with one comment Estimated reading time: 4 minutes
by Scott de Fasselle
Everyone wants more Twitter followers, and watching that number seems to indicate success at using this social media platform. But that assumption is wrong, and you’re about to read why.
First, let me be honest: You are about to read about growing your Twitter audience from a designer who has 98 followers. That’s right, I’m @scottdefasselle and I have only 98 followers. Now, that population of followers may grow, or even decrease, by the time you finish reading. But the point is, the number doesn’t matter. Twitter is not a numbers game—it’s about building relationships that matter.
Rather than focusing on numbers, savvy Twitter users attract followers who share your passion, who listen and give information, and who can help them grow as a person and/or professional. I know, this sounds like a lofty goal for a social media platform, but the exciting thing about Twitter is that if you focus on finding valuable followers the time you spend checking updates and sharing Tweets will be well-spent.
Forget numbers—this isn’t a high school popularity contest
Unless you’re a celebrity (unlikely, sorry) or buy followers (not recommended), you probably have just a modest following on Twitter. There’s an abundance of information online telling you how to get a bigger following. Simply search Google for “how to get more Twitter followers,” and you’ll find more than 300 million pages to choose from. (Well, that’s at least a rough estimate.)
Rather than focusing on how many followers you can find, drop the idea of getting “more” and turn your attention toward attracting valuable followers. Obviously, finding more followers that are valuable is ideal. But, before you build a following that’s worthwhile, you first need to ask yourself these valuable questions:
What’s “valuable” to you?
Beyond any immediate family, friends, and connections that might follow you on Twitter, think of the topics that you’re passionate about. Because you must also answer this key question: What are you going to talk about on Twitter, anyway?
When I decided to finally become active on Twitter at the start of 2014, I knew that my passion for design and sports were two things I could easily talk about. I was also interested in pursuing some design work in the sports industry, so the first thing I did was head for Twitter search to find people to follow.
What types of people interest you (and are you following those people)?
Once you decide what you want to discuss, search out others like you. You probably already know a few people with similar interests, or people that you admire, so start by following them on Twitter.
The best way to find more like-minded people is to watch the people you follow talk with others on Twitter. Check out the profiles and tweets—some of those people will undoubtedly be new and interesting to you, so give them a follow.
Another great way to find more people is to check out the people you follow and look at who they follow. When I did this, I started to see many of the same names popping up repeatedly, so I followed those people.
Tip: One great way to see if someone is worth following is to look at their “Tweets & Replies.” People who reply (starting a tweet with @username) are more valuable to me because they are more likely to respond to my Tweets. Which brings us to…
Are YOU a valuable Twitter follower?
First listen. I can’t emphasize this enough—LISTEN. Just as so many people worry about “more followers” when they should worry about “valuable followers,” too many people worry too much about what they should say when they should start by listening.
When you listen to the people you follow, there will be opportunities to respond and strike up conversations. Approach people the same way as you do at the start of a friendship. Try to share insight, inspiration, humor, information and generally just be helpful. In other words, give with no expectations. You’ll quickly find some people you follow respond.
In having these conversations (sharing Tweets), you’ll find that the people you follow will often follow you back. You’ll also discover new people you don’t know will jump into the conversation—once again a potential opportunity to follow someone new or gain a follower.
Start Growing Your Twitter Value Today
Using this approach, I have grown my small Twitter universe—but what’s more important is that,I know I can actually pick up the phone or email my connections and we’ll have something to talk about that goes beyond 140 characters. So, what are you waiting for? Add more valuable followers with these key take-aways:
- Stop worrying about a specific number of followers—followers will come in time.
- Ask yourself what you’re passionate about and find others that share your passion.
- Listen and give—this is how friendships are built and Twitter is no different.