You can find a series about Twitter basics on our Twitter page. Today I’ll explain how I use Follow Fridays to find new followers and help my friends. My method is a work in progress, but on Fridays when I have time to be really active, I can easily gain +50 good followers.
There are three parts to this: Sending your own Follow Friday tweets, choosing the right people to give them to, and paying attention to your followers’ tweets.
How I Send My Follow Friday Tweets
Just sending a Follow Friday tweet and going about your business isn’t going to do either you or the person you give it to much good. But sending too many is bad. The trick is to send enough to get a few of your followers tweeting with you, but not so many you turn people off.
I’ve tried various methods, and this is what’s worked best so far. I send up to 5 or 6 Follow Fridays, spaced at least 15 minutes apart. Sometimes I only have time for a couple. Sometimes, like this past weekend, I’m occupied with other things and don’t do Follow Fridays at all.
I send one, and only one, Follow Friday that’s packed with as many people as I can fit into it. I use only the #FF hashtag – not the longer #FollowFriday, because that leaves me room for an extra person. I usually send this one last.
I send three or four that only include one person, or two at most, and say something nice about them. I send it to #FF, #FollowFriday, and to one general hashtag that matches their main area of interest, like #Music, #Writers, #Blogger, etc. This is to help people who share that interest find them.
The reason I do it this way is because both ways of doing it are useful. Including a lot of people gets a lot of retweets, but I think it’s better overall to focus on one person that you’d really like people to follow.
How I Choose People to Give Follow Fridays To
This is more alchemy than science for me at this point. Here are my basic assumptions.
It doesn’t do much good to give FFs to people I have long-standing relationships with or tweet with frequently. Everyone in my network who’s actually paying attention and cares to follow those people should have done so by now. @parttimemonster is a perfect example to illustrate this point. Our followings are so entangled, giving her FFs every week is a waste of ammo. I do it once a month, or after a period when I’ve made a lot of new contacts.
It doesn’t do much good to send FFs to the same people every week. Here’s why. Some people use FFs to introduce one another to their followers. I have half a dozen Tweeps who regularly send me 10 or more new followers on Follow Fridays. I’m sure they look at my FFs and follow everyone who looks like a good bet for a followback. It doesn’t do those folks any good if they see me promoting the same 20 people, week in and week out. And it doesn’t gain my longstanding friends any new followers.
So, here’s what I look for:
- People who I’m sure check their accounts and follow their followers back.
- People who I haven’t tweeted with in awhile, but want to maintain a relationship with. These FFs are a sort of shout-out at a time when Twitter is hot.
- People who have followed me recently and seem as though they like to tweet with me often. These are a way of introducing new people to the circle of friends who tweet with me every day.
- People who are new, have equivalent-sized or smaller followings than mine, but understand the basics of following back.
- People who have added me to lists recently, or who I haven’t talked with for a while and who have shown up unexpectedly and given me some form of help in the last week.
- I always include at least one or two of about 25 long-standing friends.
- For the tweet that’s jam-packed with people, I try to include a couple of people who regularly help me find followers with people they might not have encountered yet.
How I Use Other People’s Follow Fridays to Find Followers
- As I’m sending my own FFs, I’m looking at my notifications and lists, thanking people who give them to me, and retweeting FF tweets. I’m also favoriting them.
- Once I’m done sending my Follow Fridays, or depending on my schedule, sometimes over the weekend, I go through all those favorites. I follow the ones that look like they might follow back. I often favorite a couple of their tweets and retweet something that looks good while I’m scanning their profiles for the first time.
- Then I wait for the followbacks. I don’t thank many people for following – my account has too much daily growth to make that possible. However, everyone who thanks me for a follow or otherwise tweets with me just because I’ve followed them gets a friendly response, and I usually add them to one or more of my lists.
This has gotten me as many as 60 followers on a Friday, and it’s gotten me 150 in a weekend before. I have to stress this – it’s the following people after all the tweeting is done that gets me the followers.
Sending the Follow Fridays themselves are important, though. People include me in their FFs because they see me participating, and because I notice people who do that and give them FFs in subsequent weeks. And it’s those FFs I’m included in that show me who to follow once I’m done.
I never go through my notifications and give people FFs just because they give me one. That’s too transactional, even for Twitter. I always know who I’m giving mine to by Thursday night. But I do reciprocate at appropriate intervals, and sometimes it just happens to work out that I’m giving people FFs while they’re giving them to me.
Just to give you an idea of what this can do for you if you do it consistently for awhile. I didn’t send a single Follow Friday last week because I was busy retweeting #YesAllWomen tweets. I did retweet FFs and thank people, though. I picked up 25 followers just by following people I was included in the FFs with.
I have two more of these posts to write over the next few weeks. I want to explain the importance of @MondayBlogs in the next one. Twitter heats up on the weekends. Prime time starts on Friday mornings and builds through Sunday afternoon. Monday Blogs extends the weekend an extra day for bloggers. I pick up most of my followers on Fridays-Mondays. The follows I give on those days typically carry me though to the next Friday, so that I’m always gaining more followers than I’m losing during the rest of the week.
I’ll also have a post that explains how I use lists at some point. I’m still fine-tuning my list strategy though, so that one needs to wait a bit.
Happy blogging & tweeting, and have a great week!
Twitter images via Suzie81’s Blog and Molly Greene. @suzie81blog, @mollygreene.