There’s nothing more rewarding than having a group of like-minded individuals following you on your social media networks. From a business perspective, your ideal network of followers are customers, thought leaders and business prospects. From a personal perspective, you may be more interested in building your own social eminence, educating others, and sharing information that interests you (and you hope interests others).
Starting at ground zero of a social media account can be intimidating. If you are completely new to that space, it can require a fair bit of experimentation to find out what works best on that network. I remember hitting my first 100 followers just over 4 years ago on Twitter. It was so exciting, but I remember noticing that one of my classmates had over 1K followers and I couldn’t imagine how I would ever build my account to that level but I knew I would figure out how. It was slow growth over the next several years. Roughly 2 years ago, I had still only hit about 500 followers. I then started trying everything: I built lists, I engaged, I followed thought leaders, etc. In the next year and a half, I grew to about 3500 followers. I was feeling good about that but set an aggressive target to double that number in the next year. 9 months later, I was at about 4500 followers (better but nowhere close to my goal!).
Before I tell you the tools that helped me build my following from just over 4K to just over 12K in 6 months, I want to warn you about one thing NOT to do (because I know it’s oh so tempting).
Do NOT buy fake followers. In my experimentation mode, I tried this and bought 1000 followers for $20. While it was great for a few months, one day I logged on and my following had suddenly dropped by 500. A couple days later, it dropped another 500. Ultimately, they take them all back! So, not only do you waste your money but the quality of those followers is weak at best. They don’t engage with you and you certainly don’t want to engage with them because the content they post is mostly spam. If you are a business, this type of followers will do NOTHING for your bottom line.
Now, for the fun part. The two tools below have completely revamped my acquisition strategy on Twitter. They do the hard work for you while still allowing you to add your own personal touches and target an audience with similar interests.
Using these, I can usually get from 250-400 quality new followers each week. Both cost $5-10 per month to use but are totally worth it.
1) Tweetfull: https://tweetfull.com/
Use this tool to automatically favorite tweets and follow people based on certain keywords
If you’ve tried to manually search for people with similar interests as you and engage with each of them, it is incredibly difficult. First of all, Twitter often will filter the accounts with the highest number of followers first (typically celebrities and large businesses) so it takes you FOREVER to get to the people you actually want to target. Then, once you do, you still have to go account by account to determine who is a good fit. This tool takes that manual work out of the equation and finds people with similar interests for you. For me, I target people who use keywords like “marketing”, “social media”, “fitness”, “content marketing”, etc because those are the types of tweets and articles I’m interested in. When Tweetfull finds an account that fits these criteria, it favorites the tweet and follows the account. I can then decide later on if that account is a good fit but I don’t have to do the manual work of finding them.
2) Statusbrew: https://app.statusbrew.com/
Tracks who unfollows you, how long it’s been since those you follow have tweeted, shows you who has followed back.
Part of maintaining a credible social account is having an optimum balance of followers. While you don’t want a bunch of followers who have no interest in what you are posting, you also don’t want to be following a bunch of accounts if there is no chance of a mutual relationship, if they are inactive, or if they only followed you so you would follow back and they could then unfollow you.
Statusbrew gives you visibility into the activity of those you follow. To keep my account vibrant and my newsfeed free of spam, I tend to follow these 3 rules:
Unfollow anyone who has unfollowed me;
Unfollow anyone who has not tweeted in 30 days or more;
Unfollow those who have not followed me back after 10 days
There are of course exceptions to these rules but , in general, if you have unfollowed me, it is either because you are playing the “you follow/I follow back/ you unfollow” game, or we do not have similar interests. On the second point, if an account hasn’t tweeted in over a month, I consider it to be relatively inactive (unless you’re a friend, co-worker or family member, then I might give you some leeway).On the 3rd point, similar to the first, if an account hasn’t followed me back within 10 days, it probably isn’t going to so I unfollow and move on. The exceptions to this rule are of course celebrity accounts, businesses, or thought leaders…anyone who I have little expectation of following me back.
Using these 2 tools, I gained over 8000 quality followers in about 6 months, my engagement rates have skyrocketed, and it has inspired me to continue to refine my community of followers. So, if you are one of them, THANK YOU and I look forward to connecting further. Please also share any tips below on tools/best practices that have helped you build your networks!