You can shorten the time it takes to gain large numbers of followers on Twitter by being a good social media citizen. You should also cultivate an attractive Twitter profile and maximize your tweet exposure so you reach the largest number of people. Online tools that work with Twitter can help you reach your goals.
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Tweet High Quality Content
People naturally follow others who are fun and make them laugh, so creating fun, unique and interesting content is a good way to start. Pay attention and analyze your audience to figure out what kind of material will work. Consider the demographic of your potential followers. Tweets aimed at manufacturing engineers will contain content different than tweets aimed at theater fans. Keep your audience closely in mind when composing tweets.
Some general rules apply to most tweets, like keep them short and simple. Tweet about real things. Use language and terms that resonate with your target audience. Use phrases that strike an emotional chord, positive or negative. Your ultimate goal is to create a golden tweet, one that goes viral. Golden tweets get retweeted by lots of people, getting you the exposure you need to attract followers. Observe other Twitter members in your target demographic to help find subject matter that works.
Engage, Reply, Follow and Retweet
Increase your exposure by replying to tweets, especially those from popular users. When you see an interesting tweet, select "Reply" and try to start a conversation. If you get a reply make sure to reply back and engage the other person. Your tweets reach more people this way, and those who engage you in conversations are more likely to follow you and retweet your content.
Follow others. According to Provient Marketing, approximately 40 percent of the people you follow will follow you back. Eventually you will reach the Twitter limit of 2000 follows, and you won't be able to follow more until you gain more followers. That's when you can use a service like Unfollowers to identify people you followed who are inactive or not following you back. Stop following them and replace them with active community members.
Retweet content from other users. Take care, however, to avoid rewteeting content that is being widely distributed or retweeted by too many others. Retweeting a tweet from a person who has 20,000 followers may not be effective, since the tweet has already reached 20,000 viewers. Find tweets that are fresh, interesting, and useful from people who have a low number of followers. Favorite a tweet, retweet it, and then follow the original poster in order to be noticed and attract a follow-back. New Twitter users are often looking for followers and are the most likely to notice your attention.
Find the Best Posting Rate and Times
You can't gain followers if you don't get noticed, and you won't keep followers if you become annoying and get blocked or muted. Finding the right rate of tweets per day takes some trial and error until you find a method that works best with your audience.
Finding the best time to tweet also takes some work. Conventional social media campaign wisdom states that the most effective time to tweet is around 9:00 am, 12:00 pm and 3:00 pm, but that rule may not be true for your target demographic. Mix things up and post at different times and see what happens.
Cultivate Your Twitter Profile
Some people decide if they want to follow you by how your profile looks, so take some time to make sure it looks good. Use a real photograph for your Twitter avatar, preferably a head shot. Write a nice bio in the space provided and list a location. Pick a good-looking background graphic. There are seemingly endless numbers of pictures you can use available on Google Images.
Hashtags are keywords preceded by the "#" symbol. People search for hashtags to find content. A good hashtag for a post about stained glass artwork, for example, would be #stainedglass, or #glassart or simply #art. Anyone searching for the hashtag sees your tweet. You can use multiple hashtags, but avoid using more than two or three in a tweet. There are several online services that can help you identify which hashtags are popular and which ones are not.
Automating Tweets & Retweets
Use an automated program to do some of the work for you unless you want to manually tweet everything. Hootsuite and TweetDeck are examples of third-party Twitter applications that let you schedule tweets ahead of time, and both programs offer analytics and other tools you may find useful.
You can also retweet using third-party programs and online applications. Programs like Roundteam, for example, can retweet from individuals you select.