Twitter for Business Step-By-Step Guide: How to Grow your Following on Twitter

social media 2The number one rule of growing your following on Twitter – one that nobody seems to talk about – is this:  If you want quality followers, follow quality people.  And don’t just follow…Interact.

What hooks people is conversations – interesting comments and fascinating, wise, witty or provocative responses.  No matter how excellent your content, if your feed is nothing but a one-way tweet, with you posting and never bothering to respond to people who reply to your posts or retweet them, you will make the very people who are trying to engage with you feel invisible (and slightly silly, if they’re very sensitive).

Nothing turns people off more than being ignored (it can be embarrassing and annoying).

Granted, we’re all so used to Twitter feeds now that we’re not exactly crushed if someone misses one of our responses.  In fact, if we’re honest, most of us will admit to forgetting our own tweets to the point where we have to view the “conversation” to remember what our follower is replying to.  But here’s a tried-and-true rule of thumb:

  • The newer followers are to the web or to a niche, the more likely they are to be put off by being ignored

Another one for you:

  • If you have tweeted about an emotionally-charged issue (emotionally-charged for your follower, that is) and ignore their response, the more likely you will alienate them

And even the most confident person on the planet isn’t going to waste their valuable time if they respond to your tweets and all they get back is…empty air.


Actively initiating, joining and maintaining conversations is the best way to get started in growing a valuable, active following.


Step 1.  Decide on Your Objectives

But don’t just fire off shots at random:  First make some conscious decisions.

  • What do you want your Twitter feed and profile to do for you?  For your followers?
  • How can Twitter improve your branding?
  • What is your “identity”?  Your unique persona and “voice”?


  • What do you want your followers to do?  (E.g. visit your website, buy a product, listen to your talk radio show, etc.)
  • What can you do for your followers?  How can you help them?
  • What do you love about your business?  Your followers?  Your niche?
  • What do your followers love about your niche?  Your business?  You?
  • What do your followers care about?  Have problems with?
  • What makes them sign up?
  • What makes them share and retweet?
  • What makes them buy?

Taking time to answer these questions carefully and thoughtfully will automatically help focus your own Twitter posts, retweets and responses.


Step 2. Top Ten ElevenTwitter Mistakes

Before we look at ways to grow your following, it’s important to know what mistakes to avoid.  The reason?

Most people make them.  It’s as simple as that, so let’s start with the biggie that we’ve just discussed…

  1. Not acknowledging mentions, replies, tweets addressed directly to you or retweets. (It’s called “self-absorbed tweeting” when you consistently never respond.)
  2. Posting too many tweets in one day (or even in one hour) so that you jam up your followers’ feeds.
  3. Making inconsistentappearances – People soon give up on tweeters who are there one day and absent for several weeks.
  4. Going dormant.  When you disappear off the Twitter grid, people simply forget you.
  5. Not realizing that a portion of your audience most likely prefers Twitter to the point of not using other social networks (especially if they are mobile addicts)


  1. Retweeting the first vaguely acceptable tweet or link you come across, usually just for the sake of posting something
  2. Auto-posting 100% of the time via a social media manager or app
  3. Not remaining on Twitter for at least ten minutes after you post something, retweet or reply to something
  4. Not varying your tweet types or media.  For example, always posting links to blog posts.  Never posting photographs or infographics
  5. Not leaving room in your tweets for retweets and comments
  6. Not making your posts interactive enough.  (That includes using calls-to-action.)

In order to capture a follower’s attention and make them want to respond (or at least check out your profile), it has to trigger that follower to respond.

In the next step, we’ll talk about effective ways to motivate them in engaging.


Step 3. Top Ten Twitter Tactics for Making Friends

As a famous starship captain once said: “Engage!”  That’s a word that’s become somewhat overused in the last couple of years, but it doesn’t make the principle any less true.

We’ve spoken about the importance of taking part in the conversation and being present on a consistent basis in the Twitter stream:  Now let’s look at some specific techniques to increase follows.

  1. Vary your tweet media, types and content.  Your Twitter feed will feel more natural if you mix photos with the odd blog post link with the odd question or offer.
  2. Decide in advance what response you want from viewers.  Then actively invite it.
  3. Ask irresistible questions.
  4. Always answer questions.  This is one of the most effective steps you can take – and it really will set you apart from the Twitter horde.
  5. Share information your followers will find priceless generously.

And do it for free.

  1. Make it social and friendly.


  1. Never swear or use coarse language.  That includes giving yourself permission to have a day “off” from always being polite – after all, the person saying “#$(%*” is you, right?
  2. Use events to generate extra interest in your Twitter profile even while you are using Twitter to generate extra interest in your event.  (But remember to seamlessly keep up the connection after the event is over!)
  3. Use tools like Social Oomph to track keywords, create an extended Twitter profile, create a personal Tweet stream in either RSS, XML or JavaScript format, and more


  1. Be positive.  Negativity leads to self-absorption (or vice-versa).  Either way, negativity kills engagement and triggers Unfollows.


Step 4.  Spread the Word

11-megaphoneHere’s another point that’s frequently missed: Who do you want to spread the word to?  Potential customers or clients, right?

If that’s your objective, make sure you follow:

  • Potential customers and clients
  • Positive, enthusiastic competitors (they will share your tweets, if you share theirs)
  • Focused, relevant peers
  • Industry or niche experts
  • Fun, fascinating people
  • Accredited authority sources

The old maxim is true:  Like attracts like.

Once you have everyone in the same room, actively encourage them to spread the word about you to their friends, clients, customers and peers.

Do this by:

  • Being irresistibly re-tweetable. 

If it’s a tip you’re sharing, make sure it’s one they won’t be able to resist passing on (and gaining glory for sharing)

  • Make your followers look like heroes.

Recognize and applaud their accomplishments.  Give them credit, when credit is due.  Thank them for tips or services. Recommend them (and say why) on #FF (“Follow Friday” – a Twitter tradition of giving shout-outs about your favorite Twitter people, to help each other grow traffic).


  • Write for the press.

News media people are more active on Twitter than you might think.  (Just look at some of your own radio or TV news channels and take note of how often they lift news from Twitter accounts).

So at least once in every six tweets, sit down and ask yourself the same question you ask whenever you write a press release:  “Is it newsworthy?”

No, you may not get your profile promoted on the national news:  But you could get your tweet shared on an authority blog or online magazine.

  • Integrate and share your content.

Another way to attract followers and spread the word:  Ensure they see your Twitter tweets (and know you’re available to follow) by integrating your twitter badges, icons, buttons and widgets on other site profiles and especially on your blog or website itself.

  • Use graphic media to increase shares

Twitter has noted the advantage Pinterest and Facebook provided with their graphics-sharing capabilities, and has gone out of its way to ensure that Twitter users can now easily share graphics and even video too.


Graphics catch attention and create more engagement, so make sure you include a healthy dose of graphic media in your Twitter feed.

  • Find more followers using apps and online tools

Using tools like Twtrland and ManageFlitter can streamline and fast-track finding targeted peopled to follow – and potential followers.


Don’t rush finding more followers.  And above all, don’t blindly follow or encourage spammers.  Twitter is not about the numbers, and the only people who really care about how many followers you actually have are statisticians and spammers.

Go for quality, post quality tweets, share and use tools wisely – and your following will grow at a healthy pace.

How to Use Feedburner for Blogs

RSS feed

Feedburner has a ton of built-in tools designed to help blog owners share their feed better. Whether you want to ping other services when you post or allow other blog owners to share your feed, Feedburner makes it easy.

In this guide, we’ll walk through all of FeedBurner’s tools that allow you to publicize and share your feed more effectively. To start, you’ll need to already have created a feed in Feedburner.

Accessing the Publicize Tools

To access the publicize tools, just click “Publicize” along the top navigation.


To navigate to the specific tool you want to use, just click one of the services under the Services navigation bar on the right.


The Headline Animator

The headline animator will create an RSS feed box that’ll automatically put the newest headlines in. You can place this box on a website for example and every time someone visits, they’ll see the headline of your newest post.


Just set your options for how you want the box to look. A preview of how your box will look will appear towards the bottom. Click Activate to generate the code for the headline box.


Want to share more than just the headline of your post? BuzzBoost makes it easy. Just fill out your options, then click Activate. The JavaScript code can then be pasted onto any website to create a RSS feed box with anywhere between 1 to 15 posts.


Email Subscriptions

A lot of people would rather get their blog posts in their inbox, rather than having to visit your blog all the time or learn to use an RSS reader.

That’s easy, with email subscriptions. Just activate it, then once people are signed up they’ll automatically get your blog posts by email.


Ping Shot

Instead of having other services refresh your feed, constantly taking up your bandwidth, you can just tell Feedburner to send those services a “ping” of data whenever you update your blog.

All you need to do is click Activate.


Feed Count

If you want to show off how many subscribers you have on your RSS feed, all you need to do is publish your Feed Count.

Select your button and text color and select whether you want a static or animated button. Then click Activate to generate the code.



Want to automatically post to your Facebook, Twitter or other social media accounts? Feedburner allows you to easily link other accounts to your feed.

Anytime you post on your blog, the post will also automatically be posted to the account(s) you specify.


To add more accounts to post to, just click “Manage Connections.” Under formatting options, select how you want your posts to look, then click Activate to link the accounts.

Additional Tools

The tools we’ve just covered are the most important tools for publicizing your feed. In addition, there are also a few more tools and options you can change in the publicize options.

  • Chicklet Chooser: Select a slightly different button to take people to your RSS feed.
  • Creative Commons: Choose the type of copyright your feed is protected under.
  • Password Protector: Require a password for people to read your feed. Note that this will deactivate the email subscription option.
  • NoIndex: Deny search engines access from your feed.


These are all the tools available to you in FeedBurner’s publicize tools. As you can tell, it’s easy to  publish and use your RSS feed in many different ways, whether it’s on your website, your Facebook page or even a friend’s software.