If you’re new to Twitter (yes, many people still are new), getting followers can seem like rocket science. Twitter has evolved since a year ago, when everyone followed everyone back. Now social media is a glamorous affair, with celebrities, companies, and CEO’s joining the party. Now there are tens of millions of people on Twitter, and they’re more picky about who they follow back.
The biggest influence in the decision is interests and how much you have in common. When you follow someone, they’ll get an email notification from which they can click on your profile to see if they should follow you back. The decision is often made within seconds, so it’s important that your interests jump off the page.
1. Have a bio
You have 160 characters to write a bit about yourself that goes on the right column of your Twitter page. Don’t neglect the bio! It will also appear on various Twitter directories, and you’re more likely to be overlooked if the bio isn’t present.
If you’re a company, describe what your product/service is all about, and perhaps include who is the Twitter rep at the company. And if you’re an individual, describe your profession (if relevant) and some other personal interests. Here are some good examples of Twitter bios:
Dunkin Donuts: Dunkin’ Dave here, tweeting on the behalf of the DD mothership. I’m an American and I’m certifiably running on Dunkin’.
Ford: Feel the difference. Account run by @ScottMonty (^SM), @gwenj (^GP), digital communications, @MSchirmerFord, global vehicles comms (^MHS)
Harry Gold: Founder & CEO of Overdrive Interactive (@ovrdrv). Frequent lecturer on online marketing, and leader of search & social campaigns for many Fortune 500 companies.
2. Have an engaging background image
When people come to your page, the background is the first thing they’ll take in. This is a good opportunity to share more about yourself without a character limit restriction. Here are some good elements to have in a background:
- A picture of yourself or your product (after all, the user icons are so tiny)
- Important URLs, including your website, blog, Facebook page, etc.
- Other methods of contacting you, including an email address
- If you’re a company with Twitter reps, list th em (including short bios, photos, and perhaps a legend used within tweets to indicate who’s tweeting)
Here are a couple good examples of Twitter backgrounds:
3. Talk about more than just yourself
It’s ok to talk about yourself on Twitter, but not in every tweet. Most people don’t want to follow purely self-promoting individuals or companies. For example, if you work in marketing, don’t only post about your own company’s accomplishments. Post articles other industry-related articles, perhaps about other campaigns that you admire. If you’re a car company, don’t only post about your products or campaigns; post articles about how to get the best gas mileage, tips for upkeep, etc.
4. Reply often
Other people on Twitter want to know that if they follow you back, they’ll actually be able to interact with you. They want to know that they’ll be able to ask you a question and not feel like they’re just talking to empty space. So have a variety of retweets and @ replies mixed in with the rest of your tweets.
You’d be surprised how many individuals and companies alike overlook these steps, but these basic elements will help others decide whether or not to follow you. What do you think are the most important factors people look at when deciding whether or not to follow you? Let me know in the comments!
I originally wrote this post for my company Overdrive Interactive’s blog. Overdrive Interactive is a full-service online marketing agency based in Boston that specializes in online media, social media, and search engine marketing campaigns and services.