The celebrity way to increase your Twitter followers

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By Rachel Smith
on 11/7/13

This morning I noticed the word #TWERK in the Twitter United Kingdom trending list and my curiosity got the better of me. Aside from this being the name of a new song featuring Justin Bieber and Miley Cyrus, #Twerk led me to a Twitter campaign from another musician to try and increase his Twitter following.

The third collaborator on the Twerk song, Lil Twist, had announced to his 1.3 million followers that when he reached 2 million followers the song would be revealed to the world.


Justin Bieber currently has over 41 million Twitter followers and Miley Cyrus has over 12 million, so an increase for Lil Twist of 700,000 new followers seems achievable from their active fanbase on Twitter. Neither Justin or Miley has tweeted or validated Lil Twist’s "TwistTo2Million" challenge, but that hasn't stopped his following increasing as the graph below from Twitter Counter shows.

Lil Twist's Twitter followers in the last seven days Lil Twist's Twitter followers in the last seven days

The amount of time it will take him to reach 2 million followers remains to be seen, and you can speculate whether he really has an exclusive to release the song or if it's due to be released publicly soon anyway.

How can businesses use similar Twitter tactics?

Celebrity followings can’t really be compared to most business followings on Twitter, and I’ve always advocated quality over quantity when it comes to Twitter followers, but there are some ways this type of tactic can work for businesses. Here are some considerations if you want to give this a try!

1. What do you want to achieve?
Hitting a target number like 2 million followers might work for a celebrity to increase the reach of their music, but think about what your business could achieve from running a twitter campaign like this. If it’s all about showing your popularity and having an impressive number of followers then you could just as easily buy followers, however if you want more than just numbers – you want relevant people to follow you who will interact with you in the future, then a campaign like this could work.

2. Offer something people care about
Lil Twist’s challenge to Twitter followers is proving successful because he’s offering an exclusive which is relevant to a large community on Twitter. He’s also in a unique position in that he has collaborated with two very popular celebrities in order to secure this exclusive.

It’s unlikely your business will have something on this scale to offer, so think about what online assets you do have available. Try to be objective; as much as you might be really interested in exclusive information about your products or services, the rest of the world might not be as excited by the prospect.

It’s worth doing some research before, for example by running Twitter searches to see what your target audience are talking about, which twitter accounts they follow and the type of content which is widely shared. This can also help you decide what your target number of followers should be so you don’t pick an unrealistic figure.

3. Consider a prize draw giveaway if you don’t have anything exclusive to offer
In one of my earlier blog posts I covered some guidelines for running online competitions, and if you’re running a “win when we reach x amount of followers” competition I would advise against running it so that the 5000th (or whatever the target amount is) follower is the winner as this excludes all your existing followers from winning, and could cause them to unfollow you and re-follow when you have nearly reached 5,000 or worse, unfollow you altogether.

4. Expect a number of “eggs” among your new followers
I mentioned this before, that quality far outweighs quantity, but if you’re running a campaign like this, then you should expect a number of lower quality followers. It’s not unheard of for people to have multiple twitter accounts, or to set up new accounts as this fan promised Lil Twist she would do:


5. Have a plan for after you’ve reached your target
What do you have to offer your new followers after you’ve revealed your exclusive, or run your prize draw? It takes just one click to unfollow someone, so make sure you have some engaging follow up tweets planned to keep your new followers interested.

6. Have a plan for if you don’t reach your target
As much as you probably don’t want to consider this, have a plan in place just in case you don’t reach your target and your campaign loses momentum. How you decide to handle this will depend on your brand and what you were offering, but as an example, you could thank all your new and existing followers for spreading the word and offer a good reason to run the prize draw or exclusive content early.

Have you seen any examples of brands using this tactic successfully or very badly? Or have you followed a brand or celebrity because they posted a request to reach a certain amount of followers? Leave a comment to share your examples!