In no particular order, here a few things I’ve figured out about how to grow the number of followers I have on social media:

Twitter feeds Facebook and your web page. If you get Twitter followers and then post links to your other platforms, some percentage of those Twitter followers will migrate to your other platforms.

How to grow Twitter, then? I like an app called JustUnfollow. It tracks the number of people who follow and unfollow me, and it ranks orders my followers and the people I’m following but who haven’t followed me back from oldest to newest or newest to oldest.

Okay, what the heck does that all mean in lay terms? I can follow a group of people on Twitter, and Justunfollow tells me who follows me back, who doesn’t follow me back, who actively unfollows me, and who I followed the longest ago who hasn’t followed me back. That last one allows me to unfollow people who’ve had a while to follow me back but didn’t.

Someone’s going to stand up right about now and yell that churning is illegal. And it is, according to Twitter’s usage rules. Which is why I think of what I do as enlightened pseudo-churning. I follow and unfollow people at a steady, controlled rate that’s not high enough or aggressive enough to trigger churning alarms.

Here’s another thing I learned. I unfollow people who haven’t followed me back in a couple of weeks and follow new people in their place EVERY SINGLE DAY. Building followers is a cumulative effort. There’s no sense doing it hit or miss. You have to commit to an ongoing effort if you want to see big numbers. (This is also how you don’t get suspended for churning. Do it slow and steady. Or, if you’re feeling aggressive, medium and steady.)

I had 55 Twitter followers on May 15th last year when I started actively building my Twitter list. I have 79.5 thousand followers as of this minute.

Another feature of Justunfollow is an automated “thanks for following me. Hi, it’s nice to meet you” type message that gets sent to everyone who follows you back. When I started growing my Twitter list, about 1 person in 50 went over and followed my FB page. And they tended to find my personal page.

Then, I wrote a warm, friendly, lightly humorous, hello, nice to meet you note for Twitter that includes a bitly link to my FB author page. Voila. 1 Twitter follower in 7 comes over to this page, now. Much better.

I also use an app call TweetDeck There are several similar apps that are just as good. It allows me to write tweets and schedule them for future posting dates and times. This means I can sit down once a week or so, write a bunch of tweets, and then spread them out through the week without having to get on Twitter every day and make tweets (which interrupts my writing time mightily and gets to be overwhelming, to boot.)

I use Justunfollow to find out when the bulk of my followers are online, and I schedule my tweets on TweetDeck to happen during the peak usage time for my followers.

Okay, one last tip and then I’ll stop, because I can see your eyes starting to glaze over.

Justunfollow has a feature called copy followers. I can type in the Twitter handle of, for example, a really famous author who writes in the same genre I do. Her entire list of followers whom I don’t already follow pops up on my screen. I can then follow her followers. This means I’m following people who a) are readers b) are active on Twitter and c) like an author who writes similar to me.

If even a quarter of these people follow me back, I’m populating my Twitter list with people who are likely to enjoy my books in the future. I can advertise my books on Twitter to them and stand a decent chance of some of them checking out my books.

I think the term for this is farming for followers. Regardless, it’s effective and builds not only raw numbers of Twitter followers but USEFUL Twitter followers.

I apologize if that’s too much detail for everyone but Keith, whose question sparked this post. Good luck with your own follower lists! (And if you follow me, I’ll follow you back!)


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