How to get more quality followers on Twitter

Twitter quality followers

Twitter has to be a central part of almost every charity's strategy for social media engagement. It has a MASSIVE user base, it's easy to use and it can be a very cost effective method of promotion. I'm sure people judge your success by how many people follow you, and I'm sure you would like to have more people follow you - goes without saying really doesn't it?

Luckily getting tons of followers is really, really easy - which is how come 'social media gurus' all have 20k+ followers. But I'm willing to bet REAL MONEY that they don't have many quality followers...

So, what do I mean by ‘quality’? I mean followers who are interested in what you have to say, people who are likely to engage with your cause, reply to your questions, retweet your stuff or even just to go as far as to actually click the links that you post - Links that take people to your blog post,  the signup form for your event, to the petition you need people to sign or to your donate/ fundraising page.

If you want loads of pointless followers you could just tweet something like this every day:

#Follow us and RT THIS MESSAGE for the chance to win a Chicken & Mushroom Pot Noodle signed by Joey Essex*  #teamfollowback

However you can get yourselves fewer but much more worthwhile followers by making sure you are doing the things outlined below:

Add your twitter username to your email signature

There are probably loads of people you email everyday that are on twitter but don't follow your charity twitter stream, these are prime candidates for followers who are likely to be interested in what you have to say and are ready to engage. You could encourage and support the Call to action' with some extra text e.g. "Follow us on Twitter for up to the minute news and events" Here is a couple of examples of code that that you can copy and paste ~ obviously change [YOURUSERNAME] for your actual user name (without the @ or the [square brackets])



With call to action

Follow <a href="[YOURUSERNAME]">@[YOURUSERNAME]</a> on Twitter for our latest news and events

More about calls to action on charity websites here.

Add a follow button to your website

OK so you probably already have this one too but where is it? ...and do you have to leave your website and go to Twitter in order to complete the follow?

These buttons from twitter enable people to follow you with one click, rather than leaving your site to go to your twitter profile page. This way you keep the person on your website too rather than rely on them using the back button or tabs in their browser to return to your site, you get more follows from this simply because you are asking someone to do one click instead of two.

(yeh I know what you’re thinking a true QUALITY follower would make it to the second click and back to your site all pumped and READY TO ENGAGE but lets just pop back to the real world where even your QUALITY followers can be fickle and easily distracted so why take the chance?)

Twitter provides follow button builders so you can modify your button to suit your needs you just set your parameters like username and button size, press the generate code button and get some code to paste into your site.

A good place for a button like this would be on the homepage, the contact page, the about page, the donate page...

Add a widget to your site

The new twitter widgets contain the functionality for people to follow you or @message you directly from your site as well as showcasing your latest tweets. As with the button you simply set your preferences and copy and paste the code into your site.

You can get yours here

Add or link your twitter username to all your other social media accounts and channels

This may seem a little obvious but link everything up as best you can. For example give people looking up your address on Linkedin or replying to your post in a forum the opportunity to follow you on twitter - here are some examples of me pushing my twitter username around like nobody's business:

In the byline on this blog

Twitter follow button in byline

On the contact page of one of my other blogs

Twitter button on contact page

In my signiture on a forum

Drupal forum post signature

On Google +

Crispin Read's Google Plus Profile Page

On Tumblr

Crispin Read's Tumblr Blog

- The images link to the examples in context.


If the app, service or site doesn't provide an easy way to link into Twitter add the username or link yourself in your bio, or your profile details, or your forum signature, or the my websites section - if you can put code in these fields you can use the code examples at the  top of the post.

Write some good Tweets

I wrote a whole post on this back in June as a sort of basic guide for using twitter as a charity the main points here are:

Make you share engaging, interesting, useful content

Don’t just tweet your latest blog post or event, send out links to relevant stuff in the news or on blogs or Vimeo or YouTube or Pintrest or on telly or in the paper there’s good stuff everywhere.

Strike up / get involved in conversations

Ask for people or groups for information or links to stuff, search for existing conversations that your organisation can participate in - you have expertise and insight you can share, you just need to find the conversations to join - find out what hashtags people are using in your area or seek out some twitter chats.

Share content from similar organisations to you

Follow, @mention and RT content from other charities with similar objectives/ focus/ demographic etc. Not only is this content likely to be relevant and interesting for your followers, it is likely that the originators of the content will share your stuff on their networks in the future, which increases your reach and potentially your own network as the people who follow the links to your site shared on other peoples networks come into contact with the links and buttons and widgets you set up as per the earlier points.


19 October 2012
Crispin Read