Today’s article deviates from the personal finance topics I typically write about. If you’re interested in seeing more specific information to personal finance, feel free to check out my first interview on a podcast from this week by clicking here for the blog post or here for the iTunes download. Or, check out my brand new Start Here Page where I summarize my approach and philosophy to all things related to pursuing financial independence. Otherwise, stick around on this post and see my in-depth analysis of everything I’ve learned about Twitter in the past few months along with a how to guide on reaching 10,000 followers in less than 4 months, without spending a dollar.
In addition to reaching our great milestone of 100k in assets last month, I recently hit another big one: I reached 10,000 twitter followers. I’ve had a few dozen people reach out to me for advice and insights into what I’m doing to grow my Twitter following.
I’ve responded to individuals over the past few months but I finally decided to put all my information into one post.
You can consider this all my all-access guide to Twitter for 2016.
Before we dive into the nuts and bolts, I would just like to clarify that I am no Twitter expert. As with many items nowadays, technology changes at such a rapid pace that even if I was an expert today, chances are high that Twitter will be a different beast by the end of the year.
With that said, I also wanted to add that I do feel confident that this guide can work for anyone because I’ve seen others put these steps into practice and they’ve seen immediate results.
If it works for them and for me, then it can work for anyone.
When I first started my Twitter page, I was actually so self-concious of what to tweet that my girlfriend sent my first tweet.
It wasn’t that I didn’t know how to tweet, it was that I didn’t know what to say.
I quickly learned what a retweet looked like compared with a quote tweet. I also picked up on how to send a message to someone (hint: you type out the message and end with @usersname) and I learned how #hashtags worked. I also picked up on how a username is referred to as someone’s, “handle”. These might seem like common knowledge to some of you, but I had no idea.
It took me 15 days to reach 100 followers and that made me ecstatic. I couldn’t’ believe I had that many followers so quickly. My first fifteen days was exploring what to do & what not to do when it comes to Twitter. I developed a strategy of sorts and decided to stick with it.
Within the next 105 days I gained 10,000 followers.
This all happened without buying followers or spending a dollar on automation software. As a side note, politicians, celebrities & large companies will buy a large amount of followers early on to make their tag more popular. To think about it another way, if we stumbled upon our favorite artist and he had only 6 followers, we would think it was a fake account and not follow. Buying followers creates an early snowball-rolling-down-a-hill effect for these accounts and, in an ironic way, a certain level of “authenticity”.
With such rapid success on my own Twitter handle, I wanted to write out my step by step FREE guide to Twitter for others out there with the dual purpose of; A). gaining an immediate following for something new, and B). gaining that following in a stress free manner.
After writing this post, I reread it and WISHED I had such a resource starting out. The reason I say this is because Twitter was a source of stress for me through various stages early on. Knowing what to do and setting up various tools outlined below to AUTOMATE parts of the process have eliminated all the stress related to Twitter. As a result, I saw rapid growth and great interaction with followers.
This approach has worked for me, but you might find areas you can tweak. If you do, please share your tips in the comments!
I hope I haven’t lost you at this point, because now it’s time to break this whole thing down.
- Tweet often. By often, I mean at least 3 times a day. I often tweet between 7-8am CST (I live in Chicago so I am in Central Standard Time), around 12-1pm, and again around 4-5pm (CST). This way you’re reaching people on their commute to work,, their lunch break, and their commute home. Somewhere along the way I started to tweet 6 times a day by pushing out two tweets in each of those windows to adjust for US time zones.
- Engage with anyone who likes, retweets, or messages you, but do avoid automated messages. Retweet something that you actually find valuable.
- Speaking of Retweeting… Retweet other people’s stuff. I was up to 2,000 followers before I posted anything related to my own site. I think people came to see my feed as a good aggregator of other people’s sites. In this regard, I demonstrated adding value back to the group without seeking too much for myself. Selflessness pays off with Twitter.
- Targeted following. I got this strategy from a great Millennial Money Man article on growing a new blog. The approach is basically; A). find an influential person who tweets out material similar to yours, B). follow his followers, maybe 100 at a time, C). wait and watch as maybe 20-50 follow back. With this approach, it is a win-win because you are offering those followers the same type of information via your tweets, so make sure you’re tweeting high quality material. As mentioned on M$M’s post, the limit per day is 1,000 follows, so do not follow 1,000 people daily or your account might become suspended.
- Manage Flitter***(((see footnote)))***. After racking up followers, it is smart to go in and unfollow anyone who hasn’t followed you back. Nowadays, I’ll basically unfollow anyone if they don’t follow me back within a week. I didn’t know how to do this properly, until Manage Flitter came along. The best part is this feature is 100% free, so I see it as must have if you’re serious about Twitter. I know ManageFlitter has a few extra paid features, but I haven’t seen a need for those services.
- Follow back anyone who follows you, except try to avoid spam accounts. ManageFlitter helps again here because it will tell you which accounts are inactive or are spam accounts.
- This one might be obvious, but when crafting up the 140 character golden nugget of information on a new article, try to come up with at least three per article. See which ones receive more responses and try to hone in on what is working.I like to tweet out the title along with two great quotes from the article itself. It can be difficult to summarize an article so sometimes it might be easier to summarize one particular piece of the article instead.
8. SocialOomph or Buffer. Within the automation realm, I rely on SocialOomph to automatically post my tweets at a specific time and date. I’ve started to use Buffer and it looks like each service deliver the same results, so deciding which to use is a matter of personal preference. One note on Buffer, their suggested times received about half of the interaction compared to what I’ve learned as the best times to tweet through SocialOomph & ManageFlitter. Try out a few different posting schedules and see what works based on your followers and target audience.
9. As you become more comfortable with automation, you’ll see it is easy to creep up to 10+ tweets a day. The lifespan of a tweet is about 30 minutes, so tweeting twice an hour is not too much.
Pencils down! Ahhh, that was quite a lot of information!
Wait, one more piece of advice:
Have fun with it.
For me, Twitter has been a love/hate relationship because it took a lot of time and stress for me to figure things out. Now, I can safely say any and all negative feelings have gone away and I feel the process is smooth.
Alright, well that was probably WAY more detail into Twitter than you were expecting. At the least, I hope you can now go through the process smoother than me!
As mentioned above, I’m confident you can take this approach and reach 10,000 followers in less than 3 months. It took me 4 months, but there was a lot of trial and error in that process.
Let me know if there’s anything helpful that I’ve missed here. If anything wasn’t clear or you had follow up questions, you can reach out via my contact page. If you decide to give this approach a try, please check back and leave a comment on the results.
*** One of the FREE apps (ManageFlitter) switched over to a paid app so had to switch it up above. Quick props to Kevin from Second Hand Success for pointing this out. I do not recommend paying $10/month or whatever it is just so you can unfollow people. 🙂