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I have been working intensely with the Twitter API for several months now and I have learned quite a few things worth sharing.  

For one, there is a big difference between having a lot of followers and having targeted quality followers.  There is always the temptation to use some Twitter app to gain a large number of followers quickly but most of the time, and I mean most, it’s not worth your time or money. People using apps to gain quick followers are only in it for the numbers.  They don’t interact and are not worth following.

With that said, there is a way that you can grow your numbers fast using the proper techniques that I’ve learned.  My technique has a huge success rate but takes work and it will take more of your time than you might want to put into it but it’s free and you’ll get quality followers.

1.  Find Your Target Audience

Find your niche.  What or who are you trying to target?  Once you determine this then you can search on Twitter for like-minded people in the same field.  My target audience is marketing and social networking pros who want to be inspired.

2. Search For Your Niche On Twitter

Go to twitter and search for your target niche keyword.  For example, “marketing”.  Click on each result and look at 3 things; number of tweets, number of friends and number of followers.  This is where it’s going to take some analysis on your part.

3. Analyze A Potential Tribe Member

Remember, you are trying to gather a tribe.  A community of like-minded people that will interact, share ideas and nurture each other in your niche area.  When analyzing each potential Twitter friend keep this in mind.

Tweets - Look at the number of tweets.  Thousands of tweets usually means it’s a news feed, very spammy or a personal account not worth following.  Read what they tweet about and determine if you should follow them.  Very low tweet counts aren’t worth following unless it looks like a fairly new account.

I follow back almost everyone that follows me.  The other day I got followed by a guy that has over 1000 friends and 700 followers.  He had zero tweets.  He will never retweet anything I tweet nor interact based on that.  I did not follow back.

Friends/Followers - Look at the friends to follower ratio.  If they are very high on the follower side then it’s usually not worth following them.. unless it’s a very popular account.  For example, Tony Robbins has a huge following but doesn’t follow back.  His tweets are still interesting though.  You may want to follow so that you can share their tweets with your followers. 

Lists - In my opinion lists are the most overrated part of twitter.  They mean nothing in terms of your influence.  Most people create lists of who’s following them so that they can kindly reciprocate if you unfollow them.  Lists can be a great tool for you to create but they aren’t necessary in determining a quality follower.

4.  Follow, Follow, Follow

Now that you have done a little analysis on a potential candidate for your tribe follow them!  If you’ve done well there is a good chance that they will follow you right back and you’ll be on your way to building a quality relationship.

Tip: Don’t follow more than 100 people per day.  First off, you can’t manage that many people (remember, we’re talking quality people to add to your tribe) and while the exact number is debated, Twitter doesn’t like it if you follow too many people at once.

5. Review Your Friends/Followers

One more thing I wanted to add was that you need to review who you are following and who is following you.   I constantly review the people that I had followed some time ago.  If they aren’t following back and their tweets aren’t useful I unfollow.  You can have a mediocre tweet if you are following me but if you aren’t then all value is gone.

You can work your review how you see fit.  My approach is at efficiency.  Not large numbers necessarily but targeting active followers and friends.