How to Get More Followers On Twitter

Learn everything you need to start building a strong following

Girl holding sign with the words "Follow me"
Zmeel Photography / Getty Images

When someone is deciding whether to follow you on Twitter, there's usually a moment's glance at your follower count. Like most measures of popularity, a high number of Twitter followers tells people that you're likable, influential and noteworthy.

In this way, gathering more Twitter followers is like a cycle; the more followers you have, the more you get. It's not always that simple, though. There are plenty of factors to consider when figuring out just how to get followers on Twitter.

There's no one secret formula to build a strong Twitter following. Instead, this guide will give you the tools and information that you'll need to grow your Twitter presence organically and get more followers the right way.

Twitter Followers: The Basics

Before you head straight for the deep end, it's an immense help to familiarize yourself with the Twitter basics. The articles listed below explain the Twitter follow feature in detail, starting with how it works. They also explain aspects of following that novices and even some intermediate users may not grasp from their initial use of the messaging service.

Twitter on a Tablet

Twitter seems more simple than it is, especially when it comes to the culture around following. Read the four articles listed here to get a good idea of what you need to do to attract followers and communicate with them effectively.

How to Get Followers on Twitter Organically and Ethically

There are some "black magic" tricks out there to get more followers on Twitter unnaturally fast, but no one likes being manipulated, and your success won't be genuine, meaning you won't reap any real benefits. These tips will help you build your following the right way and be a productive member of the Twitter community.

Twitter Logo

Upgrade Your Avatar and Profile

Your Twitter profile photo should give people an up-close view of your face or a reflection of your personality. For example, a photo of you fishing is just as good an image as a headshot. However, if you plan on attending offline tweetups, use an image that people can use to identify you when you're face to face.

Your profile is your brand. It's how people will perceive you and the content you share. Take care to send the right message.

Include an eye-catching header photo that captures the personality you want to show through on your account too, and back it up with a bio that lets potential followers know a bit about you quickly. People rarely follow mysterious, cute, or clever names without knowing who's behind that Twitter handle.

Start Following Other People

Find people with interests similar to yours and follow them. That, in turn, will help you get Twitter followers. This is the most basic and quick way to get followers on Twitter who will really add value to your Twitter experience.

As you start following people, you'll find a snowball will slowly start rolling. The people you choose to follow will often check you out on Twitter as soon as they see you are following them. If they like what they see, they may click the "follow" button, too, and become one of your followers. When that happens, other people will soon see you on Twitter, too.

Check Who to Follow Recommendations

On a similar note to the point above, when you follow people on Twitter, they often follow you back as a courtesy. Based on the people you follow, Twitter generates a personalized Who to Follow screen and populates it with people it thinks share your interests. Pick a few people to follow from the Who to Follow screen. They won't all follow you back but some probably will. Check back regularly. The recommendations change as your follower "mix" changes.

Follow Those Who Follow You, or at Least Many of Them

If you don't follow people who have taken the trouble to follow you, some of them may get irked and unfollow you.

In addition to being good Twitter etiquette, following your followers may cause them to engage with you publicly on their timelines, attracting more attention from their followers. Again, it's the snowball effect.

Introduce Yourself Subtly

When you follow new people, browse their feed and find a tweet you can respond to immediately. By responding to their tweets, they recognize that you're paying attention and often follow you back. Don't be pushy; just show interest.

Add a Follow Button to Your Website

If you have a website, the best way to turn existing fans into Twitter followers is by adding a Follow button to your website. If you have a Facebook page, post a link to your Twitter profile there. The Follow button lets people follow your Twitter account directly from your website or any website where you install the button.

Connect everything! Make it easy for people to find you. They ARE looking.

Attend a Tweetup

Tweetups are face-to-face networking events for Twitter followers. Many metropolitan areas have regular Twitter get-togethers where local tweeters meet for drinks or a social media event. Find your local tweet-up organizer — Boston Tweetup, for example — and attend an event or enter #tweetup in the Twitter search bar for a list of upcoming events. Giving face time in the real world and tweeting from the tweetup with a designated hashtag is a fast road to more Twitter followers.

Ask for Retweets

Research shows that the most-retweeted posts often include the phrase "please retweet" or "pls RT" in it. When you are retweeted, your tweets show up in front of hundreds — sometimes thousands — more people, which results in more followers.

Join Tweet Chats

A tweet chat creates an enormously interactive conversation around a single hashtag. Joining a tweet chat is a quick way to make new friends and get retweets on your most witty tweets. You can engage in a chat directly through Twitter or use a service like TweetChat.com. Several websites, such as TweetReports, post lists of upcoming Tweet Chats if you want to browse topics and see when they are scheduled.

@ Authors of Articles You Tweet

To get more people in front of your tweet, make them a part of it When you post an article, look up the author's Twitter name and add something like, "Great article @username." Not only can this earn you a follow from the author but you may score a retweet to the author's followers, increasing your chances of stacking up those numbers.

Seek Out Conversations

Put Advanced Twitter Search to good use. With this tool, you can search for people who talk about topics that you're an expert in. Look for people who have used the question mark, which signifies they asked a question. Perhaps you can answer it and gain a follower. If you're going local, search for people in your locale and look for common community interest.

Tweet Valuable Content

Twitter users love to click on interesting images, videos and article links. If you can provide value to them by what you share, they'll appreciate it. Plus, interesting content gets shared, increasing your visibility.

Show Your Personality Through Your Tweets

There's nothing more boring than a Twitter profile full of headlines and links. You may only have 280 characters to work with, but showing who you really are is probably the best way to become likable on Twitter.

Tweet Frequently

If you only tweet once a week, you're not going to gain many new followers. The more you tweet and interact with other users, the more you increase your exposure to your current followers who may retweet you and earn you new followers.

Remember quality over quantity. Don't just tweet because you feel like you have to. Always tweets something valuable or entertaining.

Tweet About the News and Use Trending Hashtags

Tweeting about current events using trending hashtags will be sure to get you noticed, mainly because everyone else will be watching those hashtags flowing in through Twitter. If your tweets are great, you could earn yourself some new followers for it.

Avoid Automating Too Many of Your Tweets

There's nothing terribly wrong with using a tool like Buffer or TweetDeck to schedule some tweets, but the thing is that users are smart enough to tell an automated tweet from a real one and they generally don't want to follow robots. Have a good mix of mostly real tweets with just a few automated ones every once in a while and you'll be good to go.

Avoid Cramming Too Many Hashtags Into Your Tweets

Hashtags are one of social media's greatest inventions, but they look super spammy and impossible to read when you overuse them. Stick to just 1 or 2 per tweet and take a break from using them often so you appear more human.

There's an entire art to choosing the right hashtags. Try to understand who your audience is and pick the right ones to connect with them.

Thou Shall Not Spam

A word about how NOT to get followers on Twitter: The quickest way to lose followers is to use your tweets to advertise or try to sell products or services. People are on Twitter to converse and learn. Twitter is not a TV.

Auto Follow Tools on Twitter: Mass Marketing on Steroids

When all else fails, or you're simply too busy to manage everything yourself, there are options. Auto follow is a buzz phrase for tools that automate many of the Twitter following functions, with a goal of helping people get more followers. At its simplest, auto follow means reciprocal following in an automated fashion or using a tool that helps you automatically follow back everyone who follows you. More often, though, it refers to automated ways of finding people you can follow, with hopes that they'll follow you back.

Twitter Hands-Off Approach

There are many pitfalls in auto following practices, so before you use any of the tools to automate following in your Twitter account, be sure to read up on the practice in general and the particular tool you use. You should also read up on Twitter's own rules regarding automation. The following articles explain what you need to know about auto-follow tools before you decide to use them.

Consider More Than Just Numbers on Twitter

Before you run off and start putting any of these strategies into practice, there's one more important question to consider. Which is more important to you, having as many followers as possible or getting the best possible followers?

This is also known as the quality vs. quantity debate.

So far, we've mostly talked about the numbers game, how to get followers of any kind. But if you are using Twitter to promote your career or business, you should be careful to get Twitter followers who will be appropriate for your goals. That means choosing a Twitter strategy and targeting followers thoughtfully, rather than taking a scattershot approach.

Twitter Scrabble Tiles

Much debate occurs over whether people should pursue quantity or quality as they try to get Twitter followers. Would you rather have more followers of any kind or fewer followers who are interested in the same things you are? Most experts advocate quality over quantity, though both have their role in any strategy for using Twitter in marketing.

Consider the purpose of your account and who you want to reach. Your "field" should inform how you run your account and approach acquiring followers.

If you do care about quality at all, you should go out of your way to avoid tactics for getting Twitter followers that might backfire by alienating the people you really want to keep and causing them to unfollow you. Many auto-follow methods fall into this category.

And if you're using Twitter for business, most social media experts will tell you that it simply doesn't pay to overdo it on following people or getting too many followers. In the long run, it can reduce the actual value you get from Twitter by cluttering your Twitter stream with messages from people whose interests don't overlap with yours.