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Growing your Twitter followers may be difficult, but the good news is that the principles for growth hacking are simple enough to write down in a single blog post.
1. Create a personal branding tagline
A personal branding tagline is your elevator speech. It should not exceed once sentence. It should be short and crisp and describe you you are. In my case, my personal branding tagline is "Physics professor studying space weather and social media."
2. Create a tweet topic hub
A hub is the center of the wheel. The spokes radiate from the hub. A tweet topic hub is the main topic of your tweets. As long as your tweets support your topic hub, then your tweeting will move smoothly and you shall gain more followers in time. In my case, I realized that I can't target three phrases all at once: "physics professor", "space weather," and "social media," because they target different audiences. So I decided that my tweet topic hub is going to be "social media scientist". This allows me to target different media forms--text, graphics, videos, audio--but also the social media platforms in particular: Facebook, Twitter, Google+, etc.
3. Create an audience persona
Define your target audience. Who are the people you want to reach? What are their interests? If the interests of your target audience are the same as yours, then tweet things that are relevant to your audience. To find your target audience, check out your Twitter analytics dashboard. You may be out for a surprise.
4. Use topical hashtags
A tweet without a hashtag is like a tree that fell in the forest and no one heard about it's fall. Don't use an ephemeral hashtag like #rainydaysandmondays, unless you are using this to track your marketing reach. Use the topical hashtags that you can use everyday to define your brand's focus, e.g. #technology, #graphicdesignm #blogging, and #socialmedia.
5. Curate content that supports your brand
Make sure that your tweets support your branding. You can either make your own tweets from the titles of your blog posts or you can curate tweets. You can find excellent tweets by checking out your timeline or by clicking the hashtag of your choice to find tweets by other authors who are not necessarily your followers. Be sure that you have read the article yourself before retweeting the links, because a bad link or a thin content can damage your brand. You can use automation tools to find good content to tweet, but the you should still be the one who should decide if that post gets tweeted or not in your timeline.
6. Engage with your Twitter followers
Remember that you are forming a community around your personal brand. Share good content from your followers, too, and not just spamming everyone with your content, unless perhaps you have written 720 evergreen blog posts of sufficient depth and variety which allows you to share 1 blog post per hour for 30 days without repeating a thing. As a rule, share 3 to 4 blog post from your community for each post from your blog.
7. Write a blog
Blogging is what differentiates a publisher from a content curator. Blogging is what distinguishes your content from other content and make your brand stand out. Blog two to three times a week and tweet your blog's headlines, pertinent quotes, and related graphics.
8. Use pictures and Twitter cards
Twitter is now a visual medium and not just text. Make sure that the tweets from your blog posts have pictures. If you use Twitter cards in your blog, the pictures would show up automatically in your tweets in your timeline and in your followers' news feeds, except when you view your Twitter feeds using Tweetdeck.
9. Use Tweetdeck to schedule your posts
I still use Tweetdeck for managing multiple accounts. It's advantage is that you see tweets in real time, and this can sometimes be dizzying if you have thousands of followers, and tweets cascade down the columns at the rate of one block per second. So it is not surprising that influencers can't anymore share content from their followers via Tweetdeck. But for influencers who adopted the Twitter's algorithmic feed, the feeds are paused in time to give you time to check out old but recent posts from the people you follow.
10. Be choosy about following people
You don't have to follow everyone who follows you. Check out their timelines. Are you interested in tweeting 3 of their 5 tweets? If yes, follow their accounts. If not, just let them pass. Remember that your Twitter home feed will show the tweets of the people you follow and it is from your home feed that you get your news and excellent content to share. If you are not interested in checking out your home feed, so why follow people in the first place?