10 ways to increase your Twitter followers

Does your Twitter following need a bit of a boost? Take a look at our top tips to increase your Twitter followers for some help.

Image representing Twitter as depicted in Crun...

Image via CrunchBase

In case you didn’t know, 13 – 17 February is, apparently, the third annual Social Media Week. Why exactly social media deserves an entire week in its honour we’re not quite sure, but it does at least give us the perfect opportunity to share MSN‘s collective wisdom on that trickiest of subjects – how to increase (and keep) your Twitter followers.

Tweet well and tweet often

This one should be obvious, but it’s worth reiterating. Twitter isn’t a medium where your audience will easily burn out if you overdo it – indeed, it’s the way Twitter is meant to be used. Keep tweeting to make sure your posts stay at the top of your followers’ feeds, but keep an eye on the quality of your tweets – it’s easy to tell if someone’s tweeting for the sake of it, and your followers count will drop accordingly.

Retweet, retweet, retweet

Retweeting does exactly what it says on the tin – the Twitter equivalent of clicking ‘forward’ on that email round-robin that’s going around the office. By encouraging your followers to retweet your updates, and by judiciously retweeting others’, you can push your @username out further into the wild – netting you all kinds of new followers, not to mention the goodwill of those you retweet.

Identify yourself

Fill out your bio – it’s the only space Twitter gives you to tell people who you are outside the content of your tweets. It goes without saying that if someone doesn’t know anything about you, they’re far less likely to follow you. Obviously, this is the internet, so you don’t need to go overboard with the personal information – think of it as your space to pitch what makes you so amazing and worth following.

Pictures mean prizes

Tweet your pictures. Whether it’s a photo of a coma-inducing fried breakfast or a cat photoshopped to look like Hitler, pictures are often heavily retweeted – giving you all the more chance to capture those crucial extra followers. If you mostly tweet from your smartphone, use an app such as Tweetie or Twitterific for handy picture uploads on-the-go.

Talk about your passions

Whether you’re a crazed celebrity fan or make model sailing ships out of nostril hair, Twitter is the place to talk about your passions. Chances are if someone else is into it too, they’ll find you and follow you – quality content that’s easily accessible never fails. And if you #hashtag your tweets (see next) then you’ll be even easier to spot among the pack.

Use hashtags

The ‘#’ symbol, known as a hashtag, is used to mark keywords or topics in a tweet. Created by Twitter users themselves, this system makes for an easy way to categorise messages. Hashtagged words will show more easily in Twitter Search – meaning that your tweets are more likely to get noticed and acquire extra followers. As a certain corporately funded and inexplicably popular rodent would say – ‘simples’.

Know your memes

You can also pick up some extra followers by getting involved in #hashtag memes – the topics and conversations that are most popular (or ‘trending’) at any given time. Throw some witty (or just plain controversial) remarks into the mix and sit back and watch in amazement (or dismay) as the hordes of new followers flood (or trickle) in.

Link it up

Twitter isn’t some self-contained ecosystem. Indeed, part of its charm is that it can act as a filter (through the people you follow) to all kinds of fascinating web content that you may not otherwise have seen. It’s a door that swings both ways, so make sure you put links to your Twitter profile everywhere you can. Link it on your Facebook page, your LinkedIn and Digg profiles, your blog, email signature and anywhere else you have an online presence. The easier it is to find, the more followers you acquire.

Talk to your followers

The ‘social’ part of social media is often overlooked – meaning it’s easy to let your Twitter feed stagnate into a stream of ‘look at me’ ego-massaging that’s as boring as it is repetitive. So make sure you keep your followers engaged – retweet their stuff, offer up ‘Follow Friday‘ suggestions (hashtagged as #ff), strike up conversations and reply to direct messages; it makes your followers all the less likely to unfollow you, and they may even recommend you to their followers.

Ride the fame wave

If all else fails, you can always try piggybacking on someone else’s fame – keep an eye on the top Twitter users and pay attention to what they tweet. Reply with something interesting enough and there’s a good chance they’ll give you a retweet – leading to an instant follower bonanza. But just remember there’s a fine line between ‘fan’ and ‘stalker’ – replying to their tweet about the state of the economy is fine; tweeting a photo of their house taken from their garden bushes is a step too far.


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