By Amanda Ponzar @LivingUnited
First, a disclaimer. I am not Lady Gaga or Justin Bieber. I don't have millions of Twitter followers. Just 747 (sounds like a jet plane...). However, that still places me in the top 10% of Twitter users according to Peter Kafka (@pkafka). Major brands like @Starbucks, @frappuccino, @UPS, @generalelectric, @UnitedWay, @SalvationArmyUS and more follow me. I've gotten replies from @AnnCurry and @Microsoft, plus retweets from @OneCampaign. If I can do it, so can you!
So, here are a few Twitter tips from a real person -- not a celebrity, not a social media manager for a mega company – on how to increase your Twitter followers. I had 368 followers in May 2013; now, about six months later in December, I have nearly 750. Here's how I did it.
- CREATE a profile with a real picture, not the Twitter egg.
- FOLLOW coworkers, friends, clients, news outlets, celebrities, etc.; take Twitter's suggestions for who to follow; you can always unfollow later.
- TWEET stats and links to interesting news, blog posts, press releases, YouTube videos, photos, etc. Share inspirational quotes and humor. No one will follow you if you aren't sharing anything interesting.
- SHORTEN links by sending through LinkedIn or using bit.ly or owly.
- THANK and mention others using their Twitter handle – “Thanks @LivingUnited for the interesting #Twitter tips article http://bit.ly/19FAra7”.
- ENGAGE: Reply, retweet, favorite, mention! Always cite the source “via @LivingUnited” or “by @NYTimes”. It never hurts to favorite someone else's tweets to show you liked/read it. Also, instead of retweeting, you can quote someone else's tweet with quotes or RT and their Twitter handle.
- USE hashtags: #LiveUnited, #shutdown, #coffee, #GivingTuesday – see what hashtags are trending & take part in the conversation around holidays, events, sports, news or subjects: #Christmas, #HTTR, #kids, #TheVoice, etc. Use the “Discover” button on Twitter to see what your network is talking about.
- JOIN Twitter chats/Tweet-ups like #fundchat, #ragansocial, #MillennialTalk, #CGI, etc. – whatever your interest area. If you see others using a certain hashtag, look it up in Twitter and see what the conversation is about. When you attend an event or conference, use the organization's Twitter handle (like @IJM) and hashtag (#freedom) in your tweets.
- TRACK your Klout score: sign up for a Klout account, link to Twitter, and track what engages others and increases your social influence score. My Klout score is currently 60, but waffles between 57 and 61. I've gotten free McDonald's gift certificates and other incentives and gifts due to my influence on Twitter.
- DOWNLOAD the Twitter app for your phone and check often! Sending one tweet a month just isn't going to cut it.
Good luck, and let me know how it goes or share your best #Twitter tips – just tweet to @LivingUnited!