There’s no way around it. If you want to effectively market yourself on Twitter then you will need followers. And not just any old Twitter follower. You want people who are interested in what you have to say and who will help you spread your message around. Here are nine ways you can generate a targeted Twitter following who have a focused interest in your niche subject.

Write Great Content

People need a reason to follow you. Just like they will only watch the television shows that interests them, people will only follow the Twitter feeds of those who provide something of value. You provide this value to your followers by submitting good solid content. These can be links to interesting articles, quick tips and even coupon codes. The content you provide should center on your niche subject. For example, if you want graphic designers following you, then you should only produce content that graphic designers would find interesting. To deviate from the subject is to risk diluting your subject matter and alienating subscribers.

Advertise

The link to your Twitter profile should be in a prominent place on your blog such as in the header or in the sidebar. And just in case your visitors miss these links, you should put a link to your profile at the end of each of your blog posts. You can find many tutorials online that will show you how to edit your blog theme so that the link will automatically show up without any additional effort from you. You want to make it as easy as possible for your visitors to find your Twitter link on your blog.

Host a Subscription Contest

When Namecheap hit the Twitter scene, they built their subscription base by hosting a quiz contest for free domain names. Although people had to sign up for both a Namecheap and Twitter account as well as subscribe to the Namecheap Twitter feed in order to enter the contest, their marketing tactic worked. Today, Namecheap has close to 8,000 subscribers. People love to win stuff. As long as you provide great prizes and make it easy for people to enter, you should have no problem increasing your subscriber count with a simple contest.

Get Involved

You wouldn’t go to a party and stand in a corner talking to yourself all night would you? But that’s exactly what many people do that on Twitter. They just hang around their own feed tweeting about themselves. Twitter is a social networking website with an emphasis on social. People go there to hook up with friends, exchange information and to find out about what is happening in the world. If you want more followers then you need to get out there and interact with other Tweeters. Subscribe to Twitter feeds and respond to tweets. Most people will reciprocate and subscribe to your feed- especially if you have great content. To find people to follow, use a Twitter directory such as WeFollow. WeFollow lists Twitter members by subject which makes it easy to find people interested in your niche.

Article Marketing

Article Marketing is a form of marketing where you write articles and submit them to article directories. This is a great way to gain back links and traffic to your website as other webmasters use these directories to find articles to post on their blogs, websites and newsletters. If you already engage in article marketing gaining subscribers is as easy as adding a link to your Twitter profile in the author resource box. If you aren’t doing article marketing, then consider adding this marketing tactic to your bag of tricks. You’ll gain exposure for yourself as well as snag new subscribers in the process.

Give Away Free Stuff

People love swag. It’s amazing the things people will do for free stuff. That’s why offering something for free is an almost guaranteed way of getting people to subscribe to your Twitter feed. The trick is to offer something that people want. An informational ebook, a blog theme, an iPhone app are all good pieces of swag that will have people knocking down your Twitter door. To prevent people from accessing the content without subscribing to your feed, use the direct message feature on Twitter to send download links directly to new subscribers.

Link Drop When You Can

You should link to your Twitter profile whenever you have an opportunity to do so. If you’re out in the blogosphere commenting on blogs, place a link to your Twitter profile in the space set aside for a link to your website. If you are a member of a forum, place the link in your profile as well as the signature space. Most email programs will allow you to include a signature that will show on all of the emails you send out. You can find many tutorials online that will give you step by step instructions on how to do this with your particular email software.

Participate in Twitter Memes

A meme is a kind of game that brings together a group of people around a subject. For example, in the blogosphere, a popular meme is Thursday Thirteen where each blogger submits a list of thirteen items about any subject. The main goal of memes is to bring people together and interacting with each another. Twitter has quite a few memes. One of the most popular is Follow Friday where every Friday you recommend a person to follow on Twitter. You can find a list of popular memes on Tweme.com.

Use Hashtags

Hashtags are a way to categorize your Tweets. Similar to categories in blog software, they are called hashtags because of the hash mark (#) that goes in front of the tag name. Users can do a search on Twitter for specific hashtags that will bring up all the Tweets on Twitter marked with that tag. Needless to say, when you use hashtags, all of your posts marked with that tag will be included in the search listings for that subject. This makes it easy for you to be seen by people interested in your niche. Building a targeted Twitter following does take time and patience. But the reward of having a group of people passionate about you and willing to spread your message around is well worth it.