Monday, May 25, 2009

How to get the right followers on Twitter (2)

Now after my blog on the general strategies for your Twitter usage and some insights on how to connect your blog, website, Twitter account and other social network presences, here are some simple points for getting followers:
- make sure that you mention your Twitter account name in everyone of you other social networks and invite your friends to follow you on Twitter, or invite them to open a Twitter account (most of them will then follow you);
- celebrities have it easy to get followers: as soon as they are on Twitter, word of mouth will spread (or their manager / agent will make sure this happens) and they will get their fans following them in masses (you can observe this with Ashton Kutcher, Demi Moore, Oprah and the like). Normally they will only follow a few of their personal contacts. If you make it on their list, big advantage.
- for the rest of us following brings followers. Start with a few people who have many followers and just follow them (like Guy Kawasaki, Pete Cashmore aka Mashable etc.). Some of them use auto follow services and will automatically become your followers. They also will publish a lot of insights on Twitter to help you for next steps.
- you can also use auto follow websites and the system will make sure that you follow anyone who follows you. I recommend to use TweetLater for this. They also allow you to send your tweets at the time you wish them to go out (ideally when many users on Twitter are online).
- now you should start to use a more convenient interface than the standard Twitter one. I recommend to use TweetDeck or Seesmic, in which you can build groups and have a more selctive view on your followers. These interfaces also allow you to follow others in just a click.
- this is also the time to start tweeting and re-tweeting (RT). Many of those you RT will become followers. What to RT? Up to you, this can be news, interesting insights from others, tweets with interesting links etc. Showing what interests you will make it easier for others to decide whether they want to follow you. Be aware that at the same time you also become more transparent to all kinds of people in the online world by showing your preferences.
- you can also use link shortening services like Adjix which allow at the same time to multiply your tweets by sending them out several times (ie for Asia, Europe, US morning, midday and evening)
- your tweets should be attractive, interesting, unique, vivd, special, in order to attract followers. Otherwise you would just be one of many contributing to the information overload.
- the next thing is to be interactive, asking specific questions via @replies or DMs, thus building closer connections.
- also, you need to be generous by re-tweeting interesting tweets from others. Some will thank you by following.
- if you find especially cool twitters you can help them, by nominating them for #followfriday on Fridays (format: #followfriday @top007, that's me), again, often they will follow you.
- and then, of course, as mentioned before, the interaction of your witter acoount, blog and website will start to pay off.

When starting up you can't follow more than 2000 twitters, as twitter has built in limits to avoid spam. Once you have reached 2000 followings you need to weed out a bit and develop you follower base to come near to 2000. This is a major hurdle with which I'm currently struggling.

In my next blog I will publish a few selected links to additional information and videos.

How to get the right followers on Twitter (1)

The question I get asked most often since I joined Twitter is: how do I get more followers on Twitter? Obviously it was my first question, too, when I started in Twitter. Probably most of us go through a first phase just trying out the possibilities and some reactions of other Twitterati (power users of Twitter). In this phase we normally are unfocused and we start to 'collect' followers in some kind of a numbers game: get as many as possible. But soon everyone will realise that they should have some kind of a strategy.

A few questions to be asked are then:
* what do you want to achieve with Twitter?
* do you already have significant numbers of selected or mass followers on other platforms or social networks (your Blogs, websites, in Facebook, LinkedIn, Xing)?
* are you a celebrity and do you want to allow your fans to follow you and to have an easy way of broadcasting to or interacting with them?
* are you an expert and do you want to build and promote your profile as an industry or subject matter expert?
* are you a marketeer and making money online through click dependant ad payments or through selling electronic or print content, so do you want to generate traffic to your blog or website?
* do you want to create more group interaction and use Twitter to network with others who share your interests in a niche?
* do you want to be a multiplier of broadcast messages (on industry, economic, professional, political, social, commercial or whatever issues) which are authored by others (news channels, firms, NGOs, opinion leaders, academics)?

You will get the best out of your Twitter presence and your tweets if you are pretty clear about what you want to achieve. Depending on how you answer the above questions you will
* either be very selective and only try to get a few followers of importance for you (but remember that anyone can follow you unless you block them, which is considered not to be very cool in Twitter)
* or go for the mass follower scheme, which is typically a good strategy for the mass marketeers, MLM and click advertisors
* or finally go the middle way of having a substantial amount of followers but rather those interested in your specific subject matter expertise.

I would like to kill one misconception on Twitter right now. Twitter will not make you money. Yet, should you wish to build an online presence helping to earn some or even very substantial money, you will have to go a more elaborated path. Not difficult, but you have to do a few things more than just tweet. It's just like with the birds: tweeting is not the ultimate goal, but it helps to attract (or keep away) 'followers' who could then contribute to work towards the goals (like keeping away predators, finding more food, building a nest, and you can certainly imagine some other things). You need to consider at least three elements fora succesful money making presence in the web:
- you need a blog in which you build, grow, maintain and distribute some insights, thoughts, intellectual capital over the time. It's like writing your book, after a few weeks or months you will find some substantial assets in your blog which can be interesting for others. In this rather short term communication platform you will publish pretty frequently, daily or weekly / monthly. You will add links to your website, your Twitter timeline, to favourite videos on Youtube or elsewhere, to your pictures, videos, white papers etc.
- you need a website over which you build your brand and offer your goods or services, in electronic, print or material form. This is the stable, long term platform (the 'mothership' of your online presence, especially if you are online professionally) which you maintain and update in the medium term, every few weeks or months and to which you can add prospectus, white papers, leaflets etc.
- and finally you can and should use Twitter for driving traffic to both your blog and your website. I recommend to show your blog address in Twitter and to announce your new blogs in Twitter.

Obviously you will make sure that your blog, website and Twitter account as well as your other social network memberships are interconnected by publishing corresponding links.

Think about this but be aware that your intentions may change over time and as you get more insight into Twitter. In my next blog I will show you how to get more and the right followers.