Ok, this is not one of these ‘10 Tips to get more Twitter Followers’ posts that have been clogging the interwebs for the past few weeks. Think of it more as a wake up call.
Twitter and it’s users have undergone massive changes since going mainstream in 2009. People have become maniacally obsessed with numbers. Everyone is desperately seeking as many followers as possible, clawing at any of these crazy ’sure fire’ methods out there in an effort to reach that unreachable high.
Here are some suggestions from how I use Twitter, which I feel helps me get the most out of it, while offering something of value.
Don’t follow back automatically.
Just because someone follows you doesn’t mean you have to follow back. This ‘courtesy followback’ thing that has developed is horrible and has created a generation of people just obsessed with numbers, not gaining anything from the people they follow. I can’t believe that there are people out there who will follow you and then unfollow you after a day if you don’t return the favour. Come on, are you serious?
Here’s the way I do it. If someone follows me, I always check out their profile and website if they have one. I base the decision to follow them on a variety of things such as their frequency of tweeting, content of tweets, whether I already know them, their location or whether they are in my industry. If I don’t follow you back, don’t take it personally. How could I follow everyone? I barely keep up with my current stream at the minute so I need to be selective.
I have literally been begged by some people for me to follow them. Begged! You know how desperate that sounds? The point of me following you is so that I get something out of your tweets, not to add 1 to your total.
Use DMs, Twitter isn’t a chat room.
Nothing turns me off more than reading a string of tweets between two people. What am I getting out of ‘@name Thanks!’ ‘@name Hey!’? Golden Rule: If more than two people would get something out of your tweet then use an @, if not then use a DM. I fully understand and appreciate that Twitter is an amazing networking tool but have a think about who will be seeing your tweets.
Use Via instead of RT.
There’s so much Retweeting now that my mind has actually trained itself to ignore anything that begins with ‘RT @name‘, certainly anything that has a string of ‘RT@name RT@name RT@name’. If someone tweets a link that I feel needs to have some recognition then I tend to write a new tweet with my thoughts, the link, then ‘via @name‘. Come on, it’s not hard to take 10 seconds to do. It’s just laziness to Retweet other people all day and a personalised tweet has so much more value, both to you and the original linker.
Add some value to your twitter stream by posting links that are genuinely interesting, reducing the amount of waffle and posting intelligent thoughts rather than just ‘At work’. Granted, I’m no stranger to tweeting absolute rubbish, but try to be valuable in your tweeting generally, without being too noisy.
Space your Tweets.
There are, and always will be, extremely noisy people on Twitter. You will find it hard to imagine how they get anything done in between tweeting every 2 minutes. If you space out your tweets you will give people time to react, resulting in your tweets both gaining reactions and credibility. Another Golden Rule: If you emphasise everything, you emphasise nothing.
Never Use Auto DMs
I follow you because I have done the research and I’m genuinely interested in your tweets. I then get an auto DM spamming my inbox telling me to check out your site etc etc. This doesn’t need to happen. I click unfollow almost without fail after an auto DM.
Don’t use people
These tweeters who are desperate for numbers are trying to cash in on Twitter’s potential the fast and easy way. There is a disgusting amount of ‘Please RT this, Please Digg this, Please Float this, Please abuse-your-followers-and-spam-them-with-my-stuff-every-time-I-make-a-blog-post‘ going around. If you provide good content I will pimp it myself. Don’t spam me!
Provide Good Content and they will come.
I think this is the most important aspect. Just use Twitter sensibly, post your intelligent thoughts, post links you think are cool or worthy, follow people who influence you and you will gain twitter followers. It won’t happen overnight, but there are more important things in this world that that little number under your avatar.
Twitter is free to use whatever way you want so take my advice or ignore it. Follow me @paddydonnelly only if you want, but don’t be pressured and controlled by this numbers game that has reared it’s ugly head.