In case you didn’t read this post on LinkedIn…I recently read an article by Marcus Taylor that I really enjoyed. It was a case study about how Mashable, KISSmetrics, and Problogger reached millions of readers in less than two years. The article talked about the different blogging tactics each used. In a nutshell Mashable and KISSmetrics used a lot of infographics and Problogger posted evergreen content instead of news. All of them posted blog content like crazy in the first couple of years – posting multiple blogs daily. Now Mashable has a team of people, Problogger only needs to post a few times per week and KISSmetrics is still posting daily, albeit, a lot more infographics.
Then I read another article by Ann Tran in Entrepreneur magazine where she talks about how she went from zero to 380K+ followers on Twitter without spending a dime. And then of course Forbes came out with their Top 50 Social Media Influencers of 2013 and that’s when I had to start digging a little deeper.
Often times I hear from clients, how do I get more Twitter followers? I feel like Ann’s advice was spot on, but one thing that she and the Forbes article don’t mention: timing. It’s really all about the timing. If you look at the Top 50 social media influencers list, or if I throw out some common names you know in the space like: Facebook guru Mari Smith, Mashable founder Pete Cashmore, Amy Porterfield, Pam Moore, Guy Kawasaki, Jeff Bullas, Chris Brogan, and the list could go on and on, you’ll notice one common element among them. They all started on Twitter between 2007 and 2009.
If you were an early bird on Twitter (no pun intended), and you tweeted interesting things other than what you had for lunch, then you gained a following almost immediately. I believe Malcolm Gladwell would call these people “outliers” and for good reason. Then by consensus, others saw they had a following and followed the crowd. It couldn’t have been easier. These people didn’t become Twitter rockstars overnight. They worked at it for the past 5-7 years. When you look at the Forbes Top 50 social media influencers, their follower count ranges from 11.1K to 1.05M followers. Don’t you feel better now?
Organically, the average person if they tweet on a regular basis (5 times per day) will gain around one to two thousand Twitter followers per year. Many of the Forbes Top 50 were not only earlier adopters of Twitter but also of Twitter tools that allowed them to schedule tweets, like TweetDeck and HootSuite. Some of them even dabbled in Twitter ads when it first came out.
So your low follower count on Twitter is a natural occurrence in the flood of Twitter users and Tweets going out today. It’s hard to cut through the noise unless you have great content. But even if you have great content, it’s still hard to cut through the noise and get noticed. Here are some tips:
- Tweet or retweet 5-10 times per day (it doesn’t need to be your own content, it can be industry news too)
- Retweet other people’s content. Implore the 4-1-1 rule
- Join in on Twitter Chats so you can find like-minded people to follow and interact with
- Search for keywords in your industry or what you feel like talking about and start conversing with people
- Reply to people who mention you
- Follow people back (it is to not follow people back)
- Use hashtags where applicable, but don’t overuse them or make up hashtags
- Turn on email alerts for every time someone mentions you so you can respond
That’s not the end all Twitter strategy, but that’s a start. For more info on Twitter strategy, you can check out my book. For more posts like this, follow me on LinkedIn Today.
You should also compare your brand to other brands in your industry. Then use the Twitter Birthday tool to see when they started on Twitter.
Tracy Sestili is the author of Take Your Brand from the Bench to the Playing Field, now available on Amazon (April 2014). Connect with her on Twitter @tracysestili
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