Amazon). I also check my Twitter follower number.
While I might be obsessed with numbers, I don't try to play games with them. When I first started out on Twitter the going advice for gaining followers was to follow 20 or so people every day and then weekly unfollow anyone who didn't follow you back. I didn't subscribe to this method. Many of the people that did this (and continue to do it) have ran up on a brick wall, also known as the Twitter follower to following ratio. The ratio is you have to follow 2 people for every 1 follower. This ratio comes into play once you follow 2,000 people.
I feel like I have a decent following on Twitter: 3,900. How many do I follow? 516. According to Manageflitter.com, of the 516 I follow, 83 do not follow me back. That means 3,467 people follow me, but I don't follow them back.
Make people want to follow you
Why do I follow 83 people who do not follow me back? Because they have content I'm interested in. Several of them are publisher accounts or news organizations. The accounts that are for individuals are people who are thought leaders in their field. When I have interacted with any of them on Twitter, they do respond to me. I understand that I do not regularly have content that would be of interest to them. I'm okay with them not following me.
Instead of doing the follow/unfollow thing, I concentrated on creating tweets that were entertaining and/or informative. I try to stay on topic. Since I'm using my account to promote my blog, that means I limit tweets about my mundane personal life - unless it has to do with reading, books, blogging, or authors.
Just as I follow people for their content, I want people to follow me for what I have to say.
One of the reason the recommend advice for gaining Twitter followers was to follow people in hopes of them following back is so people knew you were on Twitter. There are more than 500 million active Twitter account and 135,000 new accounts are created everyday (Statistics Brain). Getting noticed on Twitter is a difficult.
Now if you are creating good content then your tweets should get retweeted. Your followers will share your content with their followers, thus exposing you to them. Creating content that is retweetable is a great way to gain followers. To make your tweets more retweetable try limiting the number of characters used to 120. If people can comment on the tweet while retweeting it is more likely to responded to by their followers.
I gained about half of my followers through giveaways. I have participated in several sponsored giveaways that allowed me to include my Twitter handle. People wanting to enter the giveaway could follow me for an extra entry. I say half, but it may be much less as I also see an increase of unfollows following the conclusion of a giveaway. The ones that stick around like what I'm tweeting.
Focus on relationships
The biggest reason I did not buy into the follow/unfollow was because the point of Twitter is to build relationships. I joined Twitter for its networking potential. The only way to exploit that potential is to build relationships with my followers.
The best way to build relationships is to reply to tweets. Now reply tweets do get limited visibility. You might have noticed people putting a period (.) in front of the @. That is suppose to help increase the visibility of the tweet. By responding to tweets in your stream you can demonstrate your knowledge of a subject, openness to interaction with fans, and just general goodwill and helpfulness.
Participating in a chat on Twitter really helps with your discoverability as well as building relationships with followers. I know a lot of people tell me they don't have time to participate in a chat. I say you just haven't given it a priority. There are a lot of chats that happen each week. Even participating in just one chat a month will help increase your followers. I always gain followers when participating in chats. #Indiechat meets on Tuesdays at 9 pm eastern, #K8chat is Thursdays at 9 pm eastern, #Indieview is at at 11 am eastern Wednesdays.
Keep your followers
You like to get new followers, right? Well so do those who follow you. I make an attempt to follow anyone who interacts with me. If they reply to a tweet or retweet one of my tweets, I'll follow them.
And above all else, continue to provide your followers with interesting and informative content.
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