Twitter is by far my favourite social media platform. Like many people, it’s my go-to source for news, especially the breaking variety. It was on Twitter that I first learned of Robin Williams’ death and it was on the social network that I followed along with the 2015 World Cup games, most of which happened during business hours.
I love the fast pace with which Tweets come through my timeline, tweets with entertaining gifs and the weekly chats. Mostly, I love the sense of community and how easy it is to find people to engage with. Even though I sometimes worry about Twitter’s longevity, it’s still my go-to social network.
I always encourage friends and colleagues who aren’t on Twitter to join the network. I realize it’s not an easy platform to get used to and I’m certainly not surprised by the questions I get asked most often:
How do I get more followers?
Why is no one clicking on the links I share?
How do I get people to retweet what I post?
Like any social media channel, I always stress that building a community on Twitter takes time. It’s not something that you can “set and forget.” It’s also not something that will happen overnight. You have to invest the time to nurture the relationships you create on Twitter, just as you do in your offline networks.You have to nurture the relationships you create online, just as you do offline:Click To Tweet
Here are 10 easy ways you can grow your Twitter account.
1. Upload a profile photo
Simply put – eggs are for breakfast, not social media profiles. The default profile photo for every new Twitter account is a white egg on a coloured background. I always recommend that people change the egg photo to a picture of themselves as soon as they sign up.
Twitter is about starting and participating in conversations. People want to know who they’re talking to; you are more likely to get a response from someone if you have your own photo up than if you are being represented by an egg.
Personally, I don’t follow anyone who still has an egg as their profile picture, even if they follow me first. I just assume they’re either a spam bot or someone who isn’t interested in engaging.
2. Have a complete bio
As with tweets, you only have 140 characters in the bio section of your profile so you’ll need to be succinct. I recommend using hashtags as that will create a link to other tweets and accounts that have those terms. That being said, you don’t want to use too many hashtags as that looks cluttered and messy. Be strategic with your hashtags and use only the ones that you want to stand out when someone lands on your profile.
Your profile should include information not only about what you do, and what you can offer, but what you’re looking for. For example, if you’re looking for people to help test your app, include that in your bio. People will appreciate knowing more about you and what it is they’ll gain from connecting with you.
While the bio is your space to talk about yourself, try to be subtle about it. You don’t want to come across as too self-promotional. Coming across as too salesy may deter people from wanting to connect with you.
3. Stop talking about yourself
Have you ever been to a dinner party and met someone who seemed to only want to talk about themselves? You know the type of person, they interrupt someone else’s story to talk about how great their own job is? Or how big their house is? Or how smart their kids are? It’s annoying in real life and it’s just as annoying on social media.
On Twitter, these people are typically the ones who only post about what they’re up to, or what is new at their company. It’s easy to spot these folks as one glance at their timeline looks like a product (or service) promotion sheet from one company – the only they’re currently employed at.
If you’re using Twitter only to broadcast news about your projects or the various initiatives your company has on the go, you’re going to turn people off.If you're using Twitter only to broadcast news about yourself, you're going to turn people off:Click To Tweet
There is nothing wrong with taking pride in where you work and sharing what your company is working on. However, there is a right way to share about your work while still encouraging people to engage with you.
For example, let’s say you work in a bank. Rather than just tweet out what the bank’s newest promotions are, share your thoughts on the latest trends that are impacting the industry. Illustrate that you are staying up-to-date on key economic news and are able to form an opinion. That will impress people far more than just being a self-promoting broadcaster.
4. Follow people, even if they don’t follow you
Many people still seem to think that they should only follow the people who follow them. I say that’s a pretty dated approach to social media networking. There is more to social media than just looking for what’s in it for you.
I always encourage newcomers to Twitter to follow accounts of interest, this can be individuals or companies. For example, if you are a tech news buff, you may not get followed back by Wired or Ars Technica, but you may get followed by other people who follow those accounts.
Don’t get disappointed if you aren’t followed back by someone you were hoping to connect with. Continue to post quality (not just self-promotional) content and grow your community by sharing your knowledge.
If you look through my list of followers, you’ll notice that a number of high-profile social media and digital accounts are following me. I can attest that having them as followers did not happen on my first day on Twitter.
Stick with it, and invest the time in your profile and the content that you share and you too will see results.
5. Engage – Retweet, Favourite and Reply
Building a network online is just like building one offline; you need to illustrate that you’re willing to reciprocate the efforts others are putting forward. Twitter isn’t just about posting messages and hoping they resonate. You need to follow others and engage with what they’re sharing.
Some Twitter newbies are often confused by when they should retweet and when they should favourite something. For me, I think of it like this: if someone has said something I think my followers would appreciate knowing, I will retweet it. If it’s something I agree with but don’t necessarily think has to be shared, I’ll favourite it.
One great thing about Twitter is you can reply to someone even if you don’t follow each other. For example, let’s say you looked up a hashtag related to a sporting event and you came across a very witty tweet from someone you don’t follow. There is nothing stopping you from hitting “reply” and letting them know you enjoyed their tweet.
It may not lead to a response from them but it’ll still be a tweet on your timeline that shows what your interests are.
6. Say thank you
If all of the tweets on your timeline are only about you, you’re telling people that you’re only in it for yourself. Be sure to show some appreciation for your new followers and for the folks who have taken the time to interact with your tweets (via retweets, favourites and replies).
It may seem like a small thing, but think about it – who does’t like to be thanked? It will illustrate that you’re invested in the connections you’re creating and that you’re an overall nice person. The old saying “you catch more flies with honey than you do with vinegar” holds true on social media.It may seem like a small thing, but saying thank you on social goes a long wayClick To Tweet
There are tools you can use to thank people, but don’t rely too heavily on them. People can tell when a tool is behind the thank you and if that’s the only way you can show appreciation, people will be turned off by it.
7. Tweet more than twice a year
If you’re on Twitter and want to build a following and nurture relationships, you need to be an active user. That is, post frequently and engage with others. One thing I often hear from Twitter newcomers is the complaint that they don’t know what to say. “What am I supposed to talk about, what I had for breakfast?!”
My advice is to start off with something easy. What do I mean by “easy?” Well, every website has social sharing buttons. I recommend visiting a website that you’re a fan of and finding an article that you find interesting. Locate the “Share this on Twitter” icon and click on it. Most sharing options default to just the title and link of the article but you can change that to include your own insights. Tell your followers why the article is interesting; give them a reason to want to read the article too.
Your timeline of tweets should be a good mix of your own insights and a collection of articles you’ve found and thought were worthy of sharing.
8. Limit the number of daily tweets
I can’t advise that you tweet often without advising against tweeting too often. What constitutes too often? Unlike other social networks, you can post to Twitter several times a day, even the same tweets. Given the high volume of tweets being posted, it’s common practice to post multiple times to try to get your messages seen by people throughout the course of the day.
It’s really important that you don’t tweet/retweet a number of messages around the same time. For example, let’s say you’re reading the online version of your favourite newspaper on your commute in to work. Rather than tweet out 10 articles in the span of 20 minutes, use a tool to schedule them out. (Tools like Buffer or Hootsuite are great for this.)
Posting a cluster of messages at one time looks sloppy and will likely annoy the people who see the messages clutter their timeline in a short span of time.
9. Use Images and hashtags
Images always resonate better than text, especially when people are scrolling through a timeline on their smartphone. It’s no surprise then that one study found that tweets with images received 18% more clicks, 89% more favourites and 150% more retweets than those that didn’t have images.
Hashtags are great because they become links which people can click and find out more information. They’re also a great way to get your tweets (and thereby your profile) in front of more eyeballs. For example, there are some common hashtags you can use to join in some existing conversations. Some hashtags you may want to consider are #motivationmonday or #wellnesswednesday. Don’t be afraid to use hashtags in your tweets, but don’t forget, you can’t just jump in on a hashtag that’s trending. Be sure to check what the conversation is about before jumping in with your commentary.
If you’re not getting much engagement with your tweets, try to include images and hashtags more often. I’m sure you’ll see an uptake in retweets, replies and favourites.
10. Skip the use of auto DM tools
There are various tools available to help with every aspect of your Twitter experience. Everything from scheduling tweets to sending out thank yous. Some of the more common tools used are the ones that send out an automated direct message every time you follow someone.
In theory, this sounds great – someone gets a thank you immediately after they follow you. What better way to show you appreciate their follow, right? Wrong.
Auto DMs are annoying and when you follow a lot of people, your inbox gets pretty full with what ends up being spam. People get a lot of email already, why contribute to that with a random, disingenuous message sent by software on your behalf?
For me, an Auto DM from someone I just followed usually leads me to unfollow them. Yes, I find them that annoying. I always appreciate someone who thanks me for the follow via a public tweet. My inbox appreciates that, too.
What do you think of the list? Are you doing any of these?
All images on this post created on Canva.