A couple of years ago I wrote a little piece about Twitter Dos and Don’ts. It was pretty popular, if I may say so myself. I still get a lot of questions about Twitter, so I thought I would write an updated list of Twitter tips!
The question I get most often is: How do you get followers? The answer is there really is no magic formula. I can tell you I do not buy followers (yes, you can do that) I do not “harvest” followers (yes, you can do that too). I don’t ask people to follow me. I want people to follow me who actually want to follow me. For me, it only makes sense if it is organic. That is to say, if people find my tweets interesting, follow me. It’s really just that simple. Having a large following that isn't engaged, is pointless. I guess it looks cool to have 100k followers but if they are all following you for the follow back, and you are all just playing a version of the "follow me" game, it is meaningless. Without engagement, the number count is pointless. Here are just some tips to help improve your experience on Twitter. If you are a good Tweeter...people will follow!
I like to interact (if you hadn’t noticed already! :) If I see an interesting article, I will repost it. I will also engage with the person who posted it, follow that person and often they will follow back.
I like to get involved with issues. If something is trending with a hashtag (#) I will search that hashtag. I may interact with people who’s opinion I appreciate or even disagree with. (if you are going to disagree, try to keep it civil, respectful and not personal.) .
Get involved with communities. If you like watching a tv show, search that show's hashtag and tweet with others who also like the show. If you like a particular genre of books, search that hashtag and initiate some dialogue with other who enjoy that genre. I will search words like “mom”, “parenting”, “marriage equality”, etc... Its a great way to broaden your circle and engage with interesting people. And by using a hashtag, others will have the opportunity to find you too.
I like see who my friends are interacting with and get involved with them, again if I like their tweets.
You have to post interesting content. Try to find interesting articles, news, websites, quotes, your own observations, insights, etc.. Again, you have to be sincere. It is not going to work if you are not into rap but think rap is popular so you post links about rappers!! You have to be authentic in your tweeting. You also have to be interesting. If you are just going to post things like "Just ate breakfast" "Time to clean the dishes" "Laundry is folded", etc... if that is ALL you post, don't be disappointed if you don't get a large following.
Opinions, in my opinion, are good. I know some folks want to please everyone so they stay neutral on everything. To me, that is boring and I probably won’t feel compelled to read your bland, boring affirmations every day. I like passionate people. Even if I don’t always agree with them, I appreciate their passion and willingness to share it. Have I lost followers over my opinions? Of course!! And that is ok! It happens.
Avoid serial retweeting. It just gets boring if all you do is retweet people. Especially if the tweets are mundane. Definitely retweet links that you think others will find interesting, but try to avoid retweeting EVERYTHING that comes across your timeline.
If you are a business, please PLEASE please engage your audience. Don’t just post your sales and website link. Find content to share, engage with your followers and ALWAYS respond! Always! You can also thank people when they follow. If I see a timeline that consists of nothing more than the “buy my stuff” sort of links, I am not following.
Avoid the public twitter fight! A spirited debate is one thing. A twitter fight is something completely different. There is nothing that will get an unfollow faster than a nasty public twitter fight. No one wants to see that especially if you are a business! There are trolls out there who live for starting twitter fights - don’t fall for it. If you really feel you have to defend your point, state it respectfully, concisely and MOVE ON! If the trolls do try to start a fight with you, use your BLOCK button. It works great. :)
Try not to be a negative nelly all the time. When I read someone’s timeline and all I see are mean, bitchy, whiny or grumpy tweets, I am probably not going to follow. Of course we all need to rant once in awhile, and even a good rant can be entertaining, but if you are just going to bitch all the time, don’t expect a lot of followers.
Please! Spare us your shirtless "selfies"! No one wants to see that on Twitter. Enough said.
I know its not 100% foolproof but I will consider Klout scores when I decide who to follow. It is just a quick reference to see how engaged a person is. If someone has 125,000 followers but a klout score of 30, I know they are just follow whores. These are the accounts that just want the numbers. They are not interested in meaningful engagement. Also if someone has 13,000 followers and follows 14,000 accounts, they are probably harvesting followers. I am usually not too easily tempted to follow them. I get that new tweeters will be following a lot more people than they have followers, but once they get into the tens of thousands, its harvesting. (you can download a browser add-on so that a Klout score is displayed next to a person's name on Twitter)
Lists! Use Twitter lists! I love my lists even though they are in serious need of re-organizing. I have lists of my regular every day friends. I have lists relating to certain tv shows. I have lists related to certain projects. This way I can easily follow these people and keep up with them. I may only tweet the people who watch a particular tv show when that show is on, but it is very easy to see what they are all tweeting during the show when you have them organized into a list. Creating a list is simple. When you follow a person, get in the habit of adding them to a list at the same time. (you can always change which list they are on later or remove them all together if they aren’t interesting) You can also keep your lists private. Perhaps you don’t want people to know who made your “FAVORITE PEOPLE ON TWITTER” list. :) You can also add someone to a list without following them! I have done this with my son’s friends. They are on a private list and I don’t follow them so these kids have no idea I am reading all their tweets :) You can make a list for “newly followed” then once you decide if they are worthy of regular attention, move them to your “every day” list :) Klout scores also takes into account how often you are "listed". Being on a person's list can be more valuable than a follow! I will list people I am keenly interested in and may not necessarily follow them. Think of it like a "stealth mode" follow! You want to be listed not just followed!
I love using Hootsuite on my laptop. Hootsuite lets you organize your lists under different tabs. You can also add “streams”. I know this is a little advanced but I just want you to understand it can be very easy once you are organized and use these great tools to take your engagement to a whole new level. For instance, you can create a stream with certain # hashtags! Hootsuite also allows you to schedule tweets. Maybe you have some great content to share but you don’t want to put it all out there at once, with hootsuite you can either schedule it to post at a certain time or you call allow Hootsuite to determine a time that will get the biggest audience. Cool, right?
Put up a profile picture. I don’t follow eggs. To me, “eggs” are either brand new tweeters or bots. I need to know more about you before I commit to a follow. If you want to be acknowledged on Twitter you have to have a picture or icon.
I am also not likely to follow you if your account is protected. I just figure you have a lock on it for a reason. I also don’t like having to ask to follow and risk rejection :(
Now for a few things that annoy me (and I assume will annoy others too):
Asking for a follow back or worse, demanding a follow back. I automatically think, “Don’t Tell Me What To Do” lol
Asking repeatedly to retweet or to tweet your blog, youtube, website, soundcloud, charity, business, etc. If I want to support you, I will. If I do retweet you, don’t expect this to become a regular thing. Once I retweet you, my followers will either follow you or they won’t I am not going to spam them with your tweets repeatedly. No one is going to follow me or read my tweets if all I do is plug other people’s work. ( You are however welcome to post your links on my website here: http://www.momsthoughts.com/the-blog-thoughts-by-mom-/list-your-blog-here-/ )
If I support you and you never return the favor....don’t expect me to continue to support you. I may even unfollow. Its a two way street. I help you, you help me. You would be surprised at how many “requests” I get to tweet other people’s stuff. Often its not even a request, its a command. Some have come to think of me as their own personal PR department. Unless you are sending me a paycheck (to date, no one has...haha) do not command me to do anything. And if you never support me or even tweet with me, do not expect me to plug your blog!
I would be remiss if I didn’t include this: Avoid people who identify themselves as “PR” “Publicist” or “Socialite”. I am not saying every Publicist is a fraud, but please, at least look at them VERY carefully! I have encountered so many of these scammers. They simply identify themselves as such and think they are. Please don’t fall for it. These are people who usually stalk celebrities, get pictures with them and then will tweet something about the great night they had hanging with or working with so-and-so. So-and-so doesn’t know them from Adam, but these sorts of people like to twist truths and they will also post flat out lies. I have seen the most bold lies on Twitter but other people believe them because they would never think someone would be so blatant or bold in their lies. (I have seen people post they were on a tv show - never happened - but that doesn’t stop them from posting it) They convince you they are rubbing elbows with celebrities regularly when in fact they are just attending public events anyone could go to. They use this to build a following and then try to use the following to gain “clients” or they have dreams of being the next Perez Hilton. They have no legitimate skills, education or contacts, its all a house of cards.
I also avoid people who use words like “SEO”, “Social Media Optimization”, or “Marketing” in their profile. They are usually just follow whores too.
And NEVER give someone money. If someone asks you for money, block and report. Immediately.
It all boils down to being authentic and getting involved with those who have shared interests. Join communities. Post good content. Tweet regularly. Use #hashtags and lists. Respond! Do unto others as you would have done unto you!
Questions? Comments? Tweet me! @MomsThoughts