There are hundreds of “experts” out there talking about how to add followers, so why am I taking the time to write an article about growing your Twitter base? Because there’s lots of gimmicks, lots of tricks, lots of alleged shortcuts, and you guys know I despise that junk. Here is the TAKE THE STAIRS DISCIPLINED attitude about growing your follower base: “It’s not about how many followers you have, but the quality and responsiveness of your followers.”

Growing your Twittership is just like joining any other community; it takes time, patience, and energy. The 5000 people who have joined the Take the Stairs tour on Twitter have come about through only 3300 Tweets that I’ve posted. 5000 followers on 3300 tweets is a  low volume of Tweets to reach that level of followership, so here are some practical tips to maximize your time on Twitter if you’re just getting started:

1. It’s a Numbers Game
Just like sales, sports, business, dating, or anything else you have to do a bunch of bad ones before you can do a bunch of good ones. Facebook is like friends at a barbeque, LinkedIn is like colleagues at the office, and Twitter is like the chatter at a party. So one way to get popular is to go to lots of parties and to get involved in lots of conversations. In other words, the more you tweet the more followers you will get because the more opportunities there are for you to be heard.

2. Load Your List
This isn’t a fool-proof strategy but if you have a digital list of all of your contacts somewhere, save them to a .csv excel file. Then import them to Gmail (free) and when you open a Twitter profile you can import your contact list into Twitter and automatically follow friends that you already have who are on the platform.

3. Follow People
In the early stages of Twitter the fastest way to get followers was to follow others and hope they return the favor. You don’t just want to follow anyone though; follow people who are Tweeting about things you care about. One shortcut strategy that doesn’t work is following a bunch of people and then un-following the ones who don’t follow you back (called Vetting). First of all, you’ll be building a crappy community of people who don’t really care about you or what you’re doing because they’re just trying to add followers the same as you. Not to mention that this is illegal on Twitter and they will catch you and turn off your account. However, follow people who are saying something worthwhile and who share the same interests as you and there’s a good chance they’ll follow you back and that they’ll forward – or re-tweet (RT) – some of the things you are saying to their followers and then those people will follow you as well. You can do keyword searches on or on applications like Tweetdeck to help you find people who are interested in the same things that you are (i.e. I have columns on my Tweetdeck that search for terms like “sales, Rory Vaden, stairs, take the stairs, discipline, Success Starts Now, social media, etc.”).

4. Follow People Back
If someone follows you, then follow them back. That shows that you are not a celebrity that is not willing to follow people back but that you are interested in developing relationships with people which attracts more followers. I personally follow everyone who follows me at this point and many people do. I think it’s kind of rude not to follow someone back although some others have a different philosophy.

5. Be Human
People want to know the real you. They don’t want a bunch of corporate jargon or just to be broadcasted to about your products. Promoting your brand/company/product is great but just make sure that you are vulnerable at times and give people an inside look at who you are. And don’t be afraid to be yourself. The best thing in the world is to have people un-follow you because they don’t like something you said. That’s fine because you are creating your very own target market. The beauty of the internet is that you no longer have to worry about making everyone happy because there are enough people out there that you can just be yourself and people will want to be a part of that. Remember, “be who you are and say what you mean because those who mind, don’t matter; and those who matter, don’t mind.”

6. Scratch My Back and I’ll Scratch Yours
Probably the second most powerful way (next to #10 on this list) I’ve seen to get followers is to target people on Twitter who tweet about similar things that you’re interested in and then RT (re-tweet) their content (make sure to use their Twitter handle such as “RT @rory_vaden” in your post). If they are using Tweetdeck or any other similar service, they will see that you forwarded their content; which is a great compliment. And very often they will either publicly thank you or even better they will return the favor by finding something valuable that you’ve written and they’ll RT you back. Either way, whenever someone mentions you (i.e. they write a post with your Twitter handle in it) then ALL of their followers have an opportunity to see your handle, check out your profile, and possibly begin following you.

7. Share the Love
When someone does RT you or give you a mention make sure to thank them and if possible find something relevant they have to RT back. This ensures that they will continue to RT you in the future and that you will both grow together. Twitter is all about forming a community of people around the things that you’re interested in. ALWAYS be looking for opportunities to RT valuable information (sayings, videos, pics, blog articles, etc.) from other people out into your Twitter stream. Also on Follow Fridays (designated by hash tag #FF) it’s customary in Twitter culture to announce to the world who your highest recommendations are for good people to follow.

8. Announce it on High
Make sure that you let people know on your e-mail signature that you are on these other platforms. You can also add it to your business cards or other marketing materials. And of course you want to have intertwining links to your Facebook, LinkedIn, You Tube, Twitter, and Blog. They should all point to each of the others.

9. Have a Blog
Your blog is the central home point of all of your social media relations. It’s where people learn about you and it’s often where they go to get involved in a relationship and hopefully someday a financial transaction with you. All of the other social media sites (FB, LinkedIn, Twitter, etc.) are just flag posts that help you grow communities and traffic that you can direct to your blog. Your blog is where you share whatever your expertise is; in my case it’s strategies for improving your self-discipline in every area of your life and how to do things you don’t want to do.

And finally the best, grandest, most important, and biggest secret of all…put out good content!!!! Say something that adds value to people’s lives. No one cares that you’re eating a burrito on the porch. Not unless you’re a food critic and you give reports on the best restaurants in town. Tell me something that I can use in my life. I’ll let you sell something to me but only after you’ve first earned my trust by giving me a chance to glean some wisdom from you. If you’re in real estate, show me some pictures on good deals. If you’re a financial advisor, give me a link to an article that explains why we should stay invested when everything tanks. If you sell cars, give me the lowdown on what the coolest features are on the new models and tell me the horror stories of the crap cars on the market. You get the idea. Give people something of value. Share your expertise. Be helpful and don’t be selfish. I hope that you all get value from the things I’m putting out. My biggest fear is being one more person who is broadcasting 10 million messages on the highest volume possible out to a bunch of people who don’t care.

As I re-read this post I realize that I’m feeling a bit feisty on this issue for some reason. Probably because there are so many cheeseball gimmicks about how to get more followers.  Having lots of followers doesn’t mean you’re cool necessarily. It does mean though that you have the rare privilege and opportunity to impact people’s lives. When it comes to social media there is a whole lot of ego and a whole lot of “escalator mentality” going around in social media land and I’m not a fan of that part of it.

The most blatant truth I’ve realized is that if I’m no fun in real life, then I will be no fun online (there is no difference). Let’s be people who are interesting and let’s be people who give and share our expertise in a concise way that helps the lives of others and not just our own pocket books. Let’s work to be disciplined about caring for others more than we care for ourselves; that’s hard work for me, too.

Thank you for the compliment of being my friend and my follower.

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See you in the stairwell,

Rory Vaden
Take the stairs – Success means doing what others won’t.

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