How can you get the first people to follow you on Twitter? Why is it even important to actively get your first Twitter followers for your new Twitter account – can’t you just wait for them to come?
Here is how to get the precious first followers for your Twitter account and why you should go for them, followers set you apart from thousands of shady accounts.
When you are new to Twitter and just created your account, your follower count is probably 0 or maybe 1 or 2 if you have friends or family willing to instantly click follow when you tell them you created a Twitter account.
I actually created my personal Twitter account to give our newly created business Twitter account a first follower. At that time, I did not know that I should have considered how to grow my personal account, too.
Why the first Twitter followers are important
A Twitter account without any followers has a hard time growing an audience. Why? Because followers give your account credibility.
Bot accounts are often newly created and don’t have many followers. Sounds familiar? Right, every new Twitter account looks like this.
Every follower that you can get to your new Twitter account adds legitimacy to your account.
You will notice that it gets easier to connect if you have some more Twitter followers.
Why it is easier to get Twitter followers for a personal account vs. a business account
If you are running a business, there is always the question: Should you use your personal account for marketing or should you build a business account?
There are more things to consider than the question of which account will be easier to grow and amass an audience when you are looking for an answer to this question. For instance, a personal account belongs to a person – if the person leaves the company or the marketing team, you could lose all the marketing power that the personal account grew.
But when you want to base the decision between a personal or brand account on the question of which one is easier to grow, the hard truth is that it is harder to grow Twitter followers for a business account than for a personal account.
Because people like to connect to people and a business account is rarely a person. People like to see you on the profile image, they like to know who they are talking to and they like to know that they will be talking to the same person tomorrow.
It is easier to trust a Twitter account that is run by ONE person and that person shows a face than trust a Twitter account that has a logo as a profile image and never discloses who tweets on this channel.
Whatever you decide, personal or business Twitter account, you need to know how to grow your followers when your account is new and does not have many followers. If you want to wait until followers find and follow you, you should prepare for a long wait.
15 ways to get more Twitter followers
#1 Fill out your profile
I cannot say this too often: you have to fill out your profile and tell people who you are and what you are about on Twitter!
Upload an avatar image – the best image shows you. Not an image of a dog, a flower or a logo. Yes, I know, I have been using an image of my dog for years. But as said before, I created my Twitter account to give our business account a first follower. I did not expect my Twitter account to grow so fast and become such an important marketing asset. And before I knew it, my dog image was something people recognized and talked to me about.
But I changed the dog image to an image of me with my dog, eventually. Because people wanted to see who I am and not connect to my dog.
You can also use text overlay on your Twitter header image to mention the most important hashtags or keywords for your account.
Filling out your profile will not necessarily grow your followers. But NOT filling out your profile will prevent you from getting followers!
2 Tweet relevant stuff
You are what you tweet.
Give people a reason to follow you. The best reason for people to want to follow you is to provide something in your tweets that they are interested in. Make sure the majority of your tweets are on-topic. Mix up the types of tweets:
- Images with text overlay
- Link tweets
- Twitter threads
- Multi-image tweets
- Twitter live
When your audience is small, tweeting highly valuable and interesting tweets for your audience is not enough to grow your audience (fast). Only a few people will see your valuable tweets when you do not have many followers.
But you need to give people who notice you enough value and make your account interesting enough for people to follow or all of the following tactics will get a lot harder or not work at all.
And remember to tweet value for the followers you already have – or they will leave again.
3 Ask Friends
Your friends are probably the best to start your new Twitter account with a handful of followers. Every follower makes it easier to get more followers. Even if your friends are not overly interested in the topic of your tweets, these first few followers add so much credibility that others will follow, too.
Some of your best friends may even be willing to create a Twitter account just to help you out. I had some startup friends who created a Facebook account just to give my business Facebook page one more fan.
4 Ask colleagues
Your colleagues are probably the better-targeted followers than your friends. Most of them may well have an interest in following your account.
They may also be willing to like and retweet some of your tweets. Your colleagues may be a good starting point for engagement and communication on your tweets.
5 Ask Business Contacts
If you start a Twitter account with growing a business in mind, your business contacts are likely to be in your target group. You can easily let them all know that you now have this Twitter account and want to use it to provide useful information from your niche. Add a call to action and ask them to follow your Twitter account.
You can also add your Twitter account to your email signature. This way, you can tell business contacts in a very unintrusive way that you are on Twitter.
I strongly recommend getting a handful of followers before you ask your business contacts. The response rate will probably be higher if you already have a couple of followers. Nobody likes to be the first – rather people like to follow where others have already gone.
If you ask your business contacts to follow you, don’t hide the fact that your account is new – or that you are just starting to make Twitter a priority. This will explain why you don’t have many followers yet.
Is Twitter your first social media account that you are growing? If you already have a social media presence with some followers on another social network, you can use it to give your Twitter account a little push.
If you already have a Facebook page or an Instagram profile that already has some followers, you can cross-promote your Twitter account to them.
Don’t blindly share tweets on Facebook or Instagram that usually does not work well – every social network has its preferences for image sizes and post length.
But you can announce your new Twitter account and mention it again once in a while on your other social media channels. This also works the other way around once you have some followers on Twitter.
7 Ask your subscribers
Do you already have some email subscribers? Let them know about your Twitter account and ask them to follow you.
You can write a quick email announcing that you have a new Twitter account. Tell what you are going to tweet about, what information you will provide in your tweets – and add a call to action with a request to follow your Twitter account.
You can mention the Twitter account and the request for a follow in your next emails but don’t make it the purpose of the email. Provide enough value in the next emails and make the mention of the Twitter account a PS or a quick reminder.
8 Use your guest author bio
If you are writing and publishing guest posts, you can use your guest author bio to grow targeted followers for your Twitter account.
This has been the most effective way for me to grow my Twitter followers when I only had a couple of hundred followers. My guest author bio with a simple “you can follow her on Twitter @twitterhadle” brought me up to a couple of hundred new followers from one guest post.
9 Retweet and like tweets
Retweeting and liking tweets from people from your niche is a great way to get on their radar and make them notice you. Some of them will then retweet some of your posts – and some will follow you.
A couple of years ago there was a tool for Twitter follower growth that did nothing but like hundreds of tweets from people from a target audience. Naturally, the tool got banned from Twitter years ago for spammy activity – but it provided a proof of concept that liking and retweeting will help you grow some followers.
What you should learn from this is that you should never overdo anything on Twitter. When I say, like some tweets, don’t hop on Twitter and like thousands of tweets every day. That can get your Twitter account suspended very quickly.
10 Engage in targeted conversations
Becoming part of the conversation and connecting with people through conversations is one of the best ways to grow a targeted audience on Twitter.
To find the best conversations from your niche, you can search for keywords and key phrases that are relevant to your niche. Check the tweets you find and answer and comment on relevant tweets. This way you can connect to people at a certain point in their Twitter life: When they talk about topics that are relevant to you.
You can also create a list of Twitter accounts you want to engage with (or follow a list that someone else created) and then watch the list feed for tweets you want to comment on.
11 Be part of Twitter Chats
Active participation in Twitter chats from your niche is a great way to become part of your niche and connect to Twitter people.
You can look for chats around conferences, live events, and business events. They usually have a hashtag for conversations and you can join even if you don’t participate in the conference or event.
12 Use engagement content
Some tweets are more engaging than others.
When I started my Twitter journey, tweeting links to content was enough to drive traffic to our content. Then Twitter changed the feed – or rather they added the top tweet feed as an alternative to the purely chronological feed. Since the top tweet feed uses an algorithm that is strongly based on engagement, you now have to consider how to increase engagement on your tweets.
Today, tweeting links to your blog content may give you some traffic but it will not engage your audience. At least not much. You should add more engaging content to your Twitter activity to build more community and grow your audience.
How can you do that?
Use images in your tweets. Use text-overlay on the images to tell what your tweet is about. Use types of posts that allow you to add more value to your tweets like multi-image tweets, Twitter threads, videos, and Twitter live.
13 Follow people from your niche
Following people and waiting if they follow you back used to be the main strategy for many social media influencers on Twitter a couple of years ago. Combined with tweeting content from your niche you could grow a targeted audience and blog traffic fast.
Today, you need to combine the follow-unfollow tactic with engagement – but it is still a valuable tactic to get the first followers for your Twitter account.
Just make sure to follow accounts from your niche. Only follow a couple of accounts per day – never overdo it. Don’t follow and unfollow the same accounts in quick succession. Check if some of the accounts follow you back. If they don’t follow you back, improve your targeting and provide more value on your Twitter account.
14 Consider Using Special Hashtags
In some niches or areas of interest, there are community hashtags that allow you to connect and grow an audience faster. The followers you can get this way are usually not the most connected. But to start growing your audience these hashtags can give you the initial follower push that you need.
The hashtag #writerslift is a community hashtag between authors and bloggers that want to help each other grow their audience. You can find multiple tweets with this hashtag on Twitter every day. People comment on the tweets with their blog links and Twitter handles and people see them and can follow them.
These follow-and-engage hashtags are sometimes looked upon as a little shady. But success depends on how you treat these tweets. Twitter is never about shouting out and waiting for people to act on it. It is always about building community and engagement.
And these hashtags give you a playing field where you can find like-minded people looking for Twitter accounts to connect.
Other hashtags along this line are #WritingCommunity and #ShamelessSelfPromo.
15 Utilize content curation
Yes, content curation can help you grow your audience. Here is how:
Check your favorite blogs from your niche, and find content that you like and that you think will be of interest to your target audience. Tweet this content and make sure you add a “via @blogsource” to your tweet.
Mentioning the Twitter account of the blog source to the tweet will make sure that the author or blog owner will notice your tweet of their content. Some of them will like and retweet your tweet. This will increase the reach of your tweet and allow you to reach a larger and more targeted audience.
16 Use @mentions
Mentioning other Twitter accounts in your tweets can earn you retweets or likes and get your Twitter account in front of a larger audience – but ONLY if you have a reason to mention these accounts. Without a reason for the mention, this action is spam.
If you need a reason to use the @mentions, what can you do?
You can create content that refers to other blogs or people. This gives you a reason to mention them in your tweets.
Examples for this kind of content are lists of interesting blogs from your niche, or lists of the top Twitter accounts from you niche.
You can also ask someone from your niche for a statement on a topic you cover in your content, include the statement in your blog post and then mention them in the tweet for this blog content.
The @mention tactic requires a little work from your end, as you need to create a reason for the mention first.
Final words on growing Twitter followers
Keep in mind that your first followers are just the beginning.
Growing an audience is a long-term commitment not a sprint. The first followers are much harder to win than new followers when already thousands are following you.
The above tactics are not going to replace a Twitter marketing strategy. These tactics are for your first few weeks on Twitter when your account needs a boost in followers that will give your Twitter marketing strategy the advantage of a couple of followers over an empty profile.
If you are looking for inspiration for your long-term Twitter strategy, check out these two Twitter marketing tactics.