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How to create a following on Twitter
Most of us have heard about the value of twitter. We have heard that it’s a great place to get traffic to your website (or hubs) and that there are people who have seen their traffic increase significantly since they started using twitter for promotion. So how do you make twitter work for you?
These days people use twitter like a search engine, it’s where they get their news and where they find interesting things to read online. All you have to do is get your links out there, sounds easy doesn’t it? Unfortunately, it’s not quite as easy as it sounds and it does take a good bit of work on your part in the beginning, but believe me the rewards are well worth it.
The first thing you need to do is build a following because lets face it there is no point in putting your tweets out there if no one is going to see them. So here is a quick guide to getting started on Twitter and building a following.
Where to start
Assuming you don’t already have a twitter account devoted to promotion then you start by signing up for a new account. You absolutely don’t want to use your own personal account for this, your page will end up clogged up with other people’s links leaving you almost completely unable to find your real friend’s tweets, and you end up spamming your real world friends.
Set up a new twitter account using the name you are known by online, this can be your pen name, your hubpages username or any other name people can identify you by online. You can add links to your blog or other website you have and add a profile picture which should be a picture that represents you, something professional looking but it does not necessarily need to be a picture of yourself.
Build a following
As great a tool as twitter is, it’s pretty useless without followers. When it comes to followers, it is definitely a case of quality over quantity. You want followers with a genuine interest in the subjects your write about or the subject of your website. You want people that are going to read the things you tweet about and hopefully retweet them to their followers.
So how do you get followers? Well the short version is you follow people and hope they follow you back, but again it’s not quite as simple as that. You need to find people with similar interests as you but where do you find them? Lots of places. You can use Twitter’s search engine to find people with similar interests as you which is a good place to start but also look around websites you belong to; chances are there is a place somewhere that people have listed their Twitter usernames for people to follow them.
Following other writers is a great idea because you share a common interest in writing and a common goal in promoting the things you write. Fellow writers are likely to retweet you if you return the favour and you might even get some #writerswednesday or #followfriday action (don’t worry if you have no idea what those are, we will get to that later).
Use followers to find more people to follow
Once you have some people following you or have chosen a few suitable people to follow, you can use these people to find other suitable people to follow because, chances are people who are interested in them might be interested in you if you have similar interests.
There are a two main ways you can do that, you can go to each person’s profile and have a look at their followers list and choose people that way which might be quite time consuming. Or you can look at your followers and see if any of them have created lists on their profile. If they have lists set up it will show at the top of their profile where it shows you the number of tweets and followers the person has. This will show lists that the person is a member of (as in lists other people have added them too) as well as lists they have created.
Lists are great because they are a way for people to categorise the people they follow; this means you can keep your own followers list tidy by creating lists but it also allows you to see the people on the lists created by others. The great thing is that to create a list, you have to name it which means you will find loads of lists with titles like ‘writers’ ‘health writers’ ‘hubpages writers’ or other names that allow you to identify what it is these people have in common.
You can click on people’s lists and it will show you all the people on that list which means you can view their profile and follow them if you choose. It’s a very easy way to look for suitable people to follow as you can tell straight away that they have something in common with you and therefore are likely to be interested in the things you tweet.
The most important thing about twitter is that you cannot simply spam your followers with loads of links, you need to participate in the community. Simply spamming with loads of links will get you unfollowed very quickly and will also likely lead to a suspension or even an all-out ban from twitter. They take spam very seriously and tend to ban first, ask questions later.
You don’t need to devote a whole lot of time to it, find some interesting things on your feed to retweet and get the added bonus of a chance of the people you retweet doing the same for you. Tweet about your day, something interesting you seen on TV, anything at all that doesn’t contain a link.
Another great thing to participate in is those hashtags I mentioned earlier. In case you don’t know what hashtags are, they are sort of a way of categorising things on Twitter (and a whole lot of other places online these days, but the trend started on Twitter) by adding a word (or words) with the hash symbol (#) in front of it. Say you wrote a tweet about losing weight for example, you might want to end your tweet with a hashtag #weightloss or something similar. Users can click on hashtags and a list of all the tweets containing that hashtag will pop up making it an easy way to search Twitter for whatever it is you are looking for.
Two useful hashtags are #writerswednesday which is often abbreviated to #ww although not as popular as it once was, #writerswednesday is where writers put a tweet out with the usernames of writers they think other people should follow using the hashtag #writerswednesday or #ww (it’s often shortened because of the 140 character limit Twitter has). If you are lucky someone might add you to their #ww list, this is much more likely if you include them in yours and/or retweet other people’s #ww lists. Searching for the hashtag will also bring up all the posts with that tag and is another good idea when you are looking for people to follow. As the name suggests, writers Wednesday tweets go out on a Wednesday so you should only tweet using that hashtag on Wednesdays.
Follow Friday is a similar idea, it’s just not exclusive to writers. Again the hashtag is often abbreviated to #ff and tweets go out on a Friday. This is a great way to find people who match your interests, but are not necessarily writers. Again it’s not as popular as it once was, but people do still participate in it and therefore it can still be useful.
Do you use twitter for promotion?
Building a following on Twitter is really just about finding people who have similar interests as you and knowing your target audience. You already know what you write about, all you have to do is use that information to find people interested in those subjects on Twitter.
We have looked at just some of the ways of building a following on Twitter, there are likely many more - feel free to mention them in the comments section.