By Ana Gotter on 12-Mar-2019 14:04:14
Every few months, a new article seems to roll out, assuring brands and marketers that the number of Twitter followers you have on your account doesn’t really matter. It’s about engagement, they say. While engagement does matter a great deal, the idea that your number of followers is pointless is, frankly, a load of baloney.
Of course the number of Twitter followers you have matters. Not only does having an enormous Twitter following give you instant social proof as soon as someone sees your account (which is always a nice boost for your business), it will also have a direct impact on your reach. If someone’s following you, it’s a sure-fire way to show up in their feed, even if you aren’t the very first thing they see.
And in some industries, having a high enough follower account can make or break career opportunities. Some publications won’t accept writers’ submissions if they don’t have a social standing, and you’ll look a lot more appealing to other businesses you want to partner with if you can hold your own in terms of an engaged audience.
So clearly Twitter followers do count, and with Twitter cracking down hard on violations of their rules, it’s essential to find free, authentic ways to connect with more users and expand that “following” number. In this post, we’re going to go over eight distinct and reliable ways to get free Twitter followers as well as looking at a few things you should never do to save you the hassle.
When people come to your profile, they’re not going to be particularly motivated to follow you if you’ve only had two tweets in the past four months; there’s no real risk of missing anything too big here.
You want your profile to look full and lively when people view it, and that means tweeting consistently. For most brands, this means tweeting at least five times a week, even if you’re supplementing that with a retweet here or there.
In addition to demonstrating that you’re active and invested on the platform, tweeting regularly means you’re putting more content out there that your current followers might share, giving you a great boost in exposure and hopefully a few new people who are interested in what you have to say, too.
Share Images & Videos
Visual content is paramount on all social media platforms, and that goes for Twitter, too. Sharing visuals with your Tweets will help your content stand out and drive more engagement. While images are a great choice, you should occasionally add in more dynamic visual components, too.
Whenever possible, include video into your marketing mix on Twitter; 82% of users watch video on platform, and data has shown that video posts are 6x more likely to get retweeted than posts with images.
And if you’re looking to prove a point or highlight an emotion but don’t want to actually create the visual content yourself, you can always fall back on a GIF to add to your post. One study found that tweets with GIFs received 55% more engagement than those that didn’t (though some research has found that true video content still yields more retweets).
Choose the Right Hashtags
High-visibility hashtags will help you maximise the reach of your posts, which gives you a better chance of being noticed by new users and then hopefully followed by them.
When it comes to hashtags to attract new followers, though, skip out on options like #followforfollow or #followhelp. This won’t do your brand any favors, and instead will look like spam and turn away users who would likely have been interested in you otherwise.
Instead, do some research with a tool like Hashtagify to find popular hashtags in your specific industry niche. Hashtagify specifically will show you popular hashtags that correlate to the term you’re searching for, and even show you their recent changes in popularity. This can help you find new terms to use, and select the best options to maximize your tweets’ visibility overall amongst users who aren’t familiar with you yet.
Follow & Engage with Influencers Authentically
Find influencers in your industry and follow them first, and then engage with them in an organic, non-spammy way. Share their content, ask questions in the replies section, or even hop on to join their Twitter chats when it’s time.
Building relationships with key influencers is always a good thing, even if the most it ever amounts to is a single retweet of one of your posts, or a polite follow back. If you’re engaging authentically, there’s also the added benefit that their followers might see those comments that you’re leaving, and it can catch their eye, too.
SEMrush, for example, holds a weekly Twitter chat discussing marketing, and anyone who would like to is welcome to weigh in. A few weeks later, they post a chat recap in a blog post, sharing some of the best responses they received. While this is an exceptional example, the right response can still get a retweet from the event hosts, which gives you an enormous and instant boost in visibility and hopefully some new followers.
Take Advantage of Cross-Platform Promotion
If you have followers somewhere, make sure that they’re following you on Twitter, too. Cross-platform promotion is a fast and easy way to get a nice surge of free Twitter followers without a ton of effort.
If you’ve got a Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, or LinkedIn, have a few dedicated posts encouraging users to follow you on Twitter specifically. If you don’t have a social following yet, you can still place Follow buttons on your site or run an email campaign with your current subscribers.
This strategy is most likely to be effective when it’s part of a carefully planned-out campaign. Some of your Facebook followers will happily click over to Twitter to join you there, after all, but the majority will think “eh, I’m following them here, that’s enough” unless you give them a reason to think otherwise.
Examples of how you could motivate people to follow you on Twitter include:
- Hosting regular Twitter chats on a topic they’d be interested in, especially if industry experts are involved.
- Having a live video featuring an influencer that you’ll be sharing soon.
- Featuring a Twitter contest where they can win a prize.
- Exclusive updates about products, services, sales, or insider information.
Tweet At Peak Posting Times
Towards the end of last year, Twitter released the option for users to switch from the “relevance”-based timeline that showed them content the algorithms thought you’d want to see to a chronological timeline.
Either way, posting at peak posting times can impact your reach in a way that can help you connect with and woo new followers. If your tweets go live at this peak activity times, users are more likely to see it right away and give it the initial surge of momentum right out of the gate that’s needed to get that post some extra action.
The ideal activity times will be different for each audience, and thus will vary from brand to brand. Some research indicates that posting around 3pm is the optimal time on weekends for Twitter, so start there and see what time frames your audience seems to respond to most. Once you figure it out, you can always use TweetDeck or third-party tools like Hootsuite and Sprout Social to schedule your content on time.
Post Content That’s Valuable
Creating and offering value is always a solid marketing strategy, especially on free platforms like social media marketing. If your users are learning and benefiting from your content, of course they’ll want to keep coming back and enthusiastically follow and engage with you.
Note that “valuable tweets” does not translate into “only share links to my blog posts and infographics.” This can actually wear your audience down quickly and is more likely to get them hitting that unfollow button. When you do share your content, always include a summary to explain why users are reading.
Outside of your own content, share interesting industry news and its impact on your customers, and retweet helpful resources from other accounts online. Curating and sharing content is a great strategy to keep your feed diverse and interesting, and it can give you a break on a chaotic day, too.
Treat Your Tweets Like Soundbytes
Even though Twitter has extended the character count from 140 to 280, the platform was built for the purpose of sharing short, concise ideas. It only makes sense that users love to share and follow accounts that are able to create snappy posts that get to the point in just a words.
If you’re able to create tweets that sound like soundbytes-- which are short, sweet, and make a big impact quickly-- you’ll generate a lot more retweets, and likely a lot more followers, too.
This may sound intimidating, but it’s easier than it sounds, and it’s a little like copywriting. Some ideas of where to start include:
- Taking a summarizing quote from a blog post you’ve written, and share it in a tweet with a link to the blog post.
- Use some humor, hyperbole, or irony to get your point across quickly in a way that stands out and entertains your audience. (Just make sure that if you use this one, you’re being relatively factually accurate and not inflammatory.)
- Focus on the impact of something, explaining how it will affect users instead of just sharing an update outright.
What Not to Do: The 3 Follower-Grabbing Tactics to Avoid
We’ve talked about what you should do when you want to get free Twitter followers (or just free followers in general, really), and we feel that it’s important to also address why a few specific options should not be used.
Though these 3 tactics might seem like viable shortcuts, they can actually damage your marketing efforts overall and even land you in hot water with Twitter.
These are the strategies you should avoid at all costs:
- Buying followers. Buying followers on social media is never a good idea. In most cases, these accounts will be run by bots or will just be empty accounts with no real people behind them. It does inflate your follower count, but it can sink your overall engagement rate, and people will notice that. Twitter’s also been on a rampage against inauthentic account activity and has been shutting a lot of these fake accounts down, so you could lose your money here, too.
- Follow-for-follow software. There have been all sorts of third party softwares available that try to ramp up your follower count, some of which work by finding accounts, following the users there, and hoping they follow you back. This software goes explicitly against Twitter’s guidelines, and it’s all being suspended. If you’ve used it in the past, go ahead and get rid of it now.
- Spamming people. This is technically free, but it’s never a good idea. Reaching out once is fine, but trying to reach out via PM multiple times to ask for followers isn’t a good idea. We don’t see this too often, but every now and then small brands try to reach out consistently and ask for follows through multiple private messages to a single user, and it’s not a good look.
Growing your Twitter follower count should be a priority for all businesses and brands who are using the platform for marketing purposes. It will help you reach more people regularly and consistently, giving you a higher chance of being able to distribute your messaging well and increasing its impact.
Focusing on methods to get free Twitter followers is always going to be a good bet. Not only will this be cost-effective, but the free methods are also the ones that focus on organic relationship building, which attracts the types of followers you want in the first place.
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