April 25th, 2012 | Add a Comment
My Twitter feed is loaded with spammy tweets such as “Gain 3000 Twitter followers in 24 hours!” followed by a link to a site that sells Twitter followers or some automated software that supposedly does it for you. Consider me old school, OCD, or just a control freak – but none of those options appeal to me whatsoever. I’ve managed quite a few Twitter accounts for businesses of different sizes and scopes. I’ve tried some of the automation techniques, and have found that I prefer to be hands-on when it comes to building a Twitter following. Why?
Twitter will ban people who are “aggressive follow churners” – meaning those accounts who follow and unfollow in large numbers. Handing off who you follow and unfollow to someone – or something – else, only takes the control out of your hands. I found automated “gain follower” sites to do absolutely nothing for me. I received nothing but fake or spammy followers who were in no way interested in my business. Most of them ended up unfollowing me rather quickly.
No automation or purchased followers can target as well as a human. If you understand the business for which you’re trying to build a Twitter presence, you can gain targeted followers better than any automated software. It is a slow grind, but if you are diligent and chip away at it every day, soon you’ll have a large, targeted, and REAL Twitter following that no automation could provide.
Here’s my method for gaining Twitter followers. It may be slower than other methods, but it has worked for me for two years, and all of my clients have been quite happy with the quality of followers they have gained.
How many to follow/unfollow a day?
I follow 100 users per day. When I hit a follow limit, I’ll unfollow 100 people via manageflitter.com. 100 seems to be a nice low number that will keep you under the Twitter radar. I have accounts I’ve done this for going on two years now with no issues. I’m sure I could probably go higher, but I’d rather be safe and slowly build a real following rather than try to do it all in one day.
Who to avoid?
- Protected/private users. These people tend to not be receptive to random followers. I’ve received angry public tweets simply because I sent a follow request. If they want to be private, by all means let them.
- Users with no bio. This is often a warning sign of a spam account. I may miss a few valid people by doing this, but not enough to worry about it.
- Users with no photo. Again, this is often a tell-tale sign of a fake or spam account.
- Users whose profile is a head-shot of a hot girl. 9 times out of 10, it’s a porn account.
- Users who claim to be “social media” or “SEO” experts. Those are rampant, and never targeted.
If you’re scanning a list of users, it’s easy to skip the non-photo accounts, the private accounts, the non-bio accounts, and the hot girl accounts. If you’re looking at a competitor’s followers, doing that will typically skip most of their spam followers.
How do I find targeted users?
I use a three-pronged approach. First, I have a few keywords in which I search on, and follow anyone that has tweeted recently using those keywords. Second, I have a list of competitors, and I go through them, following all of their followers since the last time I logged on. Third, I find lists relevant to my business and follow everyone on that list. I find these lists by checking my competitors and their followers.
- Look at any relevant lists which your contain your competitors, and follow everyone on the list.
- Follow all of your competitors. It’s good to see what they’re up to and what they might be doing that’s working well.
- If you’re a local business, search for your city name and follow anyone who might be a customer. Obviously, if you’re a 21+ place, you’ll want to skip all of the high school students.
- Look at some of your competitor’s followers’ profiles and see what lists contain them.
- Look at followers of newspapers, television, or other media related to your business or geographic area.
I make it a point to reply to at least a couple of tweets a day, even if the person isn’t following me back. Not only does this let everyone know that my account has a real person on the other end, but sometimes those conversations will also get their friends in your followers column. Replying to a tweet of someone you follow also increases the likelihood that they will notice you and follow you back.
And remember, if your Twitter profile isn’t updated often, people will have no reason to follow you.
You’ll find that you hit 100-per-day self-imposed limit pretty easily. If you have a competitor with tens of thousands of followers, it’s probably best to only follow their 100 most recent followers, and then follow any new followers each day.
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