I’ve written a bunch of posts about how to use Twitter including this breakdown of How To Get More Twitter Followers. But I wanted to take a minute today to address what I see as the biggest misconception people have about how to use Twitter effectively. Here it is…
Twitter works best when you use it to talk with people as opposed to talking at people.
Here’s what I mean:
Too often people view Twitter as a tool they can use to blast out messages to their followers and ask them to do things for them. Watch my video, come to my show, read this funny observation I have and tell me how great I am, etc.
Sure, Twitter can be used for all of those things, but that’s not really how it works best and it’s also not the best way to increase your number of followers.
My guess is that if you’re using Twitter like this, you’re also not really sure what (if anything) you’re getting out of Twitter because it seems like you’re just talking to nobody. Inevitably, people who use Twitter like this get frustrated and eventually abandon the service.
But here’s what I would suggest you try instead…
Instead of thinking of Twitter as a place where you’re going to talk at people, see what happens if you use it as a place to interact with people who share similar interests. Try to make approximately 80% of your tweets interactive – either asking questions, responding to other people’s Tweets, or re-tweeting something great that somebody else said. It’s fine to post some of your own comments or promotional stuff, but try to limit that to about 20% of your Twitter output.
Think about how you would use Twitter if your goal was to get as many people as possible to reference your @name in a tweet of their own. Sure, things like #FollowFriday are great for that, but the easiest way to get somebody to reference you is to ask them a question or reply to something they’ve said. Remember, every time that somebody replies to you, all of their followers are being exposed to your Twitter account. Not only that, but they’re being introduced in a way that suggests that their friend thinks you’re worth interacting with already. That’s a powerful endorsement.
I also highly recommend using Twitter search to find people who are not already following you, but are talking about things that you’re interested in, and reaching out to them to engage them. Remember, you can reply to anybody on Twitter and they will see it – even if they’re not yet following on you.
You’ll be amazed at how often somebody that doesn’t even know you (yet) will reply to you and then follow you if you interact with one of their tweets in an entertaining way.
If you try these things I’ve mentioned and change your approach to Twitter, I think you’ll find a couple good things will happen.
• You’ll get more followers because more people will be exposed to your account.
• The followers you already have will pay more attention to your tweets because they’ll get in the habit of actually interacting with you.
• You’ll have a lot more fun and a lot less frustration using Twitter.
Here’s a small example of what this can look like, as demonstrated in a simple question I tweeted last week that I thought my existing followers might want to discuss:
Sure enough, one of my followers responded to me:
Then, four more of my followers responded to my question:
As you can see, the simple act of me asking a question on Twitter got my account exposed to a lot of new people. And I then went on to Retweet some of these responses, or reply to them to further the conversation which also further cemented my relationship with the people who had answered. This encourages them to answer again in the future, and to continue to pay attention to the things I tweet.
Plus, it’s a lot more fun than just talking at people and feeling like nobody reads what I tweet. Try it, I think you’ll agree.
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