So, I have to admit that I’m a little bit sad to be writing this. My 5 Week Twitter Challenge is actually over. I’ve made some new friends, learned an amazing amount, and really grew my followers very quickly. However, I was not just interested in growing the number of my followers, but in growing an actual audience. I am fully aware that for a few bucks I could have bought more followers than I gained in this entire challenge. Or I could have simply looked for follow back accounts and grown my numbers that way. But with either of those options, I would have had a lot of worthless followers. I have made it a point to add targeted followers that I can engage with, and I think I have been very successful with that.
And now, for the results… let’s take a look at the numbers that I have now compared to what I had just 5 weeks ago. Five weeks ago I had under 200 followers and a basically dead account – no one was visiting my profile and I wasn’t tweeting at all so there were almost no impressions. At the time of writing, I have 2,918 followers (I couldn’t quite get to 3,000), right about 120,000 impressions, and 5,000 profile visits. Overall, I am super happy with the results that I got and I am going to be sticking with Twitter as a part of my marketing strategy – though I may not be quite as passionate about it as I have in the past 5 weeks (and I may automate a few tasks now to save some time). I’m also going to be writing a guide on how to get 1,000 new targeted followers in 2 weeks, so you can be looking for that in the next week or so.
Just a Reminder – The Rules of the Challenge:
- I wanted to try to keep this simple and to let me learn and grow as I go on, so I kept the rules as simple as possible.
- I would only do 35 days.
- I would use no paid tools.
- I would not automate any posts.
- I would spend about 30 minutes every day.
- My focus would be on new followers and building an audience.
So What Did I Do?
Really, I didn’t change anything that I did from last week. I just did it more consistently, and a little bit better, and a little bit more. I’ll explain what I did better in the What I Learned Section below.
- I used Buffer to schedule my tweets. I have Buffer set up to post 30 times a day, but with the free account I can only schedule 10 at a time. This means that I have to fill my queue several times a day, so I generally post 20-25 times a day.
- I tweeted links to my own content 2-3 times a day.
- I tweeted links to an article that I found interesting 5-10 times a day.
- I retweeted from my followers to engage with them 10-15 times a day.
- I followed everyone that followed me (as long as they were clean, in English, and were in one of my areas of interest) – same as last week, but I used CrowdFire to make sure that I didn’t miss any new followers.
- I followed people in my areas of interest through manageflitter and Twitter search.
- I unfollowed people that did not follow me back after several days through CrowdFire
- I scheduled my retweets out so that I did not take over people’s twitter feeds (see tutorial video I made here)
- I engaged with more influential followers by tweeting some of their original content or replying to their tweets.
- I borrowed the audiences of several similar accounts (see #3 below)
What I Learned Through 5 Weeks
1. There is No Shortcut to “Real Growth”
Like I mentioned above, I know that I could have gotten much more impressive numbers had I bought followers or just looked for accounts that I knew would follow back. However, that isn’t real or sustainable growth, and more importantly, it will not benefit me at all long-term. The whole reason that I wanted to build my Twitter audience was so that I could drive more traffic to my blog and eventually to use it to grow an email list. I see this as the foundation for a long-term, very profitable business strategy. I now hve nearly three thousand followers on Twitter, many of which I have started to build a bit of a relationship with. Now I know that I have an incredibly long way to go in order to become a true influencer who is able to drive massive amounts of traffic through social media, but I feel that I am building that foundation that i need to get there.
Just like in real sales and marketing, in order to build a relationship with someone, you have to get them to know, like, and trust you. That can’t happen overnight. However, by helping others, answering questions, engaging, retweeting, and sharing valuable content, I think I’ve taken a step towards it and I am looking forward to continuing to build those relationships.
Key Takeaway – It takes time to build a relationship with your audience.
2. Tweet Content From Your Whole Audience
OK, so of course you follow the big influencers in your field – everyone does. And of course you retweet the big influencers – everyone does. And you should, because they usually create really good content, and you will usually get more retweets from sharing content from the big guns. However, you will very rarely get interaction from the actual influencer him/herself. Of course there are exceptions, but for the most part, they simply get retweeted too much to be able to respond to any retweets. However, if you look for content by others in your audience, those who are not yet full blown influencers, but who produce great content, and share that, your will likely get a real response.
In my experience so far, that has been the best way for me to start to build a know, like and trust kind of relationship with my followers. When I see that someone is tweeting their own content, I will add their blog to my feedly so that I can keep up with any new content that they create. And I try not to just to a title and link tweet. Those don’t look like anyone has actually read the article in my opinion. I will either take a quote from the article or give a quick summary, add the link, add a tag or two, and then mention the author. I find that I get very good engagement that way, and I find it more enjoyable to do thinks a little bit differently than everyone else. Of course there are also people who do not create content. In that case, you can ask them questions, answer their questions, or simply retweet something that they have shared. In any case, try to engage with a large portion of your audience and keep track of who engages back – they are great people to engage with in the future!
Key Takeaway – Don’t just retweet the big fish – engage with your whole audience.
3. Find Similar Tweeters and Follow Their Followers
A great way to find targeted people that are interested in what you tweet about is to find established people that have similar interests and follow their followers. Of course you don’t want to just blindly follow all of their followers, that would be ridiculous. But, it does give you a great starting point to find people that have already proved that they have some interest in your industry. The way I do this is on my iPhone or iPad. This allows me to look at the followers faster and get back to the list easier. What I am looking for when I am deciding on which followers I should follow –
First of all, I do not want to follow fake accounts, spam accounts, etc., so I do look at each account before I follow it. I will usually look at 3 things: Their picture/header image/bio. I just want the account to have these things filled out and look like a real account. If the name of the account is Matthew, the picture is of a hot girl, and the bio is about how he is a social media tycoon, I’m probably not going to follow that account. It doesn’t look real to me. The second thing that I look at is the follower/following ratio. If the person has 10,000 followers and only follows 50 people, I’m not going to waste my time following them because they will not follow me back. If it is an account that is following over a thousand people and only has 100 followers, it is probably a fake account (or they don’t tweet anything useful). I am looking for accounts that have a similar amount of followers and following. I usually look for accounts that follows at least 80% as many people as follow them or have at least 60% as many followers as they are following. For example, if they follow 1,000 people, I want them to follow at least 800 people, but not more than 1,700 (rounded up from 1,667 which is 1,000 divided by .6).
Key Takeaway – Borrowing a similar account’s followers is a quick way to grow.
Comments or Questions?
I’d love to help you out if you are looking to grow your own Twitter following. If you have any questions about what I did or how I did it, please ask in the comments below or hit me up on twitter. Also, if you have a marketing related blog, I’d love to follow you. Tweet me your url and I’ll add it to my feed.