Twitter is my social network of choice by a distance — to this day it refers more traffic to this blog than any other source (bar Google).
A great deal of my success with Twitter can be put down to a piece of software called Tweet Adder; something I have raved about here on Leaving Work Behind before. However, a few weeks ago a radical update was introduced that has led many people to believe that it is nowhere near as effective as it once was.
But as far as I am concerned, Tweet Adder is still the best solution for growing your Twitter following. In this post I want to demonstrate that it still has a lot to offer (and give you the opportunity to purchase it at a 20% discount). In fact, I believe that Tweet Adder 4.0 is the best version yet.
If you want to know how to get more Twitter followers, I have all the answers for you in this comprehensive guide. Enjoy!
There are affiliate links in this post. If you purchase a product through one of them I will receive a commission. It will cost you nothing extra. I only ever endorse products that I have personally used and tested extensively. Thank you!
A Short History of Tweet Adder
For those of you who haven’t heard of Tweet Adder before, it is a piece of software (available for both Windows and Mac) that features various tools to help you to make the most of your Twitter profile.
It has historically been best known for its automated follow/un-follow feature, which enabled you to grow your Twitter following passively. The process was simple:
You created a list of people to follow and Tweet Adder would automatically follow them via your Twitter account based upon set parameters (e.g. a hundred per day with each follow being separated by a period of three to six minutes).
You set Tweet Adder to un-follow any Twitter user you followed who had not followed you back after a certain number of days.
A certain percentage of people you followed would follow you back and the rest would be un-followed (thus enabling you to follow more people). Un-following is arguably as important as following, as Twitter does not allow you to follow more people than are following you (beyond the first two thousand follows). Plus, following more people than there are people following you just looks plain spammy.
Although Tweet Adder has many more features, its automated follow/un-follow feature was the jewel in the crown and the reason why most people used it. Although the program could be used to spam Twitter users, when used responsibly it provided an opportunity for users to reach more people interested in what they had to offer and provide value to the Twitter community.
In a nutshell, Tweet Adder version 3.x was an elegant and effective solution for people looking to increase their Twitter following and was central to the strategy I used to increase my Twitter following to 10,000 in just one year.
Introducing Tweet Adder 4.0
However, further to a legal settlement with Twitter, Tweet Adder’s functionality was changed drastically for version 4.0. The biggest change was the removal of the automated follow/un-follow feature, which on the face of it seemed like a huge blow for Tweet Adder users.
As someone who has used Tweet Adder for a long time, rather than jump on the “Tweet Adder now sucks” bandwagon I thought I’d put the new version through its paces and see what it had to offer. I was rather pleased with what I found.
Yes — you can no longer automate follows and un-follows with Tweet Adder, but with a few tweaks made to my following strategy, I have been able to match my previous performance with the new version.
Not only that, but Tweet Adder 4.0 has a bunch of exclusive new features that takes its functionality beyond what was previously offered. Although I am going to focus solely on what I consider to be best practice for growing your Twitter following with Tweet Adder in this post, it actually has a whole lot more to offer than what I am going to cover today.
So, if you are interested in growing your Twitter following and are happy to spare just a few minutes per day to do so, read on!
What to Expect From This Guide
When it comes to growing your Twitter following with Tweet Adder, there are two things you need to worry about which are both covered in this guide:
The first step is pretty straightforward — just about anyone who is familiar with Twitter could pick up Tweet Adder and start using it. Nonetheless, I am going to go through the process in detail so nothing is left to chance.
The real challenge is in figuring out your strategy — who you should follow, how many you should follow/un-follow, and when. If you haven’t used Tweet Adder before then you may have no idea where to start. But I’m here to help on that front — I’ll give you all the information you need so that you can use Tweet Adder safely and productively.
Before We Begin…
Although Tweet Adder is extremely powerful and capable of boosting your Twitter profile’s growth exponentially, it is not a silver bullet solution. In order for it to work you will need to ensure that you have a quality Twitter profile that is actually worth following.
Put simply, there is little point in following people in the hope that they will follow you back if your profile isn’t actually worth following. Your Twitter profile should be well branded, lively and interactional.
Click here to learn more about building a quality Twitter profile.
Setting Up Tweet Adder
Tweet Adder is free to download but you must purchase a registration key in order to use it (click here to find out how you can purchase Tweet Adder with a 20% discount!). Once you have your key you’ll need to activate it in Tweet Adder:
Click on the “Registration” tab
Copy and paste your key into the “Registration #” field
Hit the “Activate Licence Button”
Next you’ll need to add your Twitter profile to Tweet Adder:
Click on the “Manage Users” tab
Select your registration code at the bottom of the screen
Type your Twitter username into the field near the bottom of the screen
Click on “Add User”
You will be presented with a screen where you need to enter your Twitter password followed by an authorization code. By entering your password and the code you will be enabling Tweet Adder to access your account, but it will not make any changes unless you tell it to do so.
Once you’ve done that, you’re ready to go!
How to Build a List of People to Follow
Before you start following people you will need to build a list of Twitter users who are likely to be interested in your profile. If you try to add people whose interests are not relevant to your site, you may find that you are reported as a spammer, which can lead to account suspension. As such, it is extremely important that you build a list of relevant people.
To do this you have six options, which are listed in the sidebar when you click on the “Manage Users” button followed by the name of the Twitter profile you want to work with.
Each of the options are relatively self-explanatory — they each search for specific data within Twitter to find relevant matches:
Tweet Search: what people have tweeted
Profile Data Search: what people have included in their profile
Location Search: where people are located
Followers of a User: who someone follows
Followed by a User: who follows someone
Twitter Lists: who is contained within a Twitter list
The benefits of each search method should be pretty obvious. Personally I am a fan of Profile Data Search and Followers of a User, but whichever option you chose to go with is up to you.
I’ll use the “Followers of a User” feature as an example. If I follow people who follow a Twitter user in my niche, I can expect to follow people with similar interests. All I need to do is enter that person’s Twitter username into the relevant field and hit the Search button:
Tweet Adder will search through the entire list of people following that Twitter user page by page (one hundred users per page) until it has (a) gone through the entire list or (b) you hit Stop. Either way, you will end up with a screen like this:
Regardless of which method you use to find Twitter users to follow, you will always end up with a screen like the one above.
You now have four options:
Follow users immediately (one by one)
Discard users (one by one)
Choose to follow users later (one by one)
Choose to follow users later (in bulk)
I recommend that you choose to follow users later, for reasons I’ll reveal when I discuss my strategy.
How to Follow People
On the assumption that you have selected the “Follow Later” option, you will now have a pool of Twitter users that you can follow. Doing so is very simple:
Click on the “Follow Later List”
Next to each user, click either “Follow” or “Discard” (to remove from the list)
At this point you have an option — to follow “indiscriminately” or make a conscious choice as to who you should follow. I’ll discuss the relative merits of each approach when I discuss my strategy, but for the meantime it may be helpful to know that you can alter what is displayed on screen to help you with any decisions you choose to make.
The most useful thing you can do is switch from viewing the last tweet a person made to their profile bio. You can do this by clicking on the drop down box near the top of the screen and clicking on the relevant option:
You’ll find that you can click on the “Follow” button repeatedly to follow a number of Twitter users very quickly. Alternatively, you can take your time and follow or discard profiles as you see fit.
How to Un-Follow People
Un-following people is arguably as important as following — without carrying out this vital step, you’ll soon run out of available follows “in the bank” and you won’t be able to follow anyone else.
Much like when it comes to building a list of people to follow, you have multiple options for un-following people based upon various criteria:
For the most part the options are self-explanatory but some do require clarification:
Not Following Back: people you have followed that are not following you back
UnFollowed Me: people who once followed you but have now un-followed you
No Profile Image: profiles with no image (common amongst spammers)
Foreign Language: profiles that are not written in your language
High Ratio: people that are following more people than they have following them
Inactive: people who haven’t tweeted for a set period of time
Talkative: people who tweet a lot
Quiet: people who rarely tweet
Some of these options are only useful if you want to take a fine tooth comb to your followings and manually filter out unwanted profiles. Generally I stick with the following methods:
Not Following Back
I think that these three options cover most bases — it’ll get rid of people who haven’t followed me, who no longer want to follow me, and who are barely on Twitter anyway. That gives me plenty of room to add new follows — the rest can stay.
Once you have selected an option, un-following people is very similar to following them — just click the “UnFollow” button.
You also have an option to “Whitelist”:
Once someone is on your Whitelist, you can’t un-follow them (unless of course you remove them from your Whitelist).
You will also notice options at the bottom of some methods that will be self-explanatory. For instance, you will have the following options at the bottom of the “Not Following Back” screen:
How you set these options is up to you, but I would recommend them as set in the screenshot above.
Bringing It All Together (My Tweet Adder Strategy)
Now you know everything you need to know about using Tweet Adder, let’s talk tactics. I have been using Tweet Adder for a long time now and have honed my strategy down to a fine point. I had to adjust that strategy slightly for the new update, but for the most part it is the same.
In short, the more followers you have the more loose and fast you can be with Tweet Adder. When you’re just getting started you may want to pay more care and attention what you are doing, but once you have the momentum up you can choose to make it a task that takes just five minutes (or less) per day.
With the above in mind, I am going to offer up two strategies below: one for Twitter profiles with less than 1,000 followers and one for Twitter profiles with more than 1,000 followers. I’ll follow those up with some frequently asked questions that are relevant to both strategies.
1. Using Tweet Adder on Small Twitter Profiles
If you have a small Twitter profile then you have two priorities:
Get more followers
Follow people very selectively
The reasoning behind this approach is straightforward:
If you get more followers then you can follow more people.
If you follow people very selectively (i.e. only if you think there is a good chance of them following back) then you’ll get more followers (which means you can follow more people).
Ideally you will be attracting people from outside of Tweet Adder to help you with your cause. It is not within the scope of this post to explain how you can do that, but a few simple ideas are:
Get all of your friends and family to follow you
Add links to Twitter from your blog
Ask your email subscribers to follow you
Ask your followers on other social media networks to follow you
You want to develop as big a “base” as possibile in order to make it easier to develop your following with Tweet Adder. Don’t worry if you can only attract a handful of followers — no matter how small your profile is to start with, you can grow it in time. Please note that I do not recommend that you follow more people than you have following you (for reasons I will discuss later).
When it comes to following people, I recommend Tweet Search as the best option for your circumstances. You want to find and follow people who are talking about your topic right now. This can result in very high conversion rates.
This was a search for “interested in freelance writing”.
You may even want to re-tweet their tweets or send them a personalised tweet after you have followed them to capture their attention.
The un-following procedure is straightforward — I recommend that you utilize the methods I suggest under the How to Un-Follow People heading above. You may want to pad those methods out with the other options (such as people with no profile photo) if you’re getting close to your follow limit and need to find a way to dump some extra follows.
This process may sound quite long-winded but in reality it’s going to take you just a few minutes per day once you get into the flow of it, and there is no better way of building a Twitter profile. Each person you follow and engage with is a potential new reader of your blog — these people are literally waiting for you to find them!
2. Using Tweet Adder on Larger Twitter Profiles
This is the strategy I use — it’s quick and easy and takes no more than a few minutes per day to complete.
The first step is to build a to follow list from the followers of another user (who is of course relevant to your own profile). This is the quickest and easiest way to get your hands on a large number of people in one go. You’ll want to build a list of enough people to last you a week — I clear the list and create a new one (with a new Twitter user) every Monday. This reduces the likelihood of adding a bunch of people who are no longer active on Twitter.
You’ll want a long list of Twitter users in your niche so that you can cycle through them with a long enough gap before you get back around to the first user again. For instance, my list has thirty Twitter profiles on it and is always growing.
Once you have built your list, you should follow and un-follow approximately the same number of people every day. I recommend that you use the same un-follow methods I suggest under the How to Un-Follow People heading above.
How Many People Should You Follow/Un-Follow in a Day?
This is the million dollar question and there is no right answer.
One thing is for certain (in my opinion): you will not get into trouble if you follow and/or un-follow less than a hundred people per day. The following quote is directly from Twitter’s “Following rules and best practices“:
…if you don’t follow or un-follow hundreds of users in a single day, and you aren’t using automated methods of following users, you should be fine.
To me that makes it clear that Twitter are after people following and/or un-following in excess of several hundred people per day. And since Tweet Adder is no longer an automated following/un-following service, there’s nothing to worry about on that front.
So you can use ninety-nine as a benchmark to start with. Having said that, if you have a very small Twitter profile I would recommend that you stick to following less people than follow you — anything more looks spammy and will probably be a turn off to people considering following you. To be honest, there is probably a natural ceiling on the number of people you can follow which is below the number you would be comfortable with anyway.
At the time of writing I have approximately 15,000 Twitter followers and I follow between 300-400 people per day. Back when it was 5,000 I followed around 200 per day. I know people who have followed more but those are the numbers I am comfortable with. At the end of the day it is up to you to decide what you are comfortable with.
We can debate all day about limits that Twitter has, but I believe that if you have a good quality profile and you’re following people who are likely to be interested in what you have to offer, the likelihood of your account being compromised is extremely small.
Should You Space Follows/Un-Follows Out?
This again comes down to a perception of risk management.
In a perfect world you would space your follows and un-follows out to make them seem as “natural” as possible, but you don’t want to spend all day on Tweet Adder, do you?
My compromise has been to split my follows into three “sessions” per day in which I follow and un-follow between 200-300 people (in total) per session. I do it when I start work in the morning, before I head off for lunch, and before I finish for the day. Each session typically takes me less than two minutes, so around five minutes per day in total.
How Risky Is Tweet Adder?
It is extremely unlikely that your profile will get banned in the first instance from using Tweet Adder’s follow/un-follow features. It is more likely that you will get suspended, but still unlikely in my opinion.
The evidence I have for this is based upon my own personal experience (having grown four separate profiles using Tweet Adder) and the fact that I have not once had someone email me telling me that they got banned through using Tweet Adder.
If you get suspended then you may want to reconsider your use of Tweet Adder. Until that point I wouldn’t worry about it.
Is Tweet Adder Still Worth It?
When Tweet Adder was an automated service, most internet marketers waxed lyrical about its capabilities. It was truly brilliant — I know for a fact that my Twitter account would be nowhere near as big as it is without it (for proof of that, check out my Facebook page with its paltry number of fans by comparison).
But for the most part, Tweet Adder is still the same program. In fact, it now has a bunch of new features that make it even more valuable. The fact that you now have to spend an extra five minutes per day on a task that was once automated has been blown way out of proportion by many.
For everyone who has been screaming that Tweet Adder is now useless due its lack of automation, I ask why they can’t find five minutes per day to generate exponential growth of their Twitter account when they’ll spend far more time on other less effective marketing techniques. It makes no sense to me. If they really feel that it is that much of a chore then they could outsource it for pennies.
I still think Tweet Adder is the best solution for building your Twitter profile and one of the best online marketing tools that I’ve ever used. If you want to know how to get more Twitter followers then Tweet Adder is the answer. Quite frankly, if you want to build a bigger Twitter profile and you’ve read this far and still decide not to use it, I think you’re crazy. But I still love you 🙂
Purchase Tweet Adder With a 20% Discount!
In preparation for this post I emailed the developer of Tweet Adder, Jamie, and asked if he would be willing to offer my readers a discount on the software. He very kindly confirmed that he would be delighted to offer a whopping 20% discount!
On the checkout screen enter the coupon code TE20 (without the quotation marks)
With this discount you can pick up Tweet Adder for just $44 — that is a ridiculously small price to pay for the solution to building a huge Twitter following. I just wish similar products were available for every social media network!
Questions and Comments Are Welcomed
I know that I have covered a lot of ground in this post. You may well have questions and/or comments regarding Tweet Adder and/or my strategy, all of which are welcomed in the comments section. Fire away below and I’ll be happy to get back to you!
Just a couple of days ago the number of people following me on Twitter went past the 10,000 mark. It was a big milestone for me and I was excited to see it happen — not only because it demonstrates that my brand is growing, but also because it represents a great deal of work coming to fruition.
The fact is that I have poured a huge amount of effort into growing my Twitter following. I have conducted a lot of trial and error experiments, more often noting failure rather than success. However, in spite of that I have still been able to build a relatively healthy following in just twelve months. At the time of writing I have 10,255 followers and according to my records I had just 552 at the start of 2012 (so please forgive me for the slight inaccuracy of the post headline ;-)). I am currently attracting several hundred new followers every week.
I have spoken about my Twitter strategies on the blog here before, so this post acts as a complete round-up and addendum — covering the most important aspects of building a following, ignoring the less productive things you can do, and filling in any gaps I have missed to date.
Before We Begin
What you’re about to read is pretty simple and straightforward but it really is all you need to build a considerable following. With that in mind, always remember to keep it simple.
Twitter never needs to be complicated — that’s part of its beauty. If at any stage you are contemplating some kind of advanced strategy that has you confused at the mere thought of it, take the safe and regressive road back to simplicity. You’ll be surprised at the results.
Just one other thing — the following steps are intended to be taken in order. It may be tempting to skip straight to the “empire building” section but the effect of your efforts will be far reduced. You need to demonstrate that you have a lively Twitter account with lots of engagement before you start going for the big win.
Step 1: Have a Great Blog and Brand
To a extent the popularity of your Twitter profile is determined by the strength of your brand — that’s why Lady GaGa has nearly 34 million followers at the time of writing. As such, one of the most important steps to building your Twitter following is to make sure that you’re growing your brand away from Twitter.
I cannot stress the importance of this step enough — although it can be tempting to dismiss it on the basis that you think you have a strong brand, the matter warrants careful consideration. What sets you apart from the crowd? What compels people to actively choose to follow you over any other number of people vying for their attention? You need to have a compelling answer to those questions in order to grow a sizeable blog, and by extension, a big Twitter following.
In reality this should be a bit of a no-brainer as you are no doubt looking to establish your blog anyway — the fact that your hard work in building a brand has a positive effect on your social media outlets should be a more of a bonus than anything else.
The activity on Twitter is largely divided up into two groups:
General chit chat: acquaintances, friends and colleagues exchanging brief messages, either socially or professionally.
Link sharing and interaction: a Twitter user finds an interesting article/web page and shares it with his or her followers via a tweet who then may comment and/or share it themselves.
One of the absolute fundamentals of building a popular Twitter profile is to become known as someone who shares valuable and relevant content — i.e. links. If you share too much irrelevant content or simply not enough, people are either going to ignore your tweets (or unfollow you) or be blind to them.
As such you should get into the habit of regularly sharing content. Be selective and focus on quality rather than quantity. Don’t just tweet out links because you think you should — do it because whatever you are sharing is going to be of interest to your followers.
That is one of the main reasons I have over 50 blogs on my RSS reader (and far more when it’s time for another edition of the LWB 100) — I want my Twitter feed to be a valuable resource. I curate and share the best content I find so that my followers don’t have to go looking for it themselves.
The best tool there is (in my opinion) for sharing links on Twitter is Buffer. It is a tweet-scheduling app, which essentially means that you can write tweets now that will be published later. This is one of the tools that stops Twitter from becoming a huge time suck. I like to combine it with the Tweriod service so that my scheduled tweets go out at the optimum times.
This is my favorite bit — communicating with your followers. You cannot undervalue the importance of interaction in terms of increasing brand awareness, not to mention the various indirect benefits that can result from you simply putting yourself out there.
When I was focusing really hard on growing my Twitter profile I had one simple rule when it came to interaction: always reply. If someone sent me a message I always replied. To this day I still reply to probably 80% of messages, only not replying to those that are just simple re-tweets, automatically generated, or sent out to multiple people at the same time. Seriously — try me.
I also recommend that you build up a list of people whose radars you want to get on. Be sure to check out your list’s timeline at least once per day and fire off any pearls of wisdom that you can conjure in response to the tweets that you read. Don’t just reply for the sake of replying — you want to create intrigue, not inspire boredom.
Being so active on Twitter may seem overwhelming but it really doesn’t have to be — I probably spend no more than a collective 15-20 minutes per day on Twitter. If you tackle your tweets in two or three blocks of time — rather than constantly throughout the day — it becomes far more manageable.
By now you should have a solid brand, a good Twitter profile, and you should have been producing quality content and interacting with your existing follower base for at least a couple of days. In doing so you have laid the foundation for an effective targeted following campaign.
Now this topic deserves a post of itself which is fortunate because I have already written one: How to Get More Twitter Followers. That walks you through my process for taking what is the most important step to growing your Twitter following. I don’t think I would have half of the Twitter followers I have right now without having taken this step — it is integral.
If you choose not to take this step then you will probably find that your Twitter profile grows steadily and modestly. However, in order to accelerate your growth you really do need to use Tweet Adder — it was the main reason why I turned from getting a handful of new followers per day to tens and now occasionally hundreds.
The final piece of the puzzle is to use your burgeoning Twitter profile to drive traffic back to your blog. It can be all too easy to forget that doing so is the main purpose of the whole exercise (beyond expanding your network and nurturing relationships), so make sure that you keep your eye on the ball.
First of all, you need to make it easy for people to share your content. With that in mind I have two plugin recommendations:
Digg Digg installs a floating social media share bar on your site so that a visitor always has the option to share. You can see in action right now just to the right of this post — give it a spin and share this post if you’d like!
Meanwhile, Easy Tweet Embed is a plugin that I co-developed which enables you to insert pre-populated tweets within links on your post (like this). I have found that this can boost the number of times your posts are shared by a considerable amount (30% and up). Here’s a brief video showing you how it works:
Beyond that, you need to ensure that you are sharing each new post on your blog effectively. I recommend that you tweet out new posts three times, with each tweet around 7 hours apart. This ensures that your post hits most of the time zones and gets exposed to your followers all over the globe.
You can do this manually with Buffer but the easiest method I’ve found is to use WordTwit Pro — a new favorite WordPress plugin of mine. It’ll set you back a few bucks but is awesome for maximizing the exposure of new posts in Twitter.
Finally, you may want to get your hands on Evergreen Post Tweeter — a free plugin (again, developed by me) that will automatically tweet old posts on your blog according to a set schedule. If you do decide to do this please make sure that you are selective in what old posts you choose to tweet out — make sure that they are still relevant or it will affect your followers’ perception of the quality of your tweets. Furthermore, do not abuse the power of the plugin — I personally recommend that you tweet out no more than a couple of archived posts per day, and only then if you are quite active. The ratio of third party content to your content should be weighted heavily against you.
That’s it! My complete strategy for getting 10,000 Twitter followers in a year. I referred back to two articles from the LWB archives on a few occasions above so if you want the full picture I recommend that you read them in full too:
You should now be set to build yourself a thriving Twitter profile. If you have any questions at all please don’t hesitate to ask them in the comments section below. Alternatively, if you are a Twitter user and have any tips of your own, please share them below!
When it comes to promoting my blog, meeting likeminded people, increasing brand awareness, and just about any other benefit that is possible through social media, Twitter comes out on top for me every time.
I know that Facebook is the big boy on the block and Pinterest is growing every month but I have had more success with Twitter than every other social network combined. The fact is this — my success with Twitter is completely disproportionate to my success with other social media networks and the size and age of my blog.
You may be wondering how I’ve managed that. Well, in this post I intend to give you a step by step guide to the biggest causative factor of my Twitter profile’s exponential growth.
My Twitter Story
But before I get onto that, you may be curious to better understand the success I have had with Twitter.
It didn’t come easy. I created my Twitter account in June 2011 and in that year I scratched around for followers. Unlike Facebook, I had never used it before and didn’t really “get it”. By the end of December 2011 I had fought my way to 552 followers.
Then in the New Year — after I had quit my job — I decided to put a concerted effort into my Twitter profile. I reached 1,000 followers on 16th February 2012. I had repeated what had originally took me six months in just 47 days.
And the growth didn’t stop there:
At the time of writing I have nearly 5,500 followers (and you’re all awesome, by the way). My Twitter account is growing faster than that of some blogs 3-4 times my size (if you’re not convinced, just head over to Twitter Counter and do the math).
But what does this do for my blog? Well, statistically speaking, this:
Throughout the life of this blog Twitter has been the single biggest source of referral traffic, driving more visitors to my site than second-placed Facebook by nearly 80%.
But that doesn’t reveal the true positive impact of Twitter. In reality, the reason that I love Twitter so much is represented by tweets like these:
And emails like these:
I get this kind of feedback regularly. What I rarely get is similar messages about people who have found me on Facebook or via Google. Not only do these messages make me feel like I must be doing something right, they also demonstrate that Twitter is a fantastic source of highly valuable traffic.
And what really excites me about Twitter is that all of this is possible for just about any blogger. You don’t need a huge blog to grow a big Twitter following (tweet this). I don’t know of any other social media network than you can leverage so effectively without having a well-established presence.
I am about to reveal the precise strategy I have used to grow my Twitter following. What I am not teaching in this guide is how to engage with Twitter followers and build up a rapport. Growing a big follower base is only worth doing if you actually run an active Twitter account (which in reality, only has to take 5-15 minutes per day). Otherwise, you will find yourself with a whole load of followers who aren’t actually interested in what you have to say.
Furthermore, if you get too carried away with the strategy below you do run the risk of having your account suspended, or in the absolute worst case scenario, banned. Please note that anything you choose to do as a result of reading this post must be at your own risk.
If you’re desperate to get more Twitter followers and have yet to hear of Tweet Adder, I’m about to make your day. If you have already heard of Tweet Adder but haven’t got around to giving it a real try, I would recommend that you take this opportunity to have a closer look.
In a nutshell, Tweet Adder is a software application that you can use to semi-automate various tasks relating to your Twitter profile. Whilst I am not typically a big fan of automation when it comes to social media I make a happy exception in this case. Why? Because if you use Tweet Adder correctly and responsibly your actions never approach anything close to spamming and there is no downside. You get to connect with a whole bunch of willing people who wouldn’t have otherwise heard of you.
At the time of writing, a one profile license will set you back $55. Tweet Adder is (to the best of my knowledge) the best and most reasonably-priced partner to my Twitter growth strategy, and is worth every single penny. I purchased Tweet Adder many months ago, still use it today, and will continue to use it well into the future.
TweetAdder can do a lot of things, but for the purposes of this guide, we are focusing just on growing your following. This can be done in four simple steps. Let’s get to it!
1. Find Potential Followers
In a nutshell, the key to growing your Twitter following is to find people who might be interested in your blog and follow them. It sounds simple, and that’s because it is. The logic is sound — if you follow people who might be interested in what you have to offer, some of them will follow you back.
So — the first step is to compile a list of Twitter accounts for users whose followers match your target audience. The more relevant, the better.
There are plenty of ways to find Twitter accounts similar to your own — if you have been blogging for any length of time, you will probably already have such a list (in your head at least). If not, here are a few tips to get you started:
That should get you rolling. Ideally, you’ll have a nice long list of Twitter profiles which you should sort broadly by relevancy (i.e. the most relevant profile comes first). Relevancy is key — the more their followers align with your target followers, the higher follow to followback rate you will achieve.
Once you’ve done that, login to your user account in Tweet Adder and click on “Followers of a User” in the sidebar. Then just enter the first Twitter username at the top of your list (without the @ sign), and hit “Search Now”:
You then may want to go make yourself a cup of tea because fetching usernames can take a while. To be honest, you are not going to want to run through the entire sequence, as too many of the older users will be inactive (more on this later). Fetching around 10 pages or so is usually enough.
Once you have fetched enough pages you can hit “Stop”. You will then be presented with a list of usernames such as this:
All you need to do on this screen is click on “Save All”. All of the most recent followers of your chosen account will then be added onto your list of people to follow in Tweet Adder.
The second step is a piece of cake and is where Tweet Adder begins to show its true value.
Click on “Follow” in the sidebar and you will see a screen like this:
Here you can set how Tweet Adder follows new people from the list you have just created.
You can ignore the “Send Follows Now” area — we’re interested in “Automation Settings”. The figures you put in here will largely be dependent upon the size of your account. For instance, I would never recommend that a smallish account (say 500 – 3,000 followers) send 300 follows per day. Twitter won’t bat an eye if I do it, but may take note if a smaller account does.
Fortunately, the maximum follows number becomes largely academic because the real key is that little checkbox at the bottom.
When it comes to following people on Twitter, I have one very simple rule — never follow more people than you have following you. It looks spammy and will affect the way people perceive you. As you can see, I personally have Tweet Adder set to stop following when my following to follower ratio reaches 0.98 to 1. So if I had 100 followers I could only follow up to 98. If you were to check my Twitter account right now, you would see that I follow less people than I have followers.
Therefore, the size of your account typically dictates the daily volume at which you can follow new people. If you have a brand new account I would recommend that you start with a very low number of maximum follows per day (say 10), and work really hard on attracting new followers through other means. That will provide the fuel with which you will need to start growing your Twitter account at a faster rate with Tweet Adder.
Ultimately, it is up to you. The more people you follow, the greater the chance you have of being suspended by Twitter (it is likely that you will get a slap on the wrist first, rather than a full ban, but don’t just take my word for it). It’s balancing act.
As for the Time Delay setting I recommend that you use a little math here:
Active Period / Maximum Follows = Time Delay
Your active period is simply the amount of minutes per day that Tweet Adder will be open (and therefore able to add new follows). So if your PC is on 10 hours per day, your Active Period would be 10 * 60 = 600. Divide that by your Maximum Follows (say 100) and your average Time Delay should be 6 minutes. Therefore, you could set your Time Delay range from 4 to 8 minutes which would mean that you would get through your 100 follows per day. The further apart your follows are the better (although I wouldn’t worry too much about this).
Once you’re happy with your settings, just hit the “Automation” button at the top of your screen. It will switch to “Automation On” and you’ll be up and running!
Alright, so that’s your following sorted. You may now be wondering how on earth you build a sizable following. Aren’t you going to fill up your follows quickly with inactive accounts and spammy profiles?
The answer, to a degree, is yes. However, there is a solution — Tweet Adder’s UnFollow function. Its settings screen (accessed via the “UnFollow Users” link in the sidebar) is very similar to the Follow function:
Again, you can ignore the “Send UnFollows Now” area — let’s get straight onto the good stuff.
First of all, you need to set the maximum number of unfollows per day. I would recommend that you set this to be identical to the number of automated follows. With that same number in mind, your time delay should also be the same.
It is unlikely that you will need to use the checkbox option for stopping unfollows. Unless your account grows at a spectacularly fast rate you will always be in a position where your number of follows aren’t too far off your number of followers.
Finally — but no less importantly — you will want to specify two things:
Who is unfollowed
How long you wait after following them to unfollow them
The logic here is simple. You follow someone then wait a few days for them to follow back. If they don’t, you unfollow them so that you have made room for a fresh follow (that may result in a follow back). By this method you’re never following anyone who isn’t following you for more than a few days, which theoretically gives you endless opportunities to follow new people. I personally feel that 3 days is long enough for an active Twitter user to decide whether or not to follow back, but again, you may wish to rely upon your own personal preference.
I recommend that you select “UnFollow nonreciprocal follows that were followed using Tweet Adder” from the drop down menu. This means that any people you manually follow — via the Twitter website or any other Twitter app — will not be automatically unfollowed by Tweet Adder. I like to follow certain people, regardless of whether or not they follow me, and this feature allows me to do just that.
4. Rinse and Repeat
This final step is extremely important — you must not miss it out if you want your Twitter account to grow quickly.
There is one key thing that Tweet Adder can’t do for you — it can’t spot inactive or spammy accounts. So for instance, an inactive account can have autofollow enabled, which will gain you a new follower, but will not in reality actually be of any benefit. Similarly, you can follow spam accounts who follow you back but again offer you nothing.
The first thing you should do to combat this is keep an eye on your growth statistics. You can use Twitter Counter for this. Just check your account week by week, and look out for a slow down in the number of follows you are receiving on a weekly basis. As soon as you spot a slowdown, clear out any existing users from your “To Follow List” in Tweet Adder, and add fresh users from another Twitter profile. The following week, you will almost definitely see a notable uptick in the number of followbacks. Alternatively you can choose to preempt this — I add a fresh “batch” of people to follow to Tweet Adder every Monday morning.
The other thing you should do is unfollow inactive and spammy Twitter profiles with ManageFlitter. This is a freemium web-based app but you only need to use the free option. Just sign in via your Twitter account and you’ll see a screen like this:
The two functions we are interested in are “No Profile Image” and “Inactive” — both available in the sidebar. “Inactive” Twitter users are those who have not tweeted in the past 30 days. It is fair to say that they probably won’t be much of an asset to your blog. Twitter users with no profile image (i.e. just the infamous Twitter egg) are usually spam accounts. I say usually rather than always — it is up to you to decide whether or not you want to make the exception.
Once you’re ready to zap some redundant follows, just click on each icon in turn and you will be presented with a list of all relevant follows. On that screen, click on the “Quick Edit” link, select all of the profiles and hit “Unfollow”:
You will need to repeat this process if there are more than 100 follows as ManageFlitter only includes 100 per page.
I typically clean house like this a couple of times a week. You could do it every day if you wanted to, or once a month — it’s entirely up to you. Obviously, the more regularly you keep on top of it, the quicker your account is likely to grow.
Finally, you will want to make sure that you keep on top of the number of users left to follow in Tweet Adder — you can see that on the Overview screen:
If the number is getting low, you will want to top up by sourcing new follows from your list of related Twitter accounts. I personally have an ever-growing list which I cycle through. By the time I’m done with the last user the first one has attracted enough fresh new users to make coming back to them a viable move.
Above is the strategy I have followed to grow my Twitter account steadily through 2012. There are few (if any) internet marketing products I have tried that have been as effective for me as Tweet Adder and I would heartily recommend that you take a closer look if you are interested in growing your Twitter account.
Please note that a contest was run on this post (hence some of the comments you will see below) but it has since ended.
Update 14/07/12: You may be interested in reading this post from a historical point of view, but the original plugin discussed has been massively improved and is now available from the WordPress.org Plugins Directory. Download Easy Tweet Embed here!
Although all three of the methods I revealed in that recent post were well received, the most popular by far seemed to be tweet embedding. I actually ran a little experiment on that blog post where I embedded a simple tweet:
Tom Ewer bet me I wouldn’t tweet this (tweet this).
To date, the post has been tweeted out 26 times. That embedded tweet has been tweeted out 7 times. I was able to increase my number of tweets by around 27% just by embedding a tweet. And that was with a rather cheeky experiment – I am sure you could increase that percentage if you were a bit more thoughtful about what you asked people to tweet!
So the method works, and it works well. But I quickly discovered that people were having problems with implementing it on their blog. And in fairness, it does require a little bit of technical knowledge. So I thought I would resolve that issue by producing a simple WordPress plugin that allows you to embed pre-formatted tweets with ease.
I call it Easy Tweet Embed. All you have to do when you want to embed a tweet is enter this shortcode in the WordPress Visual Editor:
That’s it! Although most tweets will render perfectly when entered in this manner, certain characters do throw a spanner in the works. So it is best practice to run your tweet through this URL encoder before you add it to the shortcode. If any clever programmer knows of a way to integrate this encoder with the plugin, get in touch!
Update 14/05/12: a very kind programmer by the name of Tito Pandu Brahmanto took the incredibly thoughtful step of including an encode function in the plugin, which means that you no longer have to worry about special characters making a mess of your tweet. Thank you Tito!
Let’s look at an example. Entering this in the Visual Editor:
Pretty cool, right? And it’s yours for free. Just a little token of my appreciation for your continued support of this blog. Just hit the Pay With A Tweet button below, let your followers know about the plugin, and it’s all yours!
As some of you know, I have been spending quite a bit of time working on my Twitter account. I spent the vast majority of last year doing very little with Twitter, and it showed – on the 20th December 2011, I had just 374 followers.
But just before Christmas I started work on building a following, and I have been pretty happy with the results to date. At the time of writing, I have 1,452 followers. Over the past couple of weeks, I have gained just over 25 additional followers per day on average. If I were to keep that rate up, I would have around 8,000 followers by the end of this year.
There are of course many people who have done far more impressive things with Twitter, but I think that my achievements are pretty good, relative to the size of this blog. With that in mind, today I want to share with you three methods that I have tried, tested, and found to be effective in growing my Twitter profile.
1. Pay With A Tweet
If you have read my Complete Guide To Guest Posting, you will probably have paid with a tweet (update 11th February 2013: the guide is no longer available to download via the “Pay With a Tweet” method). The concept is very simple – you offer something of value to your readers in exchange for them tweeting out a link to their followers.
In the example of my guest posting guide, people just had to click the button, which took them through to a screen where they could alter the text of the tweet itself (they are not able to change the link). Once the tweet had been sent out, they got a link to my guide. They got a free eBook, I got extra exposure via their tweet – everyone was happy!
There are a few different services out there that can do this for you – I used Pay With A Tweet. You may have heard of cloud:flood, but I have tried to use that on two separate occasions and it has failed me, so I would recommend that you stay away from it.
There are two things you want to bear in mind when considering this method:
You should only use this if you know that the majority of your readers have a Twitter account
It will not be effective on blogs with a low level of traffic
2. Tweet Embedding
I really like this method – it is totally non-invasive, and I think it adds a little extra value to your blog.
You may have noticed in some of my recent articles that I surrounded certain sentences in blockquotes and added a “tweet this” link. I actually did it 5 times in my Top Five Regrets of the Dying post. This is a pretty subtle way of giving your readers another opportunity to tweet your post.
One of the embedded tweets on my Top Five Regrets of the Dying post.
I don’t have any hard evidence to back this up, but I think that this particular style of Call To Action (CTA) is pretty effective. Someone may not be particularly bothered about simply re-tweeting a post, but they might see an interesting quote and be compelled to share it.
This method has been a success for me – at least a few people have always tweeted any of my embedded tweets. In fact, some people have tweeted both the post itself and the embedded tweet – double exposure can’t be bad!
There are many different ways in which you could employ this method. You might try something a bit playful or fun, for instance. That gives me an idea…let’s try a social experiment.
Tom Ewer bet me I wouldn’t tweet this (tweet this).
You may be wondering how to embed tweets. I actually do it manually, which allows me to embed the tweet as a link, rather than a little widget. It’s the way I prefer to do it. Just write up your tweet, then run it through this URL encode tool. It will spit out a long string of characters. Just insert that string in the relevant place below, and paste the whole thing into your HTML editor where you would like the link to appear:
[raw]<a title="Tweet This Quote" href="https://twitter.com/intent/tweet?text=yourtweethere" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">tweet this</a>[/raw]
Edit – I have now developed a little plugin that allows you to simply type the anchor text and tweet into the WordPress Visual Editor. Check it out here!
3. Exclusive Twitter Content
I recently got into the habit of tweeting out quotes that were relevant to the leaving work behind message. But it seemed a waste that these tweets had no link attached to them. Whilst people might get a modicum of value out of reading the quotes, I figured it would be cool to take it a step further. So I set up a special page on my blog that is unaccessible via the navigation bar or any other means, and I attached a link to that page whenever I tweeted out a quote.
It may not sound like much, but a few people contacted me just to let me know how cool they thought it was. And if a few people are doing that, quite a lot of people are probably enjoying it. Whilst this method may not have a spectacular effect on your Twitter growth, it is another cool way of making your brand stand out amongst the crowd.
Oh, and if you want to see the page, you’ll have to follow me on Twitter and keep an eye out for the quotes!
What Works For YOU?
So there you have it folks – three different methods I use to give my Twitter growth strategy a boost. But don’t be shy – I’m sure we’d all love to know what methods you have had success with. Let us know in the comments section!