How to get 5000 followers on Twitter – without paying a penny!

Different sort of blog post this one as it is neither reading nor writing related, but I just thought it might be useful to people.

Song of the Sea God visualIf you are passing by don’t forget to check out my book Song of the Sea God on Amazon, where you can read the first few pages, here.

I’m fond of Twitter and, like many people, I have been bombarded by those spammers promising me 5000 followers on Twitter if I only hand over some cash. Well, the fact is, I am lucky enough to have more than 5,000 followers on Twitter @chilledch and I didn’t pay anyone a penny to get them. Instead I built up followers using a few simple rules which you could use too if you wanted to build up a Twitter following.

These would be useful to beginners I would say – and those who have a few followers but are hoping to find more. Here they are – and free to you for being kind enough to drop by my blog:

Show your face

It’s much easier to get Twitter followers if people can see what you look like – so make sure you have a picture of your face on there. Definitely not the egg you start off with and not book covers or other ‘branding’ either. Just you.

This is tough if you are tweeting for a company of course, but if it’s your personal account make the most of it, and make it personal – people follow people.

Profile

I think the few words you say about yourself should be to the point and aimed at encouraging the sort of people you would like to have follow you. Some people go for whimsy or humour, and good luck to them. I think if you are a writer, or an artist or whatever, say so – then people know who they are following!

Follow Back

This is such a simple thing – but so many people don’t do it. I follow back everyone who is not a spammer, porn account, random corporate account or obvious nutcase. The vast majority of people who follow me get a swift follow back to show I value their interest in me.

Follow others

This is a key point. Some people on Twitter who are trying to build a following seem to adopt the Field of Dreams ‘If you build it, they will come’ approach. It doesn’t work. Unless you are a celeb of some sort people are not going to flock to you – you have to find them. If you are looking for people with similar interests to you then you will already know where to find them. When I was looking for readers and fellow writers I looked at follower lists for accounts such as Guardian Books and New York Times Books for example. Then I followed those people in large numbers.

I love them but they don’t love me

Ok – so you have followed lots of people, but only a small proportion of them have followed you back. At first this isn’t such a problem, but once you are following 2000 Twitter won’t let you add any more unless the number of people who follow you is more or less as high. Yet here you are with just 500 followers and you are up to your 2000 following limit – what do you do?

Well, you ditch some people who haven’t followed you back of course. You could just go down your list and trim them – but there are free tools out there on t’internet to help you. Try who.unfollowed.me and justunfollow for example. Have a play around with them and you will find they help you cut the people who have not bothered to follow you back.

Churn

When you’ve lost some dead wood start following more people – a proportion of those will follow you back. Repeat the process. Your number of followers will grow without the number you follow getting out of hand.

Tweet!

While you are doing this don’t forget what Twitter is really all about. Engage with people, have fun. Answer other people’s questions and join in with their jokes. Ask your own questions. If you are plugging something, as I am with my book (Song of the Sea God, available from all good retailers), make sure that this is just a part of what you do. People will follow you and stick with you if you make it worth their while.

Hope this has been useful – it worked for me!

If you were interested in this post you might want to take a look at these others which also offer tips:

Part two of my Twitter tips here

How to get more views on your blog.

Advice on how to find a publisher for your book

An interview with my publisher about what they are looking for in a book they take on.