Last year I created a new, professional Twitter account and grew my following from 0 to 7,000+, in a few months. It wasn’t a surprise to me, but it’s been a surprise for most business owners I talk to, and even some marketing people. Everyone wants to know how I did it. Well, it’s not really a secret, so I will explain it here, once and for all.
People think it’s some sort of voodoo magic, or that I bought fake followers – neither of which is true. I have 99% real followers and a fairly high engagement rate – although it’s dropped recently as I haven’t been quite as active. Shame on me.
I did it all using a tool called Tweepi, which allows you to segment Twitter audiences based on who they follow, and more.
The tool is free to use, although – for full disclosure – I did buy the platinum package. The good news is, I realized I didn’t actually need to buy it, once my paid subscription ran up.
The paid version of Tweepi just helps speed things up, but it’s not required for anything I am about to teach you here.
Tweepi has an awesome help section, which explains pretty much everything I am about to teach you, but in more detail.
If you have a Twitter account, you can just use that to log into Tweepi and you’re pretty much ready to go. This process takes about 5 minutes, if you still connect to the internet via dial-up.
The best way to build an engaged following is to first figure out your audience – who are your clients and what are their interests. As HubSpot calls it – build a buyer persona.
Once you have that nailed down, find someone on Twitter your target audience would follow.
In my case it was other marketing people and small business and startup owners. To figure out whose followers to target, I first did some basic research – on Google and on Twitter, to see who the big names are.
I also used the free BuzzSumo service to find “influencers” in my niche.
This part is easy and should be intuitive – if it isn’t, you may consider hiring someone to manage you social media for you. If you’d like, I can gladly recommend someone – just drop us a note.
Once you find a prolific and active Twitter user who has a lot of followers within your target audience, click on Follow Followers on Tweepi and put in that organization’s or person’s twitter name.
In order to be effective, and avoid being “spammy”, you need to add filters, otherwise you will be wasting time.
The filters I always use, which have provided the best results are:
- Follower ratio greater than 85 or 90.
- Follower ratio less than 120.
^ These are people who are most likely to follow you back
- Last tweet at most 5 days ago. I usually go with 3 days.
^ ensures that you’re not following inactive accounts
- Bio is not empty.
^ This allows you to quickly scan people’s bio to see if they are worth following
- Friend of Follow should be set to neither
^ This gets rid of people you are already following, or are following you
Tip: by default, you do not see the “Bio field” when you do your search, you need to add it by clicking on Columns drop down. I usually hide the other columns.
Because Twitter has a follow limit, but primarily because you want highly targeted and engaged followers you will want to do “pruning”. By pruning I mean removing inactive followers or people you follow who don’t follow you back.
This one is pretty easy. First you click on the “users you follow on Twitter” button.
Then you add one filter.
- Friend or Follower set to Not Following You
^ This will only show people who do not follow you.
Make sure to pay attention to how many users you unfollow, on a day-to-day basis, or you may get a suspension.
Twitter works with Tweepi to ensure that what we’re doing using their tool does not totally disrupt Twitter services and doesn’t lower the quality of user experience on Twitter. That said, Twitter owes us nothing and can change the rules at any time, which could render this method of Twitter follower building completely useless in the future.
Here are some general rules to follow, which might help
- Do not unfollow anyone you followed within the last 3-4 days. This can get your account suspended.
- There is a follow and unfollow counter at the top of the Tweepi page – you may need to scroll up to see it. It will show green when you are good to follow or unfollow. As soon as it turns red, stop following and/or unfollowing.
- Only follow users who are within your target audience, otherwise your engagement rate for Twitter posts will be low and Twitter will not be happy with you. Also, the more targeted your audience, the more likely they will be to follow you back and actually engage and/or turn into leads down the road.
- Always consult Tweepi’s help if you’re unsure about follow/unfollow limits or any other technical questions.
- Do not use automatic DMs or responses on Twitter – it’s annoying, and has little value – stay away from this. The best communication is communication that’s personal, timely and relevant.
There are a lot of people, including Twitter, who might disagree with me on this method of follower building, but I think it’s effective and has provided me with high engagement rates.
I will admit that this is not the best, most organic, way to build a qualified Twitter following – it’s a shortcut. So, wield this power knowing that it’s more like gray hat – it’s not spamming but it’s also trying to bend the rules a bit to your advantage.
I have used this technique with several client accounts, and it has worked 100% of the time, so I know it works.
This technique is just part of a solid Twitter marketing strategy – posting great, interesting, relevant content is a huge piece of building and maintaining a Twitter following.
Furthermore, building a following, growing and nurturing it, and building real professional relationships takes work and time. As you can see, because I haven’t been very active lately, my Twitter following is stagnant. Without consistency, there is no growth.
Know that using this technique could, potentially, result in a suspension or ban of your Twitter account – again, because Twitter’s rules can change at any time. Do this at your own risk. Especially if you run a company or corporate account, make sure to get an ok from the business owner or your manager before you try any of this.