How to Earn All the Twitter Followers You Deserve

Last time I Googled “how to get more Twitter followers,” 579,000,000 results came up. This is clearly a topic on many people’s minds.

First, a question: Would you rather have thousands of followers who never interact with you or your content, or 100 raving fans who retweet regularly and click all your links? Do you value quantity over quality?

All things being equal, bigger is better. But the point is that the size of your audience isn’t the only factor you should be concerned about developing.

Real Life Matters
Your personality outside of Twitter has a huge impact on the size and type of following you attract. Just ask Tim Tebow or Ashton Kutcher. Celebrities get massive numbers of followers instantly because of who they are, even when they break all the “rules” of Twitter etiquette.

I believe the foundation of creating the audience you deserve is actually being someone worth following. Do you have something valuable to share? Do you offer unique perspective to the people reading your tweets? Are you actively brightening their day in some way? If not, you probably won’t attract or keep the kinds of followers you want.

Now you have to let the world know what you can do.

Get the Bio Right
They say you only get one chance to make a first impression. In many cases, your profile picture and 160-character bio will determine what potential followers will think of you. It can make the difference between gaining attention and getting ignored.

You’ve experienced it yourself; when you see a profile that doesn’t have a photo, you second-guess whether it’s even a real person. With all the fake accounts, spammers and bots, you never know.

Beyond that, you have a few lines to tell everyone who you are, what you’re about and what they can expect when they click the Follow button.

If you have a website, blog, portfolio, etc., you should always include a link. That let’s you demonstrate how awesome you are without the character limitation. You can link to a free valuable resource to get followers to start consuming your content right away.

There’s an App for that
Your profile and your tweets should always be appropriate, appealing and applicable.

Appropriate: Know who your audience is and who you’d like to be in it. Share content appropriate for that audience. It wouldn’t do much good for Nike to share a video about pulled pork sandwiches.

Appealing: On the other hand, Nike’s followers want to know about sports, sports gear and health/wellness issues. What does your audience care about? What are they worried or excited about right now. Tweeting on those subjects, adding your expertise and sharing resources are powerful ways to you grow and nurture loyal, attentive followers.

Applicable: As much as possible, members of your Twitter community should be able to do something with the content you share. They can open hilarious videos that make them LOL. They can click links to help them fix them save on car insurance. Or they can see the world through your eyes for just a minute.

For the most part, no one wants to know all the intimate details of your daily routine. Tweet stuff that matters to your followers.

Are You Talking About Yourself…Again?
Some how-to articles tell you how often to send out different kinds of tweets. What percentage should be links? What tweet/retweet ratio should you use?

I don’t know if any of these figures can be proven to work better in every instance.

You’ll probably agree that high-quality content is always welcome. Good jokes go over well, no matter what percentage of your tweets they comprise.

If you create content for the purpose of educating, entertaining or otherwise improving your follower’s day or life, why hold back? You could probably get away with 100% of your tweets being links to your website.

That being said, interacting with your followers and your colleagues is usually a really smart thing to do. Everyone likes @mentions. Replies and retweets can only strengthen the bonds you have.

Developing a great Twitter following is less about learning techniques than most social media gurus would like you to think.

For example, a widely-taught tactic for growing a big audience is to follow people who you’d like to follow you, then unfollow the ones that don’t. Sure, you will get about half of those individuals to follow back, but think about it: you don’t follow them because you care about their tweets. You just want them to read and respond to yours.

If everyone on Twitter followed all the people they wanted to sell to but had no interest in listening to, what would that look like? It would be horrible. Everyone talking, no one listening. That’s not what social media is supposed to be about.

Naturally, knowing how to operate in any environment (online or off) is important. But if you don’t start with value creation, you’re neglecting human nature. People exchange their time for things that are more valuable to them than other things they could be spending their time doing.

Become a reliable source for those kinds of things and you’re on the right path to growing your ideal audience.


Not All Marketers Are Liars

While I’m posting social media conversations on my blog, here’s a few tweets that I exchanged with a guy I follow yesterday:

IJR: The world has become such a easy place to market to; sell them lies and they will buy it… Give them truth and they will shun it…

Sell them lies: Diet pills, shakes, body braces, etc and they will buy… Sell them truth: More vegs + exercise and they will shun it

Meit’s not necessarily truth they shun. It’s WORK.

The world is so easy to market to, not because people buy lies (although they do), but because they want ease.

That’s why grown men buy clip-on ties, why most of us don’t cook food from scratch. Make life easier & marketing gets easier

Marketers and salespeople can use deception to get sales, no doubt about it. A lot of people do. It’s a bad idea, but it can work in the short-term…

For that reason, a large percentage of us automatically distrust salespeople and think of advertisements as mostly fantasy (or at least puffery).

But truth sells, too. It’s a little harder to dig out truth than to make up stories, but truth-telling is a much more intelligent, more sustainable business model.


5 Ways Twitter Improves Your Writing Skills

People keep telling me that the internet is making people dumber. To be honest, I don’t know whether or not that’s true. But did you know that Twitter can make you better writer?

If you are purposeful in your how you approach your use of any microblogging platform, there are 5 ways that you can they can skyrocket your writing ability.

1. You learn the value of every word — no, of every character. In writing, especially for marketing and sales, the tighter your message is, the better. When you have only 150 characters to work with, each letter has to earn it’s place. It has to pull it’s weight. This forces you to think carefully about your choice of words.

If you’ve ever gone over the character limit and had to edit your tweet, you know what I’m talking about. “How can I say what I need to say in the allotted space?” You have to be ruthless. If that comma isn’t serving a purpose, it’s gotta go!

2. You begin to break free from some of the “rule” forced on you by your English teachers.  The best writing is the plainest.  How many people do you know that speak with perfect grammar 100% of the time? In my neighborhood (Calumet City, IL, in south suburban Chicago), it’s probably less than 10%.

When you are communicating via the written word, sometimes there’s a desire to be super-formal.  Believe me, that’s not the best way to get your message across to the average audience. Unless you’re talking to English professors…

George Orwell’s sixth rule for good writing is to break any of  his other five rules before ”saying anything outright barbarous.”

Writers need to have the freedom to say what they mean, forsaking the rules when necessary.

3.  You have to learn to communicate in such a way that your reader will understand exactly what you mean. How many people do you know who don’t quite understand this principle? I see plenty of tweets that have no clear meaning, or that can be understood in multiple ways. Thoughtful writers will take the restricted amount of communication space to heighten their concentration. ”How can I eliminate any ambiguity and say what needs to be said so that the message is plainly understood?

This is great focus training for any writer.

4. You are forced to choose exactly what you want to say.  In an age where noisy chatter is constant, a Twitter message makes you strip your message down to the core. The way it should be. There’s no room to go off on tangents or talk about about non-essentials.

When brevity is required, you see who really knows how to communicate, and who’s just talkin’.

5. Twitter can give you extra writing practice. Tweeting is writing on a small scale. More practice is always a good thing. A high percentage of Twitter users access the social network with their cell phones. So even if you don’t have a pen and paper, you can practice crafting clear, compelling messages.