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 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.
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