Being a popular and influential person or company on Twitter isn’t as easy as opening an account, yet it’s also not as complicated or straightforward as following a rulebook. A lot of popularity will derive from who you are in relation to your followers, including how personable you are and the connectedness that you create. Here are some best practices to let your personality shine through, rather than your self promotion!
- Understand what Twitter is and what it is not. Twitter is an online social networking place, like the water cooler of the internet. It’s a place of connection, friendships, and networking. Things that Twitter is not include assuming that it’s nothing more than a sales forum (despite the many people who abuse this repeatedly), an obligatory add-on to your company’s social media strategy without tending to it actively (daily!), or a place to spar with people.
- The mistake many people make is to dive right into Twitter and promote their website in nearly every single tweet. Big mistake! You wouldn’t do that in real life, so don’t do it on Twitter.
- The balance needs to be: more personal updates and less leads to things you want people to purchase.
Be authentic. Although the cliche “be yourself” is a bit overdone, it’s highly applicable to Twitter. Followers trust that you are presenting yourself genuinely and this will only resonate where you give of yourself to other people. As in real life, it’s important to be interesting, and to be interested in others.
- Provide your real name and occupation or interests. This builds up a bigger picture of who you really are and reassures your followers. Don’t say anything that would bore, or uninterest your follows. You need them to be “happy”
- If possible, provide a link in your Twitter profile to work you’re doing online or to something that tells more about you online (such as LinkedIn or Facebook).
- Customize your Twitter photo and background. Twitter followers don’t like seeing the standard Twitter bird as a photo – use one of yourself or something that identifies clearly with you. In addition, add your own colors and maybe even designs or photos to enliven the background of your Twitter page.
Interact. Twitter is about relationships and friendships. You can grow to know a lot of amazing people through your Twitter account just by interacting with them regularly, and many will become firm friends even though you’ve never actually met them.
- Be sure to reply to all @ messages. If your name is mentioned, it means someone cares enough to include you, and it’s important to acknowledge this by replying.
- Retweet (RT) people’s information regularly and with consistency. This is the lifeblood of Twitter, the sharing of information through retweeting. It’s a form of respect and a way of acknowledging that the person being retweeted is sharing information worthy of retweeting about.
- Communicate with Twitter users who are already popular. If they notice you and like what they see, they’ll help you in your “social media climbing” by sharing your information with their followers, and hopefully recommending you as well.
- Leave your Twitter address with comments that you make on blog sites so that people can work their way back to the real you and learn more.
Provide information other people want to know andshare. You’ll only be retweeted and followed if you’re providing a Twitter-stream that grabs people’s attention. Once you’ve established yourself as someone who shares certain types of information, be sure to keep providing fresh, fascinating, and curious updates.
- Include links to interesting stories, news items, websites, recipes, etc.
- Also send links to photos, videos, and other visual treats for followers to look at. Cute animals are often a winner as light relief!
- Keep the updates flowing at a regular pace so that people know they can turn to you reliably.
- If a disaster or major event happens in your locality or country, don’t be afraid to switching to it in addition to, or in place of your normal tweets. Share updates and useful information such as phone numbers, emergency information, and shelter addresses, etc. People will readily share this information with your name on it, and you can easily end up meeting many people who are in the thick of providing emergency services, grateful for your support in getting the information out.
- Bake some Twitter cookies and share the recipe link and the photos of your resulting cookies with your followers.
Build your popularity. To be popular, you will need more and more followers, people who are retweeting your information, and singing your praises to their followers.
- Follow people. Do this as a daily ritual by focusing on people you have things in common with. Use the Twitter search engine to find people with similar interests; key in words that are likely to make appropriate returns such as “Super Bowl”, “vegan”, “burlesque”, “cheese”, “mom”, etc. Half the fun is in finding new people “just like you”!
- Follow back those who follow you. Regularly add new people to those you follow, as well as regularly adding people who have added you.
- Use automated follower adder tools if wished. If you decide to pay for more followers, be sure that there is a benefit in doing so, for your business, brand, or image, etc. For most individuals, payment is unnecessary; use your time and personal effort wisely instead.
- Monitor your popularity using tools that tell you your popularity status. There are many tools available for this, and they can be focused on country, region, topic (such as “Top LA Tweeters”, “Top Green Tweeters”, etc.), or other elements you’re keen to know about.
- Read How to get more followers on Twitter and How to keep your followers on Twitterfor more details.
Reward your followers. There are a number of ways to reward your Twitter followers that will impress them and have them tooting your horn with their followers. Some of the ways include:
- Use the #FollowFriday (#FF) mechanism to list the names of your favorite followers by way of thanks, and as a way of getting their names circulated. In turn, your name gets circulated when they thank you or reuse your #FF list directly.
- Tailor individual thanks to your followers. Personalizing thanks is impressive; it not only thrills the person you’re thanking but it makes other followers think you’re someone who cares about people individually and this is an important impression to make. One great way of doing this is to pick up portions of their profile and to say thanks by replicating this person’s main points. For example, “My gratitude to @BilbowikiHow – a social media guru with a heart of gold who specializes in horticulture, laughter yoga, & Dr Who memorabilia. Please follow”
- Say thanks to your followers in a blog. Make it really special by singling out particular followers for your blog post. Write a small piece on who they are, what they do, and why they rock. Include their photo and a link back to Twitter. And then let them and your other followers know via Twitter! This one is always loved and shows you really do care about them. The added benefit is that your blog also gets greater coverage as followers share it on.
Always focus on the purpose of Twitter as being about connectedness. Any time you feel like promoting yourself endlessly, pull back and remember that Twitter is about connecting and relating, not about selling teeth whitener to your pals. The networks of friendship created online are as real as offline friendships for many people. Just it is easy to wear out friendships by asking friends one time too many to support your Tupperware or Avon sales, so too this wearies friends online. Keep the selling to a minimum, and ratchet up the connecting, sharing, and Twitter loving.
Tweet things that people can relate to. No one wants to hear about your complaints all the time, so try and tweet some positive things. Also, following your followers shows people that if they follow you, then they also gain a follower.
- Understand the difference between making a request and making a demand. Occasionally asking someone to pass on your message for a good cause is fine. But asking people to RT your messages as a matter of course is impolite and demanding. Give your followers the benefit of trusting their intelligence; they’ll work out for themselves whether or not they want to pass on your tweets.
- Consider adding a Twibbon to your profile photo to demonstrate that you support certain causes or events. Keep it regularly updated and remove it when it’s stale.
- Using twitter mobile client and tweet everywhere you go, this way you’ll have a lot of interesting content.
- Do not intimidate followers by sending DMs that insinuate that the other person is not being a good Twitter friend because they’re not retweeting enough, or not supporting you enough. This is both demanding and bullying and will cause the other person to withdraw from you and maybe even to unfollow you.
Things You’ll Need
- Lively Twitter account
- Lots of followers
- Interesting background and profile, plus personal image
- Lots of good things to share on Twitter