Building your Twitter following takes time and consistency. Sure, you will get the people who find you and follow your updates randomly, and the spammers always seem to find you the moment your account opens on Twitter, but this doesn’t mean you have to follow their content! Follow smart people. Connect with people that are thought-leaders in their industry or in your industry for that matter. Learn from them. It isn’t always easy to get some of these influencers to follow you back, especially when you are new to Twitter and you haven’t proven that you are not one of those looky-loos who creates an account, follows a few people but then never returns. Whether you want those industry influencers to connect with you or just specific people who would be ideal potential customers of yours, you need to do a little work to increase the odds and shorten the time it takes to get them to follow you back.
Here are the 10 Tips to Get People to Follow You Back:
Make sure you have a photo loaded -preferably a headshot of YOU (Not Brad Pit or some other actor).
People have an easier time connecting with people. A picture of a flower is beautiful, but most flowers don’t engage in conversations…use your face! As a brand, you obviously will have a logo or image that represents your brand, but know that this makes it a bit harder for some to want to connect. (Check out “Tips For Great Social Media Head Shots”)
Create a great bio.
Your bio is your Twitter elevator speech. You have 160 characters to engage and show your personality…use every single character. If you want people to follow your updates, you should be able to give a small clue here as to why you are interesting enough to connect with. Don’t load it with hashtags or boring blather about your skills. And for goodness sake, don’t write it in third person because that is just weird! (Gina doesn’t like that). Be sure to add a link to your website or perhaps your LinkedIn profile if you don’t have a website. This doesn’t count as part of your 160 characters. Twitter has a spot for you to add this and if anyone is wanting to learn more about you, give them an easy way to do that. (Get examples from my list of GREAT BIOS on Twitter)
Follow the influencers FIRST!
This seems so obvious, but I run into people (and especially brands or companies) who are trying to figure out how to get more people to follow them on Twitter but they are following 12 people. Set a goal to find and follow 25 new people every day. Use hashtags (#) and keywords to search for those leaders in your industry or for those who are in your target market.
Be sure you have interesting content loaded on your Twitter feed.
I’m not talking about pithy quotes and things that other people say. I’m talking about your expertise. Your thoughts. Even if you are ReTweeting or sharing articles written by other people, mix in some original content. Sit down and write out 10 tips for your business and industry. What are the things you are asked about all the time–the FAQs for your business? Create a list of tweets and then post a couple each day mixed in with any other content you are sharing. If you are trying to attract smart people, they usually want to connect with other smart people. Be sure you are showing this.
Create a list on Twitter for INFLUENCERS and add anyone that you are wanting to connect with.
By creating lists, you are able to filter through all the noise and ensure you don’t miss the content you really want to read. Again, if you are using a social dashboard tool like SproutSocial or Hootsuite, you can pull the lists from Twitter into columns or sections that you can monitor more closely, but even on Twitter, you can go to your lists once or twice each day and be sure to listen to what your target list is talking about.
Read, Reply, and ReTweet one or two things.
As you check your Twitter lists daily, take the time to reply to something that was said by your target list and ReTweet content that you find extremely helpful and would like to share with your audience. By reading their content each day, you can also start to see how often they post, who they have conversations with and the type of content that is interesting to them and those connected with them. Take the opportunity to learn from the leaders you are wanting to connect with.
Instead of just trying to figure out how to get an influencer to follow you so they can help you spread your oh-so-important content, find ways to provide value to them FIRST! If you see them talking about heading to Napa for a holiday, send a list of top places to eat in Napa, or best wine tours to see. If you read that they are launching a new book, get an early copy and write a review (or do a video review for bonus points)! Find ways to GIVE first before you expect anyone on Twitter to help you. Most social media influencers get asked by hundreds a week to retweet or help promote causes from people they don’t even know. Take the time to build and nurture real relationships and you will find people more open to reciprocate.
Comment on their blog posts and share with your community (adding their Twitter handle to the tweet).
Of course by helping them promote or spread their message without asking for anything in return, you are endearing yourself to them. (example: Great post by @NeenJames on Staying productive while traveling: http://neenjames.com/how-to-articles/personal-productivity/stay-productive-while-traveling ) . When you leave a comment on their blog, it is taking it off of Twitter and onto their site, where they can see you are interested in their content. When you share that blog post with your community, be sure to add the person’s Twitter handle or they may not see that share.
Don’t send an invitation to your next webinar or free ebook.
Build relationships with people before offering them your “gifts.” Smart people learned early in life that they should never accept things from strangers, and really smart people know that a gift is shiny or chocolate covered! Giving the “gift” of a promotional product puts you in the same category as those “We can get you 10 million Twitter followers” people. Save it.
Many times people are getting multiple requests to connect daily and they don’t auto-follow people back, so be conversational and friendly but be patient. Relationships take time. Be consistent and genuine.