Over the weekend my dad wrote a post about figuring out who to follow on Twitter. Something that seems to be a bit harder to grasp is how to get people to follow you.
I have a lot of friends who are actors and comedians – they’ll get on Twitter, probably because someone told them they had to, and I’ll see that they’ve posted a Facebook status update that says “Follow me on Twitter (followed by something witty)”.
My reaction is always the same – Why? Why should I follow you? I don’t blame them for wanting followers, though. It’s nice to see your audience grow, and while I’m still planted firmly in the “quality over quantity” camp, I’d be lying if I said it wasn’t cool to cross certain watermarks – 250, 500, 1000 and so on. The REASON why it’s cool is because I got there legitimately – while I like having what I consider a decently-sized network, that wasn’t my goal.
So what’s the magic word that gains you followers? How do you do it?
Well, as you begin to follow people who interest you and ENGAGE them, you’ll find that many of them will follow you back, because you’re no longer someone looking to pad their numbers – you’re actually taking the first step in establishing some sort of relationship. The reason why Twitter (and other social networks) encourage you to first connect with people in your address book is to ease the burden of building your network from scratch – you probably already interact with these people, so you can get comfortable with your surroundings before venturing out further.
Beyond that, I believe there are four things that will gain you a following on Twitter. Keep in mind, I don’t include “being genuine” because the four below are options, and I think that being genuine should be a given:
1. Be interesting
2. Be entertaining/funny
3. Have conversations with people
4. Offer valuable information
Any one of these might gain you followers – however, when more than one of those things is present, your chances of building a strong following increase exponentially. Of course, if you’re using Twitter as part of a marketing strategy, you need to decide which recipe works best for you – some companies do OK without incorporating a great deal of conversation – others aren’t particularly funny or interesting but are worth following for the valuable information they provide.
What best suits your company’s communication style? What best suits the way your market communicates with you and consumes information? How do I want this to benefit my current and potential customers? Answering those questions goes a long way in determining not only the voice of your Twitter account, but who you want to follow it. Basic Law of Attraction type stuff.
If you’re already on Twitter, what are some tips YOU give people when they ask this question?