The second side is simply making connections with other people on Twitter. This should end up taking you roughly ten minutes each day, give or take a few minutes. If you’re willing to put a little bit more time into it, you can also end up with more connections on your other social media accounts such as Facebook or LinkedIn.
Before we get started here. Let me first say this is all meant to be used to grow a legitimate following for marketing or similar purposes. It is not intended as a way for anyone to harass or spam Twitter users. You are responsible for your own actions and using your own common sense. I can not be held responsible if your Twitter account gets suspended, banned or limited in any way.
The Tools To Take Over Twitter
First, I’m going to lay out the toolbox. We’re going to be working with several different web applications and services. These are all tools I use myself to manage my own Twitter marketing efforts.
Feedly – All the content you could ever need delivered up-to-the-minute fresh.
Sniply – URL shortener that allows you to insert a call to action (link) on any page.
Start A Fire – A tool that will insert your call to action on web pages.
Buffer – Social media scheduler that I rely on heavily.
Klout – Content discovery and social media scheduler.
Crowdfire – Twitter follower management, web application.
Hashtagify – Web application to analyze and discover relevant hashtags.
Getting Set Up On Feedly
The first thing you should do (after getting a Twitter account, of course) is get yourself set up on Feedly. This is where you’re going to find all of the content that you’ll be sharing. The initial setup can take a bit of time, but it’ll be worth it in the end.
If you’re not already familiar with Feedly, it’s basically a giant RSS reader. Feedly follows RSS feeds from sites all over the web and allows you to pick and organize the ones you want to read. The benefit for you is that you can come to one place and read everything you want to read in a nice organized list without jumping from site to site, searching through bookmarks, fighting popups, or dealing with other annoyances.
Gathering RSS Feeds
So the basic idea here is that you want to set up an account, if you don’t already have one, and then subscribe to as many feeds that fit with your niche as you can find.
For example, I’m a freelance writer and blogger. My target audience is people who could use my writing services and/or want help with marketing and blogging. The feeds I gather have to do mainly with marketing, but I also have quite a few that are dedicated to blogging, SEO and WordPress.
I’m mostly interested in marketing topics, but I want some articles that deal with peripheral information such as setting up blogs and SEO. Most of my target audience wants marketing material, but many of them also run blogs or manage email lists and will be interested in some technical articles as well.
Don’t be shy here when adding feeds. You want to get as many articles in front of you each day as you can. To give you an idea, I look through anywhere from 350 to 500 articles every day on Feedly. My main collection of marketing feeds pulls from about 300 different sites. Out of all of those articles, I pick out between 10 and 20 that I’ll schedule to post to Twitter throughout the day. Some days it’s hard just to find 10 that I think are worth it.
Finding Collections Of Related Feeds
You can get started by searching Google for “feedly <niche> collection”. In my case, I would look for “feedly marketing collection”. This search will bring up pages with collections that other Feedly users have shared.
This is a good way to get things going, but you’re probably going to be adding in feeds that a ton of other users are already reading. In other words, you’re not going to find anything really unique. That doesn’t mean it’s not useful, but if you want to stand out you’re going to have to dig deeper to find things that everyone and their mother hasn’t already seen. You always want the information you share to be useful, but if it’s unique as well, people will have more reason to follow you.
Tweaking Feedly Settings
My recommended settings for Feedly:
Start page – Today or All, whichever you prefer.
Default view – Magazine. Pics count for something when sharing. Check the pics.
Hide read posts – Yes.
Giant mark as read – Yes.
Auto-mark as read on scroll – Yes.
Anything not mentioned above, I leave at the default setting. This setup will allow you to scroll through all of your articles quickly, giving you a thumbnail of the picture that will most likely be used if you post to Twitter. As you scroll down the list, articles will automatically be marked as read, so you don’t need to update anything as you go. Each time you come back you’ll only see new articles.
Keep Adding Feeds
Once you’ve got your initial collection set up, you should make it a habit to come back to Feedly and add in feeds for any interesting blog you happen to come across. I can’t stress how important it is to have a vast array of content to pick from here. Any time you find yourself reading an interesting article somewhere, jump on feedly, search for the domain and add the feed. The best content you can share is content you consume yourself.
Working With Sniply
Sniply serves two purposes. It works as a URL shortener, which is important for Twitter, but also allows you to overlay a call to action of your own on the destination web page. To see what I mean, check this link and you will see my CTA at the bottom left of your browser window.
There really isn’t much to setting up Sniply. It’s all pretty straight forward. Just go to the website and you can sign up directly with your Twitter account.
Their dashboard will give you a place to manually create shortened URLs and show you stats on the “snips” you’ve created already. What you really want here, though, is the browser extension. Download and install the Sniply browser extension.
The easiest way to get started it to create one snip on the web site. It’s a little bit easier to see what you’re doing and customize everything. Come up with a good line for the call to action that makes sense for you and your business, and enter the address viewers will go to if they click on it. Whenever you set up a new link with the browser extension, it will default to using this information.
The Sniply Browser Extension
Using the browser extension is also pretty straightforward, and can even be automated. You’ve got two basic options on how to put it to use:
Manual snip – If you come across a site that you want to link to, you can click on the sniply extension button at the top of your browser and the interface will slide out from the left. From there you can use your default CTA and link, or modify it. Click the “snip it” button and you’ll get your snip.ly link with the option to copy it to the clipboard.
Auto snip – When you enter a URL into a text field on a website, the extension will usually detect it and pop up on the top right of your browser asking if you want to auto snip the link. It doesn’t work on every site but does work on most. Just click on “snip it” and your link will be replaced with a snip.ly link. From the auto snip popup you can also set the extension to do this completely on its own, but I find it extremely annoying to have to turn it off any time I want to enter a real URL somewhere on a web form. I’d much rather just click the button when I want to use it.
Working With Start A Fire
Start A Fire is very similar to Sniply but has some key differences that I think make it stand apart. Instead of a call to action being displayed, Start A Fire uses what they call badges, which are actually links back to your site or whatever content you want to include. To get an idea, click on this link and you’ll see my badges on the bottom right of the page. Each badge is a link to one of my blog posts.
Again, you can sign up for Start A Fire by just going to the website and signing in with your Twitter account. Their dashboard page is very simple but gives you all the information you’ll need about links you create.
One of the major advantages of Start A Fire is that it integrates with Buffer, which we’ll get into in the next section. For now, you just want to set up your basic information, which is really just giving the tool a URL (or a few) to use for your badges. Go to the “recommended content” section and add whatever you like there.
Setting Up Buffer
Buffer is a social media scheduler. It allows you to line up posts and then have them posted to various social networks on a set schedule. I use it mostly for Twitter, but also have it post to a Facebook page a couple of times a day.
Again, you can just go to the website and sign up using your Twitter account. Once you’re in, the setup is really simple. If you want it to keep stats on your posts (which you should) set it to use one of their link shorteners. I use the buff.ly domain. Of course, you also want to link and authorize any social accounts you want it to post through.
Once you’ve added your social media account(s) go to the schedule tab along the top of the page and tell it how many times you want to post to each account. Select your social accounts on the left to see each individual schedule.
Also on the schedule tab, you can run the “optimal timing tool” for each account. This will try to optimize your posting schedule so that your posts get in front of as many people as possible. You should do this for every social account you’re using, and do it again any time you change the number of posts per day. I would also recommend running it at least on a weekly basis to make sure you keep up as your audience grows and changes.
The free version of Buffer seems to work just fine for me. I have it post 5 times a day to Twitter and twice to Facebook. There’s a maximum of 10 posts in the queue for each account at one time, so I can schedule Twitter out for 2 days and Facebook for 5. I’m sure as time goes on I’ll eventually upgrade to get higher limits.
The Buffer Browser Extension
So once you’ve got your social accounts set up and selected some sort of posting schedule, you’ll need to download and install the Buffer browser extension. Feedly and this extension are going to become your new best friends.
Once you’ve installed the extension, you should have an icon on the top of your browser to activate it. All you have to do is click on that button whenever you’re on a web page you want to share and Buffer will pop up and allow you to select social accounts you’d like to post it to, as well as allowing you to edit the text of the post.
On the top left of the browser popup, you’ll see icons for each of your social accounts. By default it will try to post to them all, but you can click on the icons to toggle them on and off for this individual post. Your links should be shortened automatically. Once you’ve added your hashtags and got your text all set, just click the “Add to queue” button at the bottom and you’re good to go.
Connecting Start A Fire With Buffer
Once you’ve got Buffer set up, you’re going to connect Start A Fire to it. This will automatically change all of your buffer links to include your Start A Fire badges.
Just go back to your dashboard on the Start A Fire site and click on your avatar on the top right of the screen. Select “Integrations” from the pull-down menu. From there just click on Buffer and you’ll be taken to a page to authorize the integration. All done.
Now Start A Fire will check your buffer account several times every hour and automatically change any links to include your badges. You don’t have to do anything else. Whenever you add something to buffer it will get posted out to your social accounts with the Start A Fire short links.
Getting Started With Klout
Klout is basically another social media scheduler but also includes a content discovery feed as well as statistics that compare and rank users against each other. Like just about everything else, you can sign up with your Twitter account.
Once you’ve signed in, the system will walk you through setting up your account. There really isn’t much to it. You’ll add your social account(s) and pick some topics that fit your niche for their discovery feed.
The free version of Klout will only allow you to post three times per day to one account. At least as far as I can tell. I’ve got Twitter and Google+ connected and authorized, but it never gives me the option to post to G+.
Overall, I don’t really like Klout. I have constant problems with the interface either loading incorrectly or not loading at all. And it seems to sometimes just randomly change my shortened links. I don’t think it’s something I would consider paying for unless someone shows me something really amazing that I somehow haven’t found yet. Even then, I’m still not sure.
The main reason I use the system is sort of as a backup/addition to Buffer. First, I can get 3 extra posts to twitter during the day. Also, since it takes so long for the queue to empty out posting just 3 times a day, if something comes up and my queue on Buffer runs out, I know Klout will continue to post for a few days, keeping my account looking active on Twitter.
Unfortunately, Start A Fire doesn’t integrate with Klout, which is why I use Sniply here. I could use the Start A Fire browser extension to achieve the same results but I like the idea of using Sniply so that my posts on Twitter aren’t always showing the same CTAs. Some links will have the Start A Fire badges and others will have the Sniply CTA.
To get started just click on the “Explore” link and you’ll be taken to a feed of articles that (hopefully) fit in with the niche you’re targeting. When you see an article that you think is worth sharing with your audience, click the share button to the right.
The Klout Share Interface
On the sharing screen you’ll start off on the preview pane with three other tabs available on the bottom. On the top is where you’ll type the text that will be sent to your social account along with the link.
First, click the “shortener” tab along the bottom. On that pane, set it to “Don’t shorten links”. You should only have to do this once and the setting will stay that way. Then go back to the preview pane.
Now you can edit the text if you wish, and you should. Write your own catchy summary or tagline and put in appropriate hashtags. When you’re ready, place your cursor at the end of the long link provided there and tap the spacebar. This should trigger the Sniply extension. When the extension pops up, just click on snip and your post should be ready to go.
From there, click on the “Schedule” tab to add your post to your queue. I’d suggest letting Klout determine the best times to post and following the schedule it suggests unless you’ve got a good reason not to.
You can also schedule content you find on the web manually and follow the same steps, but I find I’d rather use Buffer for that. I’ll just run through Klout’s feed for a few minutes every day or two and schedule a bunch of sniply links to go out for the next several days.
Managing Twitter Followers With Crowdfire
Crowdfire is a web application for managing and analyzing Twitter followers. This is going to be absolutely essential for growing your following. It’s also the only part of the process that is going to cost you any money. You’ll only need their most basic plan, which is just $10 per month. If you get just 1 lead a month out of Twitter, it more than pays for itself.
Once again, you can sign up for Crowdfire using your Twitter account. Once you’ve signed up, I’d recommend you go right ahead and upgrade to their basic plan, which they call “Pluto”.
Understanding The Crowdfire Dashboard
The Crowdfire dashboard isn’t very complicated. You can see everything it displays in the screenshot below.
On the left sidebar, you’ll see your account name followed by your follow and unfollow stats for the last 24 hours. These are counts of people that YOU have followed (F:) and unfollowed (U:) during the last day. You’ll understand their importance soon.
From there, you’ve got list of options for manipulating Twitter follower data:
Non Followers – Displays a list of everyone that you follow who is not following you back.
Fans – Displays a list of everyone following you that you do not follow back.
Recent Unfollowers – People who recently unfollowed you.
Recent Followers – People who recently started following you.
Inactive Following – Displays people you are following who are inactive.
All Following – Shows you everyone you are currently following.
Copy Followers – Allows you to put in a Twitter username and see/follow their followers.
Keyword Follow – Allows you to search for groups of users based on hashtags.
Whitelist – Let’s you mark someone so that Crowdfire will not suggest you unfollow them.
Blacklist – Let’s you mark someone so that Crowfire will not suggest you follow them.
Friend Check – Allows you to see if two users are connected through Twitter.
Automate – Allows you to set up automated messages to send to new followers.
Setting Up Automatic Direct Messages
To get started here, the only thing you really need to do is set up an automatic DM (direct message) to send to new followers. Just click on the “automate” option and you should be able to figure out the rest. I would highly recommend that you try to create a message that sounds personal and legitimate. If you sound spammy, you’re most likely going to get your Twitter account suspended or banned when we get into actually gaining followers.
The message I use is written so that it is somewhat hard to tell if it’s something I just typed in myself or if it’s an automatic message. I say thanks for following me, express that I’m always available for chat or networking and include a link to my blog as a means of contacting me outside of Twitter. I’m trying to make genuine contact, not spam my shit.
A word of warning: Don’t hammer people with a link to every social account you have or ask them to check out your product/scheme of the moment. They will see you as a spammer and that’ll be the end of that. Worse, if you go overboard trying to grow your following and Twitter looks at your account, they’re much more likely to suspend or ban you if you’ve got a history of sending out hundreds of spammy URL-filled auto messages.
Creating A Whitelist
If you’re getting started on this with an existing Twitter account, you should take care to add accounts that you are sure you want to follow into the Crowdfire whitelist. This will keep them from showing up on screens where you might accidentally unfollow them.
For example, if you’re a big fan of Buffer, you’ll want to add @buffer to your whitelist so they don’t show up on your Non Followers list or anywhere else where you might unfollow them.
Hashtagify is a hashtag analysis tool. There is a pro (paid) version available that will get you some incredibly in-depth statistics and analysis on hashtags, but for me, for now, the free version is just fine.
I mainly use it just to check for new and related hashtags that I might not have thought of. For example, I can go and punch in #marketing and Hashtagify will show me what other hashtags are often used with it. It also gives some comparisons of popularity and how closely related they are.
It’s a nice simple tool that can help you to get things in front of a larger or more targeted audience. It’s definitely worth checking on this site every so often to see if you can find new hashtags to use to get your content in front of new people.
Preparing To Take Over The World
We’re almost there. You’ve got all of your tools set up and it’s just about time to get started with what I hope will become a short daily routine that will help grow your audience by leaps and bounds. Before we get started though, you’ll need to do some final preparation to give yourself a good starting point. We’ve got just 2 steps here that should only take you a few minutes to do, but it will be about 48 hours before everything gets rolling.
Seed Some Tweets
The first thing you need to do is make sure there is some content on your Twitter feed. If you’re using a new account, you’ll need to post a few things so that your account isn’t empty. Nobody is going to bother to follow you if there’s absolutely nothing there.
If you’re going to start doing this on an existing account, just make sure the last few tweets you put out are relevant to your target audience. If they’re not, then make a few new posts so you’ve got some good content at the top.
The easiest way to do this is just to go to Feedly, pick out a few good articles you like, and share them through the Buffer browser extension, setting it to share now instead of adding to the queue.
Make sure that you click through from Feedly to the site where the article appears before you hit the Buffer button. You want to share the original post, not the Feedly link.
Create The Initial Following
Once you’ve got a few initial tweets out there for your first followers to see, you’ll just need to head to Crowdfire to create your initial following to give us a starting point for our daily routine, which will we’ll get to in a moment.
I would recommend you go to Keyword Follow and put in a hashtag that’s relevant to your target audience. You can also go to Copy Followers and put in a username with a big following if you know of someone in your niche. I, for example, would put in something like #digitalmarketing on the Keyword Follow screen to get a list of people interested in that topic.
Once you’ve got your list up, you’re simply going to go down the list and follow about the first 500 people. You want to do this somewhat carefully and slowly, however. If you start clicking like a madman, Twitter is going to de-authorize the Crowdfire app thinking something has gone wrong. I’d recommend clicking at the rate of about once per second. If you go any faster you’ll get cut off and have to re-authorize Crowdfire, which Twitter sometimes will not allow until after a cooldown period has passed. Just go slow and steady. It will only take a few minutes.
You should see the F: statistic on the left side of the screen going up as you follow more people. If you run out of people on your list to follow, you can try refreshing your browser, which will sometimes bring up more. If that doesn’t give you any more, then pick another keyword or another user to copy and continue from there until you hit 500 or more.
After you’re following the initial 500, wait about 24 hours and then repeat this step and follow 500 more for a starting total of 1000.
Congratulations! You’re Ready To Take Over Twitter!
Once you’re following at least 1000 new people, you’re (finally) done with all the preliminary setup and preparations. Now all you’ll need to do is follow the daily routine and you should easily be able to pull in about 100 new followers every day.
Before we get into this, let me just reiterate that I take no responsibility for your actions. This material is intended to show legitimate marketing professionals how to grow their Twitter network and business connections. If you use this technique to try to spam or abuse people in any other way, your account may get suspended or banned (and I hope it does if that’s what you’re doing).
The Daily Routine
Here I’m going to describe to you exactly what I do each day to maintain and grow my Twitter following. Your results may vary for better or worse. All in all it should take you somewhere around an hour a day to do get through everything.
You don’t necessarily have to do everything in the same order, or every single day, but I would recommend that you do in order to achieve the best results.
Gathering And Scheduling Content
As I said earlier, the most time consuming part of the routine is going to be hunting down fresh content to share with your audience. Depending on the number of feeds you have to go through and how much of a perfectionist you are, this can take you anywhere from 15 minutes to 2 hours each day.
Feedly And Buffer
Head over to Feedly and start scanning through the new articles. The goal is to find things that are going to be useful to your target audience, and most likely unseen by them. Remember, the more unique your content is, the better the chance that people will engage with it.
What I normally do is select the “All” view on feedly and slowly scroll down the list until I see something interesting. First and foremost, I’m looking for content that I would find useful myself. As I go, I’m scanning titles for words that can easily become hashtags, and titles that I may be able to change around to make more interesting.
When I find something that I think will work, I hit the Buffer browser extension and schedule it. As I enter it into Buffer I’ll change keywords in the titles to hashtags, change number words to actual numerals and add my own twist on the wording if I can do so without losing the idea of the article. Anything you can do to make it more appealing to your audience will help.
To gain a little more visibility, you can also tag the author of the article in the tweet. For example, if you were taking something off the Buffer blog, it’s not a bad idea to include something like “Great info from @buffer” in the tweet. This will let the original authors know you are sharing their content and help you to develop some good connections that may pay off later.
Once you’ve found all the articles you want to share or filled your buffer queue, whichever comes first, you can move on to Klout if you like, or skip it and move on to the next section. Remember, Start A Fire will automatically change your buffer links, so there’s nothing else you need to do here.
Klout is pretty straight forward. If I want to schedule a few more things to go out, I’ll log into Klout and browse through their feed. I’ll pick out anything interesting, hit share, go through the same basic routine with the title and hashtags and use the Sniply extension to create a new link with my CTA on it. That’s really all there is to it.
Growing Your Twitter Following
Now that you’ve got all your content scheduled, it’s time to head over to Crowdfire and work on actually growing your followers.
If this is the first time you are doing this and it has not been at least 24 hours since you did the “Create The Initial Following” step above, following 1000 people, skip it for now and wait until tomorrow.
The Follow/Unfollow Cycle
Everything we’re about to do is based on the fact that when you follow people on Twitter, they have a tendency to follow you back. Of course, not everyone will do so, but many will, and this is going to help you increase your Twitter following quickly.
Letting Go Of Non-Followers
Log into Crowdfire and first go to your Non Followers screen. You should see a number next to the words “Non Followers” on the left. If you don’t, click on the refresh icon on the top right of the screen. This is the number of non-followers you currently have. If you followed at least 1000 people in the setup step earlier, you should have a number there somewhere between 500 and 700 or so.
Now, on the right side of the screen, you have the list of people who are not following you. Make sure it is set to sort by oldest first. You are going to stop following 350 of them. As I said earlier, don’t click too quickly or Twitter will think something has gone wrong and cut you off. Somewhere around one click per second seems to work well, calm and steady.
Watch the unfollow (U:) count on the top left of your screen. Stop unfollowing people when that gets to 350, or 350 more than it was when you started.
What you’ve done now is unfollow the oldest of the people you originally followed who didn’t follow you back, leaving some unfollowers there as a sort of buffer.
Going For More Followers
Once you’ve unfollowed 350 people, you’re now going to follow 350 new people. To do this, go to either Keyword Follow and put in a relevant keyword, or Copy Followers and put in a username of someone with a good sized following in your niche.
Just as you did above, start clicking on the people on the list and watch your follow (F:) count on the top left. When the count gets to 350, or 350 more than it was when you started, you’re all set.
If you do all of the above at about 1 click per second, it should take more or less 700 seconds, or about 12 minutes. Not too bad really.
What Did We Just Do?
You are going to repeat the follow/unfollow cycle each day, if possible, at around the same time. Here’s why:
The following numbers won’t be exact because the number of people that do or do not follow you back will always change, but here’s the basic idea.
- You started by following 1000 people to seed the account.
- You then wait 24 hours to give some of those 1000 people a chance to follow back.
- After 24 hours have passed, you unfollow the oldest 350 of that original 1000.
- You then follow 350 new people.
- Repeat the cycle starting from step 2.
Each day you will be unfollowing 350 people who didn’t follow you back, leaving some people there, and then following 350 new people. This creates a cycle where each day you will be eliminating non-followers that you added 48 hours earlier and then following new people to gain some more followers again. In the end, this gives everyone you follow about 48 hours to follow you back.
On Monday you will be removing non-followers that you added on Saturday, then adding more. On Tuesday, you’ll be removing non-followers that you added on Sunday, then adding more. On Wednesday, you’ll be removing non-followers from Monday, then adding more. Etc, Etc…The cycle goes on.
Putting Everything Together
So now you’ve got the daily routine. As I said, most of the time will be in looking for the content to share, and then an extra few minutes to do the follow/unfollow cycle.
- Locate and schedule content to share.
- Unfollow your 350 oldest non-followers.
- Follow 350 new people related to your niche/audience.
The number of followers you gain and lose each day will vary, but I generally get a net gain of around 100 followers per day. Keep in mind that if you share good content and use hashtags effectively, you’ll gain followers from people who see your tweets as well.
So there you have it. What do you think? Do you have questions about anything? Got similar tools that you think might do a better job? Leave your comments below!