Thanks to the ability to find and talk to people all over the world at any time, Twitter can be one of the most exciting websites to visit for daily use. Tweeting to low volumes of followers, however, can be disappointing and even scare off users in the long run. Everyone who isn’t a celebrity or major company has been there, posting great, funny tweets to very few people in the early days.

What people don’t seem to realize is that there are many easy and free strategies that can easily grow your Twitter follower list while having fun conversations with other people along the way. Like Linkedin, Twitter can be a great way to make new connections and drive business to you or your website. Here are some helpful tips to gain more Twitter followers:

Tweet at the right times: It’s 2:32 am on a Tuesday morning. You’ve got a brainwave and want to share it with the world. It has the potential to be your greatest tweet ever… but only four people see it. The timing of your tweets is vital to your growth and can be the key to success. Keep track of times when you look at Twitter. If you see a pattern, it may be consistent with other people. Tweeting at 8:00 pm, for example, is good on a normal day because most people are off work. But if you tweet at that time on a night with a television show premiere or awards show, for example, you’ll be lost in a world of people who don’t care. Some peak times are 9:00 am, 1:30 pm and 3:00 pm.

Tweet consistently, but not too much: No matter what you tweet about, if you tweet too often, you’ll lose followers at high rates. You don’t need to tweet out every single thought you have, and doing play-by-play of an award show can just annoy everyone. Find a happy medium because tweeting more than a few times a day can drastically help you gain more attention.

Reach out to other users: Tweeting to people like Barack Obama and Justin Bieber will likely result in no response, but people typically go on Twitter to communicate. You’ll likely have no issue finding people with similar interests to you and they’ll want to interact and share thoughts with the world. Tweet @ someone you find interesting and start a conversation. If you’re interesting enough to them, they’ll reply and maybe follow you back. When someone follows you, there’s a chance they’ll share something you said with their own followers and that might result in you gaining followers too.

Use platforms such as Tweetdeck and Hootsuite: Being able to track various Twitter trends at any time can be extremely useful, and both Tweetdeck and Hootsuite offer effective ways of doing so. The free and low-cost platforms are popular with companies and other users alike thanks to its ability to track search terms, hashtags, and follow lists of users all at once. Plus, you can schedule tweets to be shared later so if you have followers in different time zones, you can reach them easily at any time without actually having to be awake.

Join the conversation: Twitter can be a fun place to partake in chats with people all over the world. Let’s say there’s a panel discussion going on somewhere and there’s a hashtag for people to keep up with the topics. By using the hashtag and posting relevant comments, anyone from industry leaders to eager learners will see what you have to say and may want to check you out further. This is extremely effective if you have something to say but only a small following. People who’ve never heard of you before will get access to your ideas via the hashtag.

Follow users back: Some people are only on Twitter to gain large followings, and while it’s better when people come to you organically, it’s a good idea to follow back. This start a conversation and you can end up finding cool people that you wouldn’t have otherwise encountered. You can use services such as Who.Unfollowed.Me to find out who has unfollowed and who doesn’t follow you back to keep your timeline as clean as possible.

Find friends by importing contact lists: Services like Gmail and Linkedin allow you to export your contact lists and load them in other websites. On mobile, for example, you can simply synchronize contacts from your phone to Twitter and be given access to many of your friends’ accounts, which can be especially good if you didn’t know their handle. Friends are more likely to follow you back, and it’s an easy way to get more followers once you follow them first.

Have any other tips you would like to share? Comment below!