How To Get Twitter Followers Without Using A Mass-Following Tool

followers I’m not going to get into why you might want to get more followers on Twitter, maybe you want to increase your traffic or because it represents more business opportunities… I’ll leave that to you.

I will mention the word “Organic” as a starting point in this post. There is nothing healthier than getting results in an organic way. For example, in search is always better to get organic results than paid results, inbound marketing always gets you better results than chasing business and pushing sales. You can sleep better too.

The same mentality should apply on Twitter, it will take longer but a good foundation will give you a solid following that grows on its own. Here is a list of things you can do to organically grow your following on Twitter:

1. Know Your Niche

I’m talking about listening and learning how your community moves on Twitter. Who are the true leaders, what kind of content is shared, the popular blogs, the lingo, etc. Now, think of ways to participate, add value and improve the current conversation. In other words, get attention by kicking ass in your industry, aim to become a leader.

2. Write Content People Can Share

Make it easy for people to share your content, think of why somebody would be happy to put that piece of content in front of his/her own network. If you write great posts that are providing real insights and answers in your industry, people will love to share it because they are also trying to be resourceful to their network AND, if your post gets to be shared by a rockstar in your niche, it would probably spin like there’s no tomorrow (you thought I was going to use the word “viral”…). People that shares your content are likely to follow you and sometimes even “list” you.

3. Be Resourceful

It’s pretty clear that you should share other content more than your own but besides that, I think what’s important is to share valuable content that is really adding something to your network. Don’t just throw links in there because they are related. If you’re posting trash, people will stop clicking on your links. Posting great stuff will result in retweets and that my friend, puts you in front of other networks.

4. Stay In Your Field

How much value can you add in a niche that’s not yours? Stay in your field, where your expertise can be of value to others. Retweeting everything Mashable says is not that valuable to your tribe if you are a Yoga instructor, I’m sure there are a couple of stories that might apply but don’t make it a daily thing. You are just making it hard for people to share what you say and soon you will be invisible to them.

5. Follow Less But Follow Smart

Random following is not gonna get you anywhere, I don’t care if you’re just trying to generate some traffic back to your site, these people couldn’t care less about you. Instead, identify the right people, look for existing conversations, answer questions been asked out there. Of course the process is slow but you have the chance to connect with people that relates to who you are or what you do.

birds

6. Introduce Yourself

Are you the kind of person that goes to a convention collecting a thousand business cards? Don’t you think is more productive to go and meet some key individuals that you might actually end up doing something. When you do this, you don’t just get the card and run away, you at least introduce yourself. What if you do the same thing on Twitter? Follow this individual (a prospect, colleague, competitor, vendor, whatever you want…) and introduce yourself. That person will most likely want to stay in touch with you.

7. Engage In Conversations

Now that you have followed some interesting people, go talk to them, you didn’t just hand out your business card to run away. You must be active in starting conversations, don’t wait for people to talk to you. If you engage in smart conversations about your topic and add your 2 cents, not only you will be followed by those involved but also by the spectators.

8. Manage Your Tweets

So what’s the right number of tweets per day? What are the best times to tweet? I don’t think there is an answer for this, at least not from me. I think you need to find a balance that only your experience will dictate. To start, don’t go to the extremes, not too much to annoy people and not too little that you will be forgotten. Be consistent and have an idea of how you want to handle it.

9. Email Signatures

Just think about how many people gets emails from you every day. Add your Twitter link to your signature, you can use a tool like WiseStamp, a very easy to install plugin for your browser, to make it more professional. This tool generates a html signature so you can add other elements like RSS and other networks.

10. Invite People To Follow You On Your Blog

A no brainer. Have a Twitter icon on your blog and add a little call to action like “Follow me on Twitter“. A good placement could be right next to your subscriptions. You can also display the feed on the sidebar, just go to Twitter and grab the code from there.

11. Offline Promotion

Add your Twitter URL to anything you print, business cards, flyers or any promotional items you run in your business. If you own a Cafe or a small restaurant and you post your daily specials, have something on the counter to remind your customers to “follow our daily specials on Twitter”. You get the picture…

12. Don’t Use Auto-Responders

Maybe is my personal opinion but I prefer you don’t send me anything before you send a robot. It is a touchy subject for a lot of people. I would suggest to write a personal response but I’m not really sure if anybody reads the DM’s (Maybe you can comment on this, thank you).

Final Thought…

The main point here is that there are plenty of ways to increase your Twitter community organically and while it will take longer (much longer) than using a mass-following tool, you will be able to build a community based on a solid foundation rather than just collecting numbers.

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  • jessicasimpson1981

    Regarding DM's, I am not a big fan of the auto reply, I feel like you should be taking the time to address followers personally if SM is all about real time convo, I know that is extremely time consuming so i see why folks do an auto generated DM but it makes me feel special when i get a direct message, esp from someone who is a big deal :)

    I personally havent done auto responds yet with my work account, I just respond in real time but I also only have 200 followers not 20,000.

    I was just introduced to the world of twitter spam and it is EXTREMELY annoying so for me I like to keep it real and legit, I think it makes a more lasting impression.

  • http://www.socialmouths.com Francisco Rosales

    Thanks for the comment Jessica. I see how some people might have good intentions behind a auto-DM, as you say, it's time consuming. The real problem I think is in a DM with a call to action rather than just an acknowledgment or a thank you note, some people will see you as spammy and unfollow you right there.

    I think what you're doing is right.

  • http://www.twitter.com/allisonwestmont Allison

    My Twitter account is a personal account and so I'm not into mass-following. I love it when people like what I'm saying and they follow me for that reason, regardless of topics. What I don't like is when I get spammers following me. I've actually blocked all of them. I'd like to know the people that follow me would benefit from what I post and I could interact with them. So, it's important for me to know that their twitter accounts are not their fronts or their money-making accounts. It's easy to spot them really. If I get a good following over time, I'd be grateful.

  • http://www.connectedwomen.net.au/ connectedclaire

    This is a more mature way to create, nurture and develop meaningful realtionships that will reap fruit in the future. While I am sometimes inpatient and wanting to develop my followers and lists quickly, I personally enjoy a lot more satisfaction if I take the time to organically grow my followers.

  • Kathleen Kent

    Thanks for a down-to-earth review of the basics of building a solid Twitter base. I am new to Twitter (@kathleenkent) and started tweeting after taking a class in Social Media at SSCC in West Seattle. I don't auto respond to those that follow me. It seems odd when someone responds to me when I follow them… especially when they already follow several thousand. How can anyone honestly follow that many people?
    I enjoy my conversations on Twitter. I have been introduced to some fantastic ideas and options that I haven't considered before… and I have hooked up with like minded individuals who are involved in actionable emergency preparedness. I look forward to the future in Social Medial.

  • http://twitter.com/BraunDoug Doug Braun

    I agree. A person should only follow selected people that they have an interest in knowing more about, or about that person's topic area. I never auto-DM nor mass/auto-follow nor reciprical-follow as it's sometimes called. A person cannot follow the conversations from thousands of other people.

    And yes, organic growth, slow slow slow, but much more valuable in the long run. Thanks for a good collection of suggestions.

  • http://twitter.com/BraunDoug Doug Braun

    In response to Allison, try TwitSweeper.com to get rid of your spammy/undesirable followers….

  • http://www.socialmouths.com Francisco Rosales

    Thank you Allison. I agree with you 100% and while it is very easy to spot spammers on Twitter, it is also easy to lose visibility as your following grows. Chris Brogan makes a great point on Trust Agents when he says that we can only control a network of 150 people.

    You are doing a great job trying to maintain your network as healthy as possible. Hope to see you here again.

  • http://www.socialmouths.com Francisco Rosales

    Thanks for the advice Doug, I'll make sure to check it out.

  • http://www.socialmouths.com Francisco Rosales

    Patience is great advice Claire, you are providing good content but if you put it in front of the wrong people it's all wasted. Allowing your following to grow organically you make sure that content is adding value, you can not only enjoy it but it gets you better results.

    Thanks for stopping by. BTW, it seems like the Twitter icon on your blog is not linking correctly… I couldn't get there.

  • http://www.socialmouths.com Francisco Rosales

    Thank you Kathleen, glad to get your thoughts. I prefer not to respond when someone follows rather than sending an auto-response, even as a courtesy, a quick thank you note or just acknowledging the follow, the point got lost a long time ago when DM's became a little piece of advertising (or spam…). At this point, even if you take the time to actually type a personalized note, it will probably get lost in the clutter.

  • http://www.socialmouths.com Francisco Rosales

    Thank YOU Doug. I agree with your point about reciprocal-follow, you shouldn't feel obligated to automatically follow back, specially if the connection makes no sense.

    Hope to connect with you again!

  • http://authenticrealities.com/ Dian Reid

    I'm not a fan at all of the auto-responder. I do read DM's but I generally don't click on links in a DM. I try to do a personal tweet to new followers if they seem like decent peeps who aren't trying to sell me something. I really like #11…I'm off to change my email signature right now. Thanks!

  • http://www.socialmouths.com Francisco Rosales

    Hey Dian, thanks for the comment. Yeah, WiseStamp makes it easy specially if you don't want to get your hands dirty with code… Have a great weekend!

  • http://awebslife.tumblr.com Kyle Webs

    Nice post,

    I don't read DMs either. mainly because it's just people saying “Thanks, here's my blog. [link]” or “hey, I'm sure you'll love my blog [link]“, ect, ect.

  • http://twitter.com/bimal_tailor Bimma

    very useful info… cheers :)

  • http://www.socialmouths.com Francisco Rosales

    Glad you find it useful. Thanks for stopping by.

  • http://www.spotid.me/ Luke

    Interesting. I actually get quite a few DMs from folks that want to ask questions that they don't want in the public timeline. I'm good with this use.

    However this got me wondering recently after a thread of a dozen or so DMs back & forth with one follower. When is it more appropriate to use/suggest an IM tool for these sorts of real-time mini discussions….or is twitter slowly replacing the need for IM tools for individuals too?

  • http://www.socialmouths.com Francisco Rosales

    Hi Luke, I'm not sure what the trends are on DM usage but I'll add 2 points. First, the amount of clutter when your following is growing can be overwhelming and if you don't use some kind of anti-spam you will lose visibility of those valued connections.

    And second, I think you raise a good point on the value of moving those relationships out to a more human platform, ideally offline but a good chat or skype call can take relationships to another level, specially when the other person can be on the other side of the planet.

    Thanks for your comment.

  • putitinurpocket

    #5 above is really key. I think myself included that following too many people is the biggest mistake I made.

  • http://www.wchingya.com wchingya

    Recently my readers and I have been discussing over whether or not we shall utilize status updates schedulers in our network. I'm glad to see that after all the debates, we're against auto-responders but consider some wise strategy in using scheduler for productivity and goodness in our network. Personally I'm not into mass-following instead more concern about who am I connecting with, how I can transform that into a beneficial network for both sides. If we can't be humanly enough to make people interested in what we're saying, that's no point talking about 'Twitter network' for there isn't any. :-)

    A mind provoking post, Francisco. Stumbled.

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  • http://www.socialmouths.com Francisco Rosales

    Thanks for the comment Ching. Schedulers are a great idea specially if you share content, that way you can spread out during the day. You can use apps like HootSuite or CoTweet, they have schedulers already built in.

    Thanks for the stumble!

  • http://www.wchingya.com wchingya

    Thank you for the suggestions. :) Yes, indeed I am quite fascinated with what Hootsuite can do. Have been playing around with the schedulers, so far it brings positive results and never been happier. (Yay!) Keep the good posts coming.

  • http://www.socialmouths.com Francisco Rosales

    No, thank YOU and hope to see you here again.

  • http://www.TheSELVA.com SELVA

    I don't read DMs. I scan them for “real” ones, but it's rare to ever get a real one.

    Thank you for your advice on how to increase my Twitter following in an honest real way!

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    There isn't a bot out there that can us the criteria for following people that I do. I've tried it. I just end up with people that are inactive (some of them as much as 90 days), they are spammers, or we don't have common interests. I'm serious about this stuff, I'm not playing games, and it isn't a hobby. I have the same account I started with, and it's never been suspended. I enjoyed your post. It will be very beneficial to help people learn how to use social media the right way, and to enjoy what they are doing. You've got it layed out step by step. And, I've posted your article, because its the kind of content I would like for my folllowers to see. http://www.twitter.com/Cashprofits

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    Thanks for the info. It's what I wanted to know.

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    Great info! Using a hi-tech approach is great but keeping the personal connection is critical. Thanks for the write up.

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    Thanks for this, I implemented this into my blog.

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    Hi Francisco,

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    Its not trivial to build strong relationship online… but this tips really help:
    7. Engage In Conversations
    8. Manage Your Tweets
    12. Don’t Use Auto-Responders

    i especially loved “12. Don’t Use Auto-Responders” its so true…

    Thanks for sharing,
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    You could try a proper social media management tool, that provides all the bells and whistles required to attract and retain followers. Try the upcoming Blossome, which looks promising. http://blosso.me

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  • Rutger

    Hi Fransisco,

    About the auto responder. I catch your drift. But :) I set our start up twitter account 6 months ago. Each new follower gets a automated DM that I have edited (and I change it on a regular base)
    In the DM I thank for the follow and ask the new follower if he /she would like to participate and would like to join an int. team. Trough this DM I connected with a lot of people who are now participating on different levels. Most of them are writing guest blogs.

    Automated DM’s can work if used correct. Just my 2 cents :)

    Cheers,
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    Very interesting ideas as to get followers on twitter. Another place for very good ideas is Articles-on.biz.

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  • Tabraiz Feham

    Some great insight on how to leverage the potential of twitter using organic tactics… Which is though slow but the authentic and persistent way of moving up the ladder. Thanks a lot.

    Tabraiz (@Tabraiz)

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  • http://www.thesuccessfulonlinebusiness.com/free Chris

    Good article thanks for the tips. There’s a lot of junk tweeting out there. I like the advice to get meaningful followers who will actually take action as opposed to just filling numbers.

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  • Crashpixel

    Great article.  I am impressed with the “back to the basics” revival.  I agree that the list will take much longer to build organically; however, I completely agree that the best way to great social interaction is through solid relationships.  It’s the same in the real world…would you like to have 3 or 4 close friends you can totally count on, or 10-20 friends who won’t necessarily be there for you unless there’s something in it for them…http://www.crashpixel.com/twitter

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  • http://twitter.com/Orangemoonwerks Ralph A. Gilmore

    This was truly a great and valuable post! Not to knock anyone, but people get caught up in the numbers of followers and not have any connection to their followers. If you’re patient, be yourself, stay away from negativity, and last but not least, share good content, I believe you will be better off in the long run. Motto: The tortoise wins the race, not the rabbit. :)

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  • http://twitter.com/TimothytHaines Timothy Haines

    Great article as always Francisco! I love the auto DM conversation: I know it is always a hot topic. I think it depends on the audience you’re engaging: mine is very much local, and I find that 1) they don’t mind an automated message (I have a really high click through rate) 2) they don’t realize it is automated. I usually push them through to my LinkedIn, and find it to be a better place to convert from online to offline networking. 

    Keep up the great writing! Love the blog.

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  • http://Social-Tango.com Billy Delaney

    Francisco thanks for putting out some very ethical ways to do and be more on twitter. I appreciate what you wrote. I would like to build a large engagement with more people because I will have things to share that are valuable, all coming soon.
    You do this stuff so well too! Billy

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  • pgls_23

    I have been using twitter but only get around 170 followers to promote my site http://www.rutechy.com. I have followed a lot of people already. By reading this post, I now realized that actually using twitter as much as I use facebook (where I get all my direct traffic from, at the moment) should be the key!
    Thank you!

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    I appreciate the point about auto responders. An automated message thanking me for following does not cause me to really feel appreciated as a follower, and has no greater impact than if you had sent me no message at all (unless it is a personal message). Direct messages generated by automation are annoying, and I would prefer not to receive them….

  • http://social-babies.com/ Social Babies

    I couldn’t agree more. The “fake followers” method does nothing to improve your social rankings. I always tell my clients you would rather have 100 loyal and trustworthy followers than 10,000 autobot followers. 

    Overall, great article. Let’s hope the fakers get the point and start building real followings.

  • Timothywilson

    What about with the new timeline – does this work the same way, the same size?

  • http://www.socialmarvels.com/ Shaun

    Late to the party, but I agree with this. I think the auto-DM is just a good way to share more info in a limited window. Plus I don’t want to think of a follower as a “Fan.” I want to acknowledge them as a person – maybe the auto makes things less personable but to me it shows I care that they took action.

    I see both points to be honest.

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    All good tips but the best tip of the bunch is “Follow Less but Follow Smart” and since I opted to use my Disqus profile to contribute to the thread • I hope you can see now (Jim) why social savvy guys like Francisco use the Disqus comment system

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    I think it is important to highlight that massive following is against twitter rules. When you are using a tool to follow people that are not following you, you can have the account suspended by Twitter.

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  • SissymMascarenhas

    Hi Francisco, this is perfect. Thank you! I will return to read again!

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