Ultimate Guide on How to Use Twitter – Lesson 8: Building Your Network
In the previous lesson I covered how to effectively use searching in Twitter. I taught you some advanced techniques and powerful search operator that will help you efficiently find what you’re looking for.
If you missed that lesson, click the link below.
In this next lesson we’ll discuss building your network. This is a very important part of being on Twitter because the whole point is to get maximum exposure.
Why Build Your Network?
Your goal should be getting the most followers you can. Your tweets will go to each and every one of those followers and if they decide to interact by replying, liking, or retweeting that gives you even more exposure.
Like I mentioned in previous lessons every time someone interacts with you their followers will see it. Now imagine if that user was a celebrity who has millions of followers that’s an incredible amount of publicity just from something as simple as a retweet! Currently as of this writing (June 25, 2016), Katy Perry has the most followers at just under 90 million. In second place is Justin Bieber at 83.5 million and third is Taylor Swift with 78.7 million followers. You can look at more of the top followers at Twitter Counter.
OK, so we got followers, we got people retweeting our tweets, so what? Well whether you’re promoting yourself as an artist, a business, or an industry leader, the more people know about you the more opportunities you will get. Those opportunities may be becoming a star if you’re an unknown singer or making money through sales that you get from people checking out the link to your website in your tweets. It’s these human connections that matter most.
To make Twitter really effective, you really need a website to drive traffic to. If you don’t already have a website, I’ll show how you can get one for FREE! That’s right, it’s so easy to setup and maintain even my grandma can do it.
First of all before I get into following I want to let you know about Twitter limits. Twitter does set limits to how many people you can follow a day. The technical limit is 1,000 per day but they do have additional rules prohibiting aggressive following behavior so make sure you don’t follow a bunch of accounts and then delete them after they added you.
For me I use an online tool called Crowdfire that helps me manage my account. I use it make sure I add all the accounts that followed and liked me as well as balance it out by unfollowing those who have unfollowed me or those that are inactive for a long time. It also allows you to schedule tweets so you don’t have to manually do them because we all have busy lives.
This process is important because initially you have a 5,000 follow limit (can only follow up to 5,000 users). Once you hit that and your ratio of followers to people you follow is low (for example you follow 5,000 but you only have 100 following you back), then you won’t be allowed to follow anymore until you get more followers to balance the ratio. As long as your ratio is decent you’ll be able to follow more. There are, however, no limits on the number of followers you can have. So even if you only follow 100 people you can have millions of followers which is the case with many celebrities.
I don’t like how vague the rules are but I don’t think anyone has actually figured out what the precise ratio is as Twitter claims it’s account specific but as long as those two numbers are relatively close, you’ll have no problem at all. But at the same time remember that Twitter monitors aggressive behavior so try not to follow 1,000 and unfollow 1,000 daily or they can temporarily block your account.
It’s hard to say because there’s no set number that I can say you should only follow/unfollow this many accounts but for me I will follow up to 50 or so and unfollow up to 100. Crowdfire actually help a bit by imposing a limit for you (allowed to follow up to 25 and unfollow up to 100 daily using their app). However, you can upgrade and get those limits increased but for people starting out I think those limits are reasonable and keep you from being blocked. Once you get a lot of followers you may be able to do more in a day.
For more information on Twitter limits, check out their support doc here.
How to Build Your Twitter Network
Alright, alright. Enough blabbing. Let’s get to what you’ve all been waiting for and that’s “How to build your Twitter network”. Well of course building your Twitter network refers to you getting followers. So how do we do that? I’ll show you a few techniques I used to do this.
1. Search and Follow
The first and obvious technique is to search tweets based on keywords that you are targeting. For example if your niche was “Earthquake Preparedness” then you would probably do searches for words like “earthquake”, “earthquake preparedness”, “earthquake drill”, “earthquake safety”, “earthquake kit”, “recent earthquakes”, “tsunami”, “emergency kit”… the list goes on. Once you get your search results you should definitely read what they are actually tweeting about as some results might totally be out of context. For example, there could be a popular song called “earthquake” and a lot of people are talking about it rather than an actual disaster.
If you need a great keyword research tool I recommend Jaaxy.
Add people who are talking about your niche. Because you already know they’re talking about it, the chance of them following you back is pretty good. Remember to spruce up your profile because that’s the first thing they’ll see when they see who you are. Also make sure you are active because no one wants to follow an inactive account, because…what’s the point? It’s like following a rock, they’ll never say anything. People want to follow people that have something interesting to say.
Anyway, like I said, the more you follow the more chances of getting them to follow you back. By using this technique you can get a decent following but don’t over-do it.
Keep in mind that Twitter has a bunch of limits in place to prevent abuse. People can write programs that will automatically follow accounts. They can easily have that running all day and follow tens of thousands of random people every day. Twitter wants to keep followers as genuine as possible.
With our technique we’re actually targeting people who are already talking about our niche so chances are they’ll follow us because they’re interested and not just follow us to follow back. Of course you’ll get people who will just follow back having no interest in what you’re niche is but you win some, you lose some. It’s actually not a bad thing because they may end up liking or retweeting something we post in the future. You never know.
Getting genuine followers is a slow process at first but as you get more followers sharing your tweets and interacting with you, you’ll get more followers naturally without having to look for people.
2. Spruce Up Your Profile
Just like how you search other people, people will be searching for you. Make sure your profile is attention grabbing so they’ll want to follow you. If your profile is blank or dull it doesn’t really give them any incentive to follow you. Add a profile photo (real picture of you if possible). Twitter is about human connections so make them want to connect with you so make sure you’re smiling. Add a cover photo. Write a good bio. A first impression is important so give them a reason to follow you. Be creative!
Consider adding keywords in your bio because when people do searches on Twitter, one of the things it searches is profile bios. It’s also a good idea to have a link to your website.
3. Follow Everyone Who Follows, Likes, or Mentions You
As you build out your account, get a decent following, and tweet regularly you’ll start getting organic followers. People will see you mentioned and they’ll start following you without you having to look for them. Always follow them if you aren’t already.
They already show some sort of interest toward you so it’s a step in the right direction. And remember I mentioned in the beginning that it’s good to maintain a good ratio by unfollowing people who don’t follow you back? That’s a good reason for you to follow them otherwise you risk the chance of them unfollowing you.
I keep mentioning Crowdfire because that’s the app that I use but there are tons of other apps you might want to try that do similar things like Hootsuite, ManageFlitter, Tweepi to name a few. There literally are tons of other management apps out there that you can try.
Let me know what you guys use. I’d love to learn what’s out there and what’s working for you.
4. Post Regularly
The more active you are the more chance of your tweets getting noticed. It makes simple logical sense. Twitter is a global product and not everyone is awake and active and on Twitter when you are posting. Just think about it, if you live on the East Coast and post a tweet at 9 am, people on the West Coast are 3 hours back so it would only be 6am there. Most likely they won’t see your tweet. That’s a huge market you’re missing out on. Same applies for other countries. When it’s daytime where you are, it’s nighttime on the other side of the world.
Considering there are on average 6,000 tweets per second, the lifespan of your tweet is not very long. It’s only a matter of time before your tweet gets pushed so far down results that no one will see them.
If you’re like me and don’t have time to post regularly, you can use online tools like Crowdfire, Hootsuite, Buffer and others to schedule your tweets throughout the day. I usually set mine up at night when I have more time to myself and schedule my posts for the next day or even the next few days if I have a lot to tweet.
Simply tweeting at random times isn’t using your tweets very effectively. Depending on your target market you should do some research on when they are most active so they’ll actually see your tweets. It’s way better posting a tweet when there are 1,000,000 people on rather than only 100,000. Here’s an article by Buffer that analyzes when the best time to tweet is.
There’s also a site called Tweriod that analyzes up to 1000 of your followers and lets you know when the best time to tweet is. They fetch a list of followers from your Twitter account and analyzes their last 200 tweets and the report is based on when they tweet everyday. It can take an hour or two for the report to be generated but they’ll send a DM (direct message) to you when the report is ready.
5. Make Your Tweets Interesting
I talked about posting regularly but if your tweets aren’t interesting, what good are they? No one will interact with you or retweet so it’s pretty useless. Add variety to your tweets to keep things interesting. Share some personal thoughts as well as advice instead of constantly tweeting promotional content. Add multimedia like photos or videos to make your tweet stand out from the crowd.
Posting interesting links even if they’re not from your site can grab people’s attention and find your account a great resource. A useful tool that I personally use to get content to share is Feedly. Feedly shows you new content from blogs and news sources you subscribe to and displays it in a quick and organized way. You can group them in categories and see the content in different views which is nice. I really recommend you giving it a try. I go through it every morning when I wake up.
I only recently found out about this, but Twitter has their own content curator called….Curator (how creative!). What it does is it curates tweets based on words, phrases, or hashtags so you can quickly and easily find content you may want to retweet. For more information you can read this Twitter blog post.
I also use Scoop.it which is a tool to discover, curate, and publish content. It’s fully integrated with Twitter so you can easily find the hottest topics on your niche and tweet them without leaving the app.
There are TONS of other tools out there for content curation. Unfortunately I don’t have time to cover each of them here but I hope you have an idea. Keep your tweets interesting and you’ll naturally get followers.
6. Use Hashtags
Hashtags provides a great way for people with similar interests to connect and a great way to increase visibility of your tweets. When you use hashtags in your tweet, it automatically turns into a link and when people click on that they see a whole listing of tweets that include that hashtag. It’s a quick and easy way to find tweets for that topic.
Event users often use this to connect people interested in the event like #comiCon but it can be other things too like #earthquake, #worldSeries, #saveTheWhales, or pretty much anything. Using trending hashtags can help give your visibility a big boost so it’s worth noting which hashtags are trending and see if you can incorporate any relevant ones into your tweets.
So where can you find the trending hashtags? Well the obvious place is within Twitter itself. They have “tailored trends” based on where you are and who you follow. It’s limited to the top 10 and is located on the left side under your profile.
I also use Trendsmap which looks up trends by location. Hashtags, words, and accounts that are trending are displayed in larger font so the bigger the font, the larger the trend. It’s interesting to see how different locations are discussing different things. Use this to take advantage of current trends.
Another great tool is RiteTag which is another Twitter management tool but this one provides a list of real-time trending hashtags that you can take advantage of.
Again, there are tons of trending hashtag tools out there but I can’t go over them all so these are just some that I use.
7. Recycle Your Tweets
Like I mentioned before the lifespan of your tweet is not very long (around 15 mins). Plus because of the different time zones people from around the country or around the world probably would have missed it.
You should recycle your most popular tweets and post them again once in awhile. Make sure you’re not spamming so give it some time before you retweet the same tweet. Better yet, it’s a great idea to add variety and change up the content of the tweet even if you’re promoting the same thing. People will notice a same tweet being posted multiple times.
I use a site called Tweet Jukebox that helps automate this by allowing you to create a list of tweets that you want recycled. You set the interval and time range and they’ll take care of it for you. They also have a great set of free inspirational quotes that you can use that will attract followers as well.
Take note that they only allow 5 scheduled tweets per day with their free account.
8. Get Your Tweets Retweeted
Getting your tweets retweeted is an excellent way to gain more exposure. When someone retweets, all their followers will see their retweet which means you just gained access to all their followers. Hopefully they’ll notice and interact either by replying, liking, or retweeting it so people in their network will see it and so on. It becomes a great big chain reaction and has the potential to go viral. Of course the more people seeing your tweet the more likely they’ll take action which may be clicking a link to your site and buying something. Retweets also get you followers which is always a good thing.
I use a site called TraffUp which is sort of like a traffic exchange site where you earn points by visiting websites, following users, retweeting, and liking. You use those points to promote your own websites and Twitter accounts. I don’t really agree with getting people to follow you who have no interest in you so I don’t use their follow service. What I do use is their retweet service.
After gaining points by visiting websites, I use those to get my posts retweeted. When my post is retweeted then hopefully people who really are interested will interact with it and I’ll get genuine followers. In fact, I’ve been consistently getting around 20 followers per day on one of my accounts purely from this method alone.
9. Interact With Others
Interaction is key within Twitter because each action, whether it’s tweeting, retweeting, liking, etc will be seen. One extra interaction is one extra chance that you’ll be seen and in general the more traffic you get the more followers you get.
When people mention you, reply to your tweet, retweet you, ask you a question, etc make sure you reply back. People want to know that they’re talking to a real person and it’s not just an automated account that’s programmatically being posted to.
People don’t like you only promoting your own content. Instead, they like to see that you’re willing to spread other people’s content as well. Plus if accounts see that you retweet their content they are more likely to reciprocate and retweet your content as well. And of course the more people retweet your content the more visibility it gets and the more followers you’ll get.
10. Use Your Website
You already get traffic to your website so why not use it to promote your Twitter account? Most people who are online have social media accounts and would love other ways to connect with you rather just the old boring “Contact Us” form that you usually find on websites. It’s also an easy way for them to find out more about you and quickly learn about any updates. With this in mind, you should always have a link to your Twitter account on your website.
Since people are already going to your website they may want to share your page with their friends. Instead of having them manually copying and pasting the link to their social media networks, make it dead simple for them by adding plugins that will allow them to do it directly from your page.
If you use WordPress for your site there are plugins that easily do this for you like SumoMe. In fact, that’s what I use for this site and you can see the sharing options on the left hand side. Go ahead and share this post to see just how easy it it is. SumoMe also has other cool options like adding a newsletter to your site. Remember to add your Twitter account on the footer of every newsletter article you email out. I really recommend you checking out SumoMe.
11. Use Twitter Ads
I will be covering this in more detail in the next lesson but using Twitter Ads can greatly increase exposure which in turn will give you more followers and more sales. Keep in mind that this is a paid service where Twitter will promote your account and tweets in various places in the site.
Not everyone has the same objective on Twitter so they have several different types of campaigns you can run.
- Website clicks or conversions
- Tweet engagements
- App installs or engagements
- Leads on Twitter
You are able to target specific niches or even the global audience. Of course like any good campaign there will be analytics that will help you analyze the effectiveness of each campaign.
Here are some other ideas you can try to get more attention and followers
- Try and get a celebrity or a famous person to follow you or interact – Although the chances of this is low, I already told you before that when they interact, their massive following will see this and give you tons of visibility.
- Ask people to retweet you – Something as simple as asking “Please retweet” will encourage them to retweet you and actually has a higher retweet success rate than those without it. Some say up to 4 times more!
- Promote your Twitter account on all your marketing material like business cards, brochures, and website
- Tweet motivational or inspirational quotes as they apply to everyone and are likely to get retweeted
- Have a link to your Twitter on other social media profilesAsk questions in your tweets to provoke a response and increase engagement
- Keep your tweets short and concise so it’s easier to share or retweet
Don’t Buy Followers!
I’m sure you’ve searched the web and have come across sites that promise to get you thousands of followers… for a price! Don’t give into temptation of these sites. Yes, they may be able to give you thousands of followers but do they even care about what you’re saying on Twitter?
Most of them are “zombie” accounts that people have created just to follow others for money. All this does is increase your follower count and that’s pretty much it. Like I said before, engagement is what really matters on Twitter and if those accounts aren’t engaging then what use are they? Here’s an interesting article on fake paid followers.
Another thing is credibility and loss of integrity. Going from 100 followers to 10,000 within a few days will surely make a few people suspicious. They’ll view it as trying to mislead and appear more popular than you really are and that hurts your reputation. There’s even a way to check how many fake followers an account has.
In addition to all this it is actually against Twitter’s rules to buy followers. It’s labeled under the spam section at the very bottom of the Twitter rules. It states that a factor that they take into account when determining what conduct is considered spamming is:
if you are selling or purchasing account interactions (such as selling or purchasing followers, Retweets, likes, etc.)
So bottom line is, DON’T BUY FOLLOWERS! Worst case your account will get BANNED and all the work you’ve done to build your followers will be gone.
If you do want to “buy” followers, the best way is to use Twitter Ads to build your followers in a more easy and credible way. In the next lesson I’ll be focusing on Twitter Ads.
So today you learned:
- Why you should build your network
- Twitter limits
- How to build your network
- Some other ideas on building your network
- Don’t buy followers!
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