I often get asked about Twitter – how did you build up that following, how can I build up a following like that, how did you get to be so good looking? I made that last one up. I have sent the exact text below to several people that have asked me about my Twitter methods, and thought it would make for an informative post.
There are a range of factors/tools that allowed me to build my network on Twitter. I can tell you it was 100% natural – no automated services helped me acquire followers. I do send auto-DMs, and there was a short time where I was auto-following back people that followed me. That got ugly though – spammers used it against me.
My Top 7 Twitter tips:
1. Be on Twitter alot – tweet things that are interesting – be active.
2. Interact. Don’t just tweet famous quotes and links – interact with people. Answer their “@” posts to you with a “@” post back to them. I rarely follow back anyone that doesn’t appear to interact with people via the “@” reply.
3. Be helpful to others. It’s not all about you. Retweet, recommend others, offer assistance when you can. The 80/20 rule is in effect!
4. Follow interesting people. And you don’t need to wait for people to follow you in order to follow them. Follow the folks that are interesting to you and hope that they’ll follow you back. This point is key, and I talk about it more below.
5. If you follow some folks, and they don’t follow you back after a week or so, it’s OK to unfollow them. In fact, Twitter has limits on how many you can follow. You need people to follow you in order for you to follow others. If you want to hear more about what these limits are, let me know. Long story short, I would give people a chance to follow you back. If they don’t, it’s OK to unfollow them.
6. If someone follows you, give them an honest chance on the followback – I am personally flattered when a real live person follows me – I will manually go check out their account (when I can keep up with this) and will seriously consider following them back.
7. Truthfully, if it is important to you to keep your follower numbers up, following back does help. Otherwise, they may unfollow you, since you didn’t follow them back. They’ll follow the advice I gave in #5 above.
I think one of the main bones of contention that some people will have with these tips is with #4. There is a school of thought that following a bunch of people in the hope that they will follow you back is unnatural, spammy, and gaming the system. I have had people tell me that directly about my account. Here’s the deal on this – think of a real-life analogy. Almost every single real-life human relationship that you have today started out on an uneven footing, i.e., someone made the first move. You extended your hand and introduced yourself, or the other party did. You either reciprocated and shook their hand, or you turned your nose up and gave them the cold shoulder. Most of the time, you’d shake their hand. You may not end up being close friends with them, but that’s how you meet people. The only time this uneven footing thing isn’t true is if you get introduced to someone by a third party. In this one case, a new relationship was christened with zero effort by either party. The third party did the work, and you two just stood there. The rest of the time, someone does that initial outreach.
Twitter is the same way. If you see someone that you find interesting, follow them. You can go further and say hi to them with a “@” reply. They’ll either follow you back, say hi back to you, or both. Or neither! There is nothing wrong with making the first move here. And if you want to do it on a large scale by following a bunch of people, that is OK. Twitter allows that – it’s an advantage that Twitter has over real life!
The takeaway for entrepreneurs is this – Twitter is my number one sales channel, and the tips above helped me get there.