The short answer to the question of how to get 102,000 twitter followers is that it takes time and hard work, if you want to do it within the parameters officially set by twitter! And you should want to follow the rules.
Points To Ponder About Twitter And Possibly Building A Following (Flock)
1. Should You Simply Leverage Someone Else’s Large Following?
2. Twitter Isn’t Really About Getting A Lot of Followers – Although There Are Advantages To Doing So.
3. Why It is Not A Good Idea To Use Automated Software?
4 What Are Ways That Others Have Developed A Large Following?
5. What Does Follow / Unfollow Mean?
6. Should / Will Your Twitter Strategy Change Over Time? – You Will Want It Too.
7. Even If You Can Get A Lot Of Followers, Can You Keep Them?
8. Can / When Should You Use Twitter For Marketing?
9. Is It Worth All Of The Work?
Leverage Someone Else’s Twitter Following
1. It took me about 3 years (maybe more – I’m not sure) to get that many followers. You can see my account @davesnape. Might as well follow me while you are there. Hint….!
Why spend heaps of your time following and unfollowing those who do not follow back? That is a lot of hard and boring work!
Instead, you can leverage the power of my twitter following. How? – You might ask.
In fact, you can repost your own comment links as well!
Dave, How Does That Work?
You’ll see a number next to each comment, like this one:
This is a comment gravatar for fearless_men on twitter. Do you see the grey #5 to the left of his image?
The number ‘5’ is linked directly to his comment. Like this: http://www.allthingspondered.com/5051/quality-blog-comments-with-examples/#comment-27342
So it is easy to retweet or direct people to your comment on All Things Pondered.
This is how you can leverage the power of an existing 102 thousand twitter following instead of painstakingly building your own – which requires time and effort!
Questions? Just ask.
2. Why not contact Twitter about their sponsored advertising? You could potentially work with them to reach a LOT more people.
3. Another possibility for utilizing someone else’s following is to pay for a Tweet. I don’t currently accept payments myself but there are many services out there that offer this type of advertising. Check Twitter’s terms of service to see if this is acceptable to them first though.
Twitter IS NOT Really About Getting a Lot of Followers
I will explain more on getting a large following soon. But I want to make a point or two first.
Twitter is a great place to be social and to socialize.
It is a place to ask questions and get answers.
One of the greatest values of having a larger following is that you can ask a question and get an answer. Not only is this just plain fun, but you can obtain valuable tips and information from others this way! This is one of the coolest reasons to be on twitter in my opinion.
When you have enough followers there is often someone who can answer your question about nearly whatever you want to ask about! This makes twitter cooler than TV!
Answering The Question About Building A Large Following On Twitter
One important point is that you probably do NOT want to do is use automated software to follow or unfollow others. That is against Twitter’s terms of service.
If you follow this link: http://support.twitter.com/articles/76915# scroll down to the section on automated following and unfollowing.
Here is what you will find:
This is the link to The Follow Rules and Best Practices you see in the graphic: http://support.twitter.com/articles/68916-following-rules-and-best-practices
You are twitter’s guest and if you are going to be on their platform, you will have to carefully consider what the rules are.
Clearly, it is against the rules to automatically follow and unfollow other twitter users.
The one thing you are allowed to automate is following back. This software can handle that for you.
However, be forwarned! That software also contains other capabilities that may be against twitter’s terms of service – so it might be in your best interest to avoid the use of those other functions and stick to using only the return follower function.
Key Point: To work within twitter’s rules you will have to follow / unfollow other users manually.
Other Possibilities for Developing A Large Twitter Following
1. Being a Celebrity can lead to large numbers of people following you without the need to follow them back. – That is not an option for most of the people reading this post.
On a side note: Being a Celebrity is practically a license to print money as all kinds of big companies and organizations will seek your endorsement because they know that many people ‘follow’ you.
[The term ‘follow’ in that last sentence doesn’t necessarily mean Twitter. Obviously, these people are literally followed in the press and even in real life. Celebrity worship is a sick mentality that I really don’t understand or agree with. But this is the reality so we must acknowledge it as so.]
2. Another example of a much larger twitter following than mine is Guy Kawasaki (not a movie star or full blown celebrity yet) http://www.twitter.com/guykawasaki
I do not know the truth first hand. But it has been said that Guy mentioned in a speech that he paid others ‘to be him’ on twitter. This could mean that he was able to work ‘around the clock’ on developing his following. You may not have that option, or you may. Perhaps outsourcing ? (link towards bottom of that page leads to where you can do that).
It used to be that Guy had a relatively close number of followers / non followers. This could indicate he was actively persuing followers at that time.
That may have changed later. Perhaps the heaps of links to his AllTop site had something to do with it or perhaps he just became better known and is sort of a celebrity at this point.
In either case he has close to a million followers by now. Yet, he is only following under 300K himself.
Key Point: Unless you are well enough known, you are probably going to need to follow / unfollow others to build your following.
What Do I Mean By Follow / Unfollow ?
I honestly think twitter probably frowns on following / unfollowing – even manually. But the point is that if you want a lot of followers and you do not have celebrity status then you have no other legit option that I know of.
The reason I call this technique ‘follow / unfollow’ is that twitter has an allowed follower to following ratio build into their platform.
What this means is that you can only follow a certain amount of people which is restricted by the number following you.
When you follow people, hoping that they will follow you back, there is a good chance that many people will NOT follow you back.
But that is the etiquette for twitter users. It is considered ‘polite’ and even ‘desirable’ to follow back when someone follows you.
However, you must remember that not everyone on twitter is there to get a lot of followers.
Some do not want anyone following them except a few friends. Twitter has a built in ‘protected tweet’ function for this. However, you will still get the occasional “why did you follow me” message from anti-social people. You should not respond and simply unfollow such people. They can get truly ugly if you engage them in a conversation after they send that anti-social message to you (or one like it).
I have seen the same behavior on facebook as well. It is best to just steer clear of those people. After all, you want happy, willing followers who will engage in discussion and chit-chat.
Therefore, when your ratio of followers to following is out of whack, you will need to unfollow those who are not following you back! This is in order to follow more people.
Again, although there are no specific rules preventing this on a manual basis, I think twitter still frowns a little upon it. But manually following / unfollowing appears to be at least acceptable while automating following and unfollowing is clearly unacceptable to Twitter (see graphic above).
In The Beginning
When you first start to build your twitter following twitter imposes an initial limit of 2000 people that you can follow without having a similar number of followers to follow you back.
This means that you will reach a cap on the people you can follow. You will then be forced to unfollow some so that you can follow more.
After that there is a ratio and that ratio seems to change and vary depending on the account and perhaps other factors that we just don’t know. When you exceed the ratio and follow an unknown percentage more than who are following you, then you will be blocked from following – until the ratio is within parameters again.
This is what drives the need to ‘unfollow’ others.
It Is Important To Understand Their Is A Fine Line
If you engage in following / unfollowing behavior you should understand clearly that your account could be suspended. You can read the rules here: http://support.twitter.com/articles/68916-following-rules-and-best-practices
Twitter makes it clear that ‘agressive’ following / unfollowing behavior can get your account suspended.
What ‘agressive’ means is totally up to Twitter to decide and you have no say in it. So you should be aware that if your goal is to build a large following, you might risk account suspension.
So proceed at your own risk! I have clearly stated this to let you know that I am not responsible if you get yourself into trouble. Even my account is subject to Twitter’s rules and I too could be suspended if they so choose. There is nothing that you or I can do to change that.
There are risks in life and using following / unfollowing techniques manually or otherwise can get you into trouble. You need to understand this before you waste a lot of your precious time and energy to build a twitter following.
Some Things That Might Help
While automated unfollowing is definitely not permitted, manage flitter offers a free service to ‘bulk unfollow’ non followers. It is not clear to me whether twitter does or would frown on this service, so again, use it at your own risk.
Tweet Adder has an automated ‘follow back’ function (which Twitter’s rules SEEM to indicate is ok with them). Using many of the other functions in this software would likely be in violation of Twitter’s rules. Fortunately, you do not have to use the ones that you are not comfortable with. You can pick and choose which functions you want to use. Twitter Friend Adder is not free – they currently charge about $50 per account for lifetime use of their software.
Their argument about follow / unfollow functions is that they avoid being flagged for ‘aggressive’ following / unfollowing. However, twitters rules seem to indicate that automated following / unfollowing of any kind is a big no-no.
To be safe, you should probably stick to the ‘follow back’ function only.
They also have an interesting RSS feed tweeting function which Twitter seems to be ok with provided that you are only using RSS feeds of your OWN content and not anyone else’s.
Engage Your Followers And Keep Them In Your Flock
Talk to your users – Conversation is important. Twitter is about being social. Some cool tips for conversations are to ask about the weather or some other simple questions that don’t require a lot of thought. The more thought that is required, the less responses you will get. Try this experiment: Simply ask your followers: Peanut Butter or Nuttella? – I asked that and received a surprising number of replies.
Here are some other questions you could ask: Star Trek or Star Wars? Movie Star A or Movie Star B? Singer A or Singer B? These are simple questions that people are willing to answer without feeling like they are putting themselves on the line. Use your responses to generate more conversation.
For Example: Is someone answers Peanut Butter to the question above, you can follow up with: Chunky or smooth?
Ask A Question You Really Want An Answer To – If you have a large enough following there is a good chance that someone will have the answer to your questions. This, to me, is one of the coolest aspects of being on twitter.
Key Point: Engage your follower base on a regular basis so that they never forget your are a real person. It also gives them the chance to decide if they like you or not. If not, they can unfollow you. If they do, you probably don’t need them as a follower anyway. They will also see that you are not ‘just’ there to market something to them.
Getting Better Customer Service From Companies With A Twitter Presence
Another benefit to using Twitter is customer service – if someone has a customer service presence on Twitter, you can ask them questions and they will feel more obligated to answer because ‘the world is watching’. This may work well if you are not getting the help you want via their ‘regular’ customer service channels.
Affiliate Marketing On Twitter
Based on experience, affiliate marketing or even direct sales does not seem to work well on Twitter. This can vary from situation to situation somewhat so you should test your own unique situation(s) before concluding that it absolutely won’t work.
However, it does seem to be a better option to link to quality content (that could include your affiliate items) and to be clear what the subject topic is in your tweet. That way, those who are not interesting in that topic won’t waste their time by clicking the link. This is just good manners!
You can always link to this blog or to Toothy Grins Store (be sure to sign up for the affiliate program there).
Secret: I Do Not Always Follow Back Anymore
I definitely think that in the beginning, you want to follow back everyone who follows you while you are trying to build your initial Twitter following.
However, things have shifted a bit for me now. People who don’t care if I follow back are now following me and there are quite a few of them.
Now, I have shifted my strategy to only following back those who request me to do so. You can simply follow @davesnape and send a simple tweet that you want me to follow back and I will.
But, I no longer do it without a specific request. I like the idea of having a following that is interested in what I do and is not following just to get a follow back.
But if you want me to follow you, just send a simple tweet. You could even mention this post if you are so inclined.
Twitter is about being social. Twitter is about following people you are interested in as well as communicating to people who are interesting in you or what you have created or what you are doing! Be interesting. Vague? Yes it is, because everyone has a different idea about what ‘interesting’ is.
There is definitely a lot that I did not say about Twitter on this post that I could have. At this point, it would be easier if you would simply ask any questions you might have in the comment section.
Or, if you have your own thoughts and ideas to share about Twitter, leave a comment. And don’t forget to tweet me your comment link so I can Tweet it out to 102,000 followers! (provided you left a quality comment) 🙂
Thank you for reading this post and thanks in advance for sharing it on Twitter and other social media. Oh, and remember to follow @davesnape while it is fresh on your mind. See what I’m up to…
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