The Best Top 10 tips for using Twitter


Please retweet: I've been checking out a few websites which claim to offer advice about ways to improve your Twitter follower numbers. My adorable 772 (783, 2 days since I posted this) followers need company. I've at least gotta break the 1,000 mark soon. It's difficult to pick one's way through the best and the worst of Twitter advice lists - and I must admit, I got a bit bored with this half way through - but here are some of them, along with some gems of my own.

By far, the most re-posted seems to be Kevin Rose's tips, but I found them pretty underwhelming. In fact, as my list shows, most of the tips are pretty uninteresting and I expect most of us already do this, so they don't really explain how to grow to 1 million followers.  Like all such 'guru' advice, there's a massive gap between what you are advised to do and what actually happens. I suspect that understanding how new media culture and media culture more generally interfaces sill makes a difference.

The principles I employed to survey the 'top 10' lists of others the were the following:

  1. Search Google for 'Top 10 ways to increase your followers on Twitter"
  2. Take a peek at the first 10  websites that seem to be from credible sources (renowned digital environments or individuals) and which seem to be saying interesting things (but avoid repetition). This took me to about page 35 in the Google ranking.
  3. Examine the 10 tips from each website and decide how many out of the 10 are worth doing. Each piece of good advice gets a point. I don't give a point to a piece of advice that I consider to be obvious or dull (eg. include your bio on your twitter page). Instead, points are awarded to ideas that I had not thought of before.

The rest of this post will layout first my tips, then the ranking for the best top 10 lists out there, followed by different categories of advice they give. You'll work it out.

My own top 10 tips to grow your followers in Twitter (and maintain credibility) (Twips?)

  1. Show that you are listening. Use @ more than you use an original message, replying to people will encourages others to engage.
  2. Twitter is as Twitter Does. A lot of the content in Twitter is about social media, so tweeting material about this can help draw people to you .Tweet items that will appeal to Twitter users (ie. about Twitter) or digital communities (eg. Android fans). My 'Top 50 Android apps' post has been one of the highest read I've published
  3. Respect Institutions. Consider which institutions you care about and go follow them. Consider whether you receive digital communications material by other means (eg. email lists) and, if so,  seek out their Twitter account to follow as a priority. Chances are they'll follow you back, especially if they're new to Twitter, which many are.
  4. Democratize Your Institutions Encourage the institutions you're a part of to share their Twitter login and password, allowing you to re-tweet your content to their/your broader community, but do so only occasionally and when it's appropriate. If you run an institution, sack your Website manager unless they make their primary task to empower your staff to take a greater role in spreading your love.
  5. Money Can't Buy You Love Don't buy followers or use any kind of crap technique to gain auto-followers.
  6. Join the Mobile Society. Twitter is a mobile app. While having Tweetdeck on your computer is a must and a valuable route towards dealing with backlogs, Twitter is used mostly on the go. You can buy smartphones pretty cheap these days, but one, you won't look back. Most are twitter enabled now. I have an HTC using Seesmic, get 145mb a month free, which is plenty for moderate day-to-day use and it gets the most use in my house on my broadband wifi.
  7. Set your limits. How many twitter users do you actually want? Do you want to be an information service or part of a community? This decision will affect what goals you set and how you feel about the value of being on Twitter. Being a Twitter celebrity is not necessarily the most enriching path to take.
  8. Rock the boat. They say that Web 2.0 is a friendly place, but we shouldn't always be congenial online. Take a stand, you'll lose some and gain some, perhaps building the right kind of follower community.
  9. Share what you're browsing. If you're not sure what content to post to Twitter, focus first on sharing the websites that you think are cool. Like minded people will join in, but make sure you populate the link with title page and hashtags. You can automate this with platforms like Delicious - feed it through Twitterfeed.
  10. Utilize old media. Either by having your tweet referenced by a newspaper or on a popular tv programme, but of course, the challenge with this one is knowing how to get into them. I suggest you follow journalists for a start.

and a few more that occurred to me after writing this post (Getting into twitter etiquette, rather than follower growth now):

  • 11. Follow your re-tweeter. If somebody re-tweets you, follow them, it's only polite and they'll most likely follow you right back. It will also help you know more about your followers.
  • 12. Auto-tweet Ethics. If you are going to use the auto-message / auto-return follower trick, then make it interesting, don't try to sell stuff and don't get your new follower into any dodgy business
  • 13. Retweet who you follow. Rather than just follow someone, also re-tweet something of theirs. it helps them know why you followed, thus providing a starting point for your relationship.
  • 14. The 100+ Rule. If you are quite new to Twitter, spend your first week or so getting over 100 tweets out in your account. People may be unlikely to follow you if you are someone who appears never to tweet.

My rank of the best 'top 10 tips for Twitter' websites out there. Just in case you're unclear, their figure out of 10 is how many of their tips I felt were good, so as you can see there i niot a lot of good, non-obvious advice for a seasoned Twitter User trying to grow their followers.Nobody has more than 3 good, insightful tips.

  1. 3/10 Sam Murray, State of Search (2010 March)
  2. 3/10 Kevin Rose, Techcrunch (2009)
  3. 2/10 Charles Bryant, HowStuffworks (date unknown)
  4. 2/10 Good Tweeple (2010, July)
  5. 1/10 TwitterVirtue (2010 July)
  6. 1/10 Technotip (they actually had 60, so I've normalize their rating :) )
  7. 1/10 Elistmania (2010 March)
  8. 0/10 Bloggers Desire (2010 May)
  9. 0/10 Dotcominfoway (2009 aug)
  10. 0/10 NiceBlogger (had 25, so normalized figure)

And here are their tips and how i categorize them. Citations follow the tip and can be Googled and are in order of frequency (first listed are those that most often appear in 'top 10' lists). The text written is pasted from the first user cited (ie. not my own words):

"Ok, I'll try that / Will do more"

  • Start a contest. @jasoncalacanis offered a free macbook air if he reached the #1 most followed spot. That never happened, but Jason  added thousands of followers…brilliant. (Kevin Rose / Technotip / Good  Tweeple / NiceBlogger)
  • Tweet During Rush Hour Ok, well not literally rush hour, but  throughout peak times. Studies  show that top Twitter activity usually  takes place between 10:00 and  16:00pm. Tweeting during those hours will  mean you greater visibility on  your feed. However, the most active  hour for people engaging in the  twittersphere is between 1pm and 2pm  every day, so put down your  sandwich and think of something interesting  to say…. and no not about  what sandwich filling you have gone for  today. (Sam Murray / Technotip / Charles Bryant)
  • Reply to/get involved in #hash tag memes. search.twitter.com lists the hot ‘trending topics. Look for the #hash topics and jump in   on the conversation (see #4 for links to #hash instructions). (Kevin  Rose / Dotcominfoway)
  • If you are crazy enough, you can put your twitter ID on your vehicle.   This will work because, people like to get connected with others who  are  in the same locality. And you can tweet and start conversation  about  some local events and start sharing your knowledge. Keep your  security  aspects in mind. Some people may use twitter to get lot of  your personal  info and may use it to harm you (Technotip /  TwitterVirtue).
  • Use Industry Related Keywords. Use these in your "about  me" page and in your tweets and other social network posts. This will  help get your posts in the search engines. Every bit helps with this (Good Tweeple)
  • Use Direct Messages I have thought that using direct messages is just a waste of time,  but not in all cases. If you’re very personal, or you’re always having  one-on-one conversations, you should consider using direct messages  more. This way it will be easier for people to follow your timeline and  see how much value your sharing (TwitterVirtue).
  • Send "@Messages' top Top Users One good way to get noticed is to send something called an  "@message" to top Twitter users. Here's how it works. If you and your  friend both have Twitter accounts and you both follow each other, you  can send direct messages to each other that aren't for public  consumption. But you can also send "@messages" to anyone you want,  whether you follow them or not, or they follow you or not. Got that?  Here's where it gets good -- an "@message" is posted on your profile  page for all to see. So if you wanted to send an "@message" to top  Twitter user actor Ashton Kutcher, anybody visiting your profile would  see it. Good luck getting Mr. Kutcher to send a tweet back to you, but  that's not the point. But if he does feel the urge to re-tweet your  message -- or broadcast it to all his followers -- 2.9 million people  will see it (as of July 30, 2009). (Charles Bryant)
  • Repeat Yourself. This one may surprise you. You'd think that posting something more  than once would only aggravate your followers. But if you're an avid  tweeter, then chances are, your followers may not be reading each and  every tweet you send out -- especially if you've disobeyed tip number  nine and posted outside of peak hours. Repeat your best and most  informative tweets several times during the day and see if you get an  increase in followers. Who is reading your posts at the time can make  all the difference in the world. Let's say you posted about a cool new  iPhone application, and nobody said much. Twitter it again eight hours  later and your luck may change. Don't overuse this method though. You  don't want to become known for posting nothing but repeat messages (Charles Bryant)
  • If you have some 500+ followers, you can use some service to display it   on your blog, as a social proof. This will defiantly attract more  people  to follow you. Inturn increasing your followers number and  inturn  attracting even more people to follow you (Technotip)
  • You can also use your twitter profile URL, while commenting on other blogs (Technotip)
  • Get your twitter profile link featured on any famous website. If you are listed in the top 10 re-tweeters, then  you can get still more followers. As people will think that you will  re-tweet even their tweets! (Technotip)
  • Treat your twitter profile as you would treat any other website. Send as much traffic as possible to your twitter profile (Technotip)
  • Use different other services to know who is following you, and use the  suggestion tool to get the suggested twitter users to follow. By this  you can connect to relevant people around the world and they are most  likely to follow you back, if they find you as relevant (Technotip)
  • Target Power Tweeters Begin to target well respected and widely known figures within your  industry through your tweets. Grabbing the attention of these figures  and developing relationships with them can dramatically effect how many  people become aware of your profile and if they like what you say (which  of course they will…) and see you talking to people they follow, they  will follow you. Tweet o Clock lets you know the best time to contact a particular Tweeter and displays their most active timeframes – http://tweetoclock.com (Sam Murray / Good Tweeple)
  • Utilise Good Karma Create a list of power tweeters who you want to follow you. Select one a  week to monitor and listen to what they have to say, and then be as  helpful as you can. It is similar to whoring yourself but the rewards  can justify your self loathing and the dirty feeling you have  afterwards. (Sam Murray)
  • Track your results. TwitterCounter will show you how many new users you’re adding per day and Qwitter will email you when someone unfollows you after a tweet.

"Suspect this will work, but powerless to achieve?"

  • Verify your account as being genuine and original The fastest and the easiest method to increase follower on twitter is  to get your verified as being your original account so that any fake  accounts may not get your share of followers. If you are a popular  personality in your niche market; you will easy have fan following all  along the twitter (BloggersDesire).
  • Get in the user suggested list Once you get in the user suggested list of twitter, you will not have  to follow anyone to increase your followers. This will make all those  people follow you by themselves. And you really can witness an increment  in your followers at an impeccable rate per day (BloggersDesire)

"I Already did that"

  • Put links to your Twitter profile everywhere. Link  it on  your Digg, LinkedIn, Facebook, blog, email signature, and  everywhere  else you live online. Also, check out the great feedburner-like badges from TwitterCounter for your blog. (Kevin Rose / Technotip / Charles Bryant / Good Tweeple / Niceblogger).
  • Start a conversation. One  of the best ways to get noticed is  asking question or starting a  conversation thread. The topic should be  chosen keeping the interest of  your followers. Sometimes it’s easy to  get noticed by talking on  controversial topics. While you are at it  don’t forget to check the  replies you receive. (Elistmania / Technotip /  Charles Bryant / Niceblogger)
  • Follow Other People Yes you did read that right, following other  people can lead to you  gaining more followers. Following other people  within your industry lets  them know you exist and gives you a platform  for them to hear your  voice. It increases your exposure and if people  like what you say then  will follow. Similar to the Hollywood  catchphrase “if you build it they  will come”, “if you say it right they  will follow.” (Sam Murray /  Elistmania, TwitterVirtue / NiceBlogger)
  • Use a custom background for your twitter profile. This will show that   you are a professional and chances are there, a visitor to your profile   may turn into your follower (Technotip / GoodTweeple / Niceblogger)
  • Participate in certain groups. Groups can be created using hashtags.   And some times if the group message is a hot topic, then your tweets   will be listed in “hot trending topics” in search or other famous   twitter services. Ex:- #followfriday (Techhnotip / Niceblogger)
  • Invite all your friends in your Gmail, Yahoo mail etc, and they are the most potential followers you can ever get (Technotip / NiceBlogger)
  • Focus on your niche and start tweeting. –  You maybe a  blogger,  entrepreneur, service provider or a developer. Be focused.  Choose your  niche and start tweeting about it. You can earn a lot of  followers with  similar interests (dotcominfoway / Charles Bryant)
  • Use a relevant Twitter ID. It’s very important to use your real name because you can get more credibility (NiceBlogger).
  • Don’t Self-Pamper. Be Neutral. – Don’t keep on  tweeting about your blog or your own stuff. Be neutral and share new  ideas in your niche. You can be a perfect blend of personal and  professional tweets. But do not forget to tweet the breaking news and  the latest happening in your industry to gain more followers. (Dotcominfoway)
  • Be more professional than personal. – Twitter was once a  space to express what you were doing. Now, being a powerful social  medium, Twitter is known for knowledge-sharing, connecting to people of  similar interest and a lot more. To increase your followers be  informative and professional (dotcominfoway)
  • Write some interesting articles about Twitter on your blog, so that,  people searching for Twitter related things find it useful and start  following you, expecting more such valuable contents and tweets from  you (Technotip)
  • When you tweet something worth Re-tweeting, then use less than 140  Characters. Because, if your twitter ID has 5 characters, then a  re-tweet will add a @ symbol and “RT:”   thus making a total of 140+1+3+5=149 characters. So use 125 or 130  characters. Tweets which involve breaking news or some offers/discount  coupons or anything that you think might go viral in twitter.
  • Print the twitter profile URL on your business card (technotip).
  • Use twitter ID in your email signature, so that your business partners  or others will get to know that you are also using twitter (Technotip / NiceBlogger)
  • If you have a website or a blog, display the follow me button at the top or any other highly visible regions (Technotip / Nice blogger)
  • Use a “tweet this” button below all your articles or below the articles which you think can go viral in twitter world (Technotip).
  • Utilise the Hash Tag Utilise the #hash tag. Some people search twitter through categories, so  if you tweet about  ‘fashion advice’ use the hashtag #fashionadvice.   If others enjoy similar content in which you have posted on they might  follow you for more updates or even a conversation (Sam Murray / Elistmania)
  • Be a Resource If you really want people to follow and continue following you, make it  impossible for them to leave by providing them with high quality and  interesting updates. This can be via linking out to an informative  article or by giving a thoughtful opinion in a wider discussion. (Sam Murray)
  • Bring your twitter account into the physical world. Every time I give a  talk, speak on a panel, shoot a podcast, present slides, or hand out  business cards, I figure out a way to broadcast or display my twitter  account. (Kevin Rose)
  • Write A Good "About Me" Page. Describe who you are,  what you do, and what you offer. Watch your spelling. Be grammatically  correct. Be specific. Get ideas about what goes into a well written  "about me" page, from indust
  • Use a good twitter ID. Many people suggest to use their real name and    most of the others suggest to use the business name. In case of    bloggers, people mostly use their blog name inorder to build their brand    recognition. If the twitter ID is somethink special or attractive,   many  people will endup following you without any reason! (technotip)ry leaders (Good Tweeple)

"Not Convinced This will Work"

  • Take pictures. Pictures are heavily retweeted/spread around. This one from US Airways Flight 1549 has been viewed 350,000+ times. For mobile pics use iPhone apps such as Tweetie or Twitterific, both which support on the go uploading. (Kevin Rose / Good Tweeple)
  • Use your twitter URL at the end of each SMS (Short Messaging Service) from your phone (technotip / Charles Bryant)

"Stating the obvious"

  • Tweet about your passions in life and #hash tag them.  Quality content   coupled with an easy way to find it never fails. If others enjoy your   content, they’ll add you.  Learn more about #hash tagging here. (Kevin Rose / Elistmania / Technotip / NiceBlogger)
  • Follow other People with the same Interest By following other  people it lets them know you are online and it can  initiate  conversations. If you can begin to communicate with users who  have a  large following it will build up brand or (personal awareness)  and  their followers will start to follow you. (Sam Murray / Elistmania /  BloggersDesire)
  • Retweet Such was the popularity of ‘Retweet’ that Twitter  incorporated it in its  service. Retweet is one of the best ways to get  noticed. When you  Retweet someone’s post, you get noticed by the user  immediately.  Everyone likes their tweets to be retweeted and most of  the times this  favor is returned in retweet of your tweet. (Elistmania / Technotip / TwiterVirtue)
  • Interact with your Followers, Twitter is a social tool so you  need to be social. Status updates are  good but interaction between  people will have a greater effect. (Sam Murray / TwitterVirtue /  Niceblogger)
  • Fill out your bio. Your latest tweets and @replies don’t mean much to  someone that doesn’t know you.  Your bio is the only place you have to  tell people who you are.    Also, your bio is displayed on Twitter’s Suggested Users page. Leaving it blank or non-descriptive doesn’t encourage people to add you. (Kevin Rose / Elistmania / Charles Bryant)
  • Be Active And Manage Your Account Well As  your follower number  increases, it becomes more and more difficult to  keep track of your  account. It is very important to use one of the  various tools to  effectively manage your account. When you are one among  hundreds and  thousands, getting noticed is very difficult. The only way  you can be  noticed is by being active. (Elistmania / Technotip)
  • Make people Aware Put links to your Twitter profile everywhere. Link it on your blog,  Facebook Fan Page, email signature, and everywhere else you have a  presence online. (Sam Murray)
  • Keep your account clean. One of the best things about Twitter was the ease with which you could  follow anyone. The same ease has given rise to high number of spammers  and bots. No one would like to be followed by spammers and in case your  account in inflicted by a lot of spammers, people will want to keep a  distance from your account as well. Make sure to clean your account on a  periodic basis and keep spammers out (Elistmania)
  • Use some twitter client or twitter apps or twitter messengers! (rather than from the webpage) (Technotip)

"You've gotta be kidding!"

  • Do not use annoying profile picture. Using your real photo or  your blog  logo/banner is recommended. Many people use the animated  images, this is  ok as long as its not annoying (Technotip / Charles  Bryant / TwitterVirtue / Niceblogger)
  • Follow the top twitter users and watch what they tweet. Pay attention to the type of content they  sent out and how they address their audiences. (Kevin Rose / Technotip)
  • Ask People to follow u (TwitterVirtue / NiceBlogger)
  • Add an emotional element- become charitableYou can increase your followers, particularly if you are a part of a  big organization which has its credibility and integrity proven; by  announcing that some amount of money will be donated as charity for  every increase in the followers. This will encourage people to become  your follower because they giving charity out, appeals a lot of people  emotionally. And in turn, you will have increased number of followers.  However, this option is not very feasible for individuals because nobody  would believe it (BloggersDesire).
  • Explain to your followers what retweeting is and encourage them to retweet your links Retweeting pushes your  @username into foreign social graphs, resulting in clicks back to your  profile. Track your retweets using retweetist. (Kevin Rose)
  • You can ask other twitterers to recommend you to their followers and you can recommend them to your followers (technotip)
  • Block spammers and other useless automated boots by using the blocking  feature in twitter. By this you will be able to give your attention to  only genuine users and will not get distracted and your twitter  experience will be good. By this you can give more to twitter and get  more followers (Technotip)]