Wednesday, July 6, 2016

IWSG: Getting Twitter Followers


It took me a long time to join Twitter -- until April 2015 -- but after a bunch of missteps, I now have 15,000 followers.  People ask me how I got so many.  I'm no Twitter Queen or Twitter savant, but I figured I'd share the things I did that worked for anyone who's interested.

Why do you need a lot of Twitter followers?


The more Twitter followers you have, the more people see your tweets and can retweet them to their followers.  Also, you can meet people who have the same interests as you.  They may retweet you on Twitter or even connect with you on your other social media sites.  I’ve gotten a bunch of free books from authors because many of them are giving away books if you sign up for their newsletters.  I’ve read good stuff and bad stuff and gotten to know some very fun writers.

Here are the steps that helped me get 15,000 followers in the past year:

#1 Your Twitter Bio.  Make sure your bio has your main interests in it and doesn’t sound snobby (I’m the soon-to-be bestselling author of brilliant novels) or doesn’t sound too humble (I’m a wannabe writer who hopes to have my stories published some day).  Personal info like spouse’s or children’s names should probably be left out.  Names of TV shows you love can be included as hashtags, like #TWD (The Walking Dead) or #GoT (Game of Thrones).  And put your blog address in the space provided in your profile.

#2 Make Lists. Some people don’t want to increase their followers because they have 500 friends and that’s all they can keep track of on the twitter feed.  They think any more will just confuse them.  This is wrong.  You can keep people separated into small 100 member (or so) groups if you put them in lists.  Want to see what your friends posted? Just click your list to see them all in one feed.  In case you don’t know how to make a list => Hit the thumbnail of your pic on the top right of your page. A drop-down menu will appear. Click “List.” Look on the right side of the new page and click “Create New List.” Name each list so you can keep your personal friends, blogosphere friends, fellow writers/hobbyists, genre specific writers, work buddies or whomever separate and easy to find.  When you follow a person who you want on one of your lists, click the gear next to the “Follow” box and choose “Add or Remove From List.”  When the pop-up appears, just click the list you want them on.

#3 Go forth and follow people!

*Hint* Do NOT click Follow on Twitter suggested accounts listed on the right sidebar or the ones that drop down when you follow someone new.  Twitter may find people who fit your search criteria, but many aren’t active and haven’t posted in a long time. They will never follow you back, which defeats the purpose of increasing your followers.

#4 Ways to Find People to Follow:

a) Blogger Friends. They often have their twitter links on their web sites. Follow them and mention it in a blog comment, so they know to look for you. (And don’t forget to add them to a list if you want.)

b) Twitter Search. Put your genre or your hobbies into the search box (with a hashtag like #fantasy or #crafts) and go see the people who’re tweeting about what you’re interested in.  You can see a Top feed, Live feed, and accounts with that hashtag or word in the bio.

c) Ask Friends.  If you’re on Facebook or another social media site, post your Twitter page address (like https://twitter.com/LXCain) and tell everyone that they can post their twitter address or handle (like @LXCain) in the comments, and you’ll follow them.

d) Grab the Big Dawgs' Followers. If you know or happen across someone in your genre/hobby who has a LOT of followers, click their Followers list and do a search via your browser for what you’re interested in, like: author, writer, fantasy, photography, etc. It will locate all the followers on the page with that word in their bio.  If they've followed the Big Dawg recently (the first 100 or so accounts in the list), chances are they're active, like to follow people, and will probably follow you back.

Here’s where it gets a little tricky.

Twitter will only allow you to follow over 2000 accounts IF you  have 2000 accounts following you.  Some people are slow to follow back.  Others don’t follow back at all.  If your account gets frozen at 2000, you won’t be able to follow any more people.  Then you must unfollow people to drop your following number below 2000. Once you do that, you can follow new people and wait for your follower number to catch up.

The best way to decide who to unfollow is to use an online “unfollow” app/site so you can see who hasn’t followed you back or who has unfollowed you.

Here are two free and good ones:

When your followers pass the 2000 mark, you can follow whoever you want as long as you don’t go over more than 10% of your followers. In other words, if you are following 3300, but your followers haven’t reached 3000, Twitter won’t let you follow any more until you have more followers. Again, the online apps are the easiest way to find and unfollow people who didn’t follow you back.



Getting followers is labor intensive.  It requires time -- sometimes months, sometimes a year or more.  The good news is that after you hit 10,000 followers, it starts feeding itself.  People will follow you every day.  They want to follow someone with a high follower number.  You’re a “star” and they think if you retweet them, their tweets will be seen by 10,000 people.  At that point, you can stop looking for new followers – they’ll find you.


If you have any questions, ask in the comments and I'll do my best to answer them.  :)



This is a post for the Insecure Writer's Support Group, the brainchild of Alex J. Cavanaugh. It exists so the community of blogging writers can share and support each other, blog-hopping to cheerlead and commiserate. To find out more, visit: Insecure Writer's Support Group. Plus, check out the IWSG Website for lots of helpful info and links.

45 comments:

Dr. Theda said...

Sorry, dear Lady Lexa....we recently started using a bit of Facebook... otherwise, blogging is all that we do..., and lately some things at "Spore.com"... (We are listed as "Creeping Terror").
Hope that you and yours are well..
...Hello from Marshville...

Sheena-kay Graham said...

Yes twitter can be labor intensive so you need to enjoy using the site to really be able to stay in the follower game. Great tips Lexa.

Heather R. Holden said...

15000 followers?! Wow. I've been on Twitter for years, and can't imagine ever having that many, haha. And I never knew Twitter had rules about exactly how many people you can follow at any given time. Crazy!

Michelle Wallace said...

Hi Lexa!
Aha! So THAT'S the secret! Thanks for sharing!
I've been just doing my own thing via trial and error...more error of course. LOL
See you on Twitter!
Writer In Transit

J.H. Moncrieff said...

Wow, 15,000 followers in just over a year!? That's phenomenal.

I do most of the things you mentioned, if not all, and I only have 3500. How long do you spend on Twitter each day to build your following?

I've noticed you RT a lot.

Medeia Sharif said...

Amazing follower numbers. I also look at the Big Dawgs.

Sue Bursztynski said...

I have about 590 followers, but tend to block those which only followed me because I have used a particular word in a post, eg "ferret" got me an immediate follow by the Ferret Society, which couldn't possibly have known anything about me, or cared. And I will definitely block anyone who appears to have porn leanings, or pictures of a big-breasted half-naked woman in the blurb, or which is a business that has no connection with what I do and only posts ads. Sometimes there is someone whose entire tweet material is made up of quotes or retweets. I don't necessarily block them, but I don't follow back. I will worry about the 2000 limit when I get there. ;-)

JeffO said...

I think there's only one thing missing from this list: Tweet!

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

And the tricks you emailed me are working!
I learned to divide my followers into lists real quick.
I'm over five thousand and still growing, so I'll just keep plugging away.

L. Diane Wolfe said...

I use whounfollowedme.com to find the unfollowers. I also won't follow anyone who has a huge following but they don't follow very many. They'll just unfollow you within a week or so.

Yolanda Renée said...

Great advice! I'm trying and just added 1000 new followers recently. You are the Twitter Queen and thanks for always RT my tweets. That's lovely and I try to reciprocate, especially with new followers. RT's help cement the relationship with new followers!
Love it, thank you!

Joylene Nowell Butler said...

Thank you for explaining this so clearly. Could you do a post on Goodreads next? Seriously, you helped me understand stuff I've never grasped before. I'm feeling enlightened. Thanks, Lexa.

Julie Flanders said...

This is something I'm working hard on right now so I really appreciate these tips! Thank you for sharing. You are a twitter rock star so I know I'm learning from one of the best. :)

Crystal Collier said...

Sweet! Can I tell you how much I appreciate your experience here? I'm on Twitter and not doing too shabby for the amount of effort I put into it, but we always want to do better, eh? I know some of the insiders tips (and have been too lazy to implement them), but others are brand new.

Inge H. Borg said...

Lexa, I always learn from the best. Thanks to your tips, I just created a Historical Fiction and an Opera group for myself. And just subscribed to View-On-Demand for live performances from the Vienna States Opera - that'll be my reward.
How do you have time for all this? (When you are not changing filters, that is!)

Sherry Ellis said...

You're really going to town on Twitter! 15,000 followers is impressive!

Laura Clipson said...

Oh wow, these are great tips! I've been thinking of getting back into twitter lately, I've got an account but I rarely post anything.

Kate Larkindale said...

Great tips! You've done wonders to get that many followers. Personally, I prefer to use Twitter to have conversations and with that many people to talk to, I'd never get to talk to most of them. So I think I'll keep my followers list to a level where I can talk to people individually and enjoy the conversations.

Michael Di Gesu said...

Hi, Lexa,

Thanks for the tips. I tried a few of these and they only worked on a temporary basis. I was unfollowed almost immediately after I had followed someone. So I got annoyed and stopped trying. May give it ago again...

Stephen Hayes said...

People keep telling me I should get into Twitter but so far i haven't. Maybe your post will convince me to take the leap.

Kim Lajevardi said...

More great Twitter advice. You are the master. I'll have to remember to reference this post to set up lists. I still haven't done that. *blush*

Lexa Cain said...

ANSWERS TO QUESTIONS:

JH Moncrief - Finding new followers took me about 5 hrs per week, for about 9 months. Now I don't have to find them, but I spend 6-7 hrs a week retweeting those who retweet me. That's very time consuming, but results in my weekly pinned tweet getting about 250 retweets.

Sue Bursztynski - To increase your followers, you need to accept the dross with the gold. Gold you put in a list, so you can find them again, and dross you just let plump up your numbers so more people will be interested in following you. (But I block all porn accounts too.)

JeffO - Yes, you're right! Although RT-ing will often help more than tweeting.I only tweet once a week, but I RT 200+.

Joylene Nowell Butler - Goodreads is a confusing maze. I've deliberately not friended many there because Amazon now owns it and likes to censor reviews it thinks are from "friends." But I've picked up a trick or two about finding reviewers, which I'll put in a future post.

Inge Borg - Yes, it's time consuming. I sped 6-7 hrs a week on Twitter, sometimes more.

Kate Larkindale - I talk to people individually and sometimes have conversations. Their tweets to me come up in my notifications, so I never miss any.

emaginette said...

Great twitter advice. Thank you. :-)

Anna from elements of emaginette

messymimi said...

It sounds like a fabulous resource for getting your name out there, i'm glad you figured out how to get it to work for you!

Tamara Narayan said...

I have yet to jump into Twitter, so I will be bookmarking this post. Thank you!! And congrats on being so successful in this realm.

Carol Kilgore said...

Twitter is its own wickedly weird little self. Some days I love it. Other days, not so much. Either way, it's always fun. Some great tips here. Thanks! I love seeing your tweets on my feed :)

Loni Townsend said...

I've been noticing retweets from you. Unfortunately, I don't even have time to write right now, so I doubt I'll be able to master Twitter anytime soon. :)

Chrys Fey said...

Great tips. I just passed 1,000 followers and am amazed at how many you have. I am thinking of adding a show or two to my bio now. ;)

Denise Covey said...

You are definitely the Twitter Queen, Lexa, IMHO. I like twitter but know I could use it better if I had more time. I'm pretty happy with the way things are, but get annoyed at that 'You have reached your follower limit' message, then I have to take the time to do a bit of unfollowing.

And I really don't know how you manage to RT so many tweets. Do you have an automatic RT system I don't know about.

Great tips for twitter! Thank you! :-)

alexia said...

Wow, impressive! I don't even have 1k yet. Great tips!

Beverly Stowe McClure said...

Thanks for the advice, Lexa. My Twitter following is pathetic. Maybe I can get some new ones now. Will try.

Jenni Enzor said...

This was really informative. I didn't know about the list feature. I don't do much on Twitter anymore, but I have observed that after a certain number, I was getting a lot of followers each week (and this was without posting much). But if I decide to dive back in again, I will definitely be using some of these tips.

Lexa Cain said...

ANSWERING QUESTIONS:

Michael Di Gesu - There were times I'd follow 500 and only 250 would follow back. The worst was when I was using Follow groups and Follow trains. Those always have fake accounts in them. Don't get discouraged and keep on following!

Denise Covey - Yes! You've discovered my secret! After I hit 12k, and started getting a lot of RTs (and doing return RTs), I just couldn't keep up with everyone. I now use Round Team. I put my favorite people on a list and they get RT-ed throughout the day in my name. I'm so happy to use Round Team to RT people when I really want to but just don't have the time.

Andrew Leon said...

This is obviously something I need to work on.

mshatch said...

Ditto what Andrew said. *sigh*

Excellent tips!

Pat Garcia said...

Just want to say thank you for this great information about twitter, especially about lists. I haven't made any list but I will now.

Shalom aleichem,
Patricia

H.R. Sinclair, Southpaw said...

It's a lot more complicated than I thought. I do need to try the lists though, that sounds handy.

lorilmaclaughlin.com said...

Wow, you've obviously got Twitter figured out. I haven't used my Twitter account other than to link my blog posts to it. I don't have the time to put into it right now, and that 140 character limit — not sure I can deal with that. I'm bookmarking your tips, though, for possible future use. Thanks for all the info!

Jeff Chapman said...

Great post! Thanks for the twitter lesson.

Rhonda Albom said...

Some great tips here. For a long time I had about 1000 followers, and it was stagnant, then I started actually using Twitter, doing many of the same thing you did, and this week I crossed 20K followers. I was blown away at first.

Dianne K. Salerni said...

Two suggestions for things NOT to do:

Unfollow people as soon as they follow you back just so you can drop your number and add more people. This is icky, and sadly, a lot of people do it.

Unfollow people who don't follow you back and then keep adding them again and again trying to get their attention. If someone doesn't follow you back, move on!

TheCyborgMom said...

Great post! Personally, I'm not a twitter fan. I don't know, just seems really impersonal and unexciting to me. With facebook, it's more personal, and with instagram (this is new to me), it's more visual, which I like. I do wish I could make lists with instagram like you can with twitter...or maybe you can and I'm just ignorant of how it works! :) Anyhoo, thanks for all the retweets lately...I appreciate it!
~Katie

Shannon Lawrence said...

Once again, some great tips! I do regularly track who unfollowed me, and have finally tipped the scale to having more followers than blogs I follow. I still have far to go, but it was a nice place to get to.

Cathy Kennedy said...

Lexa, great tips! I breezed through these and plan to re-read them later. I'm not very savvy with Twitter and can use these helpful ideas to growing my followers. Thanks for sharing! :D

Yvonne Ventresca said...

Great advice! I like to use lists, too. Thanks for the post!

Yvonne V

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