How to get followers on Twitter requires a different strategy than on Facebook or LinkedIn. Of course, on all three social networking sites you want targeted connections. In other words, you want people who are interested in what you have to offer and people from whom you can learn. But on Facebook and LinkedIn you extend an invitation to people and you wait to see if they accept your invitation. On Twitter anyone can follow anyone without an invitation - in fact, this is part of Twitter's power. Thus your aim is to get followers on Twitter who are on the "spine of your story." That's my expression - borrowed from good writing practices - that means followers who are interested in what you are about rather than random followers in areas of no interest to you. FYI - Of course if you have a hobby or additional interests you can get followers on Twitter in those additional areas. But right now we're talking about getting followers on Twitter who are on the spine of your story for your business or career. First step, do not tweet about things such as what you had for dinner (unless you are a chef, a restaurant critic, or the like). Choose your tweets to get followers on Twitter who are interested in your subjects. Let's say you are a clothing manufacturer who imports cloth from China and then sells your men's shirts on the Internet. You might want to get followers who have brick-and-mortar clothing stores and could carry your men's shirts. Or you might want to get followers who have their own online stores and could carry your men's shirts. (Remember, in the Internet world competition works differently than in the real world. There is now a global market for your shirts, and other websites selling your shirts can expand your sales opportunities.) You start tweeting about a variety of related subjects, such as Chinese export laws, U.S. import laws, problems of helping customers buy the correct size shirt online, delivery options, and sales tax concerns for Internet purchases. Does this mean you have to know about all these subjects? Not necessarily. It means you have to read news articles and blog posts on these subjects, then in your tweets share links to these sources. (You are interested in these topics yourself, remember?) How does this get followers on Twitter for you? Other people who want to engage in conversations about these subjects will do a search for these terms either through the Twitter search function or through third-party applications such as tweetbeep.com. When these people find your tweets, they will probably click on your username to read your Twitter profile. If your Twitter profile supports this same interest, they will probably follow you, especially since all this requires is a click on the FOLLOW button. Now there's an added step that can help people find you even easier. You can use a # (called hashtag) before a term that people are likely to search for. Perhaps you'll write a tweet that says: Just read an insightful blog post on U.S. #import issues - [blogpostpermalink - probably using a URL shortener such as tinyurl.com] Now when others search on #import, your tweet can more easily be found by the Twitter search functions. Of course, this technique works both ways. You can search on your subjects of interest to find people who tweet on these topics. Then you can click on their usernames, check out their profiles, and decide whether to follow them. If you do follow a person, there's a good chance that person will follow you back. One other important tip for getting followers on Twitter: Take part in tweetchats that are connected to your topics of interest. A tweetchat is a real-time conversation on a specific subject. For example, #smallbizchat takes place on Wednesdays from 8 to 9 p.m. Eastern U.S. time. By participating in and adding value to these targeted conversations, you can get in front of potential followers who are interested in what you are interested in. If your tweets during the tweetchat have been helpful, you will probably find that you get followers on Twitter immediately after the tweetchat. Remember, the most important rule for getting followers on Twitter is to share information (on the spine of your story) that other people find valuable.
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