As we continue to build our platform, it is important to take a careful look at Twitter. In many ways, Twitter is a better platform resource than Facebook. Where Facebook limits your contacts to people who mutually friend one another, you can follow anyone on Twitter. In theory, this permits you a much larger number of followers. But how do you get followers on Twitter?
There are all sorts of aps on Twitter to help you get more followers. But I refuse to use them. It seems so disingenuous. I have a small, but solid following on Twitter. I have achieved this through 1. following key players, 2. establishing relationships, and 3. talking with people, not at them! So let's break these three points down.
Following Key Players
When I first got on Twitter, I had no idea what I was doing. I needed to follow some people, so others would follow me. So, I looked up all sorts of famous people I knew and started following them. I quickly found myself following about 75 people and only had three followers. Famous people are not going to follow you back. It is just a fact. Don't overwhelm your home page with useless tweets from actors, musicians, comedians or sports people you really don't care about that much.
Take your time and do some research. Follow people that matter to your industry. I quickly followed Random House, Penguin, Avon Books and several other publishing agencies. They post blogs, business trends and hot new releases coming out. Then I started following certain writing agents. Here's a fun tip when following people on twitter: Look at how often they post and what they post. I randomly followed one agent, because I had submitted my manuscript to her. After two months I un-followed because her random, obnoxious, irrelevant tweets were leaving a really bad taste in my mouth! Boy, was I glad she did not pick up my book!
Now, start looking for lesser known people who might tweet things that matter to you. (You can follow me at HeidiAngell) Follow other authors in your field, bloggers who post book reviews, people who share similar interests. For example, I often follow people who post inspiring quotes. I also follow people who philosophize! Foodies, people from Australia and health reviewers also catch my eye. I have recently picked up on techies, social marketing, graphic artists and several other "non-writing" related topics! Simply because they are all topics that interested me!
Just because someone follows you, doesn't mean you have to follow them back. You would be surprised how many will unfollow after a couple of weeks. You can follow people who do not directly relate to your business, but who may have shared interests. Look at how often they post and what they post about. I avoid people who post fifty times a day, who post obnoxious things like "going to the potty now." or who just don't appeal to me. Be real on Twitter.
This is tricky on Twitter. Whereas on Facebook you have the benefit of knowing people before you mutually follow, on Twitter it is harder to keep track of these "nameless" individuals. I follow 215 people on Twitter. Despite my careful culling, I get an average of 100 tweets an hour. I can't read all of those tweets every day! That is insane! But I scan. I make a concerted effort to respond to three different people's random tweets each day. It may be something as simple as answering a question. Sometimes it is a witty retort to their own statement.
I pick two blog posts each day that grab my attention. I take the time to read and comment on them. There are a few blogs that I have begun following regularly because their posts are frequently informative, but I do not count those in my "two" requirement. (We'll review them under blogs to follow in another post!)
In making a concerted effort to hit up different people each day, you are able to build your network and make personal connections without overtaxing your time.
Talk With People Not at Them
This is a continuation of the establishing relationships idea. Your on Twitter to promote a product, right? But filling peoples streams with "advertising" your products is talking at them. Instead talk with them. Post your work, but share other people's work as well. They will often share yours. (Make sure you are sharing quality work. If it strikes you, share it with your followers! Avoid the mindless follow me/ I'll follow you or share me/ I'll share you mentality, it will discredit you to your own followers!) Respond to personal tweets with honesty and a positive mindset. They will be more inclined to pay attention to you when you tweet. Tweet personal items that allow others to respond to you. When you post personal posts, keep a professional mindset. (No potty commentaries, my toe itches, etc... unless you are trying to be funny! See Adam Troudart, he cracks me up!)
You don't want to follow masses every day in hopes they will follow you back, as it will be hard to keep up with them. At the same time, you don't want to go weeks without adding some people to follow. In my experience less people tend to find you this way. My goal is to find three to five unique individuals to follow each week. This usually will cause me to pick up ten or so followers. When one of those I followed turns around and follows me back, it will frequently get one or two of their followers to check me out as well!
Twitter has such potential, but it is so easy to get sucked in and suddenly realize you wasted half the day. Maintaining balance is difficult. Build carefully my young padawans