As the rush to Twitter continues, everyone wants to know how to get more followers and be more productive on Twitter. And increasingly, individuals and companies are wanting to build ‘communities’ on Twitter. Here’s five reasons why many are seeing those efforts fail.
1 – Everyone can see that you are in it for the numbers, not the people. Twitter is like any other social media tool, it works best when people are SOCIAL in their intent. Amassing a large number of followers so you can beam messages at them rarely works, and almost never works for companies that are trying to build awareness. If you want people to follow you, treat them as such.
2 – You understand social media, but you don’t understand how to be ‘social’. I continue to be fascinated to see how people that are supposedly ‘experts’ in social media, use these tools to be interact with others. To me, being social on Twitter means that you are inviting interaction. That you are giving people a reason to want to open a dialogue with you. Even when you make a point, you can discourage communication in how you relay that point to others. If your tone is constantly ‘I am right, here’s why’, then people will tend to shutdown communication. If your tone is ‘Here’s what I think, what’s your take?’, then people are encouraged to act. The tools will only function properly if you know how to use them.
3 – You don’t listen. Here’s a secret for getting more followers on Twitter: ALWAYS understand that the people that are following you, are smarter (as a group), than you are. The lesson here is that there is VALUE in the opinions of others. You can always learn something from others on Twitter. A big reason why I started #blogchat was because I wanted to LEARN from others on Twitter. I know how smart the people are that I interact with on Twitter, so I wanted to give them a stage to share their smartitude. I know that the more I listen to the people I follow and that follow me on Twitter, the smarter I will be.
4 – You don’t care about the people you want to be following you. Here’s another secret for getting more followers, you actually have to give a damn about other people. I am now following well over 3,000 people, and it’s damn tough to have meaningful interactions with a fraction of that number. So there are many people I am following that I rarely get the chance to interact with. But I can if I LOOK for ways to interact and let them know they are important to me. For example, if I see someone I am following tweet that they just got a new job, I send them a quick ‘Congrats!’ tweet. It takes 5 secs, but that lets them know I am paying attention and care about them. It’s all about where your priorities are. If you care, others will notice.
5 – You don’t promote others. This is a BIG pet peeve of mine. I go out of my way to promote others, because it’s another way of letting others on Twitter know I care, but it also creates VALUE for the people that follow me on Twitter. And guess what? People appreciate it when you promote them, this isn’t rocket science, it’s social media. And make an effort to promote the people that are interacting with you, and promoting YOUR content. It’s all about reinforcing the type of behavior you want to encourage. Which is an overboiled way of saying that you should say ‘Thank You’ early and often.
For companies and individuals that are looking to leverage Twitter as a way to grow their businesses, these are some steps to avoid, and some ways that I have found success on Twitter. If you have others steps that have worked for you, please share them in the comments. Or if your business would like to learn more about how to use Twitter effectively, please email me.