Just like you, I read all of those blog posts about how to get more Twitter followers. And while these articles all contain great, actionable advice, I definitely acquired a lot of my Twitter followers by accident.
So without further ado, let me share with you how I accidentally started acquiring Twitter followers, and how you can adapt these methods to start getting followers on purpose.
How I got more Twitter followers
1. I mentioned my location
When I started my Twitter account at the end of college, one of the first accounts that I followed was my college’s account. One afternoon I mentioned that it was a glorious day in Naperville at North Central College.
The account replied to me, retweeted me, and all of a sudden I had a slew of Naperville-based businesses and Naperville-centric accounts following me.
How you can do this on purpose: Even if you’re an internet-based business, you still live and work somewhere. Connect with your local businesses (as long as they aren’t competitors!), news sources, and city accounts. Most of them will be happy to follow back and then share a little love for their neighbors by retweeting and sharing your content with their followers. This should drive more Twitter followers back to you!
2. I mentioned smaller brands in Tweets
When I love a brand, I want everyone to know it. I’m horribly guilty of sometimes tweeting things like, “I totally love @randombrand,” but those are not the tweets that lead to new followers.
Yet when I mentioned how much I love Chicago-based Forever Yogurt in a blog post, I really wanted to let them know. So I mentioned them a tweet with the link.
— Mandy Kilinskis (@ImAmandaJulius) November 11, 2011
Not only did Forever Yogurt follow me back, but they also retweeted the article. Soon enough, some of Forever Yogurt’s followers started following me. I accidentally got followers and exposure.
How you can do this on purpose: Write a blog post about another brand that isn’t in direct competition with you, but has a similar customer base. More likely than not, they’ll appreciate the kind words and retweet it to their followers. And if those followers think you’re interesting, they’ll follow you, too.
3. I replied to bigger brands
Just like I write those “I totally love @randombrand!” tweets, I also to reply to questions that big brands like Disney ask. I know that it’s doubtful that they’ll even read the reply, but it’s fun all the same. So when Disney asked about their theme parks, I replied.
Within a matter of minutes, I had at least ten new Twitter followers, and all of them were fellow Disney fans (or travel agents that wanted to sell me a Disney Cruise package).
Then I remembered that when you click on tweets from the web version of Twitter, you can see which public users reply to those tweets.
How you can do this on purpose: Any user that clicks to expand a tweet from the web can see replies. So if they happen to like your reply, or you provide a link that seems interesting, they’ll probably follow you over. Like before, target brands that aren’t in direct competition with your business, but still cater to a similar client base.
4. I used Buffer to schedule relevant articles
I started using Buffer as a way to not bombard my small number of followers with five articles in the morning and then nothing for the rest of the day.
And yet, as I continued to use the service, I started noticing a steady increase of followers.
How you can do this on purpose: Extend the life of your own blog posts and content by posting multiple times in one day, and then a couple times over the following week. Never be afraid to schedule an older post! Also, be one kick-ass content curator. Find other awesome people or brands in your niche and share really great articles. You’ll now be a source of excellent information that lots of people will want to follow. Overall, this is an awesome way to get more Twitter followers easily. (Managing social media for a lot of brands? Think about Buffer has social media management for business level, too!)
Which leads me to number five…
5. I mentioned individual authors in Tweets
Since I’m a writer/blogger myself, I know that getting recognition for a blog post feels awesome. So I decided to pay that feeling forward by mentioning individual authors in my tweets.
— Mandy Kilinskis (@ImAmandaJulius) March 2, 2012
In addition to doing this for independent bloggers, I would start singling out authors from big multi-authored sites like Fast Company or Mashable.
Both of these fantastic writers started following me once I mentioned them by name.
How you can do this on purpose: Give love to the “little guy.” In addition to being a kick-ass content curator, take the extra step to find the Twitter handle of the author/designer of whatever content you want to share. That small effort will pay off in Twitter followers by the spades.
6. I replied to users that mentioned other users
When people say something that interests me on Twitter, I want to add to the conversation. So if they ask a question, I’ll reply. If they post an article that I find interesting or helpful, I’ll tell them.
After I replied to Dave, I ended up having a three person conversation with Dave and Zac. Shortly thereafter, Zac followed me.
How you can do this on purpose: If you have a valuable comment or answer to offer, keep both user names in your reply. This will foster a conversation and will yield both followers and the beginning of a new online relationship. Chat it up with the thought leaders in your niche – most people are generally pretty nice on Twitter.
7. I Wrote Guest Posts
I started writing guest posts for a multitude of reasons: backlinks, exposure, and creating relationships with awesome people that maintain awesome blogs. At no point did I think, “Oh hey, I’m going to get a sea of new Twitter followers!” And yet, after my first guest post here on Buffer, I suddenly had a massive influx of new followers. I credit all of those followers to Leo, because he slipped my Twitter handle into my author bio:
How you can do this on purpose: Write some fantastic guest posts and then make your Twitter handle one of your author links. Whether you hyperlink your name or give a call to action like “Follow her on Twitter here,” there’s no better way to naturally gather a whole bunch of Twitter followers in a short amount of time. If you’re craving even more tips to gather Twitter followers, definitely check out Gregory Ciotti’s post about the Twitter follow button, and Leo’s post about Twitter habits.
But now over to you! Have you ever done something that accidentally got you more Twitter followers? Have you been using any of these strategies on purpose? If so, how are they working for you?