12 Ways to Get More Twitter Followers

I rarely meet a Twitter user who doesn’t want more followers. A few argue that the numbers aren’t important. They are only concerned with “quality followers.” I’m not sure it is either/or, but I notice that most of the people making this argument have very few followers.

Businessman Illustrating How to Get More Followers - Photo courtesy of ©iStockphoto.com/matspersson0, Image #17932026

Photo courtesy of ©iStockphoto.com/matspersson0

Why would you want more followers? Three reasons:

  1. More followers provide social authority. Like any other ranking system, the higher your follower count, the more people assume you are an expert—or at least someone interesting. It may not be valid, but it’s the way it works in a world where there is a ranked list for everything.

  1. More followers extend your influence. Twitter is a great tool for spreading ideas. If you have ideas worth sharing, why wouldn’t you want to spread them to as many people as possible? Twitter makes it ridiculously easy. The larger your follower count, the faster your ideas spread.
  2. More followers lead to more sales. You’re likely on Twitter for one of three reasons: to be entertained, to network with others, or to sell your stuff. Whether it’s a brand, a product, a service, or even a cause, more followers provide the opportunity to generate more leads and more conversions.

Before I share with you what I have learned about how to get more Twitter followers, let me tell you how not to do it.

Don’t try to cheat the system. If something sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Unless you are a celebrity who has built a vast audience in some other media channel, attracting followers will take time and effort.

What about buying followers? (Yes, you can do this. Just Google it!) For starters, this is contrary to The Twitter Rules. Worse, these are followers who have no affinity for you. They are like sending direct mail to an un-targeted, generic list. Worthless.

What about using special software that promises to increase your follower count? In the early days of Twitter, I used one of these programs. It did increase my follower count—dramatically. I thought I’d hit the jackpot. However, it didn’t last.

These programs all rely on “aggressive following” and “follower churn” which means you follow people solely in the hope that they will follow you back. If they don’t, you dump them and follow additional people.

My joy was short-lived. Twitter caught on and implemented a policy against this. In fact, I know several people who had their Twitter account shut down for engaging in this behavior. It annoys other Twitter users and degrades the Twitter experience for everyone.

Instead of using these illegitimate ways to build your follower count, I want to share with you twelve proven ways you can get more twitter followers.

With the exception of my brief experiment with aggressive following, this is how I have built my own follower count to more than 107,000 followers in the last three-and-a-half years.

  1. Show your face. Make sure that you have uploaded a photo to your Twitter profile. I will not follow anyone without a photo. Why? Because the absence of a photo tells me they are either a spammer or a newbie. Use a good headshot, like I describe in my post, “9 Suggestions for Taking Better Headshots.”
  2. Create an interesting bio. Don’t leave this blank. It is one of the first things potential followers review. Explain who you are and what you do. If you were a brand or a product (crass, I know), what would be your tagline? Include that in your bio. Also, be sure to include a city name. By the way, Twitter will not include you in search results unless you fill out your username, full name, and bio.
  3. Use a custom About page. Your Twitter bio can only include 160 characters. It’s not much room to tell your story or introduce people to all you offer. Consider creating a custom About page on your blog and linking to it on Twitter. Then, when the prospective follower clicks on that link, they will find a page you have created just for them.
  4. Make your Twitter presence visible. I can’t tell you how often I have read an interesting post and wanted to tweet the link, but couldn’t find the author’s Twitter username. So I gave up and moved on. Make it easy for people to follow you. Display links to your Twitter account in your email signature, your blog or website, business cards—everywhere.
  5. Share valuable content. This is probably my most important piece of advice. Point people to helpful resources. Be generous. Be inspiring. Use lots of links. Create content that other people look forward to getting and want to pass on to their own followers. This is the key to getting retweeted. (I think it’s why, on average, I get mentioned in other people’s tweets 173 times a day.)
  6. Post frequently, but don’t flood your followers. I do most of my blog reading early in the morning. I scan over 220 blogs, and love to share the gems I find. I used to do this as I found them, which often meant a flood of 8–10 posts at a time. Now, I use Buffer to spread these throughout the day, so I don’t overwhelm my followers.
  7. Keep your posts short enough to retweet. Retweets are the only to get noticed by people who don’t follow you. Therefore, you must make it easy for your followers to retweet you. Keep your tweets short enough for people to add the RT symbol and your username (“RT @MichaelHyatt”). For me, that takes up 17 characters, including the space. That means my tweets can be no longer than 123 characters (140–17=123).
  8. Reply to others publicly. I used to reply to people via DM, thinking my message was irrelevant to most of my followers. Because I wasn’t replying in public, this made me look unsociable. So now, I reply almost exclusively in public. The only people who see those messages are those who follow both me and the person I am replying to—a small subset of my followers. So, it’s sociable but not annoying.
  9. Practice strategic following. This is not the same as “aggressive following” (which I condemned earlier). By this I mean, follow people in your industry, people who use certain keywords in their bio, or even people who follow the people you follow. Some of these will follow you back. If they retweet you, it will introduce you to their followers. For example, I could use Twitter’s Advanced Search Feature to find everyone within a 50-mile radius of Nashville who has used the word “leadership” in their bio or a post.
  10. Be generous in linking and retweeting others. Twitter fosters a culture of sharing. The more you link to others, the more people will reciprocate. And that’s precisely what must happen for you to grow your follower count. You need others to introduce you to their followers. However, don’t ask for a retweet; simply post content worth retweeting.
  11. Avoid too much promotion. Yes, you can promote your blog posts, products, etc. on Twitter but be careful. There’s an invisible line you must not cross. If you do, you look like a spammer—or just clueless. Not only will you not get additional followers, you will wear out your existing followers and many of them will unfollow you. This is why I advocate the 20-to-1 rule.
  12. Don’t use an auto-responder. I used to use SocialOomph to thank everyone who followed me and provide a link to my “Beginner’s Guide to Twitter.” I thought I was being courteous and helpful. As it turns out, I was being annoying. This is just more clutter in people’s Twitter inbox. Avoid it.

Finally, don’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.

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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Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are snarky, offensive, or off-topic. If in doubt, read My Comments Policy.

  • http://www.agrotising.com Chris Agro – Agrotising

    Great advice. I also read on a tweet where a company asked permission to follow a customer. The customer was impressed by the fact that a company would want to follow her and ask her for permission. A sure fire way to gain followers.

    • http://twitter.com/burlw Burl Walker

      That is a really great idea! Thanks for sharing it Chris!

    • http://joeandancy.com/ Joe Abraham

      That’s a great tip! Thanks Chris.

    • http://www.timpeters.org/ Tim Peters

      Excellent tip.  It speaks to the essence of Inbound Marketing.  The idea of Inbound Marketing is receiving permission or gaining trust to interact with customers.  Good one. 

      • http://www.facebook.com/people/Emily-Jordan/100002898174536 Emily Jordan

        My way of getting Followers is Buysocials ! It’s the best way 

    • http://www.sundijo.com Sundi Jo Graham

      Wow! Definitely goes above and beyond customer service. 

    • http://twitter.com/jackalopekid Adam Smith

      very interesting tip. i like it.

    • http://LookingForPurpose.com Dylan Dodson

      That’s kind of funny, and useful!

    • http://seekliza.me/ Liza

      I LOVE it when companies follow me! Lets me know they’re interested in connecting with me and I’m not just another money sign/follower to them that makes them more valuable. It’s nice.

      • salma sadia

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    • http://earnmoneyonlineresource.com/web-hosting/bluehost-vs-hostgator/ Joseph

       I was always unsure how to use twitter  so am glad I found your comment. Makes great sense and a company asking to follow is very respectable. Thanks Chris

    • http://twitter.com/JacobAn18117612 Jacob Anderson

        I agree with this, a awesome way to ensure a loyal follower who will also bring you more follows because people really do go through your followers to see who is following you!

    • Guest
  • http://uma-maheswaran.blogspot.com/ Uma Maheswaran S

    I opened my twitter account primarily on the compulsion of  my friends. Initially, I used twitter to follow the people I like and learn from their tweets and links.

    I was not concentrating on building my followers. But, now I believe I should be more intentional and consistent in building my followership.

    Thanks Michael for your professional advice.

    • http://joeandancy.com/ Joe Abraham

      I got into Twitter out of curiosity! I was not intentional about cultivating it. But Uma, like you said, I think I got to do something about it in 2012. Isn’t Michael stretching us!

      • http://uma-maheswaran.blogspot.com/ Uma Maheswaran S

        True Joe! We both are sailing in the same boat.

        Subject: [mhyatt] Re: 12 Ways to Get More Twitter Followers

    • http://www.cheriblogs.info Cheri Gregory

      I joined Twitter a couple of years ago when I had a bit of time on my hands. During the time I was active, I connected with some of the leaders in my field and benefitted from the articles and sites they recommended. 

      Unfortunately, I became overwhelmed “trying to keep up” and pretty much abandoned my account. Without a strategy, Twitter felt like one more way in which technology was overwhelming me.I need to think more in terms of what value I can add to my followers, both by passing on the valuable resources shared by other leaders and by judiciously sharing my own content.

      • http://uma-maheswaran.blogspot.com/ Uma Maheswaran S

        Agreed Cheri! We should be careful to sit on the top of twitter and not the vice versa. Unfortunately, we allow technology to sit on the top of our lives. Thanks for sharing your experience.

        Subject: [mhyatt] Re: 12 Ways to Get More Twitter Followers

  • http://www.timemanagementninja.com Craig Jarrow

    Michael,

    All great tips!

    Buffer is the app that transformed the way I use social media in the last year. Love it! 
    BTW, they recently came out with an iOS app for iPhone fans. :)  @leowid:twitter and team are doing a great job over there!

    Ironically, I do use my logo for my Twitter account. @ginidietrich:twitter has been trying to convince me for 2 years to put my face there. I do have my picture on my Twitter page, and prominently on my website. Maybe I’ll finally change it… 

    • http://www.heartyourchurch.com/ Jason Stambaugh

      I’ve had the same debate with some of my own twitter accounts. What has held you back from using your own picture?

      • http://bentheredothat.com Ben Patterson

        My face ;)

        • http://www.joyjoyg.com/ Joy Groblebe

          Funny…..  :)

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

          Hahaha! You could always use someone else’s picture … ;)

      • http://www.timemanagementninja.com Craig Jarrow

        Not sure why I started that way.

        I began my blog anonymously… which really didn’t make too much sense in hindsight. (There is a funny story from that actually…)

        I also had positive feedback about my logo, so I thought it might stand out in the endless Twitter stream. 

        However, I do agree with Michael and @ginidietrich:twitter that …people want to connect with people…not a brand. 

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      I love Buffer!

      The value of your picture is that it builds trust. Rarely do people connect with institutions, brands, or logos (Apple is a clear exception); they connect with people.

      Just a thought.

      • http://joeandancy.com/ Joe Abraham

        That’s so true, Michael! People love to connect with people, not stuff.

      • http://jeremysconfessions.com Jeremy Statton

        Do you use Buffer for both twitter and Facebook, or just twitter?

        • http://www.jeffrandleman.com Jeff Randleman

          I use it for both, but for much fewer posts to FB than to twitter.

    • http://spinsucks.com Gini Dietrich

      Change it! Change it! Change it!

      • http://www.timemanagementninja.com Craig Jarrow

        OK…ok… @ginidietrich:twitter - I DID it… maybe people will recognize me now. :)

        I had my reasons once up a time for using my logo as my Twitter pic. Some of them seem silly now.

        It’s a new year… so a NEW profile pic for me. :)

        • http://spinsucks.com Gini Dietrich

          WOO HOO!!

          • salma sadia

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        • http://www.heartyourchurch.com/ Jason Stambaugh

          Sweet!

    • http://www.sundijo.com Sundi Jo Graham

      Love the Buffer app!

  • http://davidsantistevan.com/ David Santistevan

    Great insights, Michael. Question: I know you use Reeder to read your blogs. Have you found an easy way to post to buffer from within Reeder? I would love to have that integration.

    • http://bentheredothat.com Ben Patterson

      Yes! I buffer tweets from Google Reader. Here is how I set it up:

      http://blog.bufferapp.com/you-love-google-reader-buffer-your-tweets-right-from-there

      • http://www.heartyourchurch.com/ Jason Stambaugh

        Awesome! Thank you for sharing. I’m going to go and set this up now…

        • http://bentheredothat.com Ben Patterson

          Great, glad to help!

      • http://joeandancy.com/ Joe Abraham

        Thanks Ben! Lot of techy advice…

        • http://bentheredothat.com Ben Patterson

          Yea, some solid stuff for sure.

      • http://www.timpeters.org/ Tim Peters

        Ben -

        Thanks for the content.  Great stuff you have on your site.  

        • http://bentheredothat.com Ben Patterson

          Thanks, Tim! I appreciate the encouragement.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      Sadly, I gave up on Reeder because of the lack of Buffer integration and went back to Google Reader.

      • http://www.sundijo.com Sundi Jo Graham

        I use feedly. I’ve fallen in love with it. 

      • http://twitter.com/chrisfromcanada Chris Vacher

        http://www.ifttt.com is my new favourite tool – you can setup a shortcut to buffer tweets from inside Google Reader. Incredible!

        1. Setup your ifttt account and activate Buffer and GReader2. Tag any post in GReader with buffer
        3. Post gets added to your Buffer in the next available slot

        ifttt is a gamechanger!

        • http://www.heartyourchurch.com/ Jason Stambaugh

          Thank you for the recommendation. ifttt is very cool. I just started playing with it a bit today. The “recipe” concept is pure gold.

    • http://www.jeffrandleman.com Jeff Randleman

      I found a way to add the Buffer icon to the iPad 2.  I use Flipboard, and am able to schedule posts straight from the browser easily.  And the Safari and Firefox extensions are easy as well.  You can also “add to Buffer” from Google Reader pretty easily.  I just wish IE had a script…

  • http://twitter.com/DerwinLGray Derwin L. Gray

    Thanks Michael!

  • http://bentheredothat.com Ben Patterson

    #5 is right on the money. Consistent, valuable content.

    • Jim Martin

      Ben, I thought the same as I read #5.  Again and again, I find myself paying attention to those who I know will offer very good content.  

      • http://bentheredothat.com Ben Patterson

        Me too. Who are a few of your favorites to follow?

  • Holly Boardman

    Another way is to use hashtags to find people who have similar interests as your own. You can begin by following them, get to know them and start a conversation

    • http://www.jmlalonde.com Joe Lalonde

      Hashtags work extremely well. Make sure you’re using relevant HTs so your posts don’t come across as spammy.

      • http://www.jeffrandleman.com Jeff Randleman

        I agree.  A lot of people use HTs for everything, except relevant topics like they are supposed to be used.  #ijustdontunderstandthat

      • http://brandonweldy.wordpress.com Brandon Weldy

        I’ve been on twitter for a while but there is still so much I am learning. What would be considered a relevant HT?

        • http://www.jmlalonde.com Joe Lalonde

          If your post pertains to a certain topic and you want to call it out, use a hashtag that denotes it. If it has to do with leadership, use #leadership. Just make sure the tag is related to the topic.

          • http://brandonweldy.wordpress.com Brandon Weldy

            That makes a lot of sense. Thanks!

  • http://blog.cyberquill.com Cyberquill

    Here’s a slightly abridged version of this post: 

    12 WAYS TO GET MORE TWITTER FOLLOWERS [...] I want to share with you nine proven ways you can get more twitter followers. [...] Finally, don’t worry too much about the numbers. [...]
     

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      There’s a difference between seeking more followers and obsessing about them. That’s the only point I was trying to make.

      • http://blog.cyberquill.com Cyberquill

        I understand. I was just being snarky about what appears to be a typo in your post. 

  • http://www.operationmomentum.com/ Patrick Ruggeri

    Thanks Michael for the information, especially on re-tweets and Advanced searching. As a new writer I have found it difficult to connect with others but it is getting easier as I learn more. One of the ways that I have found to target a group with hashtags and using them frequently. Not enough to become spammy, but maybe once every other day or so. Thanks again.

    • http://jeremysconfessions.com Jeremy Statton

      The key word is connect. Without connecting it is not as effective.

  • Barbara @therextras

    Thank you, Michael and as usual you are on-target and professional.  Your recommendation for public responses is a change in your recommendations in the past (if I remember correctly) and I will have to adjust accordingly.  I am in total agreement with your ‘what not to do’ suggestions.  Relatively speaking, the number of tweets you send daily are a bit ‘overwhelming’ in my tweetdeck column.  Probably that is not the case for your the other over-100,000 followers you have. 

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      Yes, this is definitely a change in my strategy. Thanks.

  • Alan Kay

    Great advice as always. Keeping up with the expanding opportunities on Twitter can be time consuming so thanks for sharing so much valuable insight.  

  • http://twitter.com/burlw Burl Walker

    Finding that balance between pushing ones own blog/product/company/organization and being social in the social network is a tough one. I like the 20-1 guideline, though I must admit that I have butchered that one many times!
    As for who I follow on twitter. I liked it more when I was more intentional about who I followed. Now my twitter feed seems cluttered even though they are people I thought had similar interests due to their bio. I wish I could put them in circles like Google+.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      You can use Twitter lists just like you use Google+ circles.

  • http://successbeginstoday.org/wordpress John Richardson

    I used to use Klout to help manage my Twitter stream. It was a great way to find influential people in different niches, and you could easily “give back” by giving them a Klout boost. Unfortunately, some months back, they completely changed their algorithm and have lost almost all credibility. Hopefully some other companies like Peerindex will take over the slack.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      Kred.com is worth considering too. I am using it some.

      • http://successbeginstoday.org/wordpress John Richardson

        Kred actually looks pretty good, and their score seems much more accurate than Klout. Thanks for the link!

  • http://www.heartyourchurch.com/ Jason Stambaugh

    On point #12, has anyone had success at all with auto-responders? And by success, I mean significant click-throughs?

    When I first started using twitter, I didn’t mind the little message in my inbox. I even started doing the same thing – manually. However, as my follower count grew, so did my annoyance with dm spam. I’ve since abandoned the practice, but will often check out a new followers blog and send them a dm letting them know I read and thank them for following.

  • http://www.linchpinbloggers.com/ Don McAllister

    I think when we decide to create value for out twitter followers, versus annoying them with too many posts and self-promoting a tad too much, we do ourselves a favor. 

  • http://twitter.com/moretobe Lisa

    Thanks for the Twitter lesson!

  • http://henryfiallo.wordpress.com Enrique Fiallo

    What a timely post. Thanks for the great, practical advice Michael. I have been struggling with this for a while now. I have been especially concerned about getting followed by certain people who do not appear to have legitimate reasons to follow. What do you do about those? Do you just allow them and ignore? Do you block? Thanks again. I am going to follow your advice right now! 

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      I don’t care who follows me. I am happy to try and influence them. :-)

  • http://howtotalkevangelical.addiezierman.com/ Addie Zierman

    Very helpful. I didn’t know about Twitter’s Advanced Search. Will have to play around with that.

    • http://jeremysconfessions.com Jeremy Statton

      Me neither. I just tried it and hooked up with a local photographer just now. A great tool.

      • http://www.jeffrandleman.com Jeff Randleman

        I did the same thing and located a photographer for some great new shots for my profile and blog in October!

    • http://www.timpeters.org/ Tim Peters

      Addie and Jeremy -
      I am in the same boat.  Looking forward to exploring tool.  

  • http://twitter.com/erik_bennett erik bennett

    also, the web sites that promise more followers usually supplies more SPAMwhich now should stand for Sales-Porn-And-More.  craziness. good post as always.

    • http://justin.am/ Justin Wise

      Never heard to SPAM acronym before. Love it. Totally stealing it…okay? ;)

    • http://www.jeffrandleman.com Jeff Randleman

      Like!

  • www.twitter.com/godvertiser

    One thing that contributes to attracting the right followers (all followers are not equal in value!) is to stay on topic in your tweetstream of content. I use TweetDeck, Hootsuite and Cotweet to manage the different accounts I take care of to set up various keyword searches. That way I can jump into conversations, reply to people’s questions and comment on specific niche area of topics.

    People interested in those same areas will start to see your tweets in various conversations and follow you because you are relevant to their interests.

    Hope that helps!

    Kenny
    http://www.twitter.com/@godvertiser

  • Jim Schaffer

    Always so generous. Thanks for your honesty (admitting past mistakes) and for your sage advice. Jim

    • http://justin.am/ Justin Wise

      Agreed, Jim! Michael is a wealth of knowledge, but the transparency is something I value highly!

      • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

        Thanks, guys!

  • http://joeandancy.com/ Joe Abraham

    To be frank, I haven’t given much thought to Twitter or tweeting. But, after reading this post, I think I got to change my attitude and do something positive about it this year. Thanks Michael for the motivation!

    “Like most things in life, slow and steady wins the race” – I follow this principle. I am glad to see that in the “Twitter world” too!

    Also, the three reasons you gave for having more Twitter followers are all quite true. Folks normally check out the “mass” before they check out the “message”!

    • http://jeremysconfessions.com Jeremy Statton

      I was very slow to pick up twitter. Initially I just didn’t get it. Now I like it better than Facebook. Facebook can be good to share info with friends and family, but I find twitter more useful to learn. I can follow people who spread great ideas even though I don’t know them. Make the plunge, Joe.

      • http://joeandancy.com/ Joe Abraham

        Thanks Jeremy! That’s a motivating info to take the plunge.

      • http://www.timpeters.org/ Tim Peters

        Joe, I could not agree more.  I was heavy on Facebook and slow to Twitter.  I would pay some serious cash to go back and start with Twitter over Facebook.  

      • http://www.jeffrandleman.com Jeff Randleman

        I agree!  Facebook has become rather “junior high”-ish for me.  Twitter is where my more relevant interaction is at.

      • Rachel Lance

        I have to second Jeremy’s take on Twitter/FB. I have abandoned my newspapers (online) for the more relevant news I get on Twitter. While I still keep my following fairly intentional and strategic, I have been branching out little by little and experimenting with lists. My FB space is reserved for people I know well in real life (for some reason being “friend collected” has always rubbed me the wrong way) while I cast my Twitter net a bit wider. I file Twitter in the same category as the networking I might do at a conference.

  • http://www.lincolnparks.com Lincoln Parks

    Two takeaways from this I got was to display my twitter name everywhere and not to use social oomph, I am still using it. Great info, I will make those changes because they make sense.

    • http://www.timpeters.org/ Tim Peters

      Lincoln.  Glad you enjoyed the post.  Be creative in how you display your Twitter name.  As I consult with clients, I write it on the whiteboard, include it in proposals, etc.  

      • http://www.lincolnparks.com Lincoln Parks

        Definitely a thought Tim. I never thought to display it during consulting and on my presentations. Great ideas. Thanks

    • http://www.jeffrandleman.com Jeff Randleman

      My twitter name (@randleman) is on my blogger business cards.

      • http://www.lincolnparks.com Lincoln Parks

        Jeff, my new cards will definitely display my social media credentials. What major profiles do you have on your card?

        • http://www.jeffrandleman.com Jeff Randleman

          On my blogging cards, I have phone, website, email and twitter.  On my youth ministry cards, I simply have my youth group website, office phone and email.  Twitter was an oversight I will correct next time I print them. 

          You can see my blogging cards here:  http://www.jeffrandleman.com/blog-business-cards. 

          I debated long and hard on whether or not to include Facebook, and ultimately decided not too.

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

            Nice cards, especially the logo. Did you hire a designer, or do it yourself?

          • http://www.jeffrandleman.com Jeff Randleman

            All on my own, which is saying something, since I’m a totally self-taught Photoshop junkie…

            Thanks! 

          • http://www.jmlalonde.com Joe Lalonde

            That is great work Jeff. It looks amazing. If you don’t mind my asking, what resources would you recommend for teaching yourself Photoshop?

          • http://www.jeffrandleman.com Jeff Randleman

            I bought Photoshop for Dummies and read it and keep it handy.  I also use Envato and several of their subordinate sites for tutorials.   After a while, things started coming more naturally.

          • http://www.jmlalonde.com Joe Lalonde

            Thanks for the info. I’ll look into those resources. It looks like they’ve taught you quite a bit.

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

            :) Nicely done.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      I should be clear: I do use SocialOomph for batch scheduling tweets (see How to Keep Your Blog Posts from Dying in Your Archives). I just don’t use it for auto-DMs. Thanks.

      • http://www.lincolnparks.com Lincoln Parks

        Thanks Michael I should have been more clear and said not use it for DM, it’s all I use social oomph for right now. I will read that post as another action to implement. Thanks so much.

  • http://emuelle1.blogspot.com Eric S. Mueller

    Thanks for the guide. I rarely check Twitter anymore. I typically post to Google+, which then goes to Twitter and Facebook. Twitter just got too overwhelming to keep up with, considering all the “Follow Friday” nonsense and people who autotweet like commercials on AM talk radio. I also got really tired of those “This site gets you lots of free followers!” tweets

    I log in every couple of weeks to see if anybody mentioned me or messaged me. But I lost value from actually using Twitter regularly. I tried Hootsuite, but setting it up seemed to take too long.

    But overall, this is a good guide. If more Twitter users followed it, the service might be less of a chore to keep up with.

    • http://justin.am/ Justin Wise

      Eric … Have you considered using Twitter for 5 minutes per day? When I first started out, I literally set an egg timer and said, “I’m going to do as much as I can within this 5 minutes and no more!” That’s how I learned the system of Twitter and it has led to some AMAZING opportunities I never would have had otherwise.

      Use these steps as a guide and give yourself 5 minutes a day to explore the value of Twitter! You’ll love it…eventually :)

      • http://emuelle1.blogspot.com Eric S. Mueller

        I’ve been on Twitter since about 2007. I kept up with it regularly for years using various apps for my computer and iPhone. I finally just got tired of it and didn’t see the value for the time I kept spending using it.

  • http://www.cheriblogs.info Cheri Gregory

    I check out recommendations from people I’m already following and who regularly post strong content.  I’ve gained followers by being recommended on “Follow Friday” and  by following others suggested via #FF who then follow me in return.

    Does anyone screen new followers? I used to meticulously go through and block anyone who I found questionable (i.e. get-rich-quick schemes) but I’ve not taken the time to do so recently. 

    • http://justin.am/ Justin Wise

      Cheri … I think one of the best ways you can spend your time on Twitter is crafting who YOU are following. As you move forward with Twitter, you’ll find that the best way to spend your time is following the folks who are interesting to you.

      The automated follow bots will come and go, but your network is worth crafting with care. If you find it getting to the point where too many folks are following you that you’d prefer don’t, you can always set your follow status to “private”. You can do that in Twitter settings if you need to.

      Hope that helps!

      • http://www.cheriblogs.info Cheri Gregory

        Justin — “crafting who YOU are following” — this is where my focus needs to be at this point. I started with Twitter with that focus but got derailed along the way.

    • http://www.jeffrandleman.com Jeff Randleman

      As your follower count grows, it will become impossible to sort through who is following you and block them.  I just focus on who I’m following, and ignore the “chaff”.  However, I do go through regularly and follow back some of the more legitimate ones…

    • http://www.jmlalonde.com Joe Lalonde

      I wouldn’t worry about screening new followers. If they’re not relevant to you, don’t follow them back. As long as you don’t follow them back, you won’t see anything from them.

      • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

        I agree, Joe. And you just might influence them!

  • Daniel Decker

    Great tips. Anything social media and relationship building related is far better served with a marathon mentality instead of a sprint. Takes time just like how most “overnight successes” are 10 years in the making. :)

    • http://justin.am/ Justin Wise

      So incredibly true. If social media was a person, it wouldn’t even be out of grade school yet! A long ways to go, but practical tips like this post never hurt!

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

      Reminds me of Malcolm Gladwell’s reference to 10,000 hours of practice. Steady progress in the same direction often wins the race. Thanks for the wisdom, Daniel.

  • http://twitter.com/clanmike Mike Stewart

    Really good advice.  I’ve only been active on Twitter now for about 4 weeks and it’s working already! Thanks!!  

  • http://twitter.com/clanmike Mike Stewart

    Now I’ve just got to insert my real photo (as per item 1)!!

    • http://justin.am/ Justin Wise

      Hey Mike! Get that profile picture up ASAP. Some folks will unfollow people without a real profile picture! Glad these tips are working. Thanks for reading!

  • http://twitter.com/romanalo Ro Manalo

    I was never really concerned about the number of people following me but you do make a good point. For someone who wants to make a difference, it is important to be out there. Thank you for these tips! I’m trying Buffer right now!

    • Jim Martin

      Ro, I’ve been using Buffer for a number of months now.  What a time saver!  (Not to mention the ability to space out tweets.)

      • http://www.jeffrandleman.com Jeff Randleman

        Love Buffer!

      • Anonymous

        Hi, Jim! I tried Buffer but I don’t like that I can’t customize the words in the tweet. Or maybe I am doing it wrong?

        • http://theordainedbarista.com Barry Hill

          romanalo,
          once you hit the buffer icon on the bottom of your page and the tweet/post pops up you should be able to edit the content by clicking on it. I have definitely edited a few things to make sure there was enough room for the tweet to be re-tweeted.

  • http://www.timpeters.org/ Tim Peters

    Another tip would be – Be Consistently Consistent. Schedule time on your daily calendar to not only check your Twitter stream, but to interact as well.  I found by calendaring my social media interaction time, I can be more consistent and intentional.  Instead of simply checking my stream to see what is happening, I check my stream with a purpose.  

    • http://www.jeffrandleman.com Jeff Randleman

      I agree.  I make it a point to check regularly, but not so often that I get nothing else done.  I have to regulate it or I could become a twitter junkie…

  • http://johnhaydon.com John Haydon

    Michael – Great post here, but I disagree with your last point (don’t use auto-responders). In my experience, what’s really at issue is self-promotion in a private channel. Auto-DMs can be useful if they are about your followers – if you give something without seeking any value in return.

    You thought you were being helpful with your beginners guide to twitter, but in fact, you were turning people off. They felt it was annoying.

    As Lance Armstrong said, it’s never about the bike.

  • http://www.kellycombs.com/ Kelly Combs

    Great post and I definitely found some new ideas, such as the advanced search. I was surprised about the advise not to ask others to retweet, and I clicked through to the link and read your other article.  I literally laughed out loud at one of your reasons why you don’t retweet.  “Your content is boring.” Ouch!  

    Thanks for the ideas and for making me laugh this morning.

    • Jim Martin

      Kelly, the idea of an advanced search is new to me as well.  This is a valuable post with some great ideas.

  • http://www.sundijo.com Sundi Jo Graham

    Sending a personalized DM is huge I think. When I send a DM to those who follow me, I let them know it’s not an autoresponder by using their first name and asking how their day is going? 

    Specifically, if it’s Wednesday, I ask how their Wednesday is. 

    You have a typo I thought you’d want to know about. Advanced Search Seature 

    • http://www.jmlalonde.com Joe Lalonde

      Sundi, that is a great way to welcome followers. I will have to implement that strategy.

      • http://www.sundijo.com Sundi Jo Graham

        Let me know if you get more interaction from that. 

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

      Much more personal, Sundi. Makes the person feel seen rather than used, I think. I automatically unfollow those who send an auto DM. Maybe harsh, but it drives me crazy. :)

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      I definitely think that could work.

  • http://twitter.com/gljones01 Greg Jones

    What does everyone think about lists? I haven’t used them (yet), but have been thinking about using them to group content for easier scanning. I am only following about 400 peeps, but I don’t want to miss good content, due to the volume and no good way to control or manage it!

    • http://www.jmlalonde.com Joe Lalonde

      I think lists are a great way to sort the incoming content. When you’re following more than 50 people, it can be overwhelming.

      Michael described his process in a previous post, http://michaelhyatt.com/how-i-unfollowed-108698-people-on-twitter-and-reclaimed-my-inbox.html It is point number 2.

      • http://twitter.com/gljones01 Greg Jones

        Joe and Jeff. Thanks for the input and the replies. This is a great conversation!

        • Jim Martin

          Greg, I also use lists.  I find that it is an easy way to stay aware of particular people and their tweets.  Otherwise I lose people who I would like to keep up with. 

        • http://www.jmlalonde.com Joe Lalonde

          You’re welcome Greg. I hope it helps improve your Twittering.

    • http://www.jeffrandleman.com Jeff Randleman

      I utilize lists excessively.  I keep one for family, one for friends, one for writers like Michael Hyatt and Joe Lalonde, one for creatives, one for inspiration, etc.  I use HootSuite, so each list shows in a different column.  That way, I can keep track of all the different ways I want to filter my feeds.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      I use them a lot. In fact, I have each list mapped to a HootSuite column.

  • Anonymous

    Great wisdom, as always. Re #5, Share Valuable Content, I agree wholeheartedly. And, I’d recommend sharing ‘yourself’ … the personal side of you … with, say, a ratio of 75%-25% or 80%-20% professional to personal (just avoid the TMI syndrome). The personal side creates trust, connection, and engagement.

    When it comes to career/job-search networking on Twitter, I encourage people to follow their target companies, recruiters, hiring managers, industry pundits, and career experts.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      Good advice on sharing the personal side of you.

  • http://www.jmlalonde.com Joe Lalonde

    Thanks for the great content Michael! I’ve just started using Twitter to connect and promote my blog. I’m finding it is a helpful tool in getting traffic.

    • http://www.jeffrandleman.com Jeff Randleman

      Followed!

  • http://worksofanselm.blogspot.com Naomi Anselmo

    Some really good tips here. I appreciate that they aren’t spammy tips either – so often, the tips I see ARE along the lines of “follow a bunch of people and they’ll follow you back!” This is more thought-out and genuine.

    • http://jeremysconfessions.com Jeremy Statton

      And you want genuine followers, not just people who followed you hoping you would follow them back. If they don’t care about your content, they will never spread your ideas.

    • http://avajae.blogspot.com Ava Jae

      I agree 100% with this. Spammy tips won’t get you followers that pay attention to what you’re sharing–only followers that are interested in increasing their follower count numbers and that’s it. Those kind of followers are useless. Much better to have a small group of followers who care about what you have to say than a huge audience of people who pay little attention to your tweets. 

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      Thanks. The spammy stuff just doesn’t work long-term, especially if you want to build an enduring brand.

  • Jan Carlyle

    Thanks for the helpful points Michael.  I tend to use myself as a benchmark, so if i get cross when others only ever tweet about their “brilliant product” then I unfollow them.  I like reading other people’s conversations – it gives a greater dimension to their online or social personality and you have a greater affinity with them, wanting to help.  So I like having conversations with people on twitter, as I want to connect with similar people. 

    I love your posts and insights! I have finally printed off the work sheets for the Life Plan and have started to implement blocking off time for priorities.  Thank you. 

    • http://jeremysconfessions.com Jeremy Statton

      The life plan is great. It has been a tremendous help to me.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      Awesome, Jan. Thank you!

  • Jan Carlyle

    Thanks for the helpful points Michael.  I tend to use myself as a
    benchmark, so if i get cross when others only ever tweet about their
    “brilliant product” then I unfollow them.  I like reading other people’s
    conversations – it gives a greater dimension to their online or social
    personality and you have a greater affinity with them, wanting to help. 
    So I like having conversations with people on twitter, as I want to
    connect with similar people. 

    I love your posts and insights! I
    have finally printed off the work sheets for the Life Plan and have
    started to implement blocking off time for priorities.  Thank you.

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

      I agree, Jan. Following twitter conversations helps me to get to know the person better. Probably one of the biggest benefits for me.

  • http://www.spencesmith.com Spence Smith

    Excellent post! isn’t it crazy how much has changed since we all started on twitter. the more i’m in it, the more it’s about sharing with each other and having conversation out in the open. i love it. thanks mike!

    • Jim Martin

      Spence, when I read your comment, I thought about when I first began using Twitter.  I wish I had known some of these principles then.  You are right though, much has changed.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      Thanks, Spence. You were one of the major reasons I stayed engaged in the early days.

  • http://www.cheriblogs.info Cheri Gregory

    For those who enjoy satire, a glimpse at what non-Twitter-ers think:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PN2HAroA12w

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

      Lol! Can’t believe I haven’t seen this one yet. Thanks for the laugh, Cheri.

  • http://twitter.com/DinasRuns Dina

    I recently discovered Buffer and love it! Once click and you can share lots of great information with your followers without annoying them with constant tweets.  It’s also great for those of us who are unable to be on Twitter during the day because of work. 

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

      Me too, Dina. A great app. It helps me maintain balance.

  • http://www.jeffrandleman.com Jeff Randleman

    Absolutely!  Great stuff!  I get so annoyed with obvious twitter spammers.  In trying to build awareness of my blog, I’ve found much of what you listed here to be very true.  The 2o-1 rule is a great balance.  I’ll be paying more attention to that.  And I love Buffer.  I just started using it a few weeks ago, but love it already!

    • Jim Martin

      Jeff, the 20-1 rule does seem like a great balance.  I find this very helpful.  I know that I am drawn to tweets where there seems to be many more deposits than requests.

      • http://www.jeffrandleman.com Jeff Randleman

        It’s a great concept, one that I am going to have to pay closer attention to…

  • http://brandonweldy.wordpress.com Brandon Weldy

    Thanks for sharing this list! I could be a little more diligent about tweeting. I usually just tweet in the morning with a link to my blog post. Sometimes I do more during the day. I have been implementing some of these other things on your list and I have been seeing some slow growth in my twitter followers which has been very exciting. Maybe one day I will have as many as the Jr. High kids in my youth group! 

  • http://jonstolpe.wordpress.com Jon Stolpe

    I started using Buffer a few weeks ago (thanks to one of your posts), and I’ve been amazed to see my Twitter follower growth.  Posting solid content more frequently has definitely been a huge plus for growing my Twitter follower base.  (I have also seen my blog traffic growing.  This may be attributed to several actions, but I think Buffer has helped along the way.)

    Thanks for the tips!

    • http://justin.am/ Justin Wise

      BufferApp is pretty much the ONLY way to go. They’ve recently hooked up with the folks at SocialBro.com to automatically determine when the best times to post are. A HUGE help for me. Glad you’re finding it helpful, Jon!

  • Anonymous

    Thanks for the tips.  Once thing I like is you ability to self-reflect and
    admit when something does not work (IE auto responder) and move on.  At the
    same time, you provide some great insigt for useful things like Buffer to help
    spread your tweets out.  Thanks for sharing this with us.

  • http://twitter.com/byramstudio Kathy Byram

    Brilliant!

  • Kari Scare

    I am new to Twitter, and this guide will be very helpful. I have been hesitant to do much because I don’t want to appear clueless. I feel a little less clueless now.

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

      I understand, Kari. I’m not as techno-saavy as most people out there, and it can be rather intimidating at times. But everyone was a little clueless when they first started. You’re in good company!

    • Jim Martin

      Kari, Michele is so right!  I think most everyone I’ve talked with felt pretty clueless regarding Twitter at first.  I know I did!

  • Aussie Dave

    Thank for the tips. I use Timely.is to buffer my Tweets. It’s free and send tweets out at the times your account typically receives the most interaction. It also allows you to set a limit on the number of tweets sent out per day. 

    • http://justin.am/ Justin Wise

      Dave … Timely is a great resource as well! I went from Timely to Buffer because of one thing: the Chrome extension. Timely didn’t have one. Buffer did.

      All great tools, though!

  • CunninghamOrtiz

    Thanks for an awesome article! I was so psyched to do the advanced twitter search but for some reason I can’t access that page. It tells me that page doesn’t exist. I’ve tried googling this, okay, not all that much, but was just wondering if it’s just me or if it’s the advanced search function that’s askew.