After you’ve been using twitter for a while, you tend to slow down in follower gains. You usually get a burst of attention, gain 100 or so followers and then it drops off and you’ll only gain a few followers every week if that.
So how do you get more people to follow you?
The main thing is being an active member of the larger Twitter community. Here are my slides from my Twitter 201 class that I’m teaching during National Dairy Board’s Joint Annual Meeting at the Gaylord Hotel.
Active members add more content – contributing to the conversations online.
I recommend adding video and images if you can – farmers have the best pictures (there’s so much to see on the farm) and your consumers definitely love to check it out.
Video and images don’t need to be perfect but they do need to be real. Posing is ok for stock photos but showing the nitty-gritty of life on the farm is where it’s at.
@gilmerdairy (Will Gilmer) has really mastered the art of sharing videos and pictures of his farm geared for his customer (not other farmers). He answers all the questions that pop up in the comments as well.
Active members join twitter chats – they get involved instead of just stalking, retweeting or favoriting.
While this can get you noticed, you’ll gain more followers by having an opinion (a respectful opinion, mind you) and be open to having a conversation about your opinion.
@dairycarrie (Carrie Mess) offers her thoughts and opinions and it’s really worked to gain her a following.
Active members know the trends that are happening – you don’t need to jump into Justin Bieber’s antics but if the trend matches, why not jump into the conversation. This isn’t about Newsjacking – it’s about relevant insights to the trends.
Hashtagify will help you once you have entered in a popular hashtag to see what other hashtags people are using as well. It’s also got a pretty cool interface to play with.
Active members frequently engage with their twitter followers – when it comes to engaging with Twitter, I don’t use Twitter.com anymore. While I think the Twitter app for iPhone isn’t bad, I normally use other apps as well to engage. Here are a few of my favorites.
Hootsuite also allows you to send content to Facebook, LinkedIn and other social networks. This just makes it easier sometimes when you want to share and don’t want to jump to other applications.
Tweetdeck is another favorite of mine. This is actually an application so you don’t need a browser window open. Much like Hootsuite you can manage lists and conversations.
Tweetcaster, Hootsuite and Twitter mobile applications are what I use on my iPhone. Each serve a different purpose and all are free. I really like how Tweetcaster is set up but it’s your choice on how you want to engage.
Within Hootsuite, I’ve also set up a separate list for just questions people might be tweeting. If you add a “stream” and then select “search” and put in terms like “chocolate milk” or “dairy farming” and then add a ?, you’ll start seeing questions from people about these topics. What a great way to jump into a conversation with someone as the expert (which you are).
Another way to gain more followers is to get yourself out on some Twitter directories. Let’s face it – the search on Twitter isn’t that great but you can set yourself up to be found by getting your profile on these lists.
A couple of prominent lists are Twellow and WeFollow. Add yourself the categories and you’ll see more followers headed your way – especially for farmers. There are so few categories and farmers out there.
Another tip is to use Twiangulate to see who is following other people that you might want to follow. I dropped Ray Prock and Dairy Carrie into Triangulate to see who was following both of them. Not as many as you would think but you can then see who it is and follow them.
Once you are following a lot of people (you can follow up to 2000 without having any followers – after that it is a certain percentage that you need to have following you back to be able to follow more – this keeps the spam down), you’ll want to use a third party website to analyze your followers/following and then clean it up from time to time. No need to follow people who aren’t tweeting anymore. Manageflitter and Tweepi are a couple of my favorites as well as tweet.
Analyzing your content is also a great thing and will help you learn what works and what doesn’t on Twitter. I really like Twitter Ads – just click on the analytics tab to see how you are doing. There’s also Twtrland (which can also help you find people to follow) and Twitonomy.
Tweetreach is a fun tool as well to see how many people have seen the hashtags you are using.
Finally, using hashtag aggregator tools like Tagboard and Hashtagr can help you pull all the content around a hashtag to see if it’s something you want to amplify or just see what’s popular and give you ideas about what to be posting.
So what are your favorite ways of getting more followers on Twitter? I’d be happy to share them here.