When it comes to Twitter, it’s very easy to get all caught up in the numbers. If you follow enough people, most will likely follow you back and before you know it you have 50,000 followers…none of which listen to a word you say. So, what’s the point, other than to impress your friends and perhaps give you the warm fuzzies on those cold nights when you are all alone and feeling insecure with your place in this world?
It’s like that old saying. “If a tree falls in a forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?” Only in this case if a Tweet is posted and no one…well, you get what I’m saying, right? If no one is listening to you on Twitter you are wasting your time there. Either stop Tweeting or change your strategy. I’m here to try and convince you to change your strategy.
The good news is that converting some of your followers into true fans is not that hard. The bad news is that it’s not that easy either. If you are looking for a quick fix you are in the wrong place. A silver bullet is not going to fix this problem. What will fix it is going to require a commitment of time and effort on your part. You aren’t going to be able to reach as many people as you would through some automated process you’ve likely used or read about, but you will get a MUCH better result. So, you need to choose…do you want it done right or done fast? You can’t have both.
Messaging New Followers
I’m sure by now you have had the heart warming experience of following someone and within a few minutes received some canned “Thanks for following! Learn more about me at www.WhoCaresAboutYou.com”. This type of auto responder rarely works for the average Twitter user because it’s all about you, you, you. I’m following you because I think you might have some value to offer me, not because I wanted more information about your early start with the Commodore 64. This type of automated response gives me the impression that you don’t care about me…which in all honesty, you probably don’t. No thanks.
Try this instead. When someone new begins to follow you, read their bio and their last 10 Tweets. Look for a shared interest somewhere. Reach out in order to thank them for following you in a personal note offering some type of value around your shared interests. A good private message is 100% sincere and includes their name, a thank you and something of value with no strings attached or expectations on your part. Whether you are sending a link to your website, e-book, blog post or even someone else’s website you are doing so because you honestly feel it is of some value to them. So for example, try this instead:
Hi Bob! Thanks for following me! I saw that you are studying SEO. I have a free e-book that might be helpful: http://bit.ly/J2JEfQ Thoughts?
This is a much nicer way to introduce yourself than some canned response that everyone gets. It’s personal, informative, valuable and you even make it clear at the end that you are open to a response. This is all part of being an active, positive and valuable member of the Twitter community.
Reply to Those You Follow
You see all of that stuff on the right side of your Twitter screen that changes every couple of seconds? Those are the Tweets of the people you follow. You aren’t going to believe this, but you’re supposed to be reading that stuff! I know you rarely do, am I right? Well, if you want people to start reading yours, it’s time you start reading theirs. The only way to tell someone that you have read what they posted is by sending them an intelligent reply. “Nice one!” is not going to cut it here.
You don’t have to read every single Tweet that goes by, but you should scan through them every time you log into Twitter and reply to anything that catches your eye. Don’t just respond to your “heroes” even though it makes you feel important. Make sure you are showing everyone a little love. In fact, those that don’t have a big name will appreciate your response much more and will likely write back, keeping the conversation going. By showing interest in what they like and offering up some value within your response, you will have someone that is now listening to you and will likely respond and retweet your posts moving forward.
We all know that it’s nice to retweet posts of the people you follow, so yeah, nothing new there. What I’m suggesting is that you take a more strategic approach to it than just blindly reposting a bunch of garbage just to fill up your cue and say you did. Make a conscious effort to seek out interesting stuff and share it. Don’t just Retweet people that are big influencers in your industry as a way to suck up to them. We all see right through that! Retweet based on content instead. I tend to pay more attention to people that retweet really interesting stuff more sporadically than those that spend most of their time on Twitter regurgitating other people’s Tweets all day.
Following this advice, you may not beat your friends by having the most followers but you will likely beat them by having the most loyal followers. People that listen. People that share. People that spread the word. Would you rather have 1,000 followers like that or 100,000 followers that have never read a single Tweet of yours?