*This guest post on organic Twitter follower growth is from Kas Szatylowicz. She’s a social media manager and outreach coordinator at Nightwatch — a search performance tracker and visibility tool.
We knew better.
Twitter has over 326 million active users. Its fast-paced nature means it allows brands like yours and ours to establish powerful online presences.
Your audience is out there, and the biggest problem isn’t the supposed death of Twitter. The biggest problem lies with finding them.
At Nightwatch, we had a problem before that one. Essentially, it took us a while to wake up to the usefulness of Twitter when it comes to sharing content, engaging with people, capturing more leads, and basically growing our brand online.
Once we realized the opportunity that was out there, we put together a strategy and quickly overcame the main problem — that of winning on Twitter. Within a month, we doubled our engagement and saw a massive increase in Twitter follower growth.
How To Grow Your Twitter Followers Organically
Consistently Publish High-Quality Content
If you’re going to post anything on social media, you should aim to either be entertaining or useful.
We chose the latter.
We figured that people want valuable content that’s going to help them in a particular area of their lives. In our case, it was SEO for businesses and marketers.
Our content output has always been centered around long-form, in-depth articles that educate and inform our audience first and foremost. This is content that’s rich in answers, and which provides them with practical solutions to their problems, and key takeaways that they can take action on.
When you share consistently high-quality content that never drops off, it does a few things. For one thing, it establishes you as an expert in your field. For another thing, it turns you into someones “go-to” person. You’re the one they can count on to give them insanely valuable content that’s going to be of massive use to them.
Overall, you develop a strong reputation as a brand that people can trust, that they’re prepared to follow and interact with on social media.
We never went into this expecting anything in return. Our mission was to deliver lots of value to our audience while building our brand.
To produce high-quality content, it helps to have a strong content marketing team behind you, but before anything else you need to understand what problems your audience has, and what questions they want answering. To find out, you can use a tool like Answer the Public, or you can see what your competitors are writing about. If you choose the latter, make sure that the content you produce on a similar topic is better.
Other than that, your content must always be actionable. Much like the Ladder blog, at the Nightwatch blog we produce content that engages the reader but is filled with practical solutions that they can implement as soon as they’ve finished reading. Show your reader how they can apply the information you’re giving them.
We also pride ourselves on using accurate sources of information when it comes to statistics and data. Stats and data give you and your content more credibility, and they’re also really easy for others to share them on Twitter.
Ultimately, however, high-quality content by itself doesn’t always work unless you …
Be Professional, Personable, and Friendly
Remember that this is social media. As such, people go there to be social.
While Twitter is full of academics, it doesn’t help a small business if the language they use is dry and academic. It can be a major turn-off.
It also doesn’t help if you go for the hard-sell all the time.
Millennials now dominate the economy, and studies have shown that they don’t want to be sold to anymore — but that they do want to be immersed in a proper marketing campaign.
This means that you need to set the tone for a strong, lasting relationship with the language you use on Twitter. At Nightwatch, we chose to be professional, but we also wanted to make sure that we were personable and friendly, too. This shows as much in our tweets as it does in the content itself. We struck a good balance that showed people we’re the experts, but that we’re also humans who can empathize with our prospects.
Remember that you’re addressing human beings with real human needs on social media. You need to stick to one particular voice, but it’s important that you don’t come across as overly corporate. Show empathy with your followers — as we did in the image below — highlight their problem and then show them how you’ve got the answer to their solution. This not only increases rapport with people but — provided you then deliver the goods with your actual article — it can also make them like you and boost engagement.
Which is a pure win.
Use DM Twitter Outreach
So we had lots of in-depth content — but we needed to reach more people with it.
And we figured that a really great way to do this would be to reach out to brands in our niche who would be more than happy to our share in-depth content with their followers.
Why? Because brands need to keep sharing amazing content in order to keep their followers happy.
If you’ve ever used blogger outreach, Twitter outreach is similar. Your goal is to reach out to someone of influence in your niche (a webmaster, perhaps) with a clear idea of what you need in exchange for something you’re willing to offer in return.
For whatever reason, a number of companies get Twitter outreach wrong, or they avoid it altogether.
At Nightwatch, we decided to give it a shot — and it worked like a dream…
Perhaps like many other companies, we were a tad wary at first that our inbox would be flooded with automated private messages. That never happened, and instead, we were pleasantly surprised by the number of companies who were more than willing to share our content for free.
How exactly did we leverage direct outreach to help our Twitter follower growth?
We wanted to find accounts who believed in the power of producing lots of value for their audience (just like us!). To this end, we put together a list of users who were tweeting regularly about digital marketing and SEO.
Then, we crafted a message that showed potential influencers that their content was being devoured by our audience, too. Already we’re in a win-win situation: we’ve got new content for them, and the amazing content produced by them was getting more exposure.
What’s important here is that we worked on building a relationship. We were looking for collaboration and we wanted to make a connection with other brands. If you miss this bit, you’ll lose. In our opening message, we highlighted how collaboration is beneficial for both sides and that sharing in-depth articles benefits them as much as it does us.
Remember that experts in your field will be more than happy to share your expert articles because it helps to reinforce their own position as the expert. Going back to an earlier point we made, you must put together consistently high-quality content. If you do this, and if your opening message via DM is personable and professional, you’re onto a winner.
Cooperate with Influencers and Micro-influencers
Piggy-backing off the above point, working with influencers and micro-influencers is a great way to build your brand on Twitter (and get more followers).
Micro-influencers (as we found out) are really important because, while a micro-influencer is defined as anyone with 10,000 (or less) followers, they’re more powerful than they might sound.
For one thing, they’re more affordable to brands than macro-influencers (sometimes an influencer will charge a fee to share your content but, as long as you show them the benefits of mutual collaboration as we did, you should be able to get away with a freebie).
Secondly, micro-influencers can be just as effective as macro-influencers because, though their audience is much smaller, it’s sometimes more dedicated, loyal, and engaged.
When you work with any influencer on social media tactics, it’s important to gauge the size of their following. But it’s also important to check how engaged their followers are. In other words, how many people are interacting with their tweets? It doesn’t matter how big someone’s following is if hardly anyone is engaging with their posts. You only want to work with influencer — big or small — who have an engaged following.
To find influencers in your niche, you can use Twitter search. We did this and it really helped us to expand our network massively. We would use phrases like “looking for a guest post”, or sometimes we would even use branded keywords.
*Branded keywords are really cool because if an influencer is already talking about your products, it means they’re a fan already. This is a huge bonus.
Once you’ve got your influencers, you should do what we did and create a Twitter List for them. This keeps them all in one place, and you can keep adding to the list as you go along.
What’s the purpose of a Twitter List? It makes it SO much easier to keep in touch with people of influence in your niche. It ensures that you interact with their most important tweets, and it prevents you from missing something you really didn’t want to miss.
Add Your Twitter Handle to All Email Communication
If you’re a business owner, each email you send is an opportunity. It’s an opportunity to connect with someone and strengthen your network.
One neat little hack we used as part of our Twitter follower growth strategy was to add our Twitter handle to all email communication. It helped us to increase our social reach by introducing our customers to our Twitter feed.
Organic Twitter Follower Growth Is Possible
It’s worth mentioning that, while we achieved most of our growth organically, there are also tools and Twitter ad tactics that can help you. At first, we were using Hypergrowth, which helps you to be seen by more people on Twitter.
Ultimately, though, organic follower growth is totally possible on Twitter if you put into practice the steps outlined in this article. Focus on providing as much value as possible to your followers, be consistent with your output, work with influencers, and put together a solid Twitter outreach campaign. Then, as ever, track your results. Good luck!