I gained 1,479 targeted Twitter followers in 28 days to kick off the new year.
More importantly, I converted almost 13% of the users who came to my blog via Twitter to sign up for my email list.
The following article breaks down the goal that I originally set, how I drove traffic to my blog and the 4 steps I used. I’ve also added a 5th step you can use to really boost your followers with a little more time investment.
This post has a ton of valuable action items and is over 2600 words long, so I’ve made a PDF copy available for download below!
The Goal for Targeted Twitter Followers Explained
If you know me at all you know that the first thing I did was set a SMART goal. The goal was to gain 1500 targeted twitter followers in January, spending less than 4hrs per week doing it.
I started the month with less than 50 followers so part of this experiment was how quickly I could gain followers and start driving traffic to my blog.
The rest of the reasons behind this goal are broken down below:
1. The quantity
I’ve seen other people advertise 1000 in a month or something along those lines. So I wanted to push it a bit and see just what I can do. The biggest challenge here is that twitter will block or suspend users who mass follow or unfollow, so I had to limit myself to about a 100 of each a day.
There are plenty of places online you can buy followers, or you can use the “#followback” to find people who actively advertise that they will exchange follows.
That’s not the point of gaining twitter followers… at least not for me (hopefully not for you either).
I want to gain followers who are interested in the topics I’m writing about. Those who will benefit from reading my words. Followers whom I may be able to help escape the 9-5 grind.
A month is a good time period to experiment with. At the start of the process, I was very interested to see how increasing my twitter followers would translate to page views and email subscribers.
4. 4hrs per week
I’ve got a lot going on, and building my twitter audience is just one of my content marketing strategies. For this to be an effective strategy it had to be something that could be done without significant time invested.
I chose Twitter for several reasons. First off is simply that I like Twitter. And it’s not Facebook. Nothing against Facebook, but I think it’s a much more crowded space than Twitter.
I like many of the tools you can use with Twitter (more on that to come).
It’s easy to automate your content.
Lastly, due to the character limit on the tweets, I find it’s easier to put out content that will attract. (although as of January of 16′ there are a lot of rumors that character limits may be raised!).
Step 1: Connect with your followers
Frankly, the number of your twitter followers doesn’t matter. Period.
How you can channel your twitter followers to help you achieve your overall goal is the only reason to build a large audience on twitter.
To that end, when you connect with people on twitter you want to engage them. You want to acknowledge them and start a dialogue with them. And if possible, you want to use the first impression to drive your new followers to a landing page, giveaway, or product.
There are two basic ways to do this. Direct messages or shout outs via tweet. Some feel direct messages are too forward and obtrusive with a new follower.
I, however, feel it’s a MUCH better way to accomplish your goal (Driving traffic off of twitter).
A tweet out to need followers acknowledges them, but it does nothing to get your message across.
With a direct message, you can say hello, thank them for following, and invite them to check out your product, join your email list, or sign up for a service.
Here’s a sample of my direct message.
My number one goal for the first half of this year is to push traffic to this little blog. By linking them to my landing page for “Journey to 100k, without a job” puts them a single click from joining my email list.
Granted, you may lose a few followers this way. That’s ok. They obviously aren’t your audience anyway.
I like to use Crowdfire’s Automate feature for this function. This will send out a custom direct message instantly to someone who follows you. You can also have multiple messages set up, letting you perform A/B tests for free.
Step 2: Gain an Audience
It’s really easy to gain an audience on twitter. You can buy one of somewhere between 5000-10,000 people on many sites around the web.
Almost all of these followers will be generic, #followback people that have zero interest in you or your business.
This will get you nowhere.
The way I’ll teach you gets you targeted followers in your niche. People that will be interested in what you are working on. It takes longer this way, but the returns will be far greater. You want to follow people who not only share similar interests to you but who will follow you back. Users who are likely to engage with your content in some way.
Not to mention that twitter won’t block your account if you do it my way!
I like to use Tweepi for this action, but you can use Crowdfire as well. I find the layout on Tweepi fits better with the method I use for following/unfollowing, but all the same information is available on Crowdfire.
To find targeted followers you can start by making a list of the 10 most influential people in your niche. Go to twitter and write down their handles (the @___________).
Once you’ve signed up for Tweepi start by selecting the ‘By @user’s followers” under the Follow Tools drop down menu.
Enter on of the twitter handles that you wrote down earlier into the data field on the following page.
This will pull up a long list of people who follow the user you have deemed a big deal in your niche. The people who follow that person is likely to be interested in your topic.
This is not only how you’ll gain targetted followers but ones who will follow you as well.
If you are using Tweepi you’ll see four main columns. There are two that are especially important in my opinion.
The first is ‘Follow Ratio’, the second is ‘Last Tweeted’. It’s debatable in my mind which is more important, and neither are guaranteed markers for them following you back but by looking at them, you’ll increase your odds greatly.
I like to look at follower ratio first and aim for those people between the 80-200% follow ratio. Anything lower than that they probably won’t follow you back, anything higher than that and it’s likely they are a bot or mass follower account.
If it’s not in between 80-200% then I skip to the next line, not worth the follow. If they pass that test it’s on to the ‘Last Tweeted’.
They must have tweeted in the last 23 hrs.
1 day is bad. 1 month is absolutely worthless.
The second piece of this puzzle is you want to target active followers. Active followers are ones that are on twitter at least once a day, that have a chance to retweet and like your posts.
If they pass the follow ratio test you want people who are active twitter users, so the 2nd qualification is that they’ve been online during the last day.
If the user passes these two tests then I’m probably going to follow them. The last thing that I’ll check out is the ‘Followers Count’, if it’s under 100 then there is a chance their follower ratio is in the right range because they only follow their friends and vice versa. On the flip side if they have over 100k they tend to be mass follow accounts. I might skip them if they are super low or extremely high on their counts.
Another thing you may want to look at is their type of account. You may want to skip business accounts and only follow individuals, or businesses may be your market. Lastly, you may want to look at the location. If you are trying to drive traffic to a sales page for a product you’re only shipping in the US then it makes little sense to follow international accounts.
To protect your account you want to limit your following to somewhere between 150-250 a day. Services like Tweepi will automatically limit it.
Step 3. Engage your Audience
Having followers is ok, but engaging them is the key to the game. When they respond to your direct messages strike up a conversation. Talk to them about your project, theirs, and connect with them. If they tweet out a thank you spend the time to write back or like their tweet.
The other great way to engage your audience is to tweet out content that your audience will appreciate and gain value from.
For this task, I like to use Hootsuite.
Hootsuite allows you to schedule your tweets so you don’t need to be online all the time. Personally, I schedule two or three days worth of tweets out at a time, aiming for 3-6 a day.
These should be a mix of things. In my experience, it’s best to promote your content in no more than a third of your tweets. I like to retweet others content too, they will appreciate the free promotion and it helps you connect with them. Throw quotes or personal blurbs into the mix as well, it lets the people following get to know you… it’s the social element in ‘social media’ after all.
You want to get retweeted, you want to get liked. You want others to put your material in front on their audience, thus getting more people to follow you who otherwise wouldn’t have known you existed. By putting out tweets, you should start getting followers without having to follow them first.
By doing this, you’ll grow your following day by day. Before you know it you’ll have a significant following that you can leverage to rule the world (assuming, of course, that’s your ambition).
Step 4: Trim the Fat
This is a business account, so please don’t blame me when I say that people who you don’t follow you don’t do you ANY good.
I really like the verbiage that Tweepi uses when both you and the other user follow each other: “Mutual Friendship”. This is your goal when you are following other users, to become mutual friends.
You can (and should) collaborate with your mutual friends. You want to unfollow people who don’t follow you.
This will bring you to a screen exactly like the one you had while adding followers. The key point is the final column in the interface, ‘Last action date’.
Tweepi will not allow you to unfollow someone who you’ve followed in the last 2 days, so there will be a delay in your counts. As soon as you can you’ll want to start unfollowing those who don’t follow you back, and 3 days is more than ok for a grace period.
Tweepi will limit you to 100 unfollows a day, but this should be plenty since you have a limit on your following numbers as well.
Definitely don’t stress out if you can’t unfollow the maximum people a day. That simply means that most of the people you are following are returning the favor which is exactly what we are aiming for.
This step could actually be skipped, but I would advise against it. By keeping your follower ratio somewhere around 100%, you’ll look more authentic at the first glance. You will also be less likely to gain unwanted attention from twitter or one of the many bots roaming twitter.
Step 5: Other Strategies to Consider
I’ve included 2 additional strategies in this section. I personally did not use either of them this month but I wanted to bring them up and address them since they are both effective and legitimate ways to grow a twitter following.
I’ll also go over the reasons I didn’t pursue these so you’ll have an idea if they are right for you
1. Following others back
As you grow your audience you’ll begin to gain followers via retweets, likes, and generic searches. There is a good chance that some of these people will be users trying to build accounts. Users that may do exactly what you’d do if you do not end up following these people back.
If you’d like to make sure to keep all of these new followers simply use the tool in Tweepi or Crowdfire to view the users you are not following back.
The reason I don’t do this is because when these users follow me they get my direct message, so without any work, I’ve accomplished my goal.
I do lose followers on a daily basis and I do attribute some of them to my failure to follow back. Not worried about it. Remember, I’m not building up my twitter account to get a huge number of twitter followers, I’m doing it to get my message out and engage my audience.
2. Engage with Authority accounts
The second strategy that I didn’t go out of my way to use (although I did occasionally use it) was that of engaging authority accounts.
The basics of this method include going back to the original list of 10 authority people in your niche. Then from Twitter or HootSuite you can look through a list of their tweets.
From this point, you simply interact with them. Retweet them, answer their questions, and add valuable additions via the reply feature.
I did this (somewhat accidently) while doing my 3rd step one day and interacted with a huge player in my niche. He responded back saying thanks and In the next hour I gained about 90 followers!
I did not make this a larger part of my overall strategy because it very easily could have doubled the time I spent on twitter this month.
Once I started interacting with my top 10 I would have expanded the list to 50. At that point, even if you spend a minute on each person’s account each day you’ll be adding an hour of Twitter time per day.
That being said this can be a very significant driver of traffic and may be something I switch to more as my account grows.
This month was what I’d consider a complete success. With 4 hours a week, I gained a significant Twitter following and was able to leverage that into blog traffic and email subscribers.
I plan to continue this strategy as it is until I clock in somewhere around 5k followers.
At that point, I plan on switching to the engaging with authority accounts strategy that I outlined in step 5 and replacing some of the daily follow/unfollow ritual.
If you haven’t already done it please get your copy of this post below:
Have you put these strategies to work? Gotten great results? Please leave your comments below, would love to hear how building your Twitter audience is going and the benefits you’re seeing from it!