I’m a full blown twitterholic. I have a huge appreciation for the site, as I’ve picked up a large proportion of my work through it, and made some lovely friends who I now meet up with In Real Life. Plus it really does make watching X Factor 100 times funnier.

Occasionally, I get asked how I’ve built up a following of around 2,000, and I’m not sure what to say. I haven’t tried any magical follower tools, or paid people to follow me. Personally, I think the secret to getting a decent Twitter following is to be friendly, chatty and helpful. Cheesy, but true.

Businesses and individuals often claim that Twitter is ‘just a load of people tweeting about their breakfast’, when the reality is they’re just not taken the right steps in interacting with others.

Do it right, like Giraffe Restaurants and o2 (also look at their brilliant comment on Big-Fashionista’s blog), and you’ll see a huge amount of success and reap the rewards. Do it badly, (*Cough* Habitat) and you could see a pretty nasty backlash.
This isn’t one of those “5 easy ways to get 1,000 followers on Twitter” posts. You’ll need to put in the time and effort. And I don’t think a following should be your main aim. If you put the right content out there and help others, Twitter followers should appear as a lovely bonus.
However, if you want to reach as many people as possible, you might want to try these tips.
  • Chat: If all you do is tweet about your business and share your own links, no one will want to follow you. Chat to others, comment on their links or share there content with your own followers. The best businesses on Twitter take the time to respond to others and fully emerge themselves in the Twittersphere.
  • #ff: A couple of years ago, using the #ff hashtag (which stands for Follow Friday) was a great way to recommend people to your current followers, and they’d often return the favour. It has less influence now, due to spammers reeling off hundreds of usernames using the hashtag, but it’s still worth sending out one or two #ff for people that have had a positive impact on you that week.
  • Hashtags: I mentioned #ff above, but using hashtags in general is a great way of getting your name out there in relation to particularly topics. That brilliant tweet you send about Britain’s Got Talent will get a much better audience, and more chance of retweets, if you add the hashtag #BGT so all those discussing the same topic will see it.
  • Help people. If someone asks a question, try and help them out with links, tips or advice. Twitter is essentially a technological form of karma – help others and they’ll help you in the future.
  • Competition: If you’re a business, a competition is a great way to quickly increase your followers. I wouldn’t necessarily recommend it if you want a high quality group of followers (see my post over on BusinessonTwitter for more information on compers) but a well run competition can get you the attention you want.

Do you have any tips for new Twitter users? Why not share this post on Twitter, to get you started? 

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This post is the 20th in a series of 30 for the 30 Day Blogging Challenge. See other 30 Day Blogging Challenge posts here.