my follower count and especially retweet rate jump significantly.

The way this works best I believe is through retweeting the best links form your stream with a short comment. Of course instead of retweeting you can also do the same with posts including the authors name.

Someone who does this in a great way is Mike Stelzner from Social Media Examiner:

This helps to add a lot of value for your followers and at the same time, show your support for other people you are following. Making them your advocates is a natural consequence I found.

If you can make this your habit to daily send even just 1 Tweet endorsing others, it is a sure fire way to grow your following naturally and build stronger connections.

 

3.) Gaining focus with your Tweeting topics

A sentence I keep getting back to comes from my good friend Michael Todd (@mqtodd) who goes by the mantra of:

“Pick 3 words/topics that describe you the best on Twitter, and stick to them with your Tweets.”

To me, that makes a lot of sense, it builds trust amongst your followers. This also makes it a lot easier to create a routine for yourself. So in my case, I picked “Social Media”, “Startups” and “Blogging”. Being that focused, also helps you a great deal to become more proficient in that area.

One person that is fantastic to observe about this is Dave Larson from @TweetSmarter. (You might have realised, I keep referring to Dave again and again, he is just too awesome not to.)

He mentioned to me, whilst he was completely focused on just Twitter related Tweets, he recently expanded to general news and social media updates too, as click rates and retweet rates indicated great results.

Playing around with your core topics is crucial to find out what works best for you.

 

4.) Limiting your time on Twitter to 60 minutes (or less)

Here is a funny one! Now, you want to double your Twitter audience and my suggestion is to limit your time to do this? Yet, when I personally started to do this, I realised that you can be much more focused and concentrated for a limited time, rather than spending hours and hours on Twitter.

It is also very powerful, as it gives you a chance to do things that in return will get you more Twitter followers. Say, you could for example be spending the time instead to write a great blogpost, do a podcast or any other form of productive procrastination.

Someone who does this incredibly well is Michael Hyatt (@MichaelHyatt). Although I am not sure, whether he has a time limit, I know that he is a super busy man, spending a very focused time on Twitter.

He provides great content day in day out and responds to all Tweets. Just observe his habits and you will learn – I did so!

 

5.) Posting a quote, or other thoughtful non-link Tweet per day

Now, here is an interesting one for you. Joel (@joelgascoigne) recently pinged me on Skype and said something like the following:

Hey Leo, I have been testing something recently. Instead of making all my Buffered posts Tweets with links I am doing something else. I am posting one, that isn’t a link, but rather a quote or thought I had. I found that these types of posts get a lot more retweets compared to others and trigger quite a few new followers.

We discussed a few ideas, why this might be the case. These are some of the reasons we came up with:

  • You are not leading people elsewhere, they already receive the full value on Twitter. So if they like it, they can retweet it and don’t have to click through to something. It feels like a smaller deed then retweeting a link, so more people do it.
  • The time effort is much less, your followers don’t have to read a whole article, but can spend a few seconds and decide to retweet.
  • You aren’t crossing any platforms, so it feels much more natural to keep something circling inside Twitter without any interaction of other Social Networks or blogs.

These are just a few things we came up with, I am sure you have more ideas, why they perform better? The results from Joel are pretty convincing. Here is a comparison of a few tweets, with and without links:

The interesting thing is that we could also observe a follower jump, as it is your face circling amongst a lot more followers through native Twitter retweets.

 

6.) Use the new Twitter follow button

This is something that many people have talked, written and Tweeted about. Yet, there are way too few usages of the new Twitter follow button out there I believe. Heck, even here on our blog, we need to place it there still!


The new Twitter follow button makes it so easy and straight forward to get you followed it is really amazing. Placing it on my own blog is bringing me 100 new followers whenever I write a new blogpost.

A great example, that owns this technique is Gregory Ciotti (@GregoryCiotti). Greg wrote a full blogpost about getting more exposure with the Twitter follow button. He mentions some fantastic tips about placing it in the right places of your blog, to get most new followers.

It’s something I haven’t regretted since I followed his advice for my own blog.

 

7.) Create a list of Twitter mentors to observe

As my last tip to help you double your Twitter following in 2012, I suggest you create a list of your top Twitter users you want to observe. I have done this a few months back and it was extremely powerful to have such a list of great minds you can check in with every so often.

If you do this, it might even be a great opportunity to turn it into a blogpost about Twitter mentors. The reason I think this works is that there is always more to learn. And observing these personal favorites will remind you to keep a high quality of your Twitter presence.

It is also a great way to retweet selectively and keep in touch with authorities you are looking up to.

 

Ok, that’s it. I hope some of these tips might help you to adopt a few new habits to make your year on Twitter the most powerful one in 2012.

Do you think some of these new habits could be useful for you?

About the Author

Leo Widrich

Co-founder and CMO at Buffer. I enjoy writing about lifehacks, social media tips and updates to Buffer. For some more personal posts, check out leostartsup.

  • Christina (Kris10sL8)

    Thank you for sharing this article. I’ve applied the tips recommend
    and the results were amazing. In particular, spacing out my tweets using Buffer
    App caused a huge increase in the number of new followers I receive daily.

     However, I do fall
    short on one point; consistently tweeting about a particular subject on my
    personal account.  Though the majority of
    my tweets are centered on social media, I find it difficult to box myself into
    one or two topics.

    Is there a right way to share content on a
    variety of subjects, and still add value to my follower’s timeline?     

    • http://twitter.com/LeoWid Leo Widrich

      Hi Christina, it’s fantastic to see you here! So glad Buffer has been useful for you and you get new followers from it every day.

      Oh right, so the idea with the topics I believe is that it allows you to develop a strong brand amongst your followers. So say, if you have 3 topics, people will remember you strongly for these topics, seek you for advice and trust you to share good articles, as you are very focused. If it is a mix of everything I believe it might be slightly more difficult.

      Does that make sense?

      • Christina (Kris10sL8)

        Hi Leo! It’s always a pleasure talking to you & you’re absolutely right! It will definitely be more difficult.  Somehow, Guy Kawasaki has been successful using this strategy. What do you think most attributes to his success?   

        • http://twitter.com/LeoWid Leo Widrich

          Hi Christina,

          Oh right, haha, great point, I feel @GuyKawasaki:twitter  might be somewhat of an exception here, as he already had an incredible personal brand before he was on Twitter, so he could leverage a much broader audience and post much broader types of content. Not sure though, what do you think? :)

          • Christina (Kris10sL8)

            I think you make a great point; his followers aren’t just interested in his tweets, they’re interested in him as an individual. I’ll have to figure out how to connect with people on a personal level if I plan on bending the rules. ;-) Thank you for giving me much to consider Leo!   

  • http://rsmithing.com Richard Smith

    I’m scheduling a tweet with this link right now!

    • http://twitter.com/LeoWid Leo Widrich

      awesome! :)

  • Kevin

    Greati ideas!

    • http://twitter.com/LeoWid Leo Widrich

      glad you liked it Kevin :) 

  • http://twitter.com/Hilda_Smith Hilda Smith

    Hi Leo, great ideas! And as we begin something new and start the long road of creating a new Twitter following it’s nice to read posts such as this. Loving Buffer as well. 

    • http://twitter.com/LeoWid Leo Widrich

      Hi Hilda, that is fantastic to hear, really glad I could help a little alongside that road! :) 

  • Rusha Sams

    Great ideas! Can’t wait to try some of them!  And thanks for giving us names of others to follow!

    • http://twitter.com/LeoWid Leo Widrich

      Hi Rusha, no worries at all, always think giving real life example is most important. 

  • http://www.facebook.com/josephajdownie Joe Downie

    Great advice and thoughts, thanks.

    • http://twitter.com/LeoWid Leo Widrich

      awesome, glad you liked it Joe! :)

  • http://twitter.com/SilverLaneMedia Claire Bowen

    Great article. Common sense stuff that gets you thinking and we’ll certainly look at trying things differently! Thanks! And Happy 2012!

    • http://twitter.com/LeoWid Leo Widrich

      Hi Claire, so glad you liked the article and even happier it is a starting point to do things a little differently, happy 2012 to you too! :)

  • Anonymous

    Great ideas! Using Twitter lists has really been a great way to find quality content to share with my followers! Lots of great content out there! I think scheduling content to share is also one of the best ways to manage your time effectively, while still providing your followers with valuable content throughout the day–though I think it’s equally important to remember that it’s also about engaging on social networks, not simply pushing out content. Keep it real! 

    • http://twitter.com/LeoWid Leo Widrich

      Awesome, so glad it was helpful! Yes indeed, I think Twitter lists are some of the most powerful things for sure. The scheduling part, as you rightly mention, is best to be done thoughtfully, so content quality stays high. :)

  • David O Donoghue

    Loving this post! I’ll definitely be following some of those you mentioned.

    On a seperate note – just wondering where, or what program (online or offline) you used to generate the stats on twitter (for example in post 1 or 5)? I know they were screenshots…so maybe they were just found online but I’d be quite interested to find out anyway.

    Thanks!

    David

    • http://twitter.com/LeoWid Leo Widrich

      Hi David,

      great to hear from you and glad you asked. 

      Yes, so actually 5 are the analytics you get if you sign up to Buffer and send your Tweets with it (http://bufferapp.com) . The first one is from an infographic from a while back. 

  • http://davidglarson.com Dave Larson

    Thanks for putting this out there, Leo!

    • http://twitter.com/LeoWid Leo Widrich

      glad you liked it Dave! :) Thanks for all the amazing input from your side. 

  • https://www.facebook.com/DakinAssociates Shaun Dakin

    I’ve found that it is helpful to create several account for the aspects of your lives that make sense.   That way people who follow you know what to expect.

    I run:

    @EndTheRobocalls:twitter  – which is only about political robocalls
    @PrivacyCamp:twitter – which is all you need to know about data privacy
    @IsCool:twitter – my personal rants !
    @ShaunDakin:twitter – my professional account

    I have different people follow me in different places.   By having all those accounts I’m able to make sure that I provide content that people want for that aspect of my life.

    And I use Buffer on the Privacy Camp account !

    Shaun Dakin
    Founder PrivacyCamp
    Co Founder @ReverseRobocall:twitter

  • http://twitter.com/eleanorpie Eleanorpie

    Does anyone know how to add the Twitter button to their LinkedIn profile? I’ve seen this in some cases, and I like it, but I can’t see how to do it myself. Is it only for those with a paid LinkedIn account?

  • Anonymous

    Simple ideas but I haven’t done most of them! Thanks

  • http://twitter.com/LeslynK Leslyn Kantner

    Great ideas and validation for some of the things I’ve been doing. I started with 12 followers 10 days ago (friends & such that were original followers when I first logged into Twitter). Today, I have a reason to create a strong presence on Twitter and have actually started to understand its benefits – and… I have almost 300 followers. Obviously, I have a long way to go but I have really enjoyed the interactions too. I’m putting this on my desktop for easy reference as I begin to build my following!! Thanks.

    • Anonymous

       wow, from 12 followers to 300 in 10 days – did you do a lot of research about tweeting to build up so quickly, or are you just a Twitter natural?

  • http://twitter.com/StacyatAnswers Stacy Jackson

    Great post–especially reminder on being thoughtful–thoughtful focus, thoughtful recognition, and thoughtful/non-self-focused shares.

  • http://www.nikoyajohnson.com Nikoya

    I understand why subscribers to email lists are extremely important for a digital presence, but I am losing the idea that Twitter is important.  Is it turning towards the superficial side?

    Seems like everyone wants the same thing on Twitter… more followers, link clicks, promotions, exposure, RT’s.  How can a blogger like myself increase subscribers without using Twitter? That’s what I’ve been challenging myself with.

  • http://twitter.com/usefultraining Jane Leonard

    Really useful advice, especially the idea of creating a list of Twitter mentors to follow.

  • http://aigendigitalmarketing.com Abel Pardo

    I liked so much what you said about putting the follow button in your blog. I’ll try it. Congratulations for the post, Leo!

  • http://www.liewcf.com/ LiewCF

    not sure if this is possible, I would like Buffer to auto add the endorsing part (via @the_author) when I add a link into buffer. 

  • http://twitter.com/MattA_DSWRX Matt Anthony

    I’d like to add a vote AGAINST the follow button. When I see an interesting tweeter, I like to click my middle button to open in a new window so I can go to their feed and evaluate frequency, topics, etc. (all the things you list above!) before I decide to follow. The follow button doesn’t let me do this – it just adds them. 

  • Frances

    I especially like your third point: “Pick 3 words/topics that describe you the best on Twitter, and stick to them with your Tweets.” I sometimes wonder whether I’m sufficiently focused on Twitter and most of the time I have a sinking feeling that I’m not. This is a really great post and I’m going to go through this exercise to help me gain focus better. BTW: I love how Buffer is growing by leaps and bounds. You and Joel must be very excited.

  • NicolettaL

    Interesting tips. Maybe it is because I am old (39) but I don’t understand the value of many followers fairly busy with 360 tweets a day to really make sense of what they are reading. I personally unfollow whoever posts too much. I still prefer good content, once a week, that is worth reading through. How old-fashion am I? Said that, I really believe that endorsing your followers is a great step. But again, I don’t see it in an utilitarian way, just a nice way to connect, isn’t it? 

  • Lizzie

    Follow me: @lizzieastwood :)

  • http://resumecompanion.com/ Erik B.

    Nice article. Timing is key. Two apps I utilize to guarantee my tweets are being tweeted at precisely the right time is Socialbro and Bufferapp. They work together and make reaching your audience a walk in the park. Check em out. (I am in now way affiliated with those two companies, this is a impartial recommendation)

  • Shirl

    Hi Leo. Loved the tips and have learned some of them firsthand for myself as being very true.  Great stuff!

  • http://twitter.com/ShellySlatkin Shelly Slatkin

    Thanks Leo, very helpful new habits for Twitter newbie like me! Looks like I found a new Twitter Mentor ;-)

  • Bijit Sharma

    I liked the “non-link tweet” thing very much…will do that for sure…

  • @saurabhj3348

    Great Advice! Adding to the post, I also recommend to post constantly on various trend going around worldwide. This will give you more visibility among Twitterati.

  • http://twitter.com/GoldUniversity GoldUniversity

    Don’t worry about what techniques YOU do not like, its about what your followers like. What you like is your hobby, make what the world likes your business.

  • bingbingwa

    Matt…. press my follow button! @pastexpiry

  • @LifeofanANON1

    @LifeofanANON1