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Increasing your Twitter following

Discussion in 'Online Journalism' started by BrianGriffin, Feb 9, 2012.

  1. BrianGriffin

    BrianGriffin Active Member

    I've created a Twitter account that I'm using to aggregate the staff's work, pimp my own and offer the usual Twitter interactions (though I've refrained from giving a blow-by-blow on how I eat my corn flakes in the morning).

    I have not been consistent about doing the proper hashtagging and all that stuff, so in that regards, I know some of my Twitter shortcomings. I've increased my activity with this account and started aggressively pursuing followers for at least a couple of months. The following built early, but his plateaued, particularly post-football.

    So I'm wondering about some tricks folks on here have learned to increase your audience.

    Smart-ass answers are welcome, but dammit, if they aren't going to be informative, they better at least be fucking funny, ok?
  2. Versatile

    Versatile Active Member

    Link to other peoples' work when you enjoy it, and tag them in the post. You get journalists to follow you, the journalists might retweet you and the retweets might get you other followers. It's worked fairly well for me.
  3. Matt Stephens

    Matt Stephens Well-Known Member

    I just Tweet often. A lot is work related, if not, it's about sports. I still have a lot of followers from my old beat, so I try to give tidbits here and there and am still able to break a CSU story every now and then to keep folks happy.

    I also Tweet "personal" things (not intimate things. There is a difference) just going on in my daily life and try to have fun with that. It gives readers a good sense of your personality and shows you're not just a reporter, but a person, too (sounds ridiculous, but you get the point).

    And make sure to interact with readers. They'll enjoy you more for just responding to them and will likely retweet more of your material, gaining you more followers.

    One way to gain a lot of followers is to just follow tons of people and hope they follow back, but that's cheating, IMO. My rule is that my follow count will never be more than half how many followers I have. I'm at 646 followers right now while following 238. If I follow too many people, my feed will get filled with stuff I don't care about.

    Also make sure you don't Tweet naked pictures of yourself. It's bad for business.
  4. When you Tweet something don't use all 140 characters. Make sure you save enough characters so if you do get a "RT" that there is room for your Twitter handle and your whole Tweet. I always try to leave 14 characters.
    Sports Guy likes this.
  5. Boom_70

    Boom_70 Well-Known Member

    Tweet away Chrissy
  6. Matt Stephens

    Matt Stephens Well-Known Member

    True, but most Twitter clients today simply retweet what you said with your avatar. Few do the "RT @" anymore, to my knowledge.
  7. Versatile

    Versatile Active Member

    Tweetdeck, far and away the most popular, has both options and many people I follow tend to choose the old style. Plus, anyone who wants to add something to your tweet would prefer to have the characters to modify.
  8. Matt Stephens

    Matt Stephens Well-Known Member

    True. I don't understand why Twitter doesn't just automatically erase the "@" when you link a name with it to save everyone a character.
  9. JPsT

    JPsT Member

    That, my friend, depends on who you are.
  10. Brian Cook

    Brian Cook Member

    I agree with the follow-and-retweet interesting stuff and the general edict to keep your retweetable items shorter than 140 characters. A lot of people will want to add context for their followers on a retweet and keeping it short makes it easy. If it's long you have to rephrase/cut to keep it under the limit. That's a drag on the ease of sharing your stuff.

    I would also agree that it helps a lot if it seems like there is a person behind the twitter feed, instead of a robot. Judiciously inserting personal tweets/jokes/etc. is helpful. Also try to segregate things like PBP away from a more reasonable feed; nothing drives me crazier than six journalists saying the same things during a game or press conference. Either assume people are watching the game/event or are not, and never deviate from that assumption.
  11. Versatile

    Versatile Active Member

    There's no use for play-by-play on Twitter. Use CoverItLive and get your site some hits.
  12. Great advice here.

    The key is interaction. Make a conscious effort to respond to just about everyone that tweets at you and you'll quickly build relationships that help you get more followers.

    Tweets shorter than the character limit also help, as others have said.

    One friend I know who has more than 11,000 followers has a unique tactic. He will look for other journalists with a lot of followers and engage them in arguments about some of their tweets on hot topics. He's actually encouraged me to do that at times, but it feels weird to me. But I'll be damned if he doesn't pick up followers by the dozen every time he does it.

    Of course, he's also very clever and smart so it works well for him. Wouldn't recommend it if you're not good at forming an argument. :)
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