Who doesn’t like to get followedback on Twitter? To gain a new follower because your profile made such a positive first impression after following them. A solid strategy of following other users to build awareness can be an effective way to grow your Twitter account. But not everyone follows back.

What if  there was a way to increase the likelihood of getting followedback? A way to grow a community of mutual Twitter connections based on social proof. I’ll tell you all about it, but first we’ll need to agree on the following things:

  • You don’t want to game the system or purchase fake Twitter followers
  • You want to network with industry influencers and build authentic relationships
  • You want targeted Twitter followers that fit into your personal brand or business strategy
  • You don’t mind following your target market for their potential followback
  • You believe in social proof

Still with me? Great! Then follow along as I give you the blueprint of using social proof, relationships and a few tactical tools to grow your account with targeted Twitter followers.

For you TLDR people, here’s the CliffsNotes version of what I’ll be explaining in detail below.

Pick a target. Get your target to follow you. Get a friend of your target to follow you too. Use acquired social proof to convert their Twitter followers into your own.

Step 1: Pick a Target

Now “target” probably isn’t the best word to describe this person as your ultimate end-goal will be becoming their friend and maintaining a mutually beneficial relationship.

Basically choose someone in your industry that you look up to and whose followers would align nicely with your brand.

Be realistic when choosing your target. If you aren’t providing any value or being social you can’t blame them for not following you. Show you care and take a close look at their Twitter ratio to see whether or not they even followback.

Just for fun, let’s say, Brian Fanzo (@isocialfanz), is my target.

Step 2: Secure the Target’s Followback

Undoubtedly the most vital and delicate part of this Twitter strategy is getting your target to follow you.

And here’s where it gets tricky. Depending on who you choose as your target, there’s no telling how long this courtship will last or how unique it will be. You’ll need to stand out from everyone else who’s trying to get their attention.

For this example I can see from Brian’s Twitter bio that he hosts a weekly Twitter chat called #SbizHour.

That right there is my opportunity to introduce and engage with Brian to build up our familiarity with one another. Other examples of building rapport with your target can be commenting on their blogs, adding them to Twitter lists, attending their webinars or supporting their latest podcast.

Be intelligent with who you’re targeting and start with micro-influencers to build your initial network.

Once you get that followback and the social proof that comes along with it the rest is cake.

Step 3: Convert Your Target’s Friend

This next step involves researching who your target talks to most online. Their friends.

Oh yeah, did I mention you’re going to need to get one of them to follow you too?

That parts is easy if you mastered the previous step. But first you need to find them. Just head over to twtrland.com to quickly access this info.

Searching for @isocialfanz I can use the “Talked with” section to see the people Brian talks with most online.

You can also just plug in your target’s name to this URL: http://twtrland.com/profile/_________/conversations

Diving a little deeper into the dashboard you’ll be able to see his closest friends along with their bios and social handles. Kinda creepy, but also kinda powerful information here.

If you’re lucky you’d see a mutual connection you both share and you’d be able to skip this step entirely. If not, research a few of these people, choose one whose followers also align with your brand and pick who you believe you have the best chance of getting followed by.

In this example I’ll choose, Rachel Miller (@Rachelloumiller), since she co-hosts #SBizHour with Brian and I can leverage my participation, side conversations with her, and that Brian just followed me get her followback.

Whatever it takes, get one of your targets friends to to follow you.

Step 4: Display Your Social Proof

Once you’ve secured both followbacks and their accompanying social proof, the major legwork is done. However before you begin initiating the following portion of this strategy, you’re going to want to optimize your Twitter profile.

I’m talking about setting up social proof as visual cues for the upcoming eyes of your targets’ followers your about to follow.

This step is mostly cosmetic but equally significant in increasing the amount of followback reciprocation you receive. Use the Pinned Tweet feature to display engagements with your target that is easy to recognize in addition to a clear bio, professional profile picture and good content.

In theory I can convert more targeted followbacks from Brian’s and Rachel’s mutual Twitter connections than randoms because of the social proof and association with them displayed on my profile.

Because their mutual followers who don’t follow me will see this when they check out my profile.

That right! There is social proof built directly into Twitter’s platform and for good reason. It gets people connected.

It lets those users who I’m about to follow know that Brian and Rachel already follow me when they first see my profile and this information isn’t only visible on desktop. In addition to my very deliberate Pinned Tweet, the perceived social proof makes them ask, if my friend likes @JacobkCurtis, maybe I should, too?

Step 5: Finding Targeted Followers

Now the moment you’ve been waiting for and where this all ties together. Finding targeted Twitter followers to grow your account.

To do so, head over to Followerwonk.com, a Moz app, and access their Compare Users tab.

Here’s where your target’s friend (Rachel) will come into play.

What you’ll want to do is compare the Twitter followers of your account (@jacokbcurtis), your target’s (@isocialfanz) and their friend (@rachelloumiller). Followerwonk will then generate a diagram that looks a little something like this.

While some may just see three intersecting circles. I see 1,391 potential new followers I could gain within that red square.

I’m talking about the “followers of only @iSocialfanz & @Rachelloumiller”  which represents a goldmine of targeted Twitter users. By seeing where their networks overlap I can create a natural filter with mutual connections being industry relevant and inclined to follow me back because not one, but both of their friends already follow me.

Once I’ve exhausted these users, just repeat the same process over again either going after an entirely new target, or utilizing the current network and targets you’ve just built.

Step 6: Follow your Targets’ Followers

Finally, you can select to see these “followers of only @iSocialfanz & @Rachelloumiller”  listed out in Followerwonk’s handy dashboard.

I really like this dashboard because it provides a convenient top-level look at mutual connections, their bios, ratios (likelihood of followingback), whether they already follow you, as well as their social authority. More importantly you can manually follow these users from directly within Followerwonk or export this data to excel.

While this example shows how an individual can combine social proof, strategy and tactical tools to find targeted Twitter followbacks, there’s no reason it wouldn’t work for B2B or B2C companies as well. Instead of spending time following randoms, your best potential followers are the ones who are already following your relevant friends.

 

Jacob Curtis

Digital Marketing Strategist and Video Creator at JacobCurtis.com
A digital native, Jacob has studied and participated in the evolution of social media as a preferred method of communication for both companies and individuals. A big fan of video production, Jacob produces video tutorials on social media on his personal website and is always available to connect on Twitter.