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Is Anybody Listening To Me?

Building a great following on Twitter

A lot of people tell me they don’t understand Twitter and they certainly don’t know how to get a sizeable following. Don’t worry, because that’s exactly where every one of us started. The reality is that anybody can build a huge Twitter following. And the good news is that you don’t have to be Lady Gaga to do it!

Let’s start with a thought or two. Twitter is a bit like standing on the corner of a busy street and having a conversation with yourself, expecting that people will stop and listen. Well, there’s a problem. Because on Twitter, not only is no one listening to you but they don’t actually know you are there! Yes, you are also invisible on that street corner.

No one is listening until they follow you. Even then, it’s like real life and they may be listening but they’re not hearing you. In other words, your tweets may be in their timeline but for one reason or another they aren’t reading them. You’ve got to find a way to stand out from the noise that is literally flying past. A way to make people want to listen to you every time you speak.

Most of us think about what we are going to say before we say it. I always expect my mouth to ask my permission before talking. It should be no different when you “tweet”.
So what will you tweet?

When people advise on ways to get Twitter followers, they almost never talk about one thing that is crucial. Content. What are you going to tweet about?

Do you have interesting things to say? Do people enjoy your funny one-liners? Do you know lots of facts about some subject? Is there something about what you do that other people would find fascinating?

If you don’t think what you have to say is interesting, then neither will the tweeps. Tweeting that you are going out for a coffee is just not interesting. Tweeting about an amazing new coffee shop you have found may be interesting but only to tweeps who live nearby. And if you are looking for a massive following, you will want tweeps all over the world. And not all tweeps drink coffee!

But there is still a way. The first thing to do is think about something that you want your tweets to be known for. Here are some content themes:

• Life quotes
• Sports trivia
• Music videos
• Humor
• Photographs
• Business tips
• Fan base
• Motivational statements
• Paranormal activity
• Philosophy
• Travel diary

Really, the list is endless and it is down to you to identify what makes you different. What will make people want to read your tweets?
Now are you ready to tweet?

I found my unique place by tweeting my own original content that was part humor and part life-philosophy. Here are some examples:

The afterlife is where people go after they have had a life. I don’t know where losers go

My inner critic hasn't achieved a single thing himself. All he can do is find faults

I love it when people say you should learn from your mistakes. I've learned how to repeat them perfectly

And that brings me to another source of tweets – the people you follow. Find people whose content is novel, humorous, original or interesting in some way. Follow them and re-tweet their content. Here’s an example of a tweet I posted that was re-tweeted to one million people – yes a million people:

Some people don’t believe in ghosts. But for others, they live inside their heads and they are real

Don’t ask me why that tweet was so popular! You may never know why you get a terrific response from a particular tweet. So, you should experiment with your tweets and see what gets re-tweeted and by who.

Despite what I said about coffee, I start everyday (no matter what time-zone I’m on) with a tweet about that wonderful hot brown liquid. Here’s an example:

Coffee! Coffee! Coffee! Give me coffee and I will observe the restraining order

That one was re-tweeted to over 200,000 people. My followers look forward to my coffee tweets because they signify that I am finally out of bed and more tweets are about to follow.

Some people advise that you should tweet about current trends. I don’t agree. If you tweet about the X-Factor TV show, your tweets will be lost in the mass of other tweets. No one will hear you, even if you have something amazingly insightful to say.
And more things to think about

Once you have found your unique content and are gaining followers who are engaged, there are other things to think about:

1. Consistency – if you tweet 10 times a day for a month and then go quiet for 3 days, your tweeps will think you have died and unfollow you.
2. Frequency – you have to tweet multiple times per day. Most of your tweets may not even be seen. I suggest tweeting a minimum of 10 times a day.
3. Re-tweeting – RT often but only when it is relevant. This will also get you attention from the original tweet author.
4. Attribution – always attribute a retweet, quote or remark to its originator. Never tweet something, pretending it is your own. Ask not what your country can do for you but what you can do…
5. Profanity, Religion, Politics, Sex – your choice depending on your audience but I stay away from anything too controversial. Remember, you are looking for a large audience and being partisan or using the f*bomb will lose you followers.
6. Repetition – save all your tweets in a file. Some applications (like TweetAdder) can import tweets from a line-delimited text file and automatically send them for you at pre-specified intervals. But don’t use this as an excuse to loop through the same old tweets!
7. Recognition – if someone retweets you regularly, thank them and reciprocate if they have relevant content.
8. Variety – create other sources of content such as blogs, Facebook pages, Pinterest and Instagram. Followers who really like you will want more content than the 140 characters of a tweet.
I want followers now!

It takes time. You didn’t build your entire network of personal friends in one night and you won’t get 10,000 Twitter followers in a week. However, if things are moving a bit too slowly for you, you can always:

• Follow people you think will like your tweets (look at the followers of someone who is like you). When they see you have followed them, they may look at your recent tweets and if they like them they will follow you back. Don’t go crazy, though! Twitter limits follows to 1,000 a day and they will suspend your account if you regularly pursue another user’s followers at that sort of rate.
• Use a service like Twiends. It’s a phenomenal way to build followers but they won’t stay unless they immediately like your content.
• Always follow-back. Just as you want to be followed, so do others. It will reduce the unfollows. But watch out for the spammers, sex chat lines and other undesirables.

So, either way, you’ve got to find something interesting and unique to say. Otherwise I’m afraid that no one will be listening to you, even though you are talking. We’re all learning and sharing ideas. Some of us are just a bit ahead of the game, that’s all. So I’ll leave you with one more of my tweets that was retweeted to 500,000 people:

It’s not the blind leading the blind that we should worry about. It’s the blind leading those of us who can see

John Mitchell
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