I’ll start this off with a disclaimer: Twitter is not easy. The best jokes on there sometimes go unnoticed and the lamest tweets can blow up, so take what I say with a grain of salt and go into this knowing that you will be frustrated. Also, I am aware some comedians will say they would rather wait around for people to find them on Twitter, and if that is the way you want to do it then go for it. However, I believe that as a comedian, you are marketing yourself. If you have a product you are proud of, there is nothing wrong with telling people about it instead of waiting for them to find it for themselves.
That said, many people have asked me how I got so many followers. It seems that once you pass a few thousand, and no one has heard of you, people instantly assume you bought them. Not true. So far I have around 32k followers, over 50k favs and 10k retweets all from a little bit of Twitter magic and hard work. Here are some steps to help you get the big numbers on Twitter and gain some exposure.
1. Get Crowdfire– Crowdfire is an app available on iTunes and Google Play. You can also use it online through their website. It is essential and you should probably get the paid version so that you can get the full benefits. The free version will work, just not as effectively. Now I will detail how to use the app to the best benefit to you and how you can get more followers.
A. Unfollow- Unfollow between 100 and 200 people a day. This keeps your ratio at almost even. The app will show you a list of those people you follow and that aren’t following you. You should rid yourself of their dead weight unless you are really interested in what they have to say. Press the – sign next to their name and begin unfollowing until the count reaches 100-200 (100 if you don’t have a lot of followers, 200 as you start to get more). Do NOT press the – sign like rapid fire. Just do it at of a rate of about 1 per second. Unfollowing too many people too fast will get you flagged by Twitter and may get your account suspended.
B. Copy Followers– Go to the “Copy Followers” area and type in a username on Twitter to copy their followers. The app already gives you their most engaged followers, but you need to find someone good to copy. I prefer to copy people like me. Find another comedian that has over 5k followers but under 20k followers. Or find people that might be interested in you. Copying the followers of a comedy club for example will get you followers from that comedy club’s profile and chances are they go to that club. Copy between 200 and 300 followers. Do NOT copy more than 300 over a 24 hours period. I have done this a few times and I almost always get flagged by Twitter and a temporary suspension. Also, you can’t follow more than 2000 without having 2000 followers yourself. Repeat the unfollow and follow procedures until you get past this milestone.
*** Before you copy followers, make sure the last tweet you sent out was yours and it was a good one. People click on your profile and you want the first impression to be good enough to get them to click that follow button. Having a pic of you doing stand up and even a link to your own website in your heading also makes you look official.
C. Wait– Just sit back and wait. Once you follow about 200 people, you will find that around 30-50 of those people you followed will look at their recent followers, click on you, and follow back. Thus you are building up your follower count. The more followers you have and the more important you look, the greater the followback ratio will be in the future. 2. Share the Love- People take notice when you Fav and RT them, so do this often. If you fav something they tweeted, they will then see you did that and, if they haven’t already, will follow you. If they are already following, they usually return the favor with their own Favs and RT’s. Also, some people won’t even follow accounts that don’t RT people because it looks selfish and disengaged from the audience, so show interest in others and they will show interest in you.
3. Follow a Cycle- You obviously want your tweets to be successful, so here is a nice time schedule that I follow in this simple formula: Fav and RT anytime before 5PM EST with exception of the 1PM hour (lunch time is busy time for Twitter, post your own). Post your own tweets anytime after 8PM during the weekdays excluding Friday, this is when Twitter has the most active traffic. Post very little on the weekends just to keep your followers engaged, but don’t sweat it too much as weekend Twitter is notoriously dead.
4. Disconnect Other Social Media– Posting instagram photos to Twitter is just clutter. They don’t get near as much attention as just posting the photo to Twitter. Same goes for having your Facebook connected to Twitter. Not many people click on Facebook links, or any links for that matter. 5. Use Hashtags Sparingly– Hashtags are nice for looking up trending topics, but when you are a comedian they can be clutter to an otherwise good joke. People usually RT and Fav tweets that are just short and simple jokes much more than the tweets with 10 hashtags in them. I steer clear unless it is about something topical that I may want referenced, to get picked up by news outlets or it is part of a hashtag war.
6. Tweet During Events– The most attention my tweets receive always come during events where people are tweeting about big topics. Some of my most popular tweets came during Presidential Debates, major sporting events, big news stories, and TV show premiers. People like discussing things they are interested in, and when everyone is interested in the same thing you should capitalize on the opportunity. Bonus: Some automated accounts even follow people who tweet out keywords. For example, tweeting “Nirvana” could get you 3 or 4 instant followers from rock music profiles or Yoga companies. So tweeting about something other than beer could get you some attention.
7. Set up a DM*- If you want your fans engaged you can set up an automated Direct Message through Crowdfire that will go to anyone that follows you. I have had several different DM formats I tampered with and oddly enough found the most success with a simple Hello and a link to my Youtube video. I used to include a link to my website but most people won’t click on links, however when they see Youtube they know they aren’t being scammed and will click on it more often. Just doing this I increased the views on my video by 800 within a month. Then just make sure you have a link to your website on your Youtube so they can find more. * Sending automated messages does anger some people and occasionally people will unfollow because of it. It is really not a significant number though to be too worried about, haters will hate. 8. Create Lists- This is one of the most underutilized tools on social media, period. If you really want to use Twitter as a promotional tool, it is a good idea to set up lists. Anyone who says they enjoyed my video, like my tweets, enjoy stand up comedy, or show interest I add to a list of people I can contact at a later date if I need to promote something. Also, I have had a lot of people say “Let me know when you come to (insert state)”. When they do that, set up a list for that state and add them to it. When you get a show there, send out a tweet to them letting them know. I honestly have had a ton of people show up to shows from Twitter that I never would have gotten to a show otherwise.
9. Favstar.fm– Set up an account with them. They are simple and easy. It shows a lot about your profile and posting a link to it in your bio can direct people to your most popular tweets. No real need to buy a membership that I have found, but a lot of people do and if they see you have an account they will add you to their list.
10. Tag clubs and comics- If you work with someone at a club, tweet about it. Not relentlessly, but it does deserve a mention or two. Mentioning the clubs on social media can help sell tickets, and mentioning the comics you are with can spread their fanbase to you. 11. Seek People that Went to Your Show- Every time I do a show at a club, I then do a Twitter search for the clubs name, or the name of the headliner and see who talked about it recently. Almost always there are a dozen or so people that posted pics or updates about the show. Fav those tweets and follow those people. If you had a good set, they will remember you, follow back and talk to you. They were already at the show so these are your ideal fans. You can’t hand a business card to everyone, and most people forget your names, so helping them find you later is a great way to build up your network and pack the club again next time you are there.
I am not a social media guru but I have found that most of the tricks I use work well for me and hopefully will do the same for you. If you have a tip or trick, please feel free to add it in the comments below. And of course… follow me on Twitter.