By: Hillel Fuld
This post is long overdue, firstly because I have neglected this site for way too long due to most of my content going here, here, here, and here. More importantly though, this post is overdue because as social media becomes more and more mainstream every day, with some help from Google, more people take the leap and join services like Twitter and Google+.
Every time another friend joins Twitter, I notice they all make the same basic mistakes and I end up spending extended periods of time explaining to them what they did wrong when they ask me why they are not getting millions of followers. I figured, why not get it in writing and send people the link from now on.
Well, if you are new to Twitter, I highly recommend you read this complete Twitter guide I have written on how to get started. It includes tips on what to do, what not to do, who to follow, as well as a comprehensive list of terms you need to know. Now back to our topic…
To be honest, I am well aware that I am going to get yelled at that there is no right way to tweet and that is fine. Everyone is more than welcome to use the platform as they see fit, I am just giving my opinion on how to succeed on Twitter and how to fail miserably. Take it or leave it.
I’m Begging you Not to Beg
I have been building up my Twitter network for close to four years now with close to 100,000 tweets, 21,786 followers, and have been placed on over 1,700 lists. That took me four years of blogging, tweeting, retweeting, and most importantly, replying. Let’s assume for a second that me following you is going to advance your goal of getting a lot of followers for a second, which it won’t, why is that something I should do?
You just joined Twitter, you have no content, and you offer no value to the people I have built a trusting relationship with for four years. Why should I tell them to follow you? Better yet, why should I follow you myself? How about you invest the time that others have invested, interact, engage, and contribute, which will help you build your network organically? Yes, it takes longer, but not only is it the right way of going about this, it will also benefit you in the end because those followers will be people who are truly interested in what you have to say and not people who just clicked the Follow button because someone asked them to.
Spamming Will Get you Nowhere
If you decided to join Twitter, chances are you heard that your favorite celebrity is tweeting day and night and you figured you could get them to interact with you. If that is the case and your Twitter strategy, close this post, then go disable your Twitter account. If you are still reading, chances are you realize why that is a ridiculous and childish way to approach this. You know what else is ridiculous? Using spammy tools to increase followers, sending Auto DMs thanking people for following you and directing them to your Facebook page, and sending the same pitch in 100 consecutive tweets to influencers who you think will drive traffic to your business.
@aplusk i have a great Mobile Company for traffic, transit And parking solutions. I will like to send You some information. You like tech!
— Nacho Viale (@nachoviale) January 18, 2012
Twitter takes time if you want to see real results. Repeat that sentence to yourself f?i?v?e? ten times. You are going to have to forget everything you heard about Ashton Kutcher and his 700 bazillion followers and do the leg work. That means follow relevant people, create a complete and interesting bio with a profile picture, and start tweeting interesting content. Then reply to people and once you’re done with that, reply some more.
Based on Twtrland, a service I would recommend using regularly, close to 80% of all my tweets are replies. If you follow me on Twitter, you know that for me not to respond to you, you have to say something extremely unintelligent or annoying. I respond to everyone, whether they have 10 followers or 500,000 followers. Is that scalable? Yes, I have been doing it for years and I get over 300 replies a day. You can handle it too.
Trolls Trump Spammers
Honestly, the only thing worse than spammers are trolls. In case you are a normal person and have no idea what an internet troll is, first of all, I am jealous of you, and second of all, let me explain. I cannot explain the psychology behind trolls because every atom in my body tells me never to behave that way, but unfortunately, I have seen way too much trolling lately, I just had to include it.
So what is a troll? A person who has the mistaken impression that if they comment on a blog post and call you a derogatory name or use profanity to express their utter disagreement with your content, that you will engage them and help them get exposure. I must admit, I have to learn from the big guys how not to let trolls get to me. I have yet to succeed. Of course, these trolls do not stick to blogs, they send you nasty comments on Twitter, hoping you will respond in an extreme manner, which will then generate curiosity among your followers, thereby increasing their audience.
Not only does this not work due to technical reasons, it will not in any way help you reach your ultimate goal of building a loyal and captured audience. At best, you will get a few followers that will unfollow you in a matter of days when they notice your pattern of trolling people across the Web. So to summarize in four words… Don’t be a troll!
For the sake of keeping this post short (oh, that’s another thing, keep things short and to the point on Twitter), I am going to stop here, but don’t think for a second that there are not other things you need to learn along the way, there are. Many. Try to bring value, offer your own unique content or at least your own take on other’s content. Don’t tweet the same format every single time “New Blog post:<Title>” for example.
But if you take away one thing from this post, remember this. Social media, and Twitter included, is nothing more than a platform to help you communicate. Communicate, not broadcast. What you would do in a real life conversation, you should do on Twitter and more importantly, what you would never do in a real life conversation, please, for the sake of your followers, the platform as a whole, and for yourself, don’t do on Twitter.