Twitter Tips for Social Media “Unenthusiasts”: Insights from a Freelancer with Almost 12,000 Followers

I have a confession to make. I’m not a big fan of social media – at least not beyond Twitter. I tend to have to be pushed into using technology by my freelance writing clients and/or those who purchase my ebooks.

Of course, social media isn’t going anywhere and it’s a necessary part of doing business these days. So following are some twitter marketing tips; insights, if you will, on how I got to almost 12,000 followers (as of this writing) – even though I was a very tepid user for the first few years I had my Twitter account (I opened my account in 2008).

How I Get More Followers on Twitter

There are tons of Twitter tools that will allow you get more followers automatically. There are also people you can hire from sites like Fiverr who will promise you 2,000 new followers for $5 (FYI, most of these won’t be real people; they’ll be bots).

I don’t use any of these – in fact, I’m quite (gleefully) ignorant about these types of tools.

How to Find People to Follow on Twitter

The easiest way I’ve found to get new Twitter followers is to seek them out manually and follow and interact with them.

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For example, I own an SEO writing company. I also write and self-publish ebooks about freelance writing. So freelance writers, bloggers, journalists, etc., are all folks I’m interested in following. Hence, I conduct searches for them by clicking on #Discover and “Who to Follow” after logging in. See?

tips on how to get more twitter followers

A certain number of those will follow you back. It’s known as your Twitter follow back rate for those who might not know. FYI, this rate will vary. I once read somewhere that 30 to 40 percent of those you follow will follow you back.

My twitter follow back rate is 74.2%, according to this free Twitter followback tool.

How many people are following you back on Twitter?

FYI, this tool also shows you who is NOT following you back, so you can go through and unfollow them quickly if you want. I noticed that most of those who weren’t following me back were celebrities and large media outlets, which is totally expected.

Should You Follow Back Every Person Who Follows You?

I used to be judicious about following only those in my niche back. But then, I read @tedcoine’s Twitter followback policy and it made a lot of sense to me, so I adopted it as my own.

Should Your “Following” Count be Higher or Lower than Your “Followers” Number?

There used to be a school of thought that said that you should have more people following you than you follow. I tried to adhere to this, but then once I started actively following folks, mine Following number outpaced the number of Followers I had.

Now, I no longer pay attention to this because I’ve noticed plenty of active, influential tweeters who are following more people than are following them.

In my experience, if you’re actively engaged, it doesn’t matter if you have more following you or not.

How Many People Per Day Should You Follow?

I try to follow at least five to 10 new people per day. I started doing this just last month (June 2013). Some days, I may follow 20 or 30 and other days, none; but within any given week, I estimate that I follow at least 50. And it’s paying off. On a normal day, I pick up an average of 3-10 new followers.

While it’s not a lot considering what some of the auto tools can do for you, it’s enough for me. I’ve always been a “slow and steady wins the race” kind of girl.  And if you’re in business for the long haul, it’s a no-fail strategy, in my opinion.

How Many of Your Twitter Followers are Fake?

You can do this in just a few minutes with a free Twitter tool called Fake Follower Check. Here are my stats. Learn more about what a “good” Twitter fake follower score is.

Find out how many fake twitter followers you have.

Here’s an interesting experiment on if fake Twitter followers help or hurt you. You might be very surprised at the findings. I know I was.

Should You Buy Twitter Followers?

Most social media marketing experts advise against it. Based on the info in the experiment cited just above though, you might change your mind.

My thoughts are this – if you’re just starting out and want to get some traction under you, it’s something you might want to consider. The main reason is, many like to follow those who have a lot (a few thousand) of followers. If they look at your account and see that you have 86 followers, they may not follow you.

Now on the other hand, are those the kinds of followers you want to cultivate? Probably not. But again, it’s a catch-22 – you need followers to get followers, but how do you get followers without any followers?

Only you can make the decision as to whether buying Twitter followers is right for you.

As an aside, my account has grown organically, except for the time I bartered with another business owner who got me  over 700 followers in a bit more than two weeks.

How Often Should You Tweet Your Own Stuff?

I use the 80/20 ratio rule; 80% sharing/retweeting; 20% sending out tweets to your stuff. Usually, I tweet my stuff once in the mornings (early) and once at the end of the day. I like for a link to one of my posts to be a tweet at the end of the day because it stays at the top of my Twitter stream overnight (I usually don’t tweet past 7 or 8 pm (U.S. EST)).

Many social media users don’t scroll down your whole page, and again, the bulk of my tweets are retweets so it can be a while before “I” show up in my stream. This way, I’m front and center — at least overnight.

Getting More Twitter Followers Is as Simple as Minding Your Manners

I could literally write a book (hmmm, I just might) on how to get more twitter followers — organically — as there’s so much more I could say on this subject.

But basically, it’s simple. I manually search for those in my niche; follow a certain number of them per day/week; share a lot of useful info from others; and am interactive, eg, responding to those who reach out to me and thanking those who RT, follow and or mention me in some way.

Like building any friendship, it’s basic manners – only it’s virtual. I’m a southern girl; luckily practicing good manners is something my mom drilled into me and my sisters when I was growing up. And now, it pays off in the world of social media marketing.

Yet another reason to always listen to your mother. :-)

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