Twitter 101

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Businesspeople following businesswoman

So we’ve all (hopefully) gotten over the importance of the Twitter follower count. Nonetheless you’ve got to have some core group of people you’re talking with or it’s just you shouting at the mountain.  So the question remains what can you do, particularly when you’re new on Twitter to get followers (or more accurately, find your community).  And so, a step by step guide from signing up to getting your first few followers.  This post, of course, supplements TJ’s, on how the PRBC folks decide who they follow.

This might be particularly useful if you’ve got a friend that’s recently decided to join the SM world as part of a New Year’s Resolution (or your client’s CEO is just not getting ‘it.’)

First: Sign up, type in your name, email address, username, etc.. This one should’ve been obvious.

Second: Don’t bother with the pre-filled auto-follow list.  They might send out interesting information occasionally but it’s likely they won’t engage and if they aren’t in your field will be of questionable value.

Third: Do the whole access/upload your address book thing.  Hopefully your real life friends/peers will want to engage with you online as well even without any real content from you yet.  Even if you unfollow them later because you realize they aren’t filling your social media needs it gives you kindling to get going.

Fourth: Do not start following strangers – instead fill out your profile.  We know you want to jump right in, start talking, and leave the paperwork for later.  But take the two minutes — Upload a pic of some variety, fill out your (brief) bio with something meaningful, preferably longer than 2 words and with information you’ll be discussing (i.e. If you’re here for personal reasons do including a mention of your job, hobbies, family, even religion.  If you’re here for business give more details on that.), send out a few tweets that mean something.  A few links to articles on the above areas don’t hurt either with something meaningful said about them.

  • In the bio – you are not: an expert (even if you are), going to show anyone how to do anything (SM tricks, make money from home, live like a millionaire, etc.), hot/sexy/irresistible (even if you are).
  • Do not let  your first tweets consist of: “How do I use this” ; “Where is everyone” ; “Is this thing on?” ; “Why isn’t anyone talking to me?” ; “This sucks.”  If you need someone to hold your hand while you do it ask a trusted friend to come over.

Fifth: Check your friends’ lists and search for keywords on the topics you’re interested in to follow additional people.

And here’s the important part – do not skip step 4 as so many do.

Think about it – the normal Twitter user, when checking out their new follow notification or new follower list will maybe skim your bio, maybe look at a recent tweet, but then move on.  They aren’t going to dive deep into investigating every new follower.  Don’t bury your lede, make it easy for a potential acquaintance to see why you followed them in the first place and why they should be interested in what you have to say (and hopefully, eventually why someone new on Twitter would want to follow you).

It’s a cocktail party – people aren’t going to come up to you and talk to you just because you’re standing there.  Make it easy and logical for someone to engage, do the same yourself and you’ll be well on your way (and immediately ahead of about 15% of Twitter users [stat totally guessed at]).

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  • jeffespo

    I wish I could post this into my presentation on why the focus should be on the conversations, not the followers. I looked at the followers that I had the other day to slim it down. After four pages of folks that I don't follow with the same picture I gave up.

    Another pointer for the newly joined Twitterer is to not get discouraged when folks don't reply.

    Social media in general is like a clique in high school. You kind of need to prove yourself before getting acceptance.

    Also follow the 5-1 rule of thumb. For every one piece of your content you plug, push out five pieces from your followers or a site you visited.

    Plus don't claim an idea as yours, if you RT be kind and give the person some link love @itsnotallaboutyou.