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Become a Twitter Pro, Vol. I: Growing Targetted Followers

So if you are reading this, you are either trying to build your social media pressence on Twitter, or perhaps you are simply trying to figure out if Twitter is even worth it. In either case, I'm here to help you and there are no strings attached. The purpose of this blog post is to help you begin building your presence, or your platform on Twitter.

This is something that I have wanted to share for a long time, because I hear a lot of people complain about twitter not being a very effective tool. Twitter is no more or less effective than any other tool, but it does require you to understands how to use the tool, to get the most out of it.

Now before we get too far along, let me clear the air on a couple of things. Yes there are tools and services that you can pay for to grow your following, including but not limited to direct purchasing of twitter followers. Now some of these services are good, some are not. That is not the focus of this article. My intention here is soley to help you use the FREE tools at your disposal to start growing your twitter platform with targetted followers.

Now I will be discussing several different tools through this post. Understand that I am not paid or compensated in anyway to promote them, they are simply the tools that I have become comfortable with, and used to great success. Once you understand the concepts, feel free to explore the many tools out there to find what works for you.

Now due to the nature of my background and the purpose of the blog, my focus will be centerred around building an author platform. Don't let that steer you away if you're not an author, because in the end, this blog is really about two universal things—tools and people. So let's get to it shall we?

So if you've done any reading about how to successfully use twitter, there is one concept that you will see repeated over and over again. That concept is that twitter is a platform of reciprocation. Unlike other social media platforms, the twitter culture says that "if you don't follow me, I won't follow you." Similarly that culture also says, "if you don't retweet my tweets, I'm probably not going to retweet yours." Now this is of course a generalization, but it is important to understand this upfront, otherwise you will find that even if you build a following, it will probably not be a very engaging following. That's not what you want. You don't need 100k followers who ignore all of your content. Rather, you need people who engage your content—and more often, you.

Couldn't I just buy tens of thousands of twitter followers?

Yep, but how many of them are actual real accounts?

How many of them might actually have an interest in your content?

How many of those will then actually engage?

Probably not many, because they are not targetted followers.

The method that I use does take time, but it works, and it yields targetted followers. That means that more often than not, you are getting high quality, engaging followers, and those are the people that support you, promote you, and buy your books.

So how do you find people who will engage your content? Simple, by targeting users who are most likely going to be interested in the content that you are going to be sharing.

As an author of epic fantasy novels, I understand that yes it is great to connect with other authors of course, but that is not where I want to place all of my focus. I won't exclude them by any means, but I really want to focus on people whose taste in books align with my genre. It is pretty safe to say that I will probably find more people that would be interested in my books/content among J.R.R. Tolkien fans than say among Nicholas Sparks fans. The great thing about twitter, is that it can be pretty easy to connect with the right fans if you know what you're doing.

So the first thing I will do is not only will I go find an account for @JRRTolkien and then I will click on the little gear, and then I will select to Add or remove from lists... At this point you can create a new list if you haven't done so already. Call it whatever you like, mine is called Target Audience. Once the list is created, add the user to your list. The intent here is to create a short list of people whose fans could someday be your fans. My Target Audience list carries a very specific list of authors, book reviewers, and websites that cater to people that my writing resonates with. You don't need to go crazy on this, you just want to have a few fishin' holes to draw from. My current list has only about 40 accounts on it, but it gives me access to hundreds of thousands of potential contacts.

Get in my mouth if you want to live...

Now that you have identified your ideal fishing holes, it's time to go fishin' (not phising)! My preferred way of doing this is going to Tweepi, and Loging in via Twitter. This will require you to grant Tweepi access to your account, that is completely normal for these types of apps. Now Tweepi does offer paid services, but just ignore that for now. Once you connect your account to the site, you will see a host of options at your disposal. The one that you want to focus on is the Follow Followers option. When the page loads, it will allow you to enter a name. At this point, you would enter the name of the person who's fans you want to engage. For example, I might want to try @BrandSanderson or @PatRothfuss.

Once the search returns the results, it will list all of the people that follow that particular account. Now tweepi for example only lists 20 per page, but it is still works great. Now the first thing that you want to do is click on the column header that says Last Tweeted. This allows you to sort the users based on their recent activity, because there is no point in following people who aren't even using twitter anymore. Once you sort it, then begin following the users. Now don't spaz out and try to click through these at warp speed, it will flag your account for botting. You can go through pretty quickly, but don't try to set any records. Once you've followed all the relevant users, move onto the next page and rinse and repeate. Note: You do not need to wait for it to confirm that you followed the user before moving on to the next page, it will take care of it even if you go to the next page. With a FREE Tweepi account, you are allowed to follow up to 200 users per day.

Shun the non-believers!

Okay, so now you've used Tweepi to follow 200 hundred users who you have shared interests with. The truth is that many of these people will not reciprocate (there's that word again), but some will. This is especially frustrating for people that are newer to Twitter because they don't have the benefit of an established account, but it still works if you are patient. Now you just repeat this process each day. When I am consistently engaged in doing this, I can add hundreds if not thousands of new followers a month—for free.

Ut oh, I was doing this but Twitter told me that I've reached my limit. What do I do?

Yes, twitter does have some pesky follow limits in place that are especially tedious for new users, but once you grow past their minimum thresholds, the follower/following ratio is easier to manage. That being said, because the ratios are in place, you need to do some housekeeping, i.e, you need to dump the people that don't follow you back. Now you don't want to be hasty, but if someone is active on twitter and they still don't follow me back after a week or two, I set 'em free. To stick with the fishing analogy, it's catch and release baby.

Nobody gets excited about housecleaning, but the good news is that we have another free tool that we can use to make it pretty painless. ManageFlitter is a great site that also has a free, but limited set of functions that you can use. Just like Tweepi you will log in and authorize it to connect to your Twitter account. Once you are in you will find a host of filter options that allow you to choose how you want to view your account. The most obvious option is Not Following Back. Once you select this option, you will want to click on Order which expands your filtering options. This gives you abunch of options to play around with, but a good starting places are Activity and Follow Order. These allow you to get rid of your oldest non-followers or accounts that have simply gone inactive.

Every week I spend time specifically following and unfollowing people. It isn't the most glamorous activity but it works, and you can do it too!

Okay, so now you have started to purposefully grow a targetting twitter following, but where are the engagements and conversions (AKA sales). Show me the money, right? That is a great question, and I will cover that another blog post. So stay tuned my friends. :)

I would love to hear your feedback on this blog entry. Were you able to get this to work? Do you have questions? Do you have an alternate strategy?

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