A New York Times article on how a slot on Twitter’s controversial “suggested user” list can lead to a tsunami of new followers prompted some thinking about the rest of us can attract new followers. Here’s are some guidelines:
1. Be interesting. Talk about interesting developments, trends, people, products and services that catch your attention. Remember that having a coffee, struggling with a hangover or worrying about sick pets is not interesting to the vast majority of other people.
2. Provide links to good content, products and services. The world is a busy and noisy place so it’s increasingly difficult to find the “good stuff”. By putting the spotlight on content, products and services that will resonate with other people, you’ll be seen as a valuable resource.
3. Respond to people needing help. One of Twitter’s most valuable features is the ability to quickly get answers to questions about just about anything. If you want to attract more followers, step into the fray by providing answers. People will appreciate your help even if your suggestions are exactly what they need.
4. Don’t update too often. People like to follow people who provide a steady flow of solid updates but the “unfollow” button comes in play if you update way too much. It’s like going to a party, and dominating a conversation; pretty soon people will look for excuses to leave.
5. Make sure your profile is complete, including a bio and Web site. There’s a growing number of spammers using Twitter so the more information provided on who you are and what you do, the more comfortable people will be about following you.
6. Promote your Twitter ID. Don’t be shy about letting people know that you’re part of the TwitterSphere. Put your Twitter ID on business cards, resumes, e-mail signatures, online bios and presentation slides. The easier you make it for people to know you’re on the Twitter, the more likely they could follow you.
More: For other advice on getting more followers, check out this blog post from Problogger, which includes a suggestion to be controversial.