One of the questions I get asked the most is “how did you get so many Twitter followers in such a short space of time?” In less than a year, my Twitter followers have gone from 0 to just under 15,000. My immediate reaction is to say I have no idea why so many people would want to follow me and read my thoughts. In actual fact, I did – and still do – put a lot of work into gaining Twitter followers. It’s not just about the numbers, either. It’s about having Twitter followers who are engaged with my content and I’m very happy to say that’s what I’ve got. So, here are some tips for you.
1. Twitter Chats lead to Twitter followers
I have said it before, and I will say it again: Twitter chats are an AMAZING way to connect with other bloggers. This is the one thing I strongly encourage everybody to do. There are several to choose from and even participating in 1 or 2 a week can make a difference to you.
So, what is a Twitter chat? Basically, you have a host. They select questions and use a hashtag to share them. Sometimes, the topic is blogging related and other times, it’s something completely different. You reply with your answers and include the same hashtag. You, and the others involved, can use the hashtag to track the conversation. It allows you to find and interact with other bloggers and is a lot of fun. It’s like sitting down for a cup of tea and biscuits to have a natter with a bunch of awesome people.
Twitter chats are usually at the same time each week which is great because it means you can try and find a way to fit it into your schedule. It won’t suddenly be sprung on you and make you feel like you need to juggle everything to take part. You can choose one which works for you and get involved.
They can be a great way to learn new things from those more experienced than you, too. If the topic of the chat is blogging related, you will find that people share some great tips and tricks! This is particularly good if you are just starting out and feeling a bit lost. It helped me to no end during my first few weeks.
Two of my favourites are GRLPOWRCHAT (Tuesdays and Sundays at 9pm) and Bloghour (Tuesdays at 9pm). You can find others here. I haven’t been able to take part in as many chats lately as I would like to, for one reason or another, and I really miss it!
2. Give, give and give some more
Don’t expect everybody else to do the work. If you’re not engaging with others, why should they do it for you? You can’t create a Twitter account and expect everyone to come rushing to you. You need to go out there and find an audience. Use the retweet button and support others. Like their tweets. If they ask a question, try to answer it.
Be careful, though – you need to do these things in a genuine way and don’t expect anything in return. While it did help me along the way, I didn’t do these things and then get annoyed when people didn’t do them back. I did them because I felt compelled to. Don’t just like every tweet you come across it, or start retweeting everyone. Do it because you agree with them, or it made you laugh, or because it touched you in some other way.
3. Stop overthinking
Oh, if only it were that simple, right? I appreciate it’s not. However, one of the things which made a big difference to my life on Twitter was just going for it. I’d follow people first. I’d reply to them if I thought I had something to offer to the conversation. It’s natural to feel reserved about making those first moves but, 9 times out of 10, it will work out well for you. The other times don’t matter. Let them go and keep going forward.
I know I make that sound very simple but I do understand how difficult it is. Start small. Make targets you think you can achieve, even if it’s following one new person a day. For me, it was a giant leap out of my comfort zone, but I knew I needed to do it, so I pushed myself a little bit each day. Even the fact I was taking part in Twitter chats felt strange at first. That’s why I recommend those as a starting point, though – they allow you to express your thoughts and opinions in a conversational way. They also make it easier to strike up a conversation with someone. If you see something they’ve said which you agree with, let them know! It’s a starting point.
I don’t have much practical advice on this one, because I do think it’s something you need to learn yourself, and at a pace which is right for you. Just try and keep in mind that not everyone will reciprocate, but it doesn’t mean there’s anything wrong with you, or that you should stop trying.
4. View people as your friends, not your competition
I know, we are all trying to make it in the online world, be it blogging, vlogging, Instagram or other. However, there’s space for all of us. It might not feel like it all the time, but it’s true. If you come into it thinking that everyone is against you and you need to make a point, it won’t do you any favours. I know there are plenty of quotes out there about chasing your dream, but don’t step on other people along the way.
I love cheering on other bloggers and sharing their work. It makes me so happy when they tell me I’ve made their day. If you come across a blog post which you really love, share it on your social media. Don’t be afraid to shout it from the rooftops when somebody else is creating killer content. It doesn’t make yours worth any less. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with letting other people know they’ve done a great job.
5. Be yourself
This is normally a piece of advice I hate because I never find it much use, but it’s the best way I can put it. Resist the temptation to turn yourself into something you’re not for the sake of gaining support. When I started out, I was tempted to try and fit in. Then I quickly realised it would be exhausting to try and keep that up. This lead me to take a much healthier approach which was just being myself. I didn’t know how it would work out for me so to say I’m surprised by the outcome is an understatement.
You can bring something to your followers which nobody else can: you. It’s the same with the blogging community as a whole. Your thoughts, feelings, opinions and experiences are yours. Of course, people may have some which are similar, but they’re not YOU.
6. A little kindness goes a long way
I think I should have the words “be kind” tattooed across my forehead because I go on about it all the time. If there’s one thing I try my best to do on Twitter, it’s keeping an eye out for anybody who isn’t having the best day. I don’t always have the right words to say, but I’ll let them know I’m sending them positive thoughts, or hoping they’ll feel better soon.
Social media can be a toxic place at times and I think people are pleasantly surprised when somebody genuinely cares. Don’t be afraid to reach out if you see somebody having a crappy day. Sometimes, a few words of encouragement can make a big difference.
7. Know it gets easier
Two things about this one. Firstly, everything I’ve said is a learning process. It’s highly unlikely you’re going to feel comfortable doing it right away but the more you do it, the easier it gets. The more you see results from it, the more it drives you to continue doing it.
Also, as your followers increase, you get seen more. I know I got to 1000 followers pretty quickly by other people’s standards, but it felt much harder to get there than it did to get to 2000. The more people who are liking your tweets, retweeting them and replying to you, the more you will pop up in other people’s timelines. You will still have to work at it, but it seems much easier.
8. Show some appreciation
I have been truly overwhelmed by the support I’ve had, and I’m not afraid to say it. Every time I reach a new milestone, I try and send out a tweet to let my followers know I am thankful for each and every single one of them. It really comes from the heart. I’m well aware that my blog would be nothing without them. I can work as hard as I like but they are the people who read it and help it to grow. There are days when I wake up to incredibly kind responses and it blows me away. It’s made my life better and I will stop at nothing to make sure the people who have done this for me know I thank my lucky stars that they’re in my life.
People have no obligation to support you so if they are doing it anyway, make sure you sing their praises once in a while. I think the second you start taking it for granted, you lose, both respect and probably followers in turn.
So, there you go, that’s how I gained my Twitter followers and I hope you’ve found some useful information to help you, too!
How are you getting on on Twitter? Do you use it much, or do you prefer a different social media platform? Are you struggling to gain followers, or do you have a growing, engaged audience? Let me know!