While some sites might encourage you to 'buy' your twitter followers, this is like 'buying' an email database. You never know what you get landed with. Instead, try some of these time-consuming, but effective techniques to build your twitter base:
1. Complete your profile: It takes minutes to complete and profile and add a photograph, but you are putting a face to a name and it instantly makes your account more 'real'.
2. Promote your twitter name everywhere: Add them to your blog posts, your email signature, and your social media accounts.
3. Mix up your tweets: If it's a business account, don't hesitate to add a bit of personal flavor to it. If you are an employee tweeting for your company, be careful as to what you tweet about, but it's still fun to add variety to your posts.
4. Retweeting rocks! Use it to publicize tweets you find interesting and in return, you'll find others will begin to retweet your links. Believe you know it all? Here's a Retweet Guide that shows you just how much can be done with retweeting.
5. Tweet during peak hours: Research shows that 9am-6pm, East/West Coast is the best time to tweet and especially between the lunch hours of 12pm-2pm. So try and schedule your tweets for these hours and you may find yourself getting more traffic. I use SocialOomph to schedule my posts, but I also find spontaneous tweeting can be fun and more engaging.
6. Take it offline: Print your links on your business cards, on brochures, handouts and offer your twitter name (for this sake, ensure it's an easy handle) to contacts.
7. Include images and videos: Images and videos get heavily retweeted so if you come across interesting content, or better yet, if you create it, then share it. It's fairly easy to upload images to twitter using a service like TwitPic. Here's an article on 'how to upload images to Twitter'.
8. Search for influencers: Use twitter's Advance Search to find influencers and groups that you can relate to and begin to follow them and interact with them. If they like what you share, they make tweet it to their followers.
9. Run a contest: Everyone loves a contest and you are assured of garnering audience interest if you fun one. Need to get inspired? Here are some twitter contests that drew in the crowds - http://mashable.com/2011/07/06/twitter-campaigns/
10. Track your results. I use Crowdbooster to help me analyze my followers, tweets, mentions, and retweets. Other excellent tools include TwitterCounter and Hootsuite, which will also let you schedule posts in advance and measure and refine results for specific campaigns.
What are some ways you increase your twitter following?