How To Build A Great Twitter Reputation, Get More Followers & Retweets

The three steps to a great Twitter reputation are content, style and connections.

First—because this is what makes you really popular—we’ll cover making connections and building your account.
Second, we’ll work on creating tweets that will give people something to retweet, and help people get to know you and want to recommend you.
Your tweets are the core to your reputation. You’re going to need four  types: Popular, focused, conversational and retweets/thank-yous.
Third, we’ll work on your Twitter style. This mean understanding the social etiquette and rules of Twitter as they apply to you.
Ready? Let’s get started:
Your strategy is going to be to become influential by helping key people, one at a time, and building a circle of great connections.
Begin by searching for people to engage with by topics that interest you. You want to find the most engaged and influential users in the topics that you care about most. Here is a collection of resources that you can use to search for Twitter users by topic:
FollowerWonk WeFollow Directory Search
Topsy Expert Search (shows related resources) (allows limited free searches)
Listorious List Search Local Follow Social Mention
TweetLevel topic search PeekYou
Faxo user search (allows several filters) Hashtweeps top users by hashtag Twibs
Twellow Directory Search HooSaid user search TweetFind
Super Dashboard at TweepFind Icerocket
Add users that you find and are considering to Twitter lists, so you can watch how they tweet for awhile.
You’ll want to follow very few key people at first, because you’ll want to have time to devote to them once you follow them.
When influential users begin to retweet you, a LOT of people will check you out.  You will gain followers if you have the right mix of tweets, and demonstrate an understanding of Twitter etiquette.
There are two key approaches to making influential connections who will recommend you and retweet you over time. Which you do most depends on your personal goals. And the approach doesn’t matter as much as how you engage. Your two options are:

1. Build A “Personal Learning Network" (PLN)
Essentially, you will seek out people who can teach you something, and people that you can teach something to.
You can focus on your business, career, hobby, or any interest. PLNs are very popular with educators. Twitter can be just one part of your PLN strategy. And Twitter chats can be a goldmine for PLNers. Browse through a few articles about Twitter PLNs to learn more.

2. Become A “Super Advocate” 

This is the most powerful way to build your reputation and get influential users to promote you. Read more here. Many influential users are very focused on one particular niche, so it helps if you are also very focused on the same niche. You will pick key users and do as much as you can to assist them.

3. Engage And Follow Through

Once you have found people worth connecting with, help them. Promote and retweet them. Engage them.
Strategies include FollowFriday, writing blog posts about top users hoping those users will tweet the post, creating lists of users, retweeting users, etc. Some people try to find various kinds of favors they can do for influential users.
As always, everything works best if you are genuinely interested in the people you connect with, and are ethical, sincere and learn from your mistakes.
Once you have spent a lot of time engaging with a user, put that relationship on listening mode, and select a new user to engage with.

Content That Gets You Followed And Retweeted

As you build your reputation people are going to be recommending you.
Having the right tweets means when people check you out they will follow you, and feel comfortable recommending you to others. 
 It’s important to have each of four kinds of tweets mixed together every day: Popular, focused, conversational and retweets. That’s because when people check you out, your tweets are what teach them about you.
If you have all of one kind of tweet, they won’t learn as much about you, and you’ll get fewer followers, and fewer recommendations.
And don’t forget to spread out your tweets! Don’t overwhelm people with a bunch of tweets all at once. Use Buffer to naturally space things out to times when most people are online.

1. Popular Tweets
These are simply the kinds of tweets that get retweeted the most. When you make the right kind of connections, people will want to retweet you. Having a popular tweet or two to makes it easy for people to find something of yours to retweet.
Because they will at first be your most retweeted tweets, be careful! Don’t always be tweeting things just to get retweets. It will give you the wrong kind of reputation in the long run, and you’ll have created a boring job for yourself: finding things to tweet.

Hot Topics 

Hot topics should be tweeted when you find them, or within a few hours.
There are many services you can check to find a hot topic that interests you whenever you are online and have a couple of minutes. Here are few to get you started:
  1. NewsWhip
  2. LinkedIn Today
  3. PopURLs
  4. BuzzFeed
  5. Digg

Quotes, Facts And Humor

Quotes, one-liners and fascinating factoids are very overdone on Twitter, but it’s okay to share a few each week. These can be scheduled in advance. Also: try to be funny yourself from time to time!
To be funny take what you are doing or what your friends are up to, or a current news or hot topic and combine it with a funny or famous line, such as quotes from movies or TV. Make a game of it!
Another way of creating funny tweets is to say something out-of-character (stupid, obvious, or as if you didn’t mean to say it), then follow that up with, “Oh wait…”.

2. Focused Tweets

These are things you know or care a lot about. These help people get to know your interests, and this can be how you help others.
For example, if you have a wealth of knowledge in some topic area, and a lot of links to useful information, you might schedule one of your informational links to go out each day. These can also be your comments on news or entertainment or causes that you care about.

3. Conversation Tweets

The first two kinds of tweets can be scheduled some of the time. Conversation tweets are where you reply to people, help people, or get help.
Begin by regularly searching for people who need help and helping them. Start by reading tweets about people asking questions about Twitter by doing a Twitter search like this. Use Google search or search Twitter’s help website to find answers. Also read a Twitter article or two each week to learn more. (A good place to start.)
Finally, after making sure you are replying to everyone who tweets to you (even if it takes you a few days), begin asking questions from time to time.

4. Retweets And Thank-You’s

People love being retweeted.
You need to show that you retweet others. Either your focused or popular tweets should be retweets from time to time. Start by checking @GuyKawasaki and @FlipBooks from time to time for popular things to retweet. Later, you’ll be mostly retweeting things from key connections as you make them.
Don’t automatically thank people for following you, but do thank them for retweets sometimes (“follow thanks” are so common as to be considered spam by many users). If you chat with someone right after they follow, it’s okay to thank them afterward though.
Above all, learn how to turn praise for others into public compliments on Twitter.

Developing Your Twitter Style

Make Your Own Rules

Be sure you’ve read a few Twitter etiquette articles. Realize that not everyone does things in the same way, so feel free to make your own rules over time. It’s important to make your own laws, and keep improving them.
The main thing is to be responsive. To build a great reputation your tweets need to show you are a real person who engages with others. Having conversation and retweet tweets in balance is a big help.

Your Mentors

Once you start making great connections on Twitter, pay attention to how they use Twitter. Emulate them and ask questions in order to build your own style.
The fastest way to begin using Twitter really well is to have great mentors, promote them, and ask for and listen to their advice.
What do you think? Have any questions or comments on building a great reputation? Leave a comment in the box below.