Twitter: How to Grow your Followers Organically in 2017

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“I will not get a Twitter! Why would anyone want to use the word “tweet?”

That’s what I said when Twitter was first introduced in 2006. *Insert look of embarrassment.* But, in my defense, that was before I was a digital marketer!

Regardless, I’m now eating my words, because Twitter has become my favorite social media site for marketing. And I’ll be using the word “tweet” quite a lot in this article.

You probably know by now that your brand could benefit from being on Twitter, especially when it comes to giving customer service. But maybe you’re doing what I did— putting it off as long as possible.

Even after I realized Twitter wasn’t going anywhere and that I needed to get on the bandwagon, I waited for a very long time to join. I was intimidated by how different this network was. I didn’t fully understand it, and I had no idea how to build a following on it.

Neil Patel quote about Twitter.png

Like this quote? Click to tweet it.

One year ago, I finally got serious about Twitter. I had already joined but hadn’t built a strategy or been posting regularly. So I committed to tweeting 5 days a week. I still had no clue what I was doing—but at least I was starting.

I didn’t take a class on Twitter marketing. I didn’t wait until I had the network all figured out to begin posting. I just started. And I learned as I went.

I changed my strategy a few times.

I added to it a lot.

I constantly tried new things ( and I still do!).

I read articles.

I watched what others did.

I attended a Hootsuite webinar.

And I just kept learning.

I’m happy to report that I have learned quite a bit, made a lot of progress, and stumbled across some valuable tools. I’ve finally been able to get traction with my Twitter—I’m gaining a handful of new followers almost every single day.

And here’s the kicker:

I haven’t spent a penny on Twitter.

I haven’t bought any fake followers. I don’t ask for phony likes or retweets. My growth has been 100% organic and 100% authentic.

Now I want to help you the way so many others helped me. Whether you’re trying to get your first 100 Twitter followers or looking for ways to grow your Twitter beyond that mark, you can benefit from what I’ll share in this post. I want to show you the tools and strategies I use. Hopefully, this information will help you get your first 100 followers faster than I got mine!

Let’s get started.

Grow by Tweeting Often

The shelf life of a tweet is only a matter of minutes. Moz’s research indicates that original tweets only last in the main feed for 18 minutes. That means it will mostly just be seen by people who are on Twitter within those 18 minutes. Not long, right?

That’s why people tweet so often throughout the day—they want to reach more people. According to CoSchedule’s research gathered from several industry leaders, the golden number for tweets per day is around 15. That’s a lot of tweeting!

Don’t panic though.

You don’t have to create 15 new tweets each day. You don’t even have to manually gather curated tweets. We’ll talk about some tools that will do these things for you next. Just know that you don’t have to start with 15 tweets a day. Start smaller and work your way up.

Grow by Automating Your Tweets

The more you can automate Twitter, the less you have to think about Twitter.

Scheduling Tweets

With social media scheduling tools, you can write all your tweets within the tool (or app), schedule a time for them to be published, and then promptly forget about them. You can plan as far ahead as you want—a week, a month, etc. Then you only have to think about Twitter when you want to check your notifications or engage with other people.

Some well-known scheduling tools:

Buffer and Hootsuite both have free plans available, and (from what I can tell) Tweetdeck is completely free. Coshedule offer a free 14-day trial for all of their plans.

Creating Tweets

You don’t actually have to come up with 15 tweets a day all by yourself. (I can hear your sigh of relief.) These tools will make tweeting easier than you ever thought it could be.

Dlvr.it

I personally love this tool. It automatically tweets recently published content from any sites you choose. You enter the URL of the site’s blog, and dlvr.it picks up the RSS feed. When a new post is published on their blog, it tweets the title and link for you.

You can specify how many tweets you want each day per site and can even add text to the end or beginning of every tweet. You can personalize the text per site. For example, whenever dlvr.it tweets a new post from Marketing Profs for me, the article’s title is followed by “Via @MarketingProfs #Marketing”.

With the mention, Marketing Profs knows I’m sharing their content, and with the hashtag, I can reach more people interested in marketing.

blog2

With dlvr.it’s free plan, you can have 5 feeds (sites) and send 10 posts each day per social platform. (This tools also integrates with several other social platforms, including Pinterest, Facebook, and LinkedIn.)

For a guide on how to set up your dlvr.it feeds, read Jeff Bullas’s article, “How to Automate Twitter To Get Attention and Grow Your Followers.”

IFTTT

Perhaps you’re familiar with this new app that’s revolutionized how all your other apps, services, smart appliances, voice assistants, and other tools interact with each other. The possibilities with this app—for both work and personal use—are endless.

As a major bonus, it’s completely free.

One fantastic way you can use it—automating your social media. With this tool, automations are called applets. The applets are set in motion by “triggers” that you choose. For example, a trigger could be hitting like on a tweet that mentions you—which triggers an automatic Facebook post linking to the tweet.

Here’s several ways you can use applets for Twitter:

And there are plenty more applets to choose from (or you could make your own). See all the applets available for Twitter on IFTTT’s site (scroll down the page to see them).

For a longer guide on using IFTTT for social media, read Social Media Examiner’s article,  “How to Automate Your Social Media Marketing With IFTTT Applets.”

Grow by Timing Your Tweets

Rather than tweet whenever you think about it, time your tweets strategically to reach the most people possible.

Coschedule published a great article on the best days and times to post for every social channel. But you can’t automatically assume these times will work for you too. Every audience is a little different. For example, B2C and B2B businesses will have different “best posting times.”

Just like with any social platform, you have to test and experiment. I recommend posting at the same times (or time ranges) for a couple weeks to a month. Then switch the times to another recommended time slot, and post at that same time every day for the next couple weeks or month. At the end of your experiment, you can look through your Twitter analytics (on the right side of your profile) to see which time slot got the most impressions, followers, retweets, etc.

Even after you’ve found a few winning times, you aren’t bound to them. You may find that the time changes during certain seasons or holidays. It’s perfectly fine to change your posting time whenever you need to. And it’s a wise idea to continue experimenting with other days and times here and there to make sure you’re still using the best time slot for you.

To begin with, here’s a snapshot of some recommended times to test.

blog3

Read CoSchedule’s entire article to get more industry leaders’ ideas for best days and times to tweet.

Grow by Using Hashtags Wisely

Hashtags can give you a serious engagement boost, if you use them right. They allow you to reach people outside your own network who are already interested in your industry, product, or service.

Fast hashtag facts from Buffer:

  1. Tweets with hashtags get two times more engagement than tweets without.
  2. Tweets with one or more hashtag are 55 percent more likely to be retweeted.
  3. When you use more than two hashtags, your engagement actually drops by an average of 17 percent.

Choosing Hashtags

Not sure which hashtags to use? Search for influencers in your industry on Twitter to see what tags they’re using. Make a list, then plug them into the handy tool Hashtagify.

This tool will show you related hashtags, how closely they relate to the search term, how often the related tags are used on social media, the top influencers using the searched hashtag, and recent tweets using it. You can see even more analytics on a paid plan.

When I search #baking, this is what Hashtagify shows.

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When you hover over the related terms, you can see more information about them.

You can then choose which hashtags are most relevant to you and begin testing them. If a tweet with one or two of them gets more engagement than usual, make a few more tweets with the same hashtags to see if they’re the reason why. If so, you’ve found some winners! (When you find winners like this, plug them into Hashtagify to find more similar tags to reach even more people.)

The more you experiment, the more you’ll see which hashtags work for you and which don’t. Hashtagify gives you great suggestions to start with.

 Grow by Mentioning People

When you add mentions to your tweets, those people’s followers can now see your tweet too. Whenever I quote someone in my article or recommend a tool they created, I mention them in my tweet. This way, all of their followers, plus mine, see it.

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Also—with retweets, mention the people you’re retweeting to make double sure they see that you’re interacting with their content. The more you interact with them, the more likely they are to follow you back, interact with you, and recognize you when you directly contact them to ask about submitting a guest post or something else.

Grow by Using Old Tweets

If a tweet’s shelf life is only 18 minutes, then chances are more of your followers are not seeing it than those that are. The solution is simple—reuse them!

Shelf life of a tweet.png

Like this tip? Click to tweet it.

Every week, I go into my Twitter analytics  to find the tweets that got the most engagement in the last few months. Then I slightly rearrange the text, maybe change the picture (but usually use the same hashtags), and I tweet the same content again. This way, new people will hopefully see it.

You can re-share tweets that didn’t perform well too. They may perform better if you share them at a different time, mention someone, or use different text or hashtags.

Your past tweeting history is a quick and easy place to get content for your new posts. Plus, this strategy gives you extra mileage for each tweet you re-share.

Grow by Contributing Guest Posts

This strategy may seem off-topic, but I assure you it’s drastically boosted my follower count.

When you write guest posts for respected online publications that have a strong social media presence, you benefit in several ways.

  • You gain authority for being on such a respected site.
  • You get links to your site and possibly social media sites.
  • You now have published samples to help you get published in an even more respected publication.
  • The publication will share your post with all their followers – possibly multiple times.

You’ll get in front of people you may never have been able to otherwise. And because that publication has such a strong, loyal following, people will gladly share their (and your) content. Your post will get far more traction when it’s promoted by that publication than when it’s promoted by you.

A post I submitted to Social Media Today got published recently (yay!). When I shared that post, my engagement looked like this:

My tweet

But when Social Media Today shared that same post, their engagement looked like this:

SMT tweet

And that was just one of the tweets. They actually tweeted that post two or three times, each with significant engagement. (See, even they reuse content!)

Since I was mentioned in their post, I got notified each time someone commented on it, liked it, or retweeted it. This gave me the opportunity to connect with many industry experts through a comment, DM, and/or a follow.

Each time one of my posts gets published on a site like this, my follower count spikes. The key is to to follow back all the ones I want to stick around and to continue creating content like the piece they followed me for, so I don’t lose their follow—and, believe me, you can lose their follow.

I recommend submitting one post a month. A great place to start is a site that accepts syndicated content from your blog, such as Social Media Today or Business 2 Community.

My Results

After following these strategies for just 2.5 months, these were my results:

  • I sent 2x as many tweets
  • I averaged 11,000 additional impressions per month
  • I averaged 41 additional mentions a month
  • I averaged 60 additional follows a month

Imagine how much more these numbers could grow, the longer I follow these strategies!

You can see this same success too. All you have to do is start. You don’t have to start all of these strategies at once. Just start somewhere.

 

Free Twitter Checklist

To help you remember these points and write stronger tweets, I’ve created a Twitter checklist. Save this checklist to your computer to remember which tools tools to use, how many hashtags to use, and other handy tips like these.

If you’d like me to send you this list, fill out the quick form below. (Full disclosure: I’ll also send you my recent social media and marketing articles twice a month—but that’s it.) You can expect the checklist to land in your inbox within the next couple days.

Happy tweeting!


Thanks for reading! By the way – If you enjoyed this post, you’ll probably also like “How to Nail Customer Service on Twitter (Plus 8 Brands Who Have).”

Click the image to see strategies and tools that will help you grow your Twitter organically. (1).png

 

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5 thoughts on “Twitter: How to Grow your Followers Organically in 2017

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