“How do I increase my influence on Twitter?”
A business colleague asked me this question and I figured if it was on his mind, it might be on yours too. While it remains to be seen if I have actual influence anywhere, I have undoubtedly created substantial, tangible business benefits through Twitter and the social web. So here’s my strategy. It’s very simple and I think it could probably work for anybody.
1) Build targeted connections. Most people will tell you the number of followers you have doesn’t matter. They’re wrong. If you put time into Twitter but nobody is there to listen and respond, it’s a waste of time, right? Plus, you need a critical mass of at least 300-400 followers before Twitter becomes interesting and fun. And if it’s not fun you’re not going to do it.
The more relevant, targeted connections you have, the more likely somebody is going to relate to you. It’s like a big dating game. You don’t want to be just stuck with just Bachelor Number 1 do you? That’s the one who collects pipe cleaners and lives with his mother. Fill your tribe with lots and lots of eligible business connections. How do you find these lovely folks? There are lots of ways but here are four to get you going!
- Blogging and Twitter fit like a hand in a glove. Of course the people who come to read your blog are interested in you, so they are natural Twitter followers. Nearly all of my Twitter connections come through my blog. I think. Who really knows?
- Explore lists. Do a search on Listorious for people and subjects that are related to your business interests. Or look for lists created by people in your industry or even <gasp> your competitors. Follow those people please.
- Take part in Twitter chats related to your business interests.
- Twellow is the “yellow pages” of Twitter and you can find many great folks by industry, interest and geographic location
- Twitter search. Search for keywords related to your business interests. Those people showing up probably share your interests. Follow them too.
2) Provide meaningful content. The key to turning a faceless follower into a real business relationship is by providing compelling content that means something to them. Like this …
- Linking to your blog is an obvious source of content
- Use bit.ly or another URL shortener to send along interesting content that you stumble across
- RT others. No shame in sharing wonderful content discovered by others.
- Link to comments you create on LinkedIn, Facebook and other platforms.
- Provide human content. Tell a little about yourself along the way. That’s interesting too. To a point.
3) Provide authentic helpfulness. I find many of the social media axioms to be dumb (“it’s all about the conversation” … gag me) but here is one that is very useful: Think of the social web as a dinner party. If somebody only talks about themselves, their business and how great they are, you’re going to want to get away fast! But if a person shows genuine interest in you, offers help without regard to their own personal benefit, you will like that person and connect with them.
This is the area where most people fail on the social web because you can’t fake authenticity. People will sniff you out pretty quickly. Here are some ways to demonstrate true helpfulness to others:
- People throw questions out there all the time. Answer them or refer them to somebody who can.
- Build your own tribe. Reach out to the real people on Twitter, don’t just kiss the ass of the A-List bloggers. Are those folks really going to deliver business benefits to you? Doubtful unless you are another A-List blogger. Just the way it is.
- Read people’s profiles. Visit their websites, read their blogs and comment. You can almost always find something in common with them and this shows you are genuinely interested. And you should be!
- Nothing says I love you like a re-tweet now and then.
- Some people hate the whole #FollowFriday thing. That’s because they’re jaded. How can you not like the fact that somebody is providing a recommendation for you? If somebody does a #FF for me, they are automatically on my radar screen. It’s an honor.
I could literally fill many blogposts with ideas about this strategy but I know you hate long blog posts so I’ll shut up. If you look at any business success story on Twitter, I guarantee it follows this pattern. Work it!
What are your thoughts on this little “success formula?” I love learning from your comments!