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5 Tips to Grow Your Twitter Presence in 2012

Twitter has a stronghold on the blogosphere, yet sometimes, it’s hard to be heard. If you’re struggling to grow your Twitter following, you’re not alone.

I have more than 160,000 followers now, and quite a few readers have asked how I’ve grown my following. Here are my tips.

1. Leverage your other “engagement media” profiles

Do you have an existing online profile somewhere outside of Twitter (big or small)? Use it to springboard into Twitter. If it’s a blog, mention that you’re using Twitter in a post, add Twitter sharing buttons to your home page and individual posts, and link to it from your profile and contact pages.

Tweet button

My posts all display a Tweet button

If you’re on Facebook, use one of the numerous tools or apps available to republish your tweets to Facebook. If you promote your blog on Google+, share your Tweets there. Using Pinterest? Cross-pollinate between those followers and your Twitter followers to maximize the return on the time you’re investing in social media.

It goes without saying that you should add Twitter, along with your other social media account details, to your email signature, business card, and so on. The same applies with any online (or even offline) presence that you have—link to your Twitter page and link to it often.

2. Tweet often—but leave space for engagement

The more active you are on Twitter, the more likely you are to have others find and follow you. However, tweet too frequently and you run the risk of losing followers. I try to stick to one topic at a time and create pauses between them to let others interact.

Striking the right balance takes time and experimentation. Watch who retweets your updates—and which updates they’re sharing—to get a sense of your strongest advocates.

And be sure to engage with those who share your updates and those who respond to you. Thank them, answer their questions, and ask them why they likes that tweet or this post. Consider this engagement part of your ongoing market research for your blog, and your social media strategy.

3. Get talking

The secret to building your follower list is interaction. I get most new followers on those days when I interact with other Twitter users_and over time, that’s grown to a massive number of people.

We call them @ replies but you can, of course, also use the @_name functionality to engage with people you don’t know or follow—and who don’t know or follow you.

Asking questions is perhaps the best way to get conversational on Twitter. Get ten people to answer a question you’ve tweeted and if even just one person retweets one of those ten replies (or your original question), you’ll have gained exposure to whole new rafts of potential followers.

Just as important is to participate in other people’s conversations. Reply to their questions and ideas as much as possible.

The key with Twitter really is shared interests. people will share your tweets with their followers if they think you share a common interest with them, and your tweet is relevant. So, be conversational about topics that will interest others. Be conversational in a way that encourages your followers to reach out to their own networks.

Sharable tweets

Make your tweets resonate with a broad audience

Finally, you might find your first few engagements on Twitter easiest if you’re not talking about yourself—I find I do better when I’m not talking about me! No one likes to hang around with people who just talk about themselves, so get the balance right between talking about yourself and talking about others and other topics of interest.

4. Provide optimal value

Tweeting on a personal level is fun and for many that’s as far as it goes, but if you’re interested in growing your Twitter influence, you need to provide your followers, and potential followers, with value.

It’s the same principle as growing a blog—if you help enhance people’s lives in some way they are more likely to want to track with you, read more of what you have to say, and share your ideas with others.

Make your conversations matter on some level. Sure you can throw in personal tweets and have some fun, but unless you’re providing something useful to people (information, entertainment, news, education, etc.) they probably won’t follow you for long, or share your content with their own networks.

5. Tweet in peak times

Last week I tracked when I had new Twitter followers add me, and found (as I expected) that the frequency of follows where made during business hours in the USA.

Tweeting at the times when your followers are online only increases the chances of their finding and adding you to their lists, and sharing your tweets—timing certainly affects sharing on Facebook, and if you look at your retweet stats, you’ll find it does on this network, too.

My being situated in Australia can have some positives and negatives, but one of the things I don’t enjoy about it is that I miss out on a lot of interaction with my followers who are on the other side of the world. While many social media management apps will let you schedule status updates and tweets, there’s no substitute for in-person, real-time interaction on Twitter.

Bonus tip: tweet from the heart

Don’t worry too much about how you “come across” on Twitter. Just be yourself and tweet form the heart. Don’t stress too much about the numbers—instead, use the platform to connect genuinely with the Twitter followers you already have, and let the rest take care of itself!

Top Twitter Blog Marketing Tips has more Twitter tips.

Oh, and if you’re feeling overwhelmed by the burden of social networks, read my post on how to beat the social media beast!

About Darren Rowse

Darren Rowse is the founder and editor of ProBlogger Blog Tips and Digital Photography School. Learn more about him here and connect with him on Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and LinkedIn.

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Comments

  1. Affiliate17 says:

    great post! very informational

  2. I have yet to discover how to properly take advantage of twitter. It absorbs a great deal of time and I think that if you are not getting a lot of value out of it, it should be avoided.

  3. To know Twitter is to love Twitter.

    I just can’t tell you how many great laughs and blog ideas I get from it.

    Thanks for the great ideas, Darren

  4. Duh! You’re right, Hjortur.

    http://twitter.com/LoraleighV

  5. Matt Wardman says:

    Slightly off topic, but I actually sold my first private ad on Twitter.

    One of my followers is the Head of Innovation for a UK Political Party, and I just said “I wonder if X would like to buy a special offer ad this month”. And he did.

  6. GettyCash says:

    I have been using Twitter for months but I didn’t post much. I think I will start to use it more often.

  7. It seems that many don’t believe you can get a large number of followers without having them elsewhere and utilizing that.

    When I started on Twitter a month ago my network gave me less than 20 followers to start with. I now have 220 and it is growing faster every day. My network on Twitter is actually larger than any other network I have, more effective, more valuable and with a lot more interaction with my connection than any other network or platform. Twitter has helped me grow my other networks and my blog readership but not the other way around. And thanks to Twitter, my blog got listed on alltop.com.

    I do use a lot of time on Twitter but it has turned out to be very, very useful. I’m constantly learning something and my connections have been really helpful.

    If you want to get real value from Twitter, follow people you can learn from. If you can also add value into their discussion, people will follow back (and many of their followers will too). I see boosts in the number of my followers when I speak to someone very popular.

    Hjörtur
    http://twitter.com/hjortur

  8. Vishal says:

    Nice tips. Infact I just wrote an article on how to build and engage your twitter audience. Here it is in brief -

    * Use it to build your personal brand
    * Use it to get feedback from others and people following you
    * If you are looking to hire, use it to help you find people
    * Use mini URLs to direct traffic to relevant posts (not spam)
    * Look out for unique scoops and news tweets by others in your niche
    * Find other’s in your niche and network with them and get to know them on a personal level
    * If you have employees or workers that go out in the field, let them use it to keep one another updated
    * If relevant, use it to keep your customers updated, by setting up a Twitter Feed
    * If you’re all meeting at an event, use it to coordinate and schedule per and post event meet ups on-the-fly
    * Provide live coverage to your listeners if you are attending an event they would like to get live news about
    * Possibly use it to setup impromptu and casual meetings, if you get to know that someone you would like to engage with, is around in the same event that you are at
    * Use it to get diggs on stories you’ve submitted, if the post is relevant to your listeners

    Those interested may please read the full article here – http://www.successonline.in/using-twitter-to-build-and-engage-your-audience/

    There is also a list of useful twitter tools and plugins that you can use to enhance the experience.

  9. SIGEPJEDI says:

    I agree, and these tips are solid in that many bloggers using twitter to spring board their online exposure have shared these same tips.

    http://twitter.com/sigepjedi

  10. Dr. Mac says:

    Thanks, Darren! Great tips for a newbie to Twitter.

  11. Brent2 says:

    I’ve found Twirl to be a wonderful tool. Even when I’m not sitting at my machine, I can just click on it to get all the updates. Then I reply, or simply update, without having to go anywhere.

  12. RuelJ says:

    For twitter users who use firefox often I strong suggest you use the twitterfox add-on. This allows you to be always be updated with your twitter mates by getting a small alert on your FF browser. I have it on right now and it’s really a cool add-on.

    In any case, for those looking for twitter mates please add me. Thanks!

    http://twitter.com/RuelJamarie

  13. wasanto says:

    Thank you very much for your information in your blog,it’s help me a lot,even I ‘m not good at readinding English.Your blog very helpfull
    Wishing you all the best
    wasanto

  14. Zerolove says:

    I would not have found this site period if it wasn’t for twitter. I use it daily and have even created an aggregation service for the Birmingham, Alabama community of twitter users at http://bhampulse.zerosource.org .

  15. Muhibbuddin says:

    I must say, that twitter is one of best tool to reach up some follower’s. but what is going to tell to twitter is same for blog? or twitter is a new way to grow up some audience>. I’m sorry i’m new for this thing?

  16. Avinash says:

    Thanks for the tip Darren. Very useful indeed.

  17. Sentences says:

    Good article.. you can also check my article where I show you 10 reasons why you should use twitter :

    http://www.sentences.org/10-reasons-why-you-should-use-twitter/

  18. DT says:

    Superb Tips, thank you very much

  19. Terah says:

    Nice comment by BW and I agree. By just being myself, I am meeting great friends and learning and growing my business. Writing about your own personal experiences is the best content!

    http://www.twitter.com/blogging4gold

    if you want to see what I am doing.

    Thanks.
    :)

  20. Reginald says:

    I appreciate you concise approach to this article.

    I also found the benefits discussed in this article extremely enlightening and easy to digest.

    Not to mention, these practical suggestions can be applied by any reader.

    Thanks for the advice.

  21. Brett says:

    Great article. I just stumbled upon your website and love it.

    Keep up the great work!

  22. Yesyes says:

    Great article. I’m going to do each of those steps and see how well it works for me in promoting my upcoming website, My Follower Adder.

    Thanks for the tips.

    http://twitter.com/yesyes

  23. Arthur says:

    Twitter is very similar to MIRC, but with a twist. I’m gonna use it also to drive traffic to my blog. Great advice here. thanks!

  24. DrCris says:

    Twitter is totally ripe for bloggers, which ends up with a lot of people posting about their blog all the time. I read blogs for that. I think you need to make sure posts about your blog are less than a quarter of what you tweet, otherwise there is not much value.

    Another way to expand your twitter presence is to get involved in FriendFeed Room. There is a doctor’s room on FriendFeed that has a whole bunch of tweets from doctors, so I can easily find followers who have my interests. Equally, I assume other people are doing the same in reverse.

    My rule of thumb is to assume others are like you:
    1. Would you read a blog or twitterfeed that is pure marketing?
    2. How would you find people to follow? That is how people will find you.
    3. Why would you stop following someone – boring, intrusive content, uninteresting conversations.

    Cris

    http://www.twitter.com/DrCris

  25. gilda says:

    hello darren. you said to “tweet form the heart”. :)

  26. charles says:

    Philippines and Australia seem to have the same timeline. I will try to focus now on twitter and maybe come up with about 100 followers a day. Hmm.. It seems fun.

  27. Great post and I totally agree with tweeting at peak times or during peakevents ie. election, games, national news…

    As a pastor, I happen to be in a twitter follower/following world of mostly Christian folks; so I think knowing your follower audience is key, even the it could be a wide range.

    Follow me at: http://twitter.com/scottwilliams

  28. Our company Twitter profile (well, we actually have about four) seems to do really well when we have contests (e.g., giveaways, merchandise, etc.), and also when our Founder & CEO publishes Tweets. Our followers seem to like that….

    I would be doing myself a disservice if I didn’t include our main Twitter handle:

    http://twitter.com/IZEAinc

  29. seodoz says:

    Thanks for sharing your viewpoints about Twitter. I think contribution is the best part to get good no. of quality followers. Once we participate in good conversation then it actually create a authority & can give us a good number of followers. Also, frequency & quality of updates are very important.

    http://twitter.com/seodoz

  30. Twitter scares me and I’m not sure why. Thank you for making it less so and something that I now want to take on.

  31. luis says:

    I have to say that I have found Twitter very useful and it is a great way to get information and feedback quick.

    I have found a lot of useful tips and tools just by following the tweets or various people on twitter.

    I’m increasing the number of people I follow gradually and have found that my followers are also gradually increasing.

    Best thing to do, is be yourself and provide quality information when you can.

    http://twitter.com/lant2005

  32. Thank you for these great tips – good job we are connected. I have been doing each of these and traffic to my site has grown, as has my following. I am still new to twitter, but learning fast.

    Happy to connect http://twitter.com/pgiblett

    Look at my eMagazine http://cio-perspectives.com/ if you are interested in IT issues.

    Keep up the good work

    Peter B. Giblett.

  33. Brad Fells says:

    This is like the tips that Kevin Rose from Digg gave about Twitter.

    What you both fail to mention is that it helps if you have a website where you already have thousands of readers – most people don’t, so the tips come across as kinda redundant. Auto-follows takes away the interaction a bit, no?

  34. eve says:

    if you are following someone and they are not yet following you, but you do an @reply to a twit they ask, can they see it? (((newb alert!)) thanks!!!

  35. deb says:

    Yes… they can see your @reply even if they aren’t following you.

    I agree that it helps to be a popular blogger or celebrity to increase your follows to a great degree. To be a popular blogger, 1) a good topic 2) some expertise and 3) dedication.

    http://twitter.com/debmarkham

  36. Helen Grant says:

    Great article Darren, thanks! I’m a showbiz writer and always looking for new ways to network. I’m finding Twitter useful for this, but still have a lot to learn.

    http://www.twitter.com/helengrant

  37. Lane Burdett says:

    I love the 5 tips! I’ve just started to get into twitter and this has been really really helpful!

    http://twitter.com/BusinessDIY

  38. I was not getting any followers and my accounts were dormant. I started looking at people with lots of followers and made a simple discovery. People with lots of followers are also following those people back. I also discovered a great app that lets me auto follow and unfollow people who unfollow me, plus create Tweets to tweet in the future, track keywords in tweets to generate more targeted people to follow in my niche. Great example is my flip_video_tips account. I have as of this post 2,619 followers. This account is pretty new so it just goes to show what can happen if you focus. BTW here’s the tool I used to make it happen and also I should mention I have some other accounts which also all have between 2.000 and 3,400 followers each.

    http://tinyurl.com/acpc25

  39. krissy knox says:

    Tweet giving complete information in each tweet. You’d be surprised how many tweets I’ve read that have merely said “Yes.” or “I like that.” I scratch my head and think, “Like what?” Another thing that is important is to give references. If you have a link to go along with your tweet, provide it, preferrably in tinyurl form!

    krissy knox :)
    http://www.twitter.com/iamkrissy

  40. Murray says:

    Very good advice. I’m gonna come back to read coomenys on my Mac, as it takes a bit too long on iPhone.

  41. rellz says:

    i love twitter, it allows me to just say whats on my mind at any time of the day and update people on what im doing, no matter what. I can update from my BlackBerry, my PC or by text. Twitter rocks. Follow me!

    http://www.twitter.com/rellzny

  42. Nik says:

    Great tips. It’s definitely more helpful to be more interconnected with other twitterers. And also strike a good balance between personal and value added tweets.

    http://twitter.com/nquo

  43. Carl says:

    Thats some great advice. I think I wasn’t giving value to any followers. I’ll start linking in any good blogs I write so followers can get something useful from me!

  44. Diane says:

    Great tips! Who knows where twitter will take us!

    I welcome you to follow me! http://twitter.com/dianekolar

  45. Duncan says:

    Cheers for the tips

    The mojitos are on me next time you’re in Barcelona.

    http://twitter.com/Barcelona_Life

  46. Emma Lee says:

    I learnt a lot of things about twitter while reading the comments :)

    http://twitter.com/iLikefatkids

  47. Jon Mac says:

    Hi Darren

    Thanks for the tips. You nailed it. Some great points I wouldn’t have thought of like tweeting when the most people are on tweeting, so simple and obvious it just never occured to me thought.

    Thanks
    Jonathan Mac
    Social Focus VP
    Social Networking Software

  48. Great post. I like how you actually focused on the value of your interactions and followers. I see too may people that jump on twitter and want a million followers, just for the fact that they have a million followers. If you have a million followers and no one cares what you are saying, the guy with 10 followers is kicking your ass. Check out my video blog post about this topic http://thederekjohnson.com/2009/04/21/twitter-followers/