#046: How To Get More Twitter Followers–Legitimately [Podcast]

I joined Twitter on April 6, 2008 at the urging of my friend, Randy. I quickly came to discover that Twitter is one of the most powerful communication tools ever invented.


Photo courtesy of ©iStockphoto.com/zmeel

But the power of Twitter is greatly impacted by the extent of your reach, and that means the number of followers you have. In this episode, I talk about how to get more followers–without gaming the system.

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First, let’s look at three reasons you might want more Twitter followers:

  • Reason #1: More followers provide social authority.
  • Reason #2: More followers extend your influence.
  • Reason #3: More followers lead to more sales.

So, here are twelve steps you can take now to legitimately gain more Twitter followers:

  1. Show your Face.
  2. Create an interesting bio.
  3. Use a custom About page.
  4. Make your Twitter presence visible.
  5. Share valuable content.
  6. Post frequently, but don’t flood your followers.
  7. Keep your posts short enough to retweet.
  8. Reply to others publicly.
  9. Practice strategic, not aggressive, following.
  10. Be generous in linking and retweeting others.
  11. Avoid too much promotion.
  12. Don’t use an auto-responder.

Ultimately, you shouldn’t worry too much about the numbers. If you follow the advice I have given above, the numbers will take care of themselves. Like most things in life, slow and steady wins the race. Don’t underestimate the power of incremental growth over time. I didn’t build my following overnight and neither will you.

Listener Questions

  1. Christopher Scott asked, “What is the difference between HootSuite’s auto-schedule feature and Buffer app?”
  2. Cory Nikkel asked, “What can I do outside of speaking to gain more Twitter followers?”
  3. Dustin Dauenhauer asked, “What is the purpose of Twitter, especially as compared to Facebook?”
  4. Erik Fisher asked, “Have you tried tweeting fewer but higher quality tweets?”
  5. Jake Hower asked, “How do you move Twitter followers to e-mail subscribers to your blog?”
  6. Jeff Keady asked, “Do you know of a resource similar to Brett Kelly’s Evernote Essentials e-book that is designed to help people learn the advanced features of Twitter?” and “Is Twitter your number one social media network and, if not, what is?”
  7. Kerry-Ann Powell asked, “How do you engage your Twitter followers and how do you get them to follow you on your blog?”
  8. Mark Jordan asked, “What is your strategy for following people, especially as your follower count grows?”
  9. Mike Samboy asked, “What do you think about following a large number of people in the hope that they will follow you back?”
  10. Scot Longyear asked, “Can you change your Twitter name on your current account?”
  11. Shalon Palmer asked, “How do you go about sharing your new blog post on all the different social media networks?”

Special Announcements

  1. If you are considering launching your own platform, you need to start with a self-hosted WordPress blog. This is not as complicated as it sounds. In fact, I have put together a completely free, step-by-step screencast on exactly how to do it. I walk you through the entire process in 20 minutes or less.
  2. If you have ever thought about writing a book, but didn’t know where to start or if you already have a book, but want to do everything you can to make the biggest splash you can in the marketplace, then I urge you to get my 21-session audio course, “Get Published.” I cover everything I have learned about publishing in my thirty years in the industry as a publisher, literary agent, and two-time New York Times best-selling author.
  3. My next podcast will be on the topic of “The Lost Art of Note-Taking.” If you have a question on this subject, please leave me a voicemail message. This is a terrific way to cross-promote your blog or website, because I will link to it, just like I did with the callers in this episode.

Episode Resources

In this episode I mentioned several resources, including:

Show Transcript

You can download a complete, word-for-word transcript of this episode here, courtesy of Ginger Schell, a professional transcriptionist, who handles all my transcription needs.

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Question: What are the best ways you have found to get more Twitter followers? You can leave a comment by clicking here.

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  • http://twitter.com/joannamuses joanna

    I think the biggest thing is to be interesting and helpful, not just self promoting or rambling.

    To increase my likelihood of being followed, I also try to not post long runs of @ replies because when people view my profile I want them to mostly see content that is hopefully of interest rather than a long collection of replies to other people that probably don’t make a great deal of sense without digging for content.

  • http://jonstolpe.com/ Jon Stolpe

    The best way that I have found to grow Twitter followers is to engage in the Twitter community. Have something to say, and converse with others.

  • http://twitter.com/techalam Techalam

    Excellent and much useful guide! Well, all the 12 mentioned are very helpful, especially sharing valuable content and avoiding too much promotion. And additional resources included are also appreciable. Thanks for sharing and tweeted :)

  • http://forthisisthetime.blogspot.com/ Esther Aspling

    Thanks for the insight into Twitter. I use it a few times a week, but I had all but given up on being strategic about my use. It’s time to re-ignite my intentionality with Twitter!


    • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

      Excellent. It is my #1 social networking tool.

    • http://www.MicheleCushatt.com/ Michele Cushatt

      My two cents (and you might already know this) … Twitter can be a huge time and energy drain for those of us who are juggling so many things at once. It helps to use Buffer and other scheduling apps to keep some consistency without be “on” all the time. I’m not connected nearly as often as my feed makes it appear to be.

  • http://www.DavidASpecht.com/ David A Specht

    Thank you Michael for the great post about Twitter. I was wondering about your 20-to-1 rule. Do you consider a tweet to content on your blog as a “deposit” or “withdrawal?”

    • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

      I think that’s a deposit, because I am offering people valuable content—for free.

      • http://www.twitter.com/erikjfisher/ Erik Fisher

        I don’t disagree, but do you think your audience sees it that way? Some would argue that is promotion if it’s you’re own stuff. I don’t have an answer, it’s just something I struggle with. I believe my podcast is beneficial and valuable, but if I tweet about it too much, I fear being seen as spammy.

        • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

          You can definitely over-do it. I know one guy that posts about 6-10 times a day. Total buzz-kill.
          I only post twice, and I don’t get any complaints.

          Consider the fact that people are opting in for a reason. They want to hear from you. If you over-do it, they will unfollow you, so you do need to watch your metrics.

          • http://www.MicheleCushatt.com/ Michele Cushatt

            I do the same—twice a day on Twitter. I schedule the times so it likely hits different audiences. Facebook tolerates less blog-related posting than Twitter, so I usually only post once there.

  • http://www.facebook.com/troyarutter Troy Rutter

    Great podcast, Michael. In regards to Hootsuite, it does let you schedule a specific time to post them. You *can* use their auto-schedule option for “optimal” scheduling, but picking a date and time does indeed work. Again, great podcast, I fell into the trap of auto-foillowing early on too.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

      Thanks, Troy. This is good to know.

  • Kent F

    Great episode. Twitter is fantastic to communicate with your young adult or grown children – far better than Facebook. It’s also great to get up to the minute news from on the ground sources. I follow a couple of PGA tour writers, and their on-course tweets are second to none.

  • http://harrisonjonathan.wordpress.com/ Jonathan Harrison

    This is great timing for me: I can’t wait to get to work – thank you, as always, for sharing such great and accessible content!

    • http://www.MicheleCushatt.com/ Michele Cushatt

      Which of Michael’s steps are you planning to implement first?

      • http://twitter.com/JonDHarrison Jonathan Harrison

        You’re good….
        #1 – just completed
        #3 – will be my next focus

        Thanks for asking!

        • http://www.MicheleCushatt.com/ Michele Cushatt

          Well done. Thanks for the update!

  • http://ReWritingDad.com/ Chad Miller

    Hi, Michael! Really helpful podcast.

    You mentioned a Pinterest Plugin that you use, and I’d be curious to know which one. This is a social channel I’d really like to capture more, but find myself behind the curve. What is the plugin you use to feed your content to Pinterest?
    Thanks for your help and consistently great content.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

      I am just using the PinIt Bookmarklet. However, I know see that they also make a Chrome extension. I might want to try that.

      • http://ReWritingDad.com/ Chad Miller

        Thanks, Michael. Already added the extension and Pinned my latest post.

  • http://www.beforethecross.com/ Mike Mobley

    I have found on my blog’s twitter account @BeforeTheCross that I’m increasing followers and retweets by publicly thanking them once a week. I’ll go through when that account is mentioned each week, and reply to them. For example “Thank you Mike for the RT this week” or “Thank you Mike for sharing this week”

    It takes a little bit of time, but well worth it and makes it more personal in my opinion.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

      That’s a great idea. You will be able to do it until you just get to many messages. In other words, it doesn’t scale well.
      But don’t let this stop you. You will find you have to adjust your strategy as your follower-account grows.

      • http://www.beforethecross.com/ Mike Mobley

        Yea I thought about that when it increases, it gets kind of difficult as is, but thanks for the encouragement. Will definitely adjust as it grows.

  • http://www.beforethecross.com/ Mike Mobley

    Michael, I had a question. I have a personal twitter account – @MikeJMobley and a brand twitter account – @BeforeTheCross

    There are multiple authors on the website so I wanted to keep it a brand twitter account, but noticing a tension when sharing posts and keeping up with both accounts. I know some people can make it all one (for example, if I was the single author, maybe I would just run @BeforeTheCross and leave it at that), but do you have any advice for someone running two twitter accounts on not spamming people but still wanting to use them both effectively?

    Sorry for the long question. Thank you for everything and for this great podcast!

    • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

      We do the same thing with our conferences. It’s not easy. We actually assign different people. I keep up with my own account, for example. But different members of my team manage the branded accounts.

      • http://www.beforethecross.com/ Mike Mobley

        Ok sounds good, great idea. Thank you!

  • How can i get twitter follower

    People talked about a new Pinterest Plugin that you just use, along with I would be curious to recognise what kind. This can be a sociable station I would enjoy in order to record a lot more, yet locate personally behind the necessities. What’s the plugin you have in order to supply your articles in order to Pinterest?

    Thank you for the guide along with continually excellent written content.

    How can i get twitter followers

  • http://www.MicheleCushatt.com/ Michele Cushatt

    I’ve found my tribe wants a solid mix of both value-add and personal tweets. They appreciate the posts, quotes and links I share. But they also want the humorous, quirky glimpses of real life.

  • http://jshirk.com/blog Jordan Shirkman

    Great podcast, as usual, Michael. Something I’ve found helpful is following the people my favorite Twitter users are retweeting. The people I’m following have similar interests to me, and so the people they retweet are good people for me to follow.

    Once I follow those new users, I normally end up sharing their content or engaging with them, which may lead them to following me. It’s a slower process, but it builds better engagement, in my opinion.

  • Robert Andrews

    You provided some very helpful suggestions for gaining more followers for twitter. I plan to use them immediately. I was just thinking that it would be nice to provide some suggestions for facebook. I have a lot of facebook followers but when I post “meaningful” comments on facebook, I receive little response. Again, thanks for the podcast. Great suggestions.

  • http://twitter.com/dalepenn Dale Penn

    And the main difference between Hootsuite and Buffer is? Anyone? Thanks!

    • http://www.mondayisgood.com/ Tom Dixon

      I’ve used both, and they are similiar – but have some big differences. Hootsuite is much more powerful (reporting, analytics) but I find Buffer much more friendly. Hootsuite was overkill for me – but Buffer lets me do just what I want, space out my posts to Twitter and Facebook. Plus I really like the integration with other apps I use, like Feedly.

      • http://twitter.com/dalepenn Dale Penn

        Thanks Tom! I’m enjoying the simplicity of Buffer too. Advanced reporting and analytics may have to take a back seat for a while…

    • danzac

      Buffer is solely about sending out tweets. Make a whole bunch and stick them in the buffer bucket, and buffer will slowly drip them out.

      Hootsuite can cross-post, but its power is not only in analytics, but being able to see on one page subscriptions, hashtag feeds, retweets, direct messages, etc.

  • http://www.mondayisgood.com/ Tom Dixon

    It’s easy to say when you don’t have thousands of followers, but I haven’t found Twitter to be the holy grail for me – I like it, but I get a ton more traffic by posting helpful content on LinkedIn. I’m sure it is because I blog about work. That seems to “stick” better than the momentary tweet that is quickly forgotten. My point is to focus on building followers where the people you want to reach are hanging out.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

      Then LinkedIn is what you should use. I like Twitter, but I don’t think it’s the answer for everyone. I am a big advocate of using the social media channel that delivers the most results for you.

    • http://twitter.com/JonDHarrison Jonathan Harrison

      Tom – I really like my posting through LinkedIn as well. But now you can add this blog as a referral source, since I’ll be following now (I really like what I see on your blog!)

      • http://www.mondayisgood.com/ Tom Dixon

        Thanks,Jonathan…that is really encouraging. Looking forward to interacting with you here and over there!

  • http://twitter.com/RonKelleher Ron Kelleher

    In the podcast you asked for e-books that might help Twitter users. This is not an e-book but I found it to be an excellent resource especially for those of us in the non-profit world “Twitter for Good” written by Claire Diaz-Ortiz: http://www.amazon.com/Twitter-Good-Change-World-Tweet/dp/1118061934.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

      Yes, it is a good book. I had forgotten about it. Claire is a friend and is a wonderful ambassador for Twitter.

  • http://kimanziconstable.com/ kimanzi constable

    These are some great tips to build a real following, great content Michael. First, I love Twitter way more then Facebook, I have connected more on Twitter. Second, buying followers or doing any shady practices can get you followers but what’s the point if there’s no engagement? When I speak about social media I always say don’t focus on the numbers, you can go viral with a few fully engaged followers sharing your content.

  • Jake Hower

    Awesome episode! Great tips throughout, I’m looking forward to implementing them all :)

    Thank you very much for the inclusion of my question too. Just one quick fix if possible, currently the anchor link is incorrect (not my website), are you able to amend to http://multimediamarketingshow.com ? (Feel free to delete or modify this comment once amended)



    • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

      Yes, I was able to fix it. Sorry about that.

      • Jake Hower

        Thank you!

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  • Sarah Pfeuffer

    Michael, thank you so much for the very informative
    podcast about Twitter! My question is, does all of your advice apply for a
    corporate twitter account as well? Such as: should they make it personal, one
    person doing the tweets, letting her personality shine, even her picture up on
    the main tweet image (with the company name)? Thank you so much for your help!

    • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

      The best option in my view is to create a corporate account and let someone be responsible for that. But then, encourage as many of your people to tweet as possible, so that people outside the company get to know your organization. Thanks.

  • http://www.AskJeremyJones.com/ Jeremy C. Jones

    Wow great timing and a great resource. While the DM auto message makes sense its used far too much for spammers. Sending a personal reply or RT to them is far more effective than an auto response for sure.

  • http://www.thewritingwhisperer.com/ M. Shannon Hernandez

    Thank you for the wonderful tips!

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  • Susanna Brown

    I agree with what you say about engaging with the twitter community. People want to see if you are active or just a fake account manager by a paid outsource staff.

  • TheGreatDanaJ

    Thanks for these tips Michael! For me personally, I tweet using event hashtags. That helps me grow my following! I also try to help others as much as I can when I have time via Twitter. Engaging people is challenging, but I’m working on it constantly.

  • http://www.liveitforward.com/ Kent Julian

    Thanks for sharing, Michael.

    What I appreciate about you most is you’re the real deal. I know this not only from what you write and say, but also from what others who know you write and say about you.

    Thanks for leading and serving intentionally. Keep at it!

    • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

      Thanks, Kent. That’s kind of you to say so.

      • http://www.liveitforward.com/ Kent Julian

        Well deserved!

  • http://www.manturity.com/about-manturity.html Bryan Van Slyke

    Thank you for this great podcast!

    I have a question for you in regards to your first point.

    I have blog at Manturity.com and have a twitter account made for the blog which is @manturity . I currently use my logo as my profile picture. With a couple thousand followers, would it be better at this point to leave the logo as the profile picture or would you recommend changing it to my actual face.

    Thank you again!

    • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

      Do you also have a Twitter account that is just your name?

      • http://www.manturity.com/about-manturity.html Bryan Van Slyke

        Yes I do. I do not use this one as often though.
        Thanks for the reply.

        • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

          I would use both. I can almost guarantee you that your personal one will draw more followers.

          • http://www.manturity.com/about-manturity.html Bryan Van Slyke

            Thank you for your insight! I appreciate it!

  • http://twitter.com/ATOFollure chris jarvis

    Thank you for this post and your book, Platform.

  • http://www.VictoryChristianCoaching.com/ Marianne Clements

    This is great information. Thanks for sharing.

    Have a Victorious Day!
    Marianne Clements

  • Stuart Chance

    Great article, I also read this article that discussed using Twitter hashtags that inspire people to follow you back and it also discussed some easy ways to automate tweets to your followers in a legitimate way http://www.squidoo.com/quick-ways-to-automate-tweets-on-twitter

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  • Exkalibur

    Michael – Thanks for the overview of your Twitter practices. I believe, however, that HootSuite does provide an alternative to their algorithm that sets the timing of the posts. You can uncheck that box and just as in Buffer, set the exact time and date that you would like to release your tweet. I prefer keeping all of my social media together, and that feature in HootSuite should give you the full control you’re seeking.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

      Even if that is the case, I still like buffer because I can click on the icon from within Google Reader, Feedly, or even on Chrome itself to tweet the post I am on. I saves me a step and is much faster for me. Thanks.

  • Dick Ranger

    i think that this service is a good way to gain lots of twitter followers relatively quickly, tell me what you think! http://www.mytwitterbot.com/

  • http://www.consfords.com/ Consford

    I can’t believe no one has mentioned Mark Schaefer’s book the “Tao of Twitter!” It is the #1 selling book in the world on the subject of Twitter. It is loaded with good information on how to use Twitter more effectively. http://www.thetaooftwitter.com/

    • http://www.consfords.com/ Consford

      I should have given you his twitter handle as well. @markwschaefer

  • http://twitter.com/candilandco Candi Elm

    I am confused on how to combine my two twitter accounts and business. I have a personal account which I don’t use, then I have a business account that I use but I also have a blog that I try to promote with another blog name. How do I combine the three.

  • http://www.facebook.com/missional.ca Jamie Arpin-Ricci

    What would you recommend on the “head shot” point with respect to a network or organization?

    • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

      I’d just use the logo.

  • http://carefulcents.com/ Carrie Smith

    I’m just reaching out to share a resource that helped me understand the advanced uses of Twitter. It’s not en ebook like Evernote Essentials, but it’s was still very helpful for growing my Twitter following. It’s a e-course from Alexis Grant, called Become a Twitter Power User and lasts 4 weeks. Here’s the link for more info: http://alexisgrant.com/twitterpower/ I hope your listeners find it valuable too. Thanks for a great podcast!

  • John Clock

    Ya I agree with you twitter is the most powerful tool for communication in present times. You can explore a whole new world with it. People are always interested in knowing ways to get more twitter followers. Your beginner guide to twitter is quite helpful for newbie to start with twitter.

  • Get more followers on twitter
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  • http://twitter.com/RobertJohns Robert Johns

    Some good info in here, especially to people just getting started with Twitter.

    I’m curious about what you said regarding not sharing the link to a great article because you couldn’t find the person’s Twitter handle. While it would have been nice to directly mention that person, why did it ultimately matter to you? If the article was really good, does it even matter that you couldn’t find their handle? Or was it more about not being able to make a connection with that person? Does this mean you only share good articles written by people who are on Twitter?

    I feel like I picked the most minute thing to discuss, but I’m genuinely curious.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

      Those are good questions. Here’s how I think about it…

      I like to source my articles and give credit where credit is due. I also like to make it clear that the article is not by me, but by someone else. I also like to be generous and mention that person’s handle, so other people can follow him or her if they wish.
      And, yes, I tend to only share good articles if the person is on Twitter. I’m not even sure if that’s rational, but that’s my practice.

      • http://twitter.com/RobertJohns Robert Johns

        Good thoughts. The rationality of it was what I was getting at. There are ways that I use Twitter that might not make sense, but it’s just the way I do things. Appreciate the reply.

  • http://twitter.com/BrettPruett1 Brett Pruett

    Real Good info and advice. I especially liked your recommend wordpress blogs. I have often believed this a good piece of advice.

    Brett Pruett


  • Ree Klein

    Thank you, Michael, for so generously sharing great content. I listened to this podcast on my walk today. I had to stop seven times so I could leave myself a message on my home phone as a reminder to do some of the things you recommended in the session. I’m a raving fan!

    Ree ~ I blog at EscapingDodge.com

    • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

      Thanks, Ree. I appreciate your kind words AND your commitment to growth.

  • Rocco DeLeo

    Listened a second time, that’s how awesome your advise is. What are your thoughts on the old school RT retweet or the retweet button. Do I show my face or the tweeted person’s face? Thanks michael.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

      I like the old-style RT, because it gives me a change to add brief comment. I think it’s more personal.

      • Rocco DeLeo

        Agreed. It takes more “effort” to personalize but that’s the value we bring as we are attempting as we build our tribes. Thanks Michael, your input is typically spot on and appreciated.

  • CSSMatter.com

    excellent info.

  • Joeseph Davis

    Very nice list here.. Thank you! Here is also a Twitter Follower Exchange you can check out http://kungphoo.com/circles/view/twitter-follower-exchange-help-is-here

  • Piers

    Hey Michael,

    You mentioned that retweeting was the only way to get seen by new followers. I would also suggest using #hashtags. We get a lot of our new followers from #Kickstarter and #Indiegogo. Just thought that may also be of use to the new Twitterers out there. :o)

    • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

      Great point.

  • Nataly Carbonell

    Follow me please @thenatgal https://twitter.com/thenatgal