Fill your profile with interesting stuff
No one follows a boring profile especially an egg! You know the accounts I’m talking about. Just a name, no header image and according to twitter your face resembles an oval. If you want to have a successful twitter following you need an identity, and the first place to start is with a profile picture. Make this a headshot, nothing fancy just a clear picture of you. (Smiling is optional but it helps) If you have decided to make your profile picture a Logo, be wary. People are often hesitant to follow accounts with a logo as the profile picture, they think you're going to try and sell them something.
The next step is to fill out your bio. This is the area where people start to get an initial view of what your all about. If you have another account such as a business, connect them to your bio. You can also use hashtags in your bio so others can see you in certain topic areas. In my bio you can see I link my account to one of the businesses I am focusing on growing, combined with a few hashtags. Also include your website URL in the bio. This sits right at the top of the page and everyone who visits your profile will see it.
Header images were introduced by twitter a while ago now and give you the opportunity to leave a lasting impression on someone visiting your site. You can put pretty much anything as your header image. A simple picture that displays something your twitter account relates to is a goof idea. You can also use the header image to push people toward your website. I’m currently using my header image to push people toward my blog. It’s simple and effective.
The next step is to get at least 10-15 tweets on your account. Make them interesting for the people you're trying to attract as followers. When you start adding people they will want to see interesting content if they are going to follow you back.
Follow people with a similar interest or people who want to read what you have to say
Getting the ball rolling with followers can be hard, people are less likely to follow accounts with 0-10 followers, but you can slowly build a reasonable amount by following people with similar interests as you. You can do this by searching for hashtags and follow the people who have posted tweets.
One thing to be aware of is follow ratios. Before you start following accounts in the hope of a re-follow, take a look at their following to follower ratio. If they follow 800 people and are followed by 25000, their not likely to follow you back. You're looking for people with a reasonably close number in followers and following accounts.
Twitter do place limits on the amount of accounts you can follow in one day. Don't go trigger happy. Start by following 30-50 accounts a day a see what your return is.
Use hashtags properly
Using hashtags properly is something that new twitter user can't seem to grasp. The premise itself is easy. Say I want to post something about marketing a blog, I would use #blogging to reach people who were interested. The trouble comes when you are talking about a subject that doesn’t have an obvious hashtag. You can use hashtagifyme.com. This is a fantastic resource that will give you multiple hashtags to use within your subject area. Let's use an example. Say I've written a blog post about the benefits of healthy eating for weight loss. So in this instance I’m going to use "weightloss" as my keyword. After searching you will see a number of related words appear. Hover over them and look at the popularity and correlation of the keyword. As you can see #diet has a high correlation and popularity score against other words. You can use multiple hashtags in a post so don’t limit yourself.
The more you tweet the more your posts will be retweeted, the more people will see them and subsequently see your account and follow you. I usually tweet 5-10 items a day. I set my tweets up in advance using Hootsuite so I’m not thinking about posting on twitter every hour or so. Make sure your tweets are interesting and informative, Don’t bombard your followers with adverts about your business, that’s not what they want to see. Instead post images, quotes and stats from your niche. This sort of content gets retweeted.
Put a link to your twitter account in your email signature
This is fast becoming a very good method for growing your twitter following. If you send a lot of emails daily, a number of people are going to start seeing a link to your twitter account. It’s a quick and easy way to get your account in front of a large number of people who you are already engaging with you. If you can, don’t just put a link. Try and put the twitter icon itself with a hyperlink in the image to your account. Readers are far more likely to click to twitter button than a link to twitter itself. It's basic marketing psychology really, people respond to images far better than text.
Add a follow button on your website
If you have a blog or a website one of the most important things you can do is have a visible twitter follow button. You don’t just have to use one button either. Drop them all over the place, on your homepage, in the footer, beside your articles and on the about page. One thing I have noticed over the years within the blogging and website environment is the effectiveness of a floating social media bar. This works by staying on the side of the screen even when you scroll down the page. I’ve been testing this across various sites recently and I’ve found this is one of the most effective form of sign up buttons on a website.
Comment, retweet and favourite popular tweets about similar topics
Interacting with tweets that are building some momentum in my eyes is one of the best ways to gain a bit of exposure. Finding the right tweets to comment on has an element of trial and error to it. I would start by going with tweets from accounts that have a relatively good following and a good number of interactions on the tweet itself already. People looking at tweets often follow people who have favourited the tweets or made good comments on the post.
The round up
Getting your twitter account of the ground can be difficult, but getting your first 1000 followers is certainly not impossible. After you’ve hit the magic 1000, there is not need to stop doing what your doing. Keep going, the next target is 10,000 a 100,000 and beyond. The first thousand is the hardest, after that it get’s easier I promise.