So you created a Twitter account and are more than just an egghead. Congratulations! You've been tweeting here and there, have followed all the people you admire in your industry as well as a handful of your friends and some news outlets. You've followed who your favorites follow, and you even take Twitter's follow suggestions. But nothing's happening. Crickets. FYI, the Twitter version of crickets is that empty, blank notifications tab. No RTs, no stars, no replys, nothing.
What are you doing wrong? You thought Twitter was the wave of the future, but it's more like a social dead end for you.
Here's the good news: Twitter is crackable. You can grow your Twitter following and engagement rate organically. Here's the bad news: it doesn't happen overnight or without effort.
I've compiled a few strategies for amping up your Twitter presence to bookmark and make sure you're doing regularly over the next few months. After that amount of time and with consistent work, your following is guaranteed to grow.
1. Do your time.
Twitter, like anything else, benefits from consistent use. No one is less followed on Twitter than the sporadic user. If you feel too busy to be on Twitter throughout the day, carve out time, say, before each time you eat, to hop on Twitter, scroll through what's happening, and try to engage. This way, you'll develop favorite tweeters who are on when you're on, or you can select a few whose feeds you love and use those times to revisit for updates (or for inspiration on what to tweet about.) Decide on a schedule: for example, you'll tweet an interesting news item in the morning, a lunchtime joke, a mid-afternoon inspirational quote, and an EOD sign-off with an industry protip. One night, perhaps you'll semi-live-tweet your favorite TV show. Consistency seems hard, but once you get into the habit (which is why I suggest pairing with something you naturally do on a schedule, such as eating), it pays off. Think of your consistent appearances on Twitter, even if they go un-favorited for a while, as brand awareness. Somewhere else, someone is scrolling through their feed, and your name is slowly but surely becoming one they recognize, one they might stop and engage with in a few weeks.
2. The shoutout is Twitter currency.
Twitter is, above all, a social network, meaning the social aspect of it is key. If you think something someone wrote is interesting, tag them and share it. If you think something someone said is funny, quote the tweet with your own comment. If someone is publishing a book that day, or got a new job, or appeared on a radio show, or made their own podcast, mark it. And if someone gives you a thumbs up for something you've done (which they're more likely to do if you do it first), thank them! Everyone loves a good shoutout, and the more positive you are about your community, the more the community will embrace you.
3. Tweetchats are your new best friends.
At first, tweetchats will feel awkward, like you're shouting into a void, not sure if anyone is hearing you. But I assure you, if you're thoughtful, they'll hear you. Tweetchats are an excellent way to see who is interested in what you're interested in, to engage with influencers, to gather industry information, and to gain new followers as well as build your own list. Search Twitter for tweetchats around topics you're knowledgeable about or want to become more knowledgeable about. If you're completely new to them, perhaps watch one without commenting. Bonus: tweetchats are often made into Storifys, so participate on the chance that you'll be enshrined in a Storify for others to read & follow. To search for tweetchats in your industry, try here, here, or here, and don't forget Social Media Today's very own #SMTLive chat nearly every Tuesday.
4. If you want to be a source, use it as a source.
5. When in doubt, be funny.
If I leave you with one impression from this post, it's this: everyone loves something that makes them laugh. So whether you're curating funny content or coming up with it on your own, try it out. This is a scary area for a lot of people, which makes sense, as there isn't a more unkind place for an insensitive or poorly timed joke than on Twitter. But, with some thought, you can be funny. One way to do this is to save funny ideas in your Twitter drafts, then sit on them for a while. Tweak the tweet until you've hit the sweet spot, then send. Favorite your favorite funny tweets so you can look back through them for inspiration. For more tips on how to be funny on social, read this.