Twitter for Entrepreneurs – Part 4: Building Your Twitter Network

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What's the point of having the best Twitter profile and the best tweets if no one's ever gonna know they exist, right? This is why your Twitter network matters. Your followers are your main means of reaching your goals on Twitter.

Of course, there are other ways of reaching people like hashtags, search, and Twitter recommendations, but they are nowhere near your followers in terms of importance.

The Quality of Your Twitter Network

There are two types of people on Twitter (or any social network for that matter): those who want more followers [bigger network]; and those who are lying! However, when growing their Twitter network, they act in two very different ways:

  1. the ones who just want to increase their 'Followers' number by any means;
  2. the ones who try to build a real engaging network on Twitter.

By the way, which group do you think you belong to?

🗳Would you sacrifice QUALITY for QUANTITY when growing your Twitter network?

If you belong to the first group, I suggest you read one of my previous posts about Twitter followers before continuing with this post. But if you're interested in quality, keep reading.

Phase 1: Learn to Utilise Twitter List

Twitter lists are so underrated and rarely used right. But you don't want to be a noob, right? So, let's use them to your advantage. Twitter has two types of lists: Public and Private and we will utilise both.

Private Lists

Use private lists to keep an eye on people you care about, but don't wanna publically follow, like competitors or targets. Have at least one private list for each of these:

  • Your direct competitors:
    • People or businesses with the same target audience doing the same thing as you do - basically, the ones you want to beat! You'll need it later.
  • Your indirect competitors:
    • People or businesses with the same type of businesses [but not exactly or maybe in other areas] that you don't want to directly beat, but you can learn from or compliment their service.
  • Interests:
    • People, businesses, brands, celebrities, etc that you'd like to keep an eye on, but there's almost no chance of their following you back.

Public Lists

To compliment our use of private lists, we will use the public lists to organise our timeline and also to flatter people. Imagine getting a notification with this message:

Jack added you to list Best Designers on Twitter

Accompanied by another notification, which is a mention thanking you for your article or a question, will ignite a conversation. Then when Jack follows you, there's a lot higher chance of you following him back!

Now you can be Jack!

You can also create public lists so people can follow your lists. Being a good curator can be very valuable on social media for two good reasons:

  1. You'll become people's go-to source for quality content in a specific category (you will replace the search for them);
  2. curation is a lot cheaper and easier comparing to content creation, which is often a time-consuming and costly process.
Utilise Twitter Lists if you really want to be successful on Twitter!

Phase 2: First Few Hundreds

The first few hundred followers are always one of the toughest parts of growing your Twitter network and probably one of the instances you need real help from real life friends to make those zeros go away. Here's what you can do:

  1. Get your close friends, colleagues, and family to follow you.
  2. Search and Follow people you already know. The ones you're quite certain would follow you back.
  3. Start with about 20-30. Don't go following 200 random people. Because it will make people wonder why no one is interested in what you have to say since you don't have many followers.
  4. Go through the private list of competitors you have. Go through their followers; they can be your followers!
  5. Add them to your public lists. Flatter them.
  6. Start a conversation with people you follow. Either reply to one of their tweets, mention them with a compliment/questions.
  7. In general, you have to try to keep the 'followings' number as low as possible, and the 'followers' number as high as possible. However, since you've just started, it's not easily possible. So, try to keep the difference at about 20-30 max.
  8. After a while, you'll have a small network. Then you have to optimise it. Unfollow the non-responsive people (the ones who ignored your mentions/replies) first.
  9. Then unfollow the inactive ones and then unfollow the ones who haven't followed you back even though you've had a conversation with them. Here, at Perspective IX, we mostly use UnfollowerStats.

Phase 3: Passing the Thousand Mark

After Phase 2, if done right, you should grow to about 400-500 followers. If your number of 'followers' is less than your 'followings', unfollow everyone who is not following you back.

If your 'followers/following ratio' is still less than one, unfollow people who haven't been active on Twitter for more more than 6 months; then for more than 3 months; and then for more than a month. It's okay even if they unfollow you back because they're not helping your Twitter network grow.

Phase 4: Repeat

After growing to a few thousand followers, if you keep a good ratio, people will follow you more and more, maybe just by adding them to lists or having a conversation with them, even if you don't follow them. Why? Because you're popular now!

But until you get there, the process is basically like Phoebe's Shower Song...

Lather, rinse, repeat... and lather, rinse, repeat... and lather, rinse, repeat... as needed!


Remember, try to keep your followings about maximum 1000. Having a large followings number will have the 'he/she doesn't really care about his/her followings' effect on your Twitter profile visitors.

Bonus Tip

Make sure to keep your follows valuable. I mean, when someone gets one, they should feel special because you don't follow everyone!

Keep your 'Follows' valuable.

Got any more tips for growing Twitter following? Share them in the comments!