I created our Lobster Twitter account in March 2009 – just three years after Twitter was first built so fairly early on compared to the vast majority of Twitter users.

I don’t say that to brag about being an early adopter, I say it because it demonstrates that – just like most businesses we have struggled to grow our Twitter followers to anything like a mass audience. Until January this year we were stuck at around 1800 followers.

You may think that 1800 followers is respectable number but in our game (i.e. social media) that’s fairly pathetic. We should have been far more active on Twitter over the years, connecting with more people, posting more content, following more people but as you have no doubt discovered – it can take up a lot of time and the irony in our industry is that until recently, our ideal clients are in general not on Twitter.

Earlier this year I looked at our own social media presence, specifically looking at how we position ourselves as a social media leader. After all, if we want to sell our services we need to be leading the way in terms of how we use social media. One of the major key indicators to apparent social media domination is the number of followers your account has and with just 1800 followers on Twitter it was obviously not going to impress anyone.

So I decided that we needed to crank things up a bit on Twitter.

The most common strategy for getting new followers on Twitter is to simply follow lots of other accounts. The rule of thumb is that for every 10 accounts you follow, around half of them will follow you back. So if you want more followers, you simply have to follow more people.

Now, we’ve avoided that strategy for all of this time because of a number of potential pit falls:

  • Your new followers are probably playing the same game so unlikely to be useful connections
  • Twitter doesn’t like aggressive tactics so limit the number of accounts you can follow
  • In an ideal situation you would want lots of followers without having a lot of accounts that you follow.

That last point is important. If you look at the really popular and influential Twitter accounts – celebrities for example – they follow very few other Twitter account, yet have millions of followers. That ratio demonstrates that they are an influencer and incredibly popular.  Alternatively, if you see a Twitter account with thousands of followers but who follow an equal amount of accounts then their ratio is small and shows that they’re simply playing the “I follow you, you follow me” game.

However, it can’t be overlooked that even if their ratio is small, the number of followers they have access to is very large.

With just 1800 or so followers in January I felt we needed to change things so we started to employ the “I follow you, you follow me” tactic but with one very important exception – we would target specific types of accounts.

We started trialling a tool called Narrow.io – designed to grow your Twitter followers but with highly targeted filtering options that mean that you can be very specific about who you follow. In our case, small businesses in Cardiff. By doing that we’re increasing our potential reach (the number of people who could see our content) to our ideal audience.

It started slowly – we wanted to get the key phrases right and to test the sort of response we would get but we were quickly over the 2000 follower mark. Considering we’ve been stuck at 1800 for such a long time that felt like something of a major milestone. Since then we’ve added more and more key phrases to target and the growth has continued. Narrow is clever in that it doesn’t just attract accounts by following, it also likes certain posts too and that in turn prompts some users to follow us – so the number of accounts we’re following isn’t sky rocketing as quickly as we feared.

At the same time, we also employed the use of another system called Quuu.co – this allows us to continually post great content to our Twitter timeline so all of our new followers get quality content straight away (hopefully justifying their decision to follow us).

There is also another tool (one we’ve used for a while now) that we have employed to do just one thing – engage with our new followers. It’s a very simple trick but one that we feel is important. If you follow us, we want to say thank you.

All in all we’re seeing a 22% growth in our Twitter followers – still fairly small but it’s a growth and we’ve recently added a host of new key phrases to our Narrow account so expect that growth to increase significantly in the coming months.

It’s all explained in the video below – we show you all three tools, explain why we use them and demonstrate how to use them. Check it out and let us know in the comments if you have any other tricks for Twitter growth.