If you sit down at a table for dinner with a bunch of tech entrepreneurs as I did in early January, it’s just a matter of time before people start swapping metrics. Unique hits per month to their site, followers on Twitter, and application downloads are all different statistics that people use to compare the traction of their product or service with the general public, and to brag to each other. These metrics aren’t foolproof and can at times misrepresent a person or company, but for the most part they do offer a glimpse into that individual or organization’s clout. A tech CEO with 150,000 followers on Twitter is going to be able to get his message out and publicize his company much easier than someone with 100 followers, plain and simple. And while most of your followers on any social network are not going to immediately become customers or turn into conversions every time you post a tweet or status update, some of them will and it benefits you to play to the numbers. So let’s play!
Last week I was sitting in front of my computer and debating the different methods available to someone who wants to increase their number of followers on Twitter and/or Facebook. I use Twitter regularly and have enjoyed it immensely since I started a few years back, but have only gained 100+ followers in the couple years I have been Tweeting. In fairness, I haven’t really made much of an effort to collect more followers, and only in recent months have I really started using it for active social networking. I’m ready to change that though, ready to get serious about growing my social network and my following, and I want to do it organically.
There are a hundred different services you can sign up for, and programs you can download that promise to get you thousands of followers in a very short time and help your social network explode, but it all just seems so dishonest. The whole purpose of Twitter is for you to be able to put your thoughts out there and share the things that interest you with the world, and those who find you interesting or provocative will choose to follow you if they wish to know more. I know that these services or software suites that help you acquire more followers are not entirely honest and a lot of the followers you pick up are fake accounts created only to follow people or collect information. Of course some of them are real followers, but it’s not honest. It’s not the pure way to accumulate followers, the way Twitter founder Jack Dorsey intended people to gather followers and so I will not use any services, software, or cheap tactics and will instead do it the old fashioned way: by posting my thoughts and feelings, interesting content and by reaching out to individuals and creating real, content based correspondence instead of just endlessly posting links to articles and funny cartoons and re-tweeting every post that comes across my feed.
This blog will serve as a running diary of my attempts to drastically increase my Twitter follower-ship without employing any dishonest tactics. I will update it regularly and keep you informed of how I’m doing and share any insight I’ve gleaned along the way. My twitter account name is @PaulKeepsItReal and I am the CEO and Founder of New Union Media. I want to start adding followers like it’s going out of style, but I wish to do so honestly and organically. This is my experiment. My initial approach will consist of the following tactics:
- TweetDeck – TweetDeck is a endlessly useful tool that allows you to post Tweets to your account, monitor all the people you follow, view all the @mentions you get and filter the Twittersphere in any way you want to find useful information or people to follow. A must for Twitter users, now owned and updated by Twitter with a great in-browser extension for Chrome. And of course it’s free!
- Follow 10 New People Each Day – In order to increase the number of people who are exposed to me, I need to increase the number of people that I am exposed to. While I will shoot to increase my follower-ship by more than 10 people a day, I will make sure that I am seeking out and following at least 10 new people every day in order to keep my network fresh and growing.
- Meaningful Tweets – The number one thing that causes me to stop following someone on Twitter is “Re-Tweet Abuse”. I don’t believe that is a real term, but I’m going to start using it anyway. There is nothing more annoying that someone who Tweets 250 times a day and 245 of those Tweets are retweets of other people’s original content or articles that they read, or read part of. Don’t abuse Twitter! If your post isn’t worth other peoples time (or at least funny), don’t post it.
- Promote My Own Original Content – 9 times out of 10 when someone is posting a link to an article, it’s not an article they wrote. Most of the time it’s not even an article they read, but they like the title so they’re re-posting it in hopes of making them look more savvy. I hate this. I will make a regular habit of posting my own original content to promote that is meaningful and supports the industry and company I’m trying to promote.
I’m sure there are a lot of other things I can do to increase my followership, but these are the four things I’m going to focus on in the short term. The list of things I’m going to do will surely grow and as I get feedback and suggestions from my friends and followers I will amend and update this list to reflect my new practices. Right now I have 109 followers and am following 104 people on Twitter. This week I will try to add 100 new followers and will find at least 50 interesting people to follow that I believe will help me to stay better informed and grow my social network.
Please, if you have any feedback or advice I would love to hear from you! This is an experiment in Organic Social Networking and will be as much of a learning experience for me as it will be for you. I hope you stay tuned and follow my results and best of luck to you all in this modern world!