Here’s a question I recently got from somebody that wished to remain anonymous:
“I’m a teen comic in Dallas/Ft. Worth and am currently trying to build connections. One of those ways is through Twitter. Any advice on how to get more followers?”
This is a very common question and the answer can often be person-specific, but here’s 8 tips that are somewhat universal…
1. You don’t need more followers, you need better followers.
It’s easy to get caught up obsessing about the sheer number of Twitter followers you have, but what’s really more important is the quality of the followers you have. It’s much better to have 100 true followers that will help you achieve your goals (whatever those may be), than it is to have 1,000 random followers that won’t ever buy tickets to your shows, book you gigs, or really care about what you have to say.
2. Figure out who you want to follow you and go after those people.
Once you decide to raise the quality of your followers as opposed to just the quantity, you’ll need to decide what kind of people you want to follow you. All you said in your email was that you were hoping to use Twitter to “build connections,” but I’m not exactly sure what that means. If you’re hoping to build connections with people who can book you at shows or help your career, then you should focus on attracting those people as your followers. If you mean that you’re hoping to build fans who will attend your shows and support your work, then you should focus on attracting them as followers. Either way, it’s important to know who your target followers are before you can go after them.
3. Include your Twitter account in your email signature.
Here’s an easy one – add a plug for your Twitter account in your email signature, on your Facebook page, and on your website if you have one. Basically, these are easy ways to remind anybody that comes across you in any of these places that you’re also on Twitter and they should connect with you there.
4. Ask your followers to spread the word.
Even if you don’t have as many followers as you’d like, you’ve already got some and they’re a great place to start with your efforts to grow your following. Try to come up with some fun ways to incentivize your current followers to spread the word about you. Maybe it’s some kind of contest, maybe it’s a challenge, maybe it’s a game…it doesn’t really matter what you come up with, but if you can figure out a way to encourage the people who already follow you to spread the word that can be very helpful.
5. Tweet links to “viral” content.
In looking at your account, I noticed that you rarely ever post links to videos, articles, or photos, and I think that’s a missed opportunity. It’s a good idea to occasionally share links to content you haven’t necessarily created but you think is interesting, funny, crazy, or otherwise “viral.” People may be more likely to retweet a crazy video you shared than a joke you wrote.
6. Ask questions of your followers.
If you want people to mention your Twitter account (and therefore promote it to their followers by default), it helps to ask questions of your followers. When you ask entertaining or interesting questions, your followers will be more encouraged to reply to you and every time they do, they’re essentially promoting you to all of their followers who will see your name in the @ reply.
7. Use Twitter search to find appropriate people to follow.
8. Guest blog or contribute to other projects that have large audiences.
Contributing some work to another website, video series, or project in exchange for the opportunity to plug your Twitter account is a great way to get your name out there. Most humor blogs will accept submissions from guest columnists, and most will also let you plug your Twitter account in your byline. It’s a great way to get your name out there in the context of a funny article, and promote your Twitter account at the same time. If readers like what you wrote, they’ll probably follow you.