Lately, I’ve been trying to educate myself more on social media strategy. In the past, I did a bit of social media managing for a co-working space, but most of my social media success has been via managing my own personal accounts.
Sometime in late Spring, I challenged myself to increase my followers on both Twitter and Instagram. Back in April, I had 822 followers on Twitter and today, I have nearly 1600 followers (1597 to be specific so if you want to follow and get me to my goal, Tweet me here)! For a part-time freelance writer and occasional blogger, I’d say that’s a good jump for 6 months of somewhat active Twitter strategy.
Between Twitter and IG, I have to say it’s been much easier to increase engagement on the former. I’ll be writing more about increasing IG followers in a separate post soon, including new strategies I’ll be implementing soon, but today I want to chat about Twitter.
There are several ways to boost your engagement using 140 characters or less. Most of these I just picked up by observing my own Twitter feed (what got more favorites and RT’s and replies, who was tweeting me more, etc.) while other tips I picked up from various blogs and websites.
- Tweet regularly. This is probably a no-brainer but if you barely tweet, whatever you do send out will likely get lost in the shuffle. If you don’t think you’ll have the time to send out a quick message at least once a day (or at the very least once every other day), you can always set aside a few minutes and use an app like HootSuite or Buffer to schedule future tweets. You can also schedule replies and RTs as well as view your Twitter lists to sift through your own feed for the accounts you want to target more specifically.
- Quality versus Quantity. Unless you’re a big celeb, chance are you aren’t going to get followed as easily for your personally insightful tweets about burritos or afternoon traffic. Make your Twitter account interesting by posting about things other folks want to read about. Write a tweet in response to a news story or a trending Twitter topic. If you’re funny, use it. If you know a lot about a specific topic, tweet about it, and use the appropriate hashtags to reach a larger audience. Feel free to have an opinion, but make it an interesting one.
- Find a niche. While people enjoy following someone with varied interests, it seems that most folks who are following someone who tweets about, say, running, don’t always want to also read about that person’s knitting hobby AND their obsession with Christmas AND their dayjob as a data processor. At least, not when they have a small following. Try to hone in on 3 major topics (preferably ones that relate to one another) to make the bulk of your tweets. For example, I tweet a lot about writing, about feminism (and under this branch, feminist parenting and reproductive rights), and occasionally about travel (due to my travel-related freelance jobs). I save many of my other interests for things like Facebook or Instagram or simply keep them off social media altogether.
- Use images as often as possible. It’s well-known that tweets with images almost always get more notice. Who doesn’t love a good photo? Try to add an image (hit up imgur if you don’t have original pics) to your tweets every so often (or try a gif–find a ton of those on giphy) and there’s an excellent change others will favorite and even RT these posts more.
- Mix-up your tweets so you have equal numbers of original tweets, replies, and RTs. Now that you’ve fine tuned your own tweets, you’ll want to make sure you’re tweeting at others, replying to those who have tweeted you, and re-tweeting interesting content. Don’t make the mistake of simply RT’ing 12 different accounts back to back as it looks spammy to others and some might even unfollow for this. Schedule these posts so they send out throughout the day so you are constantly coming up on people’s feeds.
- Participate in Twitter parties. This one has helped me out a ton. As a blogger, I tend to frequent hashtag parties like #MondayBlogs, #WWWBlogs (that’s Women Writer Wednesday Blogs), and #writesprint among others. I’ll post new and old blog content as well as RT and favorite and reply to content I liked. This has probably gotten me the most new followers.
- Use #hashtags when appropriate. You don’t need to ALWAYS use hashtags or use 15 hashtags and get spammy, but you should always use at least 1-2 whenever you feel the tweet would do well with a wider audience. Because I often Tweet and write and blog about feminism, I frequently use hashtags like #feminism, #feminist, and #latinafeminist. When I tweet about writing, I use many of the popular hashtags like #amwriting, #writertips, #writersproblems, #writing, and #writer. A quick Google search will give you more insight into what the best hashtags are for your niche/tweet (or simply search the hashtag on twitter and see what comes up!)
- Engage with popular accounts. Try to get yourself noticed by some of the more popular Twitter accounts. Celebrities are difficult to get a hold of, but popular brands and popular writers have been fairly easy to get replies, faves, and RTs from. And some will even follow you back if you follow them.
- Follow, follow, follow! Unless you’re Beyonce, you probably won’t get thousands of folks following you “just cause.” Find people with similar interests to follow. If someone new follows you, sift through their followers and follow some of them. Find someone popular whose tweets you love and follow their followers. Out of every 10 people you follow, almost always, you’ll get at least 5 new followers outright.
- Use a follower app like CrowdFire to keep track of who follows and unfollows you. I love CrowdFire because it tells me who is following, unfollowing, and who has been inactive for 1 months, 3 months, or even 6 months. If someone unfollowed me and I wasn’t really engaging much with them, I will usually unfollow them. I don’t automatically follow everyone that follows me, although I may add them to a Twitter List if I think they fit into one of those categories (I have Twitter lists that vary from funny accounts to friends to feminists to people in writing and publishing). I also unfollow most accounts who have stopped tweeting beyond 3 months because chances are they won’t come back. When I go through a serial following, though (following 10+ people at a time and seeing who bites back), I’ll check CrowdFire after a week or so and see which folks haven’t followed back yet. If I don’t think they will, I’ll simply unfollow. This strategy bleeds into my last tip…
- Try to keep your follower/following counts equal or maintain more follower than those you follow. Did you get that? It seems kind of juvenile but let’s face it, you’re often more likely to follow a highly popular account than one where the person following about 3k people but only has 300 people following back. I’m not sure about the psychology behind it, but I’ve noticed a major jump in followers since these numbers evened out for me (I currently follow about 200 or so less that those who follow me). Try and see if it works for you.
Using all of these tips, I was able to double my following and significantly boost my engagement on Twitter! Since April, I’ve averaged about 100 new followers per month without even trying (because let’s face it, these tips are easy peasy). In the past 2 months, I’ve earned a bit over 200 followers per month. Still working on boosting my mentions, which I’ll write more about in a future post once I develop a secret sauce for that.
What strategies have worked for you? Feel free to let me know in the comments and share this info with anyone who’s struggling to get their feed noticed.