Later he emailed and said that he noticed that I tweet a lot and have a lot of followers. Did I have any advice on how to build an audience?
Simple question, but It took me seven days to answer — and not just because part of me wants to explain that 1300 followers is no big whoop.
Mostly because while I have a Twitter philosophy, it’s often vague, and I definitely don’t have a formula.
Here’s what I told him
• Tweet about stuff you’re interested in. Be interesting as you talk about your interests.
• Follow people who interest you, for whatever reason, and don’t expect them to follow back. Some will. Many won’t. Don’t assume it means anything.
• Converse! Tweet directly at and respond to people; don’t expect that they’ll respond to you.
• Spread the love. Retweet. Share interesting links. Fave things.
• Don’t expect quick results. I sort of know how I ended up with 1300+ followers, but I have no idea how to get to 13,000, or even how I’d quickly add another 1300. And while I can’t help but notice the number, and enviously compare it to other Twitterites, it doesn’t really matter.
• There’s no one you have to follow. There’s no clique you have to follow. I follow a blend of web professionals (especially content and UX focused), film critics, culture commentators, people I got to know on social media before Twitter, Seattleites, and a few famous people and joke accounts.I tinker with the portfolio of people I follow every few months, trying to keep the number under 400.
• Don’t be afraid to unfollow people. The only reason you need is that you don’t find them interesting. Expect that people will unfollow you, and that most of the time, it’s not personal. (And when it’s personal, who cares?)
• Don’t crosspost the same stuff to Twitter and Facebook. Don’t just slap the same post into both slots. They’re two different audiences. Respect that. Personally, I use Facebook mostly for family and people I know offline; on Twitter, a few real-world friends follow me, but the audience is mostly people I know through Twitter. (And about 7 times larger.)
• Decide what your Twitter stream is going to be. Put a strategy behind it. Want to do be a major link sharer? Groovy. Want to make it all about your personal life? Awesome. Want to share the occasional personal item but focus on professional stuff? That works. (I am by nature a dilettante, so I’m probably never going to appeal to people who want me to tweet about any one topic 90% of the time.)
• See how your plan is working out for you. Change it up when necessary.
• Write as well as you can for the format. It’s a casual communications channel, but that doesn’t mean sloppy. I don’t sweat over every character in every tweet, but clarity’s a good thing.
• You don’t have to tweet every notion that crosses your mind. You also don’t have to censor yourself too much.
• Evolve your writing style. Not necessarily in an I’ve-crunched-my-follower-numbers sort of way, but the way everyone does over time.
• Don’t pay much attention to people who tell you you’re tweeting wrong. They decided to follow you, and they can decide to unfollow you. Let some of them drift away.
• Block and report spammers. Keeps things a little nicer for all of us.
After all that, though, I have to confess: I have no idea why anyone follows me. I don’t mean that I’m unworthy of being followed, but long ago I decided I was mostly going to tweet for me. That means that followers get a weird collection of content links, maxims, parenting thoughts, pop culture stuff, trivia stuff,and a hint of self promotion.
It’s nice to find that 1300 other people have decided to share that wavelength, for however long they care to do so.
- Top Reasons Why People Unfollow You On Twitter (mukeshbalani.wordpress.com)
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- 7 Must-Have Tools to Keep Your Twitter Followers Happy (And Your Business Growing) (soshitech.com)
- Content Discovery & Twitter’s New Custom Timelines (hubshout.com)
- buy twitter followers (buytwitterfollower1.wordpress.com)
- YQ Unfollows Everyone On Twitter (Except Dagrin) (inforeel.wordpress.com)
- Twitter scraps blocking policy, allows blocked users to read and follow Tweets (o.canada.com)
- 10 Reasons I Unfollow Athletes on Twitter (sportsmarketinglab.com)
- Is Your Twitter App Creating Negative Social Proof? (business2community.com)
- Tweeting Twitter Tips (pvbpeta.com)