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Tag: Gaining Followers

Making money using Twitter

 

I continue my discussion on ways to make money using Twitter. Previously I covered what I considered are bad (ineffective) methods, now I’ll cover the rest.

 
The ugly (misleading):

Promoting users/lists: Certain users with a large number of followers (though only slightly more than I have) started doing personal shoutouts and including users in their lists for small sums of money. I assume the people who buy these services do so to get followers. To a limited degree, this will probably work. Moreover, if the people who promote these offers have multiple accounts as many people do, I would imagine all their accounts would suddenly follow the paying users (this could easily be 20-50 accounts – to some this is a lot of followers!).

 
With that being said, this has to be one of the most inefficient ways of getting followers. If these were celebrities who offered these services, fine (it would probably be pretty effective being in Conan O’Brien’s list! Just think of @LovelyButton), but we’re not talking celebrities here. I would never consider charging people to be in one of my lists because I think doing so would imply that this bestows some value, and let’s face it, it does not. Note that I have to say, it’s very easy getting followers, at least when talking about a small number (100-200) and I don’t think paying users expect more than that from a single tweet.

 
An additional issue is that I would expect this practice to stop at some point. Personally – and I know many others feel the same way – I treat the shoutouts as noise/spam. These are (personal) ads after all, and my comment from the previous post applies – most Twitter users do not like any tweet that feels commercial in nature. I predict that eventually enough users would have these ‘offending’ advertisers be blocked & reported for spam and this will lead to their suspension.

 
The Good (effective)

 
I’ve written about this in multiple separate posts. I believe that Twitter’s strength lies in creating relationships, networking, doing PR for yourself/your company, so most of this section deals with these. However, the first method is unrelated.

  1. Advertising: Using companies such as Ad.ly and SponsoredTweets it is possible to tweet something and get paid for it. This actually does work. But: (a) You’re dependent on being offered to tweet these and there aren’t a ton of those and (b) unless you have a lot of followers, the sums involved tend to be pretty low.

     

  2. Getting clients: by being active on Twitter, it is possible to get clients. Although pushing yourself and being interactive helps, by just having a good bio, descriptive background and including a link to your website it’s quite possible to draw attention. Personally I’ve had success with this. I have to emphasize that I believe this strongly depends on the industry: i.e. I doubt dentists can gain clients this way.

     

  3. Building relationships: I’ve written about this before. By networking you are likely to meet like-minded people who, by knowing them, in the long run, will result in monetary gain. I’ve met quite a lot of people who got me involved in conferences (i.e. Social Media 201), started collaborations, and introduced other people and clients to me. This does require effort though.

     

  4. PR: I’m probably the millionth person to say this, but in this day and age, companies need to be able to engage their clients. By having an active Twitter account that listens to complaints/issues and addresses them, a company can greatly improve their reputation. This is a topic that we discussed quite heavily at Social Media 201.

     

  5. Twitter services: basically, by offering the previous methods to other people or companies, you can make money. There’s in fact a new course that trains people to become social media managers.

    This is definitely a way that works. Again, talking from personal experience here. You can get paid far more doing this than from paid tweets or trying to push affiliate links. I believe this is the most effective way to monetize Twitter. Note that in many ways the method I included under ‘ugly’ can be said to fall under this category – true – however, I think it’s the choice of which services to offer that makes the difference. Implying someone will get a lot of followers if someone tweets your bio is misleading.

 
Not sure

 
I’ll include this one last category as well.

  1. Niche accounts: I’ve actually dabbled with this but it’s a variation of the methods I previously mentioned. Basically, it’s an account that declares in advance that it will provide information and deals. This can be done using affiliate links or point to your business site.

    Does it work? Maybe. Personally I’ve not tried it long enough to be able to tell. However, I CAN tell say that many users still consider this to be spam despite the user “announcing” in advance what it is all about.

     

  2. Trending topics: I included this but I will admit I don’t know it well enough to elaborate. The goal is to create accounts that tap into Google’s real time indexing of trending topics. I don’t fully know how this works, just that by doing so, it is possible to get an affiliate link into the top of the search of Google. I would imagine this involves creating quite a lot of users. I heard this worked for some but don’t know how successful it was and, as you can guess, I never tried it myself. I figured I should still mention it.

     

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Click on the image to see the full statistics

 

 

Ok.. the title is slightly misleading (only slightly). But you’ll have to forgive me for that.

 
As I’ve mentioned earlier in this blog, I like using TwitterCounter. It shows interesting statistics about my Twitter activities, not to mention, it can be used to manually update the number of followers that appear on the top right corner of this blog (otherwise it updates periodically).

 
In the past few days TwitterCounter seemed to have a few issues. I kept getting error messages whenever I tried to access it. Yesterday when I was eventually able to, it told me I have 26 followers. Pretty amusing – it brought me back in time to April 2009 (back when I did have 26 followers).

 
What I find particularly funny is that TwitterCounter hasn’t compensated for that. So according to the application’s logic, I gained more than 76,000 in a day.

 
Based on this rate, I will have 1,230,729 followers in 30 days. You think it might happen? I’m crossing my fingers! That would be SO awesome! :D

 

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Gaining twitter followers
Click on the image to see it in higher resolution


Everybody knows that interacting on Twitter attracts followers, right? This is the main reason for Twitter’s existence. As a long time active user, I can say: this is, of course, true – you can gain followers based on that alone (as I wrote about very early on).

 
With that being said, very active users know that if you tweet too much, it really hampers this process. There were periods where I was extremely active and tweeted as many as 400 tweets a day ( …see my article on Twitter Jail… ). I was well aware of the fact that if I tweet less, I will gain more followers. But gaining followers wasn’t what I was after, so I did what I wanted to do. If someone didn’t want to follow me because I talked too much, then there’s nothing I can do about it – I’m not going to change myself.

 
In the past two months I’ve drastically reduced my Twitter activities. Not to change the subject, but the main reason is that I’m busy and simply can’t afford the time. There is also another big reason, which I may dedicate a post to, but can’t discuss at the moment.

 
However, watch the above graph (click here to see it in higher resolution) – a new feature, I believe – courtesy of TwitterCounter. It shows my number of tweets and followers over a three month time period. I really like this feature.

 
As you can see, there is no correlation at all between the number of followers I gained every day and the number of tweets I tweeted. I was aware of it, of course, but it’s nice to see it visualized.

 
The truth is, while interacting and being active – in moderation – really helps getting followers, it is entirely unnecessary. One does not need to be active at all to gain followers. How? That’s a story for another time. I am aware of several users who don’t tweet at all whose Twitter growth is extremely fast.

 
Twitter may not like this fact, but that is the case. In fact, in many ways they encourage this by setting artificial limits on tweets and DMs (again I mention my post on Twitter Jail) and other issues. Hopefully this will change in the future.

 

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my twitter followers

I started using Twitter some time in April, but only in July really started using it heavily (see my previous post on explaining Twitter. Since then I have seen countless tweets promoting tools that increase the number of your followers. I don’t know whether they work since I haven’t tried them, but I believe they do (with the general idea: if you follow X number of people, at least a third will return the follow. Do this enough times and you’ll gain a lot of followers). How else can you explain users with 10,000 followers and no tweets?

 
An additional point to consider: I tend to question the quality of the followers you get using them – often quality doesn’t go well with quantity, particularly if things are automated. If you don’t look at your followers – at all – how do you know who they really are? For all you know they could be bots. This is true for me, too, but at least I try to evaluate the account with my own eyes and don’t rely on software.

 
I’ve used twollow myself (an online tool which adds followers based on criteria) for 2-3 days, but didn’t feel any effect, and I mean any. I’m guessing it’s particularly useful for people who don’t use Twitter at all, and just want to gain followers on auto pilot (without having to log in at all). I know at least one guy who gained 3,000 followers this way over a span of several months.

 
In July 30th I had 191 followers. Today, August 22nd, 12:30pm (the day is still young) I have 1391 followers. How did I do that? It’s been roughly 3 weeks in which I gained exactly 1200 followers. Moreover, I was completely out of commission for about 4 days during this time (3 days I was at a conference, read my blog for more details, and one day I spent moving to a new apartment without any internet connection).

 
In the Twitter universe 1391 is not really considered a lot of followers. But still, I did it without any help of tools and on my own, and – in my opinion – in a relatively short amount of time. And I expect the rate of followers to only keep increasing (at least that’s what I’ve been noticing so far – I believe the more followers you have, the larger the target audience you reach, and your overall network grows).

 
So how did I do that? My answer is simple and is one word: interaction.

 
During this time, I interacted with people, asked questions, sent responses, sent the occasional article I found amusing or educational, retweeted the occasional message I found interesting. Yes, I did it quite intensively. But it worked, you have to agree with that, no? Even better than hard, cold numbers: I made friends during this time, people I now correspond with on a daily basis.

 
Twitter is all about interaction. Interact with people, offer value in your tweets, make friends – and you’ll get plenty of followers. Although some tools & methods may work faster (maybe even much faster), I think this is the better way, both in the short and in the long term.

 
An image is worth a thousand words: check my followers chart above (though to be honest, I don’t think it captures the trajectory correctly – I only “updated” it today, so it treats “yesterday” as July 30th. Still it proves my point. As you can see I got 7 followers since I updated my follower counter).

 
I’m sorry if you were expecting some sort of technological solution in this post. I’m sure some tools offer way better results than I have obtained. But I truly believe this is the better way. It certainly is more fun :)

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