social media how toAre you struggling to grow your Twitter following?

Do you want more people to see your updates?

If you’re a small business, it can take a while to build up your Twitter followers and that can be frustrating. You may wonder how other companies grow quickly and how you can replicate their success.

In this article you’ll discover five ways to jumpstart visibility for your Twitter profile and tweets.

#1: Follow Twitter Basics

Before you do anything else, be sure you understand a few Twitter fundamentals. You can increase your tweet exposure with just a few tweaks:

  • Don’t start tweets with @username. Starting a tweet with @username restricts its visibility to only you, the person you’re tweeting and any mutual followers. Your reach is automatically cut short!
    tweet with twitter username first

    Starting a tweet with @username limits your reach.

    tweet example

    Here’s an example of a tweet crafted to put text before the first @username to give this tweet a wider reach.

  • Don’t use more than three hashtags in any one tweet. Too many hashtags in a tweet makes it look spammy and reduces your tweet’s shareability.
  • Don’t over-tweet about yourself or your products. The 80/20 rule applies on all social platforms. The 80/20 rule means you spend 80% of the time interacting with and promoting others and 20% of the time promoting yourself and your products.
  • Provide as much value as you can. Listen to your followers and the people you follow. What are their pain points? How can you solve those? When you share relevant, interesting tweets (without over-promoting), people see you as an expert and may recommend you to others as an important resource.

#2: Promote Your Twitter Profile Everywhere

Use your other social profiles to tell people about your Twitter handle. Add your Twitter username to the About or Contact sections of Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn and any other social profiles you use.

On your website or blog, be sure you have social sharing buttons to make it easy for readers to tell others about your content.

autopopulated tweet with username

Configure your social sharing button to auto-populate your Twitter username when someone shares an article.

Plugins make it simple to install and customize sharing options and expand your reach by adding via @yourusername every time someone tweets content from your site. This simple customization gets your Twitter handle in front of hundreds of users you may not have reached otherwise.

#3: Cross-Promote Your Giveaways

Giveaways always drive more traffic, visibility and engagement. Take advantage of that by creating a Q&A giveaway that requires entrants to give their answers by tagging you on Twitter and using a specific hashtag.

cross promoted twitter campaign on Facebook

Extend visibility of your Twitter profile by cross-promoting campaigns using hashtags.

The hashtag is easy to track and ensures you don’t miss part of the conversation. Requiring users to tag your @username ensures a wider audience sees your handle. Be sure to engage with any users who respond or use the hashtag—it’s just good etiquette and you’ll reach even more people.

When you’re ready to promote your giveaway, post the question to all of your social accounts. Start with the platform that has the most engagement, then share across your other social profiles. Don’t forget to share on Twitter!

#4: Interact With Niche Influencers

Whether you’re offline or online, networking is a tried-and-true method for extending your reach. If you haven’t started networking on Twitter, now’s the time.

If you’re truly listening on Twitter, you’ll be able to tell who the influencers are in your niche—those are the people with whom you want to establish a relationship. Remember, the influencers don’t have to be national in scope, they can be important locals as well (e.g., the newspaper editor or local newscasters).

Start a Twitter conversation with a few of the influencers in your niche and add as much value to the conversation as you can. The more interesting you are, the more likely it is that an influencer will respond to or spread your message.

The Fort Collins, CO band @FierceBad has a modest 683 followers, but has established a relationship with the amazingly popular @newbelgium (New Belgium Brewing, also in Fort Collins). When Fierce Bad released a new video, New Belgium Brewing tweeted it out to their 187,500 fans—quite a bit bigger audience.

influencer tweet

Influencers can attract huge attention for you on Twitter.

#5: Find Allies in an Online Community

If you think you’re alone in trying to build Twitter exposure, think again! There are lots of communities for people just like you who want to network.

These communities are generally built around niches, so it’s easy to find one where members share your interests. Shared interests mean it’s easier to find good content to send out to your followers (remember the 80/20 rule!). Since sharing is usually (but not always) reciprocal, you’re benefitting too.

Most online communities are free to join and welcome new members with open arms. Here are 10 communities you can join to increase your exposure on Twitter:

bizsugar post

BizSugar posts have a Tweet button and the tweets from this community can add up.

You’ll find that many serious marketers have a strong presence in multiple online communities like these because they realize the overall value. Joining the same communities allows you to connect with those influencers (and expand your Twitter reach) on a larger scale.


Whether you’re starting a brand-new Twitter profile or you have an established profile that’s struggling to develop a larger following, you can increase Twitter exposure.

Make sure you’ve got the basics down, then move on to connecting with influencers, sharing interesting updates and joining relevant communities.

What do you think? What’s been your biggest challenge with getting exposure on Twitter? Do you have advice for others? Let us know in the comments.

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  • Solid advice for building your twitter following. Really appreciate the 10 community links!

  • This post is brilliant and provides some great insights on the basics of growing your reach on Twitter. Further to the points provided above I would recommend that you consider using FollowerWonk as it allows you to target influencers within your industry and much more. Moreover, I highly recommend that you take part in chats (e.g. #BlogTalk) as they do not only provide you with great insights but give you a platform to share them on to relevant individuals.

  • Thanks Justin. Communities are great for building networks and expanding Twitter reach, but also for forging relationships and content curation. I’m sure you’ll find a lot of value from them 🙂

  • Jay

    Thanks for the advice. The article was very helpful to me and I’m sure others will find it helpful also. I’m going to tweet it.

  • 3rd party sites like FollowerWonk can be a valuable resource for improving your Twitter marketing. The common tendency I’ve found is people becoming over-dependent on them. Have you used any others Ashton?

  • Cheers Jay – I’m glad you found it helpful. Which area of advice do you think you will find of most value?

  • Barry Heasley @bwheasley

    This article is just a typical example of the really great information put out by Social Media Examiner. Anyone who wants to learn & understand social media should sign-up for this newsletter!

  • Interesting reading. I’ve been doing many of these for clients and indeed they work really well. However when applying the same principles to my own account, it doesn’t… I wonder if the type of audience (B2C vs B2B) and industry (in my case, Digital Marketing) has a strong influence…

  • Antonio, I found similar results as yours with my clients. I think business to customer audience is much more responsive. It’s seems B2B are all doing the same thing, trying to get the word out about product and service and not really in-taking or processing information. Very good point you made!

  • I don’t know about Jay, but I found #5 was really helpful. Really good resources listed there. I had stumbled upon them awhile ago, but got caught up in work and didn’t revisit and explore further. But I really see the value in them and I want to thank you for reminding me of them!

  • OK, this is a silly comment to add, but…seeing I’m not the only one with this issue makes me feel a bit better 🙂 Let’s keep up the good work then!

  • Great tips! The first one “Starting a tweet with @username limits your reach.” is just the hidden gem many non-technical marketers/business owners need to know!
    Thanks for your time and valuable tips.

  • Guys, I’d like to bring your attention to the following articles from SocialMediaExaminer:

    When such a basic topic like this has been covered SO MANY times by Social Media Examiner, why must there be more of the same? Just to provide a “reminder”? Or just because there are always novices in the business? Well, those 6 articles are reminders enough, and novices can always do a Google search and access any of those six (and I’m sure there might be more) articles.

    As a regular follower of Social Media Examiner, I am thoroughly disappointed. Week after week it feels like content is just being re-hashed and re-packaged. Very rarely (in fact, I can recall just one in the last 2-3 weeks) do I see a nice article here that’s fresh, new and worth sharing. Come on guys.

  • As a social media marketer I’ll admit to being reliant on a variety of platforms (e.g. FollowerWonk). However, becoming too dependent on them can be negative in the long run. How about you?

  • Pleasure 🙂

  • Your performance will vary due to a wide number of reasons. Try tweaking one area at a time and identify what affect the change has had on performance, then you can narrow your focus. Its more about audience audience, audience as opposed to location, location, location. Keep me posted with how you get on Antonio.

  • It’s surprising how many people didn’t know about that Moin. I guess when its automatic that @ starts at the beginning after hitting the reply button, its also automatic to assume it just a normal tweet.

  • Topsy is a go-to tool I use. I also like circlecount and allmyplus for G+. Too many to name but none have really stood the test of time yet other than socialmention.

  • How about that period before the @ .@stuart_davidson:disqus I know there’s some form of relevance to it’s use that I don’t see many people using.

  • Vivek G Maudgalya

    Good one. very informative. !!

  • Happy to hear it was of value to you Vivek 🙂

  • I think I understand what you mean @aimeecandelaphoto:disqus but could you elaborate a little. If you don’t put something before the @ in Twitter then it’s visibility is limited.

  • Thank you for Sharing Your Knowledge. These Article Is Very Help To us in future

  • .@stuart_davidson:disqus what I was trying to get across is getting a better understanding of the how the tweets get seen with and without the .@
    Just curious as to why folks don’t use .@ if it helps in getting tweets seen?

  • waynemansfield

    This is the best tip here: Don’t start tweets with @username. Starting a tweet with @username restricts its visibility to only you, the person you’re tweeting and any mutual followers. Your reach is automatically cut short!

  • Thanks Wayne.

  • Hey Stuart! I wanted to let you know that we talked about your post on the Daily Blogcast for internet marketing podcast. If you want to listen to it, you can find it here:

    When Shady Toolbars Rape Affiliate Programs

  • Cool thanks @bryanknowlton:disqus – I’ll have a listen when I find some free time. Thanks for the heads up.

  • Sure thing! I am going to reach out to you about possibly doing a short interview/discussion soon. Hopefully you can be on the show!

  • AreskoLtd

    Nice article and refreshingly accessible. Some things are well worth repeating, despite what one commentator thought. Coaching in this way is much more effective than expecting newbies or those of us with short memories to “go look for it”. Sometimes, you don’t know what we don’t know and articles like this are fantastic stepping stones to greater knowledge and practice. Nice work Stuart, would love to hear you being interviewed on that blogcast mentioned by @Bryan Knowlton.

  • An awesome strategies to grow Twitter Thanks for sharing useful methods.

  • =)

  • Great post, thanks for sharing the list of communities. Before some time I used to tweet with using @ on profile but from now onward am going to reduce its quantity. TRHanks for post.