I thought I would share some of my thoughts on the Twitter follower craze.
Blindly building a huge follower list will not only waste your time, but dampen your Twitter success.
The More You Follow, The Less You Connect
Above all else, social networking is about, well, socializing and networking online. It’s about making connections with other people who share common interests, goals, and mutually benefit from communicating with you.
The more people you follow, the less people you can effectively connect with. You simply establish a huge feed of “followed” results in a wall cluttered with a bombardment of messages, most not even directed toward you. The chance that you’ll be able to read any single person’s update reduces substantially every time you follow someone new.
To make sure you get the information you need and receive messages from people you want to establish an online relationship with, you need to be picky. Whether for personal, entrepreneurial, or entertainment reasons, only follow those people worth listening to. Follow people who provide useful information and who create value in your life. Avoid the hacks with tens of thousands of followers, who follow tens of thousands of others, and just spew out a bunch of marketing garbage every 30 seconds. They do not care about you. They just care about getting your money and wasting your time.
I’m getting better at this stuff but your practical info has shown me a few new things to get into action around. Much appreciated.
If you seek to mechanically follow thousands yourself, you show you do not care about the many individuals who follow you. You most likely will never see their messages. As an example, a client of mine posts frequently to market herself. When I first built my Twitter list, I too randomly followed people to push my numbers up. The several months I used Twitter, I saw only a single post from my client, one out of many that went up every day. Imagine all the information I never saw from people who casually post, people who I am missing the chance to establish a viable relationship with.
I want to hear what my clients have to say because the more I know about their business, passions, and needs, the better I can help them with their goals.
The More They Follow, The More You’re Ignored
The blind keeps preaching “you follow me, I’ll follow you” and many automated services exist to increase numbers by building lists based on reciprocated follows. However, the more people others follow, the less updates of yours they will read, if any. How does that help you? It doesn’t.
Think about it. If Joe Shmoe follows 34,318 people, that’s 34,318+ possible messages a day that scrolls through his wall. If he’s following many of the people who build their lists this way, you can multiply that number by 24, 48, even 100, because most of those guys use their Twitter account as a marketing ticker. Your messages just get buried in cyberspace, never read, never connecting, never helping you grow your business or make you more money. Just wasting your time, your cash, and your effort.
What’s the Real Twitter Gold Standard?
Just look at the really successful people on Twitter – the celebs, the industry gurus, the information and communication super stars. Millions follow these people, but many of them follow less than 300 others. That’s because they value their time and want to spend it reading meaningful posts. People follow them not because they reciprocated the follow, but because they actually earned their followers by value attraction.
Your goal should not be to follow as many people so THAT many people follow you. Your goal on Twitter should be to follow people you want to listen to and connect with, and gain followers who want to listen and connect with you. Your goal should be to earn MORE followers than people you follow, to earn followers simply because people DESIRE to follow you. That’s really what Twitter is all about.
How to Start Fixing Your Twitter List
Wipe it Out and Clean it Up
Awhile ago, a colleague of mine completely cleaned out her client’s Twitter list, along with Facebook’s, because she found it full of meaningless connections and people not really interested in her client’s business. She rebuilt it from the ground up using a basic Internet marketing principle… stay within your market or niche.
Great article Warren! Good practical tips to increase web traffic. Thanks for the info!
The client’s business focuses on MMA training, so she sought out similar minded people in the industry, people who would be interested in establishing joint ventures and other people just enthusiastic about martial arts. After building the list up, she saw her client’s bounce rate from Twitter referrals fall from the 90% range to the 20% range. That’s huge! The number of referrals also shot up. Quality over quantity counts big time.
I did the same thing, removing all the people…
- following more than 10,000
- who follow the same amount of people that follow them
- who post every couple minutes, or every hour
- who repeatedly post the same marketing tag lines
- who only post about their products and business
You know these people, they’re called spammers. We all hate them and we would all like to get rid of them. Well on Twitter, you can! Sure, you’ll see your followed numbers go down initially, because most of these people won’t continue to follow you unless you follow them. But guess what, you don’t need to follow everyone that follows you. You need to focus on who brings you value and insight. If you like the info ProBlogger posts every day, follow him. Seek out your interests when looking for people to follow.
And if people don’t want to follow you, then your problem really falls into the category of not creating enough benefit. That’s something you need to fix on your own.
Create Benefit and Value for Your Followers
This is not necessarily a marketing piece, so I will be brief on this topic. Communication goes both ways, you need to listen as much or more than you tell. People can spot a dedicated marketer when they see one. It turns people away, big time. Focus on building relationships on Twitter, getting to know people, create trust. Give people useful, quality induced information and they will thank you for it. Keep pitching them products and up-selling them, and you deserve to get dropped.
Apply This Philosophy to All Social Networks
Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+… You can use the principles here on any social network.
- Concentrate on the relationships, not the numbers.
- Search for people in your field, not just any random person that will befriend you because they need a few more ticks on their list.
- Participate in groups and discussions related to your interests.
- Listen instead of preach.
- Inform instead of sell.
Stick by these rules and quality will beat out quantity. You will see a better response and bigger rewards for your efforts. You will be one step closer to Twitter success. Sure, it’s more difficult and more of a struggle than just randomly clicking away for new followers, but it’s more fun too! Social interaction brings lasting enjoyment and business. It’s the real key unlocking the secrets to using this medium for business endeavors.
As for the Twitter Twits out there with their follower building scams, drop’em and block’em!