You have a new business Twitter profile and you'd like to get more followers. You want followers who will actually pay attention to your tweets and who are part of a relevant audience, be that locally or within a certain sphere of industry. You'd like more followers, and for free...
Free Followers – Without Spamming or Cheating?
Free Followers – That aren't in distant regions or irrelevant as a target market?
Finding people who follow back
Let's take a moment to learn how to determine whether or not an account we follow will follow us back. By following accounts that follow us back, we can build our follower list while also building an audience for our content that is more likely to 'hear' what we're tweeting. If you simply want a massive number of instant followers regardless of where they are or whether they'll ever read a word you tweet, this method won't work for you. If you want a respectable follower count made of people relevant to you that you don't have to pay for, this is a method that works.
It works like in real life
First of all, when you're new to Twitter or have a small follower account, the 'popular' accounts are unlikely to follow you back. In most 'scenes,' there are various waves of 'popular' people based on how long they've been involved in that scene. A good example is the small town where I live, where a steady trickle of newcomers arrive annually to make this place their home. There are established social circles here, composed mostly of people who have lived in this community for a long time. The established people are not generally unfriendly to newcomers if they take notice of them, but they often aren't so quick to bring newcomers into their inner circles.
Meanwhile, the steady trickle of new arrivals happily recognize in each other their 'newbie' status and begin to establish their own social circles. After a few years, those circles are no longer made of newcomers as their members are no longer so new to the community; in fact, there is increasing overlap between their circles and the older established circles. And of course, new waves of newcomers have arrived in the meantime, creating their own social circles, and so the chain goes.
The longer people live here, the more overlap there is between the upper established circles, but the freshest newcomers first establish connections mostly with each other.
It can work similarly with newcomer accounts on Twitter.
There are older established Twitter accounts that have tons of followers and who often follow a far smaller number of accounts. Those big, popular accounts often won't follow a new account back, unless their follow/follower ratio is almost equal, in which case they probably follow back anyone who follows them. But as far as the ones with hundreds or thousands more followers than accounts they follow, it is highly unlikely they will bother to follow your new Twitter account back, no matter how relevant or interesting your content may be.
What I've found works for getting brand-spanking-new small business Twitter accounts good quality followers is to follow other brand-spanking-new accounts rather than the big established ones. They are more likely to follow back, they're more likely to mention you in a thank-you-for-following message, they're more likely to engage with you if you attempt to interact with you, and it's much easier to be noticed by them with your marketing and content.
How to do it: my method
If you want to get more followers for your newer account, here's one method that can work well. It's free, involves no cheating, and the followers it gets you can be of very high quality:
- Find a big popular account that is as relevant as possible to your business and the audience you wish to reach. The more genuinely relevant the account is, the better this method will work.
- If their following/follower ratio is almost equal (following roughly the same number of accounts as the number of followers they have) then by all means, follow them. They are likely to follow you back. More often than not, however, the larger established accounts have a significant discrepancy with way more followers than accounts they are following. These accounts are unlikely to follow you back.
- Look at the big account's follower list. This is where the follower building begins. A high number of the big account's newest followers are themselves newer to Twitter, which makes it more likely that they—like you—are hoping to get more followers themselves. They're also more likely to follow you back. Go through the first couple of pages of that bigger account's followers and find newer accounts that have smaller following/follower numbers. Follow these newer accounts if they're relevant to your business interests or regional market.
- Look at the follower lists of these newer accounts to find other accounts that are currently and actively following and are willing to follow newer accounts. People following other new accounts with low follower counts are more likely to follow your new account back.
- Spend a little bit of time doing this any time you're using Twitter and you'll be able to gain followers who are looking to get involved, to connect, and who are learning like you are. Establish your network with each other. Before long you won't be the newer accounts, but the older established ones.
You could waste your time following all the big successful accounts, but in reality, few of them will bother to follow you back, let alone notice your tweets in their streams. It makes far more sense to tweet your messages to people who may actually notice them, and I've found that new accounts are more receptive to other new accounts.
What this looks like on Twitter
Here are some examples of what to look for when determining if an account is more likely or less likely to follow your Twitter account or notice your tweets in their stream:
This account is unlikely to follow you back if you are just beginning. It's followed by way more people than it's following. But even if they did follow you, if you look at how busy their stream must be following 67.5K accounts, how could they possibly notice most of your tweets?
This account is a good bet for getting a followback, as long as its tweets are current. At only 40 tweets, they're pretty new, and they will also appreciate any follow they can get. The list of accounts is small enough that there is a high probability they'll notice your tweets and interact with you if you try to network with them.
This is a similar scenario to the previous account. More following than followers and a few tweets means they're more likely to follow you and notice you. As long as the tweets are current, this is a good account to follow.
Like the first example in this list, this account is unlikely to follow you back if you are just beginning. They're followed by quite a few more people than they are following. Even if they follow you back, their stream is so busy that they're unlikely to notice anything you say.
The likelihood of getting a followback from this account depends on a few factors. Is your business type in any way relevant to them? If so, you could get a followback from this account. It would be worth favouriting or retweeting a few of their tweets first to grab their attention. Their stream is pretty busy too with 2,695 accounts, but if you could get a retweet by them it could go a long way. It's worth trying for a relevant account in this range.
Unless your business or content is of direct interest to this Twitter account, the odds are slimmer of getting a followback. Their ratio of follows to followers indicates that they don't follow back so readily. This doesn't mean you can't try if you think your content is of interest to them; just be aware that you're less likely to get followed back in this case.
This account is very stingy with following back; it is unlikely a new Twitter account would get a follow from them.
If you spend 15 minutes a day or so building your follower list this way, it won't generate you 65K followers in short time, but it is realistic to get a few hundred high quality followers in surprisingly little time. Before you know it, your account won't be one of the new ones anymore. Your follower count will grow much faster as other newcomers come within your business sphere and as the older established accounts begin to notice you. The business benefits of Twitter aren't so much about your follower numbers anyways - but that's another post!