You signed up for Twitter about three years ago...

You have spurts of activity and you post a couple of articles with a couple of hashtags decided on in that very moment...

You occasionally post a picture when you're out for dinner with your other infrequently tweeting friends...

And after those three years your follower numbers are still in the low hundreds, and you connect with new people only on a monthly basis.

Does that sound familiar? Good, because you are in the right place.

Because I used to be like that too... until I figured out how to connect with people every hour. Use the following five free hacks, and in a couple of weeks you will, too.

1. Auto DMs

I dislike automating human interactions, and I used to scowl at anyone on Twitter who used auto DM (direct message). However, there is a way to use auto DMs (I use the function in Crowdfire) without completely alienating your new follower. Check this out:

The key is to make the new follower the focus (not just spamming with a link) and to be real (e.g., "I hate auto DM's").

You can see from the image that I now have a new connection, Michael, who recently wrote a useful article.

2. Sniply

Instead of using Bitly to shorten your links, use Snipley and then each link you share will place an ad for your site, or you latest blog post, or you favorite article on the page that you link to...

For example, check out this tweet from December:

When people clicks that link, they are taken to the relevant page and they see this:

(Though we could definitely provide a better call to action!)

3. Viral Content Buzz

Looking for great content to share and want to get more shares for your great content?

Viral Content Buzz can help you with that. Simply create a free account, accumulate credit by sharing tweets from other members, and have your content shared in return.

Check out one of our most shared tweets:

You can see... 11 retweets. Assuming 500 followers per person (it is usually a little higher), that means an extra reach for that tweet of approximately 5,500.

For what cost? Zero.

4. Multi-Reply

I recently heard some sales advice that went something like this: "Make 100 contacts per day, and over time you will make sales."

The basic premise is that each interaction you have with a real person acts as a mini advert for you/your business, so over time will lead to sales.

Twitter is a great way to tick off those 100 interactions by mentioning multiple people in your tweets. Check this out:

Six interactions ticked off, just another 94 to go... ;)

5. Become a Hashtag Authority

Choose the one hashtag that is being used and searched by the person or persons you want to interact with, whether for business or social reasons.

And stay with it for a minimum of six weeks:

  • Use it with all of your relevant tweets.
  • Search it once per day and like, reply, and retweet content.
  • Add it to your Twitter bio.

Over time, you will begin to be seen as an authority on that topic and you will become a "must-follow influencer."

* * *

OK, so now that you have five free hacks to ensure that when you next log in to Twitter you won't see just a couple of "liked" notifications... Instead, you will now see a barrage of responses to your Auto DMs, RTs from your new Viral Content Buzz friends, and you will have people reaching out to you for advice on your selected hashtag.

But now, I need a favor from you...

I need you to share this article using the Twitter icon to the left of this text with your one friend who doesn't use Twitter regularly. Let's change their Twitter fortunes!

And, finally, if you have any questions on how to implement these tactics for yourself, drop your Twitter link in the comments below and I will respond to each within 24 hours (remember, I have 100 personal contact to make each day!).

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Five Twitter Hacks to Skyrocket Your Engagement

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image of Tom Hunt

Tom Hunt is a TEDx speaker, Dragons' Den failure, and Internet entrepreneur. He believes that entrepreneurship, marketing, and podcasts are becoming increasingly important, so he writes about them on Fame website.

Twitter: @tomhuntio