11 Tips to Cultivate a Strong Twitter Following

twitter_friend_follow-330x302

Are you new to Twitter or just want to build a substantial following on this popular social network? Here are 11 tips that I’ve found helpful.

  1. Follow Influential People in Your Niche

    Follow the most followed people in your genre, niche or area of specialization. This will keep you in the loop of all the breaking news and opinions that are in your field. It will also give you a chance to be retweeted by well-followed personalities which will put you in front of all of their followers!

    Sure, you could follow people who are unrelated to your topic area that are guaranteed to follow you back such as those listed in compilations such as these lists hereand here, but that won’t make for a strong or relevant network of followers or conversations.

  2. Retweet Interesting Posts

    Retweet posts that you like – pass along helpful articles, news items, and conference tweets, and be sure to credit the original tweeter by using the RT@Username expression.  Be a curator on Twitter! How do you know what to retweet?  If you found it interesting odds are that those that are following you will also find it interesting. I use the clickthrough test – if a post made me click through the link I found it intriguing enough to share with others.

  3. Organize or Participate in Tweetchats

    Browse a list of regularly scheduled Twitter chats here on Google Docs, and you can find hashtags that interest you on a site like Hashtags.org or by following Twitter Hashtags. Here’s some additional info:

  4. Organize or Participate in Tweet-Ups

    Meet up with your online Twitter friends at one of these popular events called Tweet-ups or Twitter meetups. This can be a great way to promote a new project you’re working on, discover new opportunities, or just meet new people. For more on Tweet-ups see HOW TO: Organize a Successful Tweetup

  5. Use Restraint When Posting

    The best Twitterers use discipline when it comes to frivolous sharing. You don’t want to bombard your followers (or would-be followers) with irrelevant or uninteresting tweets such as reporting on what you’re eating for breakfast/lunch/dinner, gossip, political or religious rants, or anything at all negative about your job or the people you work with.

  6. Tweet Photos to Keep Things Interesting.

    If you’re on a vacation, at a conference, or event that you’re tweeting about, why not include some photos to keep people engaged. Use third-party services such as TwitPic to post images that accompany your tweets!

  7. Create and Curate Lists

    People love to be included in lists! When I posted about “10,000 Tweeting Librarians…Did You Make the List?“, everyone was excited to see if they’d been included in the lists. And if not, they posted asking to be added. In addition to being wonderful tools that will help you organize your tweets by subject area, they’re a great resource for others to follow/subscribe to.

  8. Promote your Handle

    Promote and post about your Twitter username, or handle (e.g. @ellyssa) absolutely everywhere – on your PowerPoint presentations, your blog, your email signature, etc.

  9. Don’t Follow Many More People Than Follow You

    If you have 200 Twitter followers but subscribe to 1,200 users you will look like a spammer or someone only interested in using Twitter for marketing and self-promotion. You really want to keep the numbers close.

  10. Manage Your Friends/Followers Lists Regularly

    I recently discovered that there were 490 people that I was following who weren’t following me back in return. I used Friend or Follow to determine who was on that list and to instantly un-follow all of them. Why? No one wants a one-way conversation. This frees me up to concentrate on taking part in the conversations that people who are following me are starting and taking part in. Correspondingly, I also will be following an additional 1,483 people who have been following me but that I haven’t been following.

  11. Welcome New Followers

    It’s always nice to receive a note after Following someone on Twitter, it really personalizes the social network. You can set your Twitter “Settings” to notify you when someone new follows you so that you can send them a Direct Message. You can even automate the process by having a service such as Social Oomph send an automated “Welcome” message from you whenever someone new follows you.