About a week ago, on a Tuesday, I had a contact of mine ping me on instant messenger. “Hey, I’m over a 1000 followers on Twitter!” in which I replied, “nice work. Did you check how many are real?” He did. I proceeded to rain on his parade.
I’ve always had a love/hate relationship with Twitter. I don’t find the engagement level that I do on other social media platforms, especially Google+. Even those you message and try to initiate discussion often times result without a reply. Not always, but it’s something I often see. Hell, I’m not above admitting that it could simply be that folks are not interested in engaging with ‘me’! I get that.
At the time of the aforementioned instant message I think I had just over 800 followers on Twitter. I told him, I could get to 1000 by the end of the week. He didn’t have much doubt at all. He’s a good guy. In all sincerity, he got to a 1000 in a way that provides more value to him. My quest to get to 1000 would certainly provide less value to me. I know some folks that follow me on Twitter may be offended at this statement, but I’m just trying to be honest. However, we’re talking quantity over quality.
To be clear, I’m not touting this entry as a ‘Get to 10000+ Followers on Twitter, Guaranteed’ article. It is really an attempt to actually mock those schemes. Granted, there are services that provides followers in exchange for a fee. I’m actually talking about putting some effort into getting there.
Having been on Twitter for some time now, I know there was the initial ‘protocol’ that if someone follows you, you reciprocate the follow. This has changed over time, and many people scoff at such an approach. A person with this approach will monitor their followers to ensure there is reciprocation, often using a website that tells you who is not following them, and if they find you’re not reciprocating, they’ll unfollow you. It’s a bit of “oh, so you decided not to reciprocate? Ok, fine, piss off” way of doing things. This is very important when considering growing your followers on Twitter, and this is where the manipulation comes into play.
First step, find a person that has a ton of followers. I’m talking someone with greater than 10,000. Many of these people are either celebrities or social media consultants, gurus, or whatever. You want to find those with equal amounts of followers/followed. Celebs may have low ‘following’ count but have tons of followers, we don’t want that.
Second, open the list of people that your initial target follows and peruse it. I often open up people’s twitter in multiple browser tabs. You’ll find a few people that are social media consultants, gurus, aces, ninjas with just as many followers as your initial person. Start following these people and anyone in their ‘following’ list. Repeat.
You’ll start seeing some reciprocation. You can set your watch to it. The notifications that filled my inbox started happening within 30 minutes of going crazy. You’ll eventually start getting followers that you did not originally follow. I can only imagine that your profile is contained in emails to these people. You may have seen the ones that contain the blurb ‘People that followed <insert your name> also followed <insert random name>. I got hit with a lot of authors. Guess I happened to hit a few of those folks in my quest.
I can hear you now, “but Sean, I don’t really want to get updates from social media people. My interests lie elsewhere. Now my stream will be filled with stuff that doesn’t interest me.” Ah ha! True, but if you start unfollowing people, they’ll do the same. Your follower count will dip. Here’s how you get around this. You create lists based on interests. You start adding people to these lists, whether you follow them or not. I have a private list, one that no one can see. Private lists do not divulge to anyone who belongs to such a list. It’s private! I have one called ‘the_bomb’. I put anyone that I know, interests me, or has engaged with me, into this list. I then open my Twitter client of choice, which happens to be Tweetdeck at the moment, and essentially use this list, ‘the_bomb’, as my home stream. Now you can tune-in to those that you want to read about, disregard your main Twitter stream and not alienate the ‘I follow you, you follow me’ protocol.
Allow some time to lapse and wait for those followers to reciprocate. If they don’t, hit a website that tells you they’re not following and unfollow them. This will keep your following-to-followers ratio pretty close to 1:1. Keep doing the above and you’ll probably get to more than 10000. The big problem with this approach is that you may get lumped in with the masses. In my case, I want gamers to follow me. Problem is, Twitter lumps me in with the social media gurus/consultants/etc, so I won’t get followed by the people that I want. That’s ok because I still have my lists. I hinted at this earlier, this is where the quality piece falls short.
By midnight of Friday night, I was nine people short of a thousand. As of the time of this article I am sitting at 1028.