updated March 17, 2016
This post dedicated to @Rickyleepotts (https://twitter.com/rickyleepotts). Digital Communications Manager for a giant golf management company. Wild stuff. Good guy. You should follow him.
A few things to get out of the way first.
You have your reasons for wanting to increase the number of people who follow you on Twitter. This isn’t meant to justify having lots of people following you, it’s how I get followers. Maybe you want a lot of people to interact with, maybe people take you more seriously when you have a big following, whatever.
Next, I’m going to tell you how I get followers. That doesn’t mean it’s the best way, the fastest way, or anything like that.
OK, great. Here we go.
I want to tell you about my tweeting style, as it’s relevant. I don’t regularly share information on the weather, what I’m eating, or quotes from famous people. I also don’t curate content, that is to say share lots of links to articles I think people will find useful. I do participate in a lot of Twitter chats, and try to engage in discussion with people that follow me who I follow. People will follow you in chats if you say interesting things and engage them. I follow everyone in chats I’m in, as long as they don’t seem like complete loons or fools.
You’ll gain a lot of followers by following people. They’ll follow back. I avoid the people explicitly following back everyone, or club followbacks. You want actual people to connect with, not phone book authors just trying to accumulate names.
I keep a lot of lists. Lists are really important for a couple of reasons. People look at other people’s lists, so being on one will get you noticed. Also, when you start following a lot of people you don’t want to lose sight of the people you really want to follow. Friends, family, coworkers, people you want to sell to, smart people, funny people, etc. Make as many different lists as you want to. Make them private if you want to, but consider making them public. Adding someone to a list is a compliment, and can benefit them. Some people will follow you for putting them on lists. Many will follow you if you are on lists.
I look at lists I’m on, and when I find lists with 150 or fewer people, and they seem like they’re relevant to what I’m interested in, I follow everyone on the list. You can also find lists made by people you respect and do the same. I don’t review each person individually before adding them, beyond their avatar. It’s just too time consuming. You can always stop following someone when you see their tweets are offensive or annoying.
Have a decent bio, and an avatar picture. People may find you because of your bio, or decide to not follow you because of your bio or picture. I tend not to follow if a user doesn’t have a photo, or if it’s a revealing photo. Not interested in that stuff.
I only want to follow people who are interested in engaging with me, and that means if someone doesn’t follow me back after a while, I unfollow them. This is also a good idea because Twitter will stop you from following more people at some point. You have to tend to your list of people you’re following like a garden. People who aren’t following you, who stop following you, who post stuff you don’t like, should all be unfollowed. I used to use a free iOS app called Follow Tool to help me unfollow,which is free. I now us Unfollowerstats, and Manage Flitter, which is free for a certain number of uses per day.